Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® Review: Flexible, Flat-Rate Cash Back

Lyle is a writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.

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Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® is a good card for spenders with modest credit needs. We value how easy it is to receive the card’s $200 new cardholder bonus, its competitive cash rewards program, a 0% intro APR offer, and the fact that it includes a $0 annual fee. This lineup of perks makes the card one of the most versatile in its cash-back category.

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Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard®
Our Bottom Line

The big sign-up bonus is a marquee feature that competing no-annual-fee cards rarely can match.

What we Like:
  • $200 new cardholder bonus
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% intro APR
  • 5% cash rewards redemption bonus
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)
  • Get a $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
  • Every time you redeem, get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
  • Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account, a statement credit or gift cards. Redemptions start at $50
  • Cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on purchases. Plus, you'll get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers for each balance transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that a variable APR will apply, 15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • No annual fee
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Rates & Fees

What we like

$200 new cardholder bonus -- The Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® has one of the lowest hurdles for earning a new cardholder bonus. Simply spend at least $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening to receive a $200 cash rewards bonus. Many other cards require minimum spending of $3,000 or more in similar periods of time to qualify for sign-up bonuses and the standard for competing cards is a smaller bonus valued at $100 to $150.

$0 annual fee -- As a general rule, cards that come packed with features and higher cash back rates tend to carry an annual fee. Barclaycard does a good job balancing this card’s perks with its costs, and the card’s $0 annual fee means that it can fit the needs of heavy and modest card users alike.

1.5% cash back -- We bias toward cards that have simple, flat-rate rewards programs, and this is one such card. Cardholders 1.5% cash back on all purchases and also receive a 5% cash-back bonus when redeeming rewards, which can be used for a subsequent redemption. The fully-baked cash-back rate is 1.575%, when accounting for bonus rewards, giving it a slight edge over the hoard of 1.5% cash back cards on the market.

0% intro APR -- The card includes a 0% intro APR for both new purchases and balance transfers. Pay attention to balance-transfer qualifications, though, as the promo APR only applies to each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening.

What could be improved

Foreign transaction fees -- Foreign transaction fees can add up quickly when you use a credit card to make purchases overseas. Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% on each purchase. If no foreign transaction fees are a must-have perk, consider one of our picks for the best travel credit cards for a few alternatives.

Minimum redemption hurdle -- The card includes a relatively high cash back redemption minimum of $50 vs. no-minimum redemptions offered by some other cash-back rewards cards.

How to best use

  • It’s generally best to pay off your balances by the due date every month. It’s a losing strategy to earn low single-digit cash back rewards, only to see them get eaten up by far higher double-digit interest charges. That means prospective cardholders should consider their primary needs for the card first. If you carry a balance, focus on APRs rather than cash-back terms.
  • Transfer high-interest credit card debt to chip away at debt balances faster. We Fools always encourage smart use of debt, and transferring balances to a 0% intro APR card can help avoid costly interest charges. In fact, paying down a $5,000 balance over 15 months will cost a whopping $620 in interest charges at an 18% APR.
  • Leverage free access to your FICO® score. Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® provides free access to your FICO® score and this is a huge value! In fact, myFICO charges more than $350 per year to receive, track, and monitor your comprehensive credit history.

Final take

What you see is what you get with Barclaycard CashForward™ World Mastercard® and that transparency is one factor we covet when vetting cards for Fool. The card offers a simple cash-back rewards program and hefty new cardholder bonus and the card’s all-in cash-back rate of 1.575% plus bonuses for new cardholders ranks well, particularly since it doesn’t carry an annual fee.

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