Review: Barclaycard Ring MasterCard

Barclaycard touts its new Ring MasterCard as a versatile, top-tier credit card that crowd-sources its rewards. Could this be the plastic of the future?


This review was written by Logan Abbott. Logan is the editor of the credit cards section of MyRatePlan.com. 

(Editor’s note: We feature reviews of dozens of credit cards – check out more on our credit card page.)

If you’ve been comparing a lot of different credit cards recently, you’ve probably noticed many offer nearly the same number and type of rewards, as well as introductory interest rates. With the similarity among offers, it’s hard to find a card that stands out.

Not so with the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard. Barclaycard touts its new offering as a top-tier credit card with a unique feature: Everything from the annual fee to the rewards are set by its cardholders.

Advantages

  • Low APR on purchases and balance transfers. Cardholders receive a variable annual percentage rate of 8 percent on both purchases and balance transfers with the Ring MasterCard. This rate isn’t just an introductory rate – it’s the ongoing variable APR.
  • No balance transfer fees. While there are a host of credit cards that offer a 0 percent introductory APR on balance transfers, very few of these cards actually offer no balance transfer fee. The Barclaycard Ring MasterCard and the Slate from Chase card are currently the only available credit cards that do not charge a balance transfer fee (usually around 3 percent of the balance).
  • Earn rewards through the Barclaycard Giveback program. The Giveback program is what makes this card unique. Cardholders have access to Barclaycard’s profits and losses and can vote on how profits will be distributed to cardholders. They could vote to change the rates of the card, distribute rewards points, or reward themselves with cash back. As long as what they vote on is financially viable and approved by Barclaycard, it can be adopted. In short, this is the world’s first crowd-sourced credit card.
  • Favorable fee structure. Along with no balance transfer fees, the card also offers no annual fee, a low $1 cash advance fee, and 1 percent foreign transaction fee. The late payment fee on the card is $25.

Disadvantages

  • No mobile app. The currently available smartphone app from Barclaycard does not currently support the Ring MasterCard. The card does, however, have an iPad app.
  • No 0 percent introductory APR. The card doesn’t offer an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases or balance transfers.
  • Rewards aren’t clear. Since the rewards program is crowd-sourced online, it’s not immediately clear which rewards you will receive from the card before you sign up.

Bottom line

Get it if: You have excellent credit, you are looking for a low variable APR on purchases and balance transfers and no balance transfer fee, and you are attracted to the crowd-sourced aspect of the rewards program and credit card terms.

Forget it if: You have less than excellent credit and are looking for a card with a more concrete rewards program.

(Note: While we attempt to be completely objective when reporting on credit cards, this site may be compensated by issuers when a reader applies for a credit card through the links within credit card stories or on our credit card search page. )

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