The Barclaycard Financing Visa Card is primarily a retail card designed for (but not limited to) use at either an Apple Store or Apple Computer’s online store. It is linked via Apple’s web site to provide retail financing for its products and offers some perks, notably a no-interest grace period during which the product purchase may be paid off in full at no cost.
Special Financing Offers for the Barclaycard Financing Visa
The primary allure of the Barclaycard Financing Visa Card is the no-interest payment period for qualifying purchases. The length of time to pay off the balance without incurring interest charges varies with the purchase amount. These special financing offers are available both online and in any Apple Store. In fact, the card can be applied for online within an Apple Store and, with approvals in as little as thirty seconds, financed purchases can be made almost immediately either using the web site or by having a barcode printed for use in the store.
The offers available through the Barclaycard Financing Visa break down in three tiers for purchases made within the first thirty days after account approval, on purchases made at Apple. Purchases less than $499 have up to six months (180 days) to pay off without interest charges. Purchases ranging from $499 to $1,598 have a twelve month (365 day) period to pay off without interest charges. There is an eighteen month (540 day) period to pay off purchases over $1,599 interest-free. Minimum monthly payments are required, but the minimum payment alone might not be sufficient to pay off the balance on schedule. If the purchases are not paid off in full during the allotted period of time or a payment is late, interest charges will accrue from the original purchase date. Interest charges will be either 22.99% or 26.99% APR (the rate is based on credit worthiness and may vary based on the Prime Rate).
Purchases made through iTunes do not qualify for the financing promotion.
Other Rates and Fees for the Barclaycard Financing Visa
While the initial APR for purchases based on the applicant’s credit history will be either 22.99% or 26.99%, there are different rates applicable to other types of transactions. For balance transfers to the Barclaycard Financing Visa, the same rate will apply as for purchases, but cash advances have a single listed 25.24% APR. The penalty rate is up to 27.24%, determined by creditworthiness, and is applied when the account holder makes a late payment and may apply indefinitely. All the listed APRs are based on a Prime Rate of 3.25% and are current as of November, 2013.
Balance transfers incur a transaction fee that is the greater of either $10 or 4% of the total amount, per transfer. Cash advances incur a fee that is the greater of either $10 or 5% of the total amount, per advance. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction after converting to U.S. dollars.
While there is no penalty fee for going over the credit line, late payments are fined $35 (though some state laws may require different amounts). Returned payments have the same $35 penalty fee (and may also vary by state).
Pay Off the Financing and Keep Using the Barclaycard Financing Visa
After the promotional financing offer has concluded, either because the total has been paid in full or because the promotional period has ended (and accrued interest is charged in full), the Barclaycard Financing Visa can continue to be used as a standard Visa. In fact, the card itself will arrive in approximately ten days following approval on the account and can be used up to its credit limit, according to standard terms. The promotional financing will only apply to the initial Apple purchase, however, and interest will be charged on outstanding balances beyond that amount.
The Barclaycard Financing Visa card carries 0% fraud liability against unauthorized purchases. An online account portal is available for managing and monitoring card activity, as well as paying the bill. Account holders can use the portal to set up mobile and email notifications, utilize financial calculators and create transaction summaries.
Barclaycard with iTunes Rewards Visa Card
Barclaycard did have a version of their Visa available with an iTunes rewards program, in which two iTunes points would be earned for each dollar spent at an Apple retail store or the Apple online store. The same card would accrue one iTunes point for all other purchases. It came with 1,000 bonus points awarded on the second purchase and the rewards were redeemed for a $25 iTunes gift card for each 2,500 points. The card with this program also had no annual fee. However, this program is not currently listed as available on either the Apple or Barclaycard web sites.
Application and Bank Information
In order to qualify for the Barclaycard Financing Visa Card, applicants must be qualified U.S. residents. The promotional offer is limited to new card members, subject to credit approval, and the application itself may be processed in as little as thirty seconds online. However, applications requiring additional review may take up to ten business days for approval.
Cards are issued by Barclay’s Bank Delaware (Barclaycard), which is a Member FDIC, though the parent bank is the U.K. based Barclays Bank PLC. The Barclaycard brand has been operating in the United States since 2004, primarily offering co-branded credit cards with a wide array of businesses. Barclays PLC has operation in more than fifty countries, with over 27 million customers, making it a very stable company.
Final Word: Who the Barclaycard Financing Visa Is Right For
The Barclaycard Financing Visa card is fairly mediocre in terms of actual rewards, with interest costs edging toward the high end. It is not a good choice for individuals who are likely to carry a balance or who are interested in collecting rewards for travel or dining.
While the card itself is a pretty standard Visa, the primary reason to apply for this card is the no-interest financing of Apple products. It is very important to note, however, that the products must be paid off entirely within the term provided, or the heavy interest charge will apply for the total amount of the purchase. That means that if the amount will not be paid off, it would be better to charge the entire amount to a different card with a lower interest rate and pay the monthly interest while paying the total down.
A second reason to consider the card might be the speed with which accounts can be approved. While there is no guarantee of a thirty second approval, it may be a quick option to use for a necessary purchase when funds are not readily available. If the entire total cannot be paid off in full by the expected date, possibly arranging a balance transfer onto another card could help avoid the steep penalty of accrued interest, but this would not necessarily be a recommended approach as there are no guarantees that an appropriate offer would be available. Always, advance financial planning should be considered for major purchases.
As a main credit card account, however, the Barclaycard Financing Visa card does not offer compelling benefits that are particularly different from other Visa cards. With a high interest rate and no real rewards program, it is neither ideal for users who carry a balance or for users who wish to take advantage of rewards points for the places they spend the most money.