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Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard: 2% Back on Everyday Expenditures

Jan. 28, 2020
Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard: 2% Back on Everyday Expenditures
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  • US Bank LifeMiles Visa Secured
  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our best credit cards page for updated offers.

Aw nerds! Looks like this page may be out of date. Please visit NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Fair Credit page for updated info.

If you have average credit but are looking for a card with above-average rewards on everyday purchases, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® has you covered.

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®: Benefits and basics

It’s easy to earn with the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®, since this card nets an unlimited 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities, with 1 point per dollar earned on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed as a cash back statement credit or for a variety of gift cards (starting at 1,000 points).

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive in to really find out what makes the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® shine.

Solid rewards on common purchases

As we’ve mentioned, this card earns 2 points per dollar spent on gas, groceries and utilities. As far as cards for those with average credit go, this is one of the best point-per-dollar deals out there. Most people are bound to spend in these areas regularly, and will therefore have no problem earning points.

Free FICO score

If your goal is to build credit, there’s no better barometer for tracking improvement than your FICO score. As a Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® cardholder you’ll receive an updated score on every month’s statement, in addition to live alerts when your score changes. This way you’ll know if efforts to improve your credit are working, or if you should make some strategy adjustments.

Nerd note: Though there are other forms of credit scores out there, FICO’s score is generally considered the industry standard. This undoubtedly adds to the feature’s value.

Credit line increase eligibility

After you’ve made five consecutive on-time payments, you’ll be eligible for a credit line increase. Many people strive to improve their credit to gain access to more credit, and this feature serves that goal while encouraging positive credit-building behavior overall.

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®: Pitfalls and other possibilities

Now that we’ve covered the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®‘s strong suits, it’s time to examine where the card comes up short.

No sign-up bonus

This card doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, a feature many folks applying for rewards cards have come to expect. Its absence shouldn’t necessarily eliminate this card as an option, although some added points from the start would still be nice to have.

If you are set on finding card with a sign-up bonus, the US Bank LifeMiles Visa Secured includes 5,000 LifeMiles Bonus - with first purchase. Cardholders also earn an unlimited 1 LifeMile for each dollar spent on all purchases.

LifeMiles can be redeemed with more than 25 airlines in the Star Alliance network, including United, Lufthansa and Asiana. So, whether you’re flying domestically or overseas, you can cover your flight with points. As far as additional yearly costs are concerned, the US Bank LifeMiles Visa Secured‘s $0 the first year, then $25.

Foreign transaction fee

If you’re looking for a card to use abroad, you might want to think twice when applying for the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard®. This card’s foreign transaction fee of 3% really hurts its viability for use overseas, but there are plenty of alternatives available that come without the tariff on travel spending.

If you do spend significant time outside the U.S., the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card may be a better option to consider. Like all credit cards from Capital One, this card comes with no foreign transaction fee. You’ll also get super flexible cash back with an unlimited 1.5% back on all purchases across the board. Cash back can be redeemed at any time, in any quantity.

This card does come with an annual fee of $39, which may deter some prospective cardholders. But if you plan on spending $2,600 or more on the card annually, cash back earnings will offset that charge. Everything past that threshold is money in the bank.

High APR

As far as credit cards for those with average credit are concerned, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® has one of the higher APRs we’ve seen. If you plan on carrying a balance from month to month, this is probably not the card for you. Of course, a high APR is of no concern if you simply pay your balance in full every month. Paying in full will help you avoid interest, late payments and even help your credit utilization ratio.

Is the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® right for you?

For people who spend a fair amount on gas, groceries and utilities, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard® is a solid option that earns cash back with every dollar spent. If a lot of your spending occurs abroad, or you plan on carrying a monthly balance, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. For starters, check out our favorite rewards credit cards.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @kevin_cash.

Image via iStock.