The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard presents a unique concept of crowdsourced, socially driven credit cards. What does this mean? Well, all businesses have to actively engage their customers, especially via numerous social media networks including Twitter and Facebook. Barclaycard US recognized the immense marketing power of these social entities too – and they decided to capitalize! So Barclaycard US proactively created the first card to be controlled by the cardholders. OK, maybe not controlled by, but at least affected by.
Barclaycard US is a small part of Barclays PLC, an international giant that operates in the US, Europe, Middle & Far East and Africa. Beginning more than 300 years ago in in 1690, the company has a well established global reputation for masterminding innovative new payment platforms. The are world leaders helping to shape the entire future realm of banking, business and entrepreneurship. Barclaycard US introduced the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard on March 1, 2012. They promoted it as the first credit card to be driven by the influence of an online card member audience.
The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard has a few key features which makes it definitely worth your consideration. It’s flexible, straightforward and completely transparent when it comes to its fee structure. Specifically, the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard offers:
- Straight 8% variable APR rates for purchases, balance transfers and even cash advances;
- No annual fee;
- 1% foreign transaction fee;
- $1 cash advance transaction fee;
- Maximum $25 late fee;
Barclaycard US gives cardholders considerable control concerning how the company is operated and how it advances. Current company profit/loss statements are available for all cardholders online. Whenever rate changes or any type of terms changes are suggested, Barclaycard Ring MasterCard cardholders vote online to decide the outcomes. Online forums allow customers to help shape the future of advertising campaigns, enhancements to the company website and more. Excellent cardholder service is a top goal for the company (at least that’s what they claim) and cardholders are encouraged to bring any concerns to attention.
The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Giveback Program
Besides the 8% APR, the most notable feature of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard is the Giveback program. In a nutshell, the more you charge on your Barclaycard Ring MasterCard and the more timely you pay, the more you get back. But there are other factors that can effect the amount given back to each member, including opting to go paperless. The concept is that a penny saved for the company is a penny earned for its members. Members are also credited $20 for every new, confirmed member they refer to the community. And for those that opt to give all or part of their Giveback rewards to charity, their good behavior is rewarded with community badges.
While Barclays US claims to give Barclaycard Ring MasterCard cardholders so much control, it’s a bit misleading. After all, being a cardholder does not make one a stockholder. The Barclay Ring Giveback program reports to give cardholders a percentage of company profits. Each cardholder chooses to either receive their share as a credit on their card balance, or to donate to optional charities. Even though Barclay claims that a “transparent calculation” determines exactly how much each cardholder receives back, it has not yet made that calculation known. Most experts agree that if you are looking to get a load of cash back, then choose a cash-back credit card instead.
The 8% variable APR across the board is the most stand-out feature of this Barclaycard Ring MasterCard. Other quality cards begin at considerably higher APR rates, especially those that offer a 0% introductory APR. For instance, Citibank APR rates begin at 12.99% after a 12-month 0% APR. Discover might have the lowest after-intro APR of 10.99%. You have to realize, though, that these rates are offered to those applicants that demonstrate the highest credit scores. For example, while Citibank APRs begin at 12.99%, they go up to 22.99% on balance transfers and retail purchases. Further, Citibank APR rates are 25.24% on cash advances and 29.99% on penalty charges. And they charge up to $35 for late fees. Whew!
A quick visit to the Barclays US website will show you that the company straight-out values direct, transparent honesty about their charges. The “8%” variable APR actually can change, but not a lot. The Barclay equation for determining the exact APR is simply the additive sum of the current prime rate plus 4.75%. This is the simple formula that the company swears will never change.
Regardless of how generous Barclaycard US actually is or isn’t, it’s refreshing to witness a financial institution that could charge $35 for late fees, but only charges a maximum of $25. Also, $1 cash advance fees and 1% foreign transaction fees are quite invigorating as well. How many banks or other lenders or creditors do that? Not very many at all!
If there are any negatives to the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard, they are few. It’s a bit concerning that the card has no rewards program. No points. No miles. And even though customers seem to be pleased with the Giveback™ profit sharing program, they still are unsure as to how their returns are calculated. In general, the key selling feature here seems to be the low APR.
Speaking of that, some people are concerned about the absence of an introductory 0% APR. You would have to consider several variables about your personal charging habits before you could accurately say whether or not the straight-8 approach would be better for you than selecting a different card with a 0% intro period. Note that the Citibank Simplicity Card and the Discover it Card both offer 18-0month 0% APR introductory rates.
For consumers with a credit score of 675 or better, the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard offers cardholders long-term value and simplicity they can count on. The company wants their products to go viral via the social networks. They feel they’ve created something to get excited about – and they may just be right. Check out the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard further today and compare this unique credit card with traditional cards. The differences will be simple to see.