Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Review: A Low-Interest Card With Minimal Fees

With a low APR and no annual fee, the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is a money-saving credit card. Get the full scoop on it in our review.

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

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Great for: Low interest rate Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®

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Our Bottom Line

Offers one of the lowest ongoing interest rates we've come across, making it a good option if you've got some debt and want to pay less interest.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent
Highlights

  • Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.99% APR will apply
  • Low 13.99% variable APR on purchases and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN

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Rates & Fees

Despite so many different credit cards that you can choose from, it’s not easy to find one with a reasonable interest rate. There are plenty of cards with big rewards, sign-up bonuses, and intro APR offers, but precious few that won’t charge you an arm and a leg if you carry a balance.

If low interest is what you need, then you’ll find it in the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®. That’s not its only unique feature, either. The card has perhaps the most interesting type of loyalty program I’ve seen in the Giveback™ program, which it offers in lieu of a rewards program, and Barclaycard even lets cardholders vote on changes regarding features and fees. To help you learn more about the card, I’m taking an in-depth look at it.

What I like

Low APR -- The highlight of the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is its APR, which is one of the lowest you’ll find. And unlike other credit cards that have a wide APR range, this card has one flat rate. Even though it’s better to pay your credit card bill in full to avoid interest charges, that may not always be feasible. If you need to carry a balance, a low APR is a must.

0% intro APR for balance transfers -- This is a 15-month intro rate that applies to any balance transfers you make within the first 45 days.

2% balance transfer fee -- Balances transferred within 45 days receive a low transfer fee of 2% ($5 min.). This is lower than the typical 3% fee many cards charge.

No annual fee -- This card keeps unnecessary fees to a minimum, and you won’t need to pay anything yearly to keep it.

No foreign transaction fee -- Many popular no-annual-fee cards will charge you 3% every time you buy something internationally, but not this card

Why you can trust me

I believe that credit cards are one of the most valuable financial tools for consumers, no matter the situation, and I’m always looking for ways that they can help people earn big rewards or save some money. My goal is travel rewards, and I’ve built up hundreds of thousands of points that I use to take trips for free. Along the way, I’ve reached and maintained an excellent credit score while avoiding any credit card debt.

What could be improved

Rewards or cash back -- By far the biggest disadvantage is that you don’t earn any rewards points or cash back on your spending. In fairness, you could earn money back through the Barclaycard Ring Giveback™ program, which I’ve gone over in detail below (see “How the Barclaycard Ring Giveback™ program works”).

$0 balance transfer fee offer -- While I applaud inclusion of a $0 balance transfer fee promo, it's too difficult to take advantage of, given it only applies on balances transferred after 15 months. This makes the 0% intro APR offer less competitive than others on the market, since some cards offer both a 0% intro APR and a $0 balance transfer fee at the same time.

How the Giveback™ program works

The official word from Barclaycard is that because of this card’s low APR, it wouldn’t be profitable if it also earned cash back or rewards. Instead, the card issuer has created the Barclaycard Ring Giveback™ program, a unique profit-sharing arrangement.

Here’s how it works -- once Barclaycard clears a set revenue return percentage on the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®, it will distribute a portion of any further profits to the cardholders. There are separate profit pools, one for referrals and one for use of the card. You’re eligible to receive a payout from the referral pool if you have at least one referral during the designated time period, and you’re eligible for a payout from the other pool if you’ve used the card at all.

If you want, you can also have Barclaycard donate your Giveback™ payout to a charitable cause.

It’s an interesting concept in theory, but you shouldn’t expect much back from this program. A good cash-back card or travel rewards card would be the better choice if that’s your goal.

A crowdsourced credit card

Another innovation of the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is the Barclays Ring Community. Barclays has created this forum for all cardholders to share their opinions on the card, suggest improvements, and even vote on changes.

This isn’t just a meaningless gesture, as the community has made several decisions that affected the card. There was originally a 1% foreign transaction fee and a $1 cash advance fee, until the community voted on a switch to no foreign transaction fee and a $3 cash advance fee.

What to look for in a low interest credit card

As you could probably already guess, the most important part of a low-interest credit card is its interest rate. A lower interest rate means it will cost you less to carry a balance.

If you know that you’ll need to carry a balance or transfer any balances as soon as you get the card, then you should also look for a 0% intro APR.

Last but not least, make sure you go over a card’s other fees before you apply. You don’t want to save on interest only to pay more in other areas, such as annual fees and foreign transaction fees.

Suggested credit score

To have the best shot at the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard®, your FICO® Score should be at least 670. Annual income is another important factor that impacts both your approval chances and your credit limit. If you have any balance transfers to do, then you’ll need to get a credit limit high enough to cover them.

Other cards to consider

Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® has some unique benefits that are worth comparing with other leading low interest credit cards, including Discover it® Balance Transfer and Chase Freedom®. Both cards include long 0% intro APR offers, plus earn more rewards than what Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard offers. 

Discover it® Balance Transfer offers a 0% intro APR for balance transfers for 18 months, making it a solid option for cardholders needing longer than 15 months to pay off debt by avoiding interest charges.

Chase Freedom® has a 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months, plus earns up to 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 of quarterly spending) in rotating categories you activate each quarter.

Discover it® Balance Transfer Chase Freedom®
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5.0 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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3.5 stars Info icon We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent

Bonus: Double cash back in the first year Bonus: $150 After Spending $500 Within Three Months
Rewards Program: 5% Cash Back At Different Places Each Quarter Like Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Restaurants Or Amazon.com Up To The Quarterly Maximum Each Time You Activate, 1% Cash Back On All Other Purchases Rewards Program: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 1% on all else
Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 6 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Regular APR: 13.99% - 24.99% Variable Regular APR: 16.74% - 25.49%, variable
Annual Fee: $0 Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.

Highlights:

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

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This card is right for you if...

While this card has its good points, I hesitate to recommend it for any particular situation. It’s most useful for balance transfers, but several other cards trump it with significantly longer 0% APR intro periods and lower balance transfer fees.

The low interest rate can help you out if you often find yourself with credit card debt. Combined with the card’s $0 balance transfer fee after the first 15 months, you may find the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® useful for shifting over balances from other cards and lowering the amount of interest you pay, assuming the rate beats what you can secure with a personal loan.

If you think you’ll need a credit card with a low interest rate, the Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® is a great choice. But in the long run, your best bet is to avoid credit card debt and use a card that will earn you cash back or rewards instead as you pay off bills each month and avoid interest charges altogether.