Barclaycard Ring MasterCard Review: The First Social, Crowd-Sourced Credit Card

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Barclaycard Ring MasterCardBarclaycard recently announced the introduction of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard, what it calls “the first social credit card to be designed and built through the power of community crowdsourcing.” The new card will offer a low 8% interest rate, low fees, simple terms and the opportunity for cardmembers to influence the card’s terms and policies. While the concept of allowing the community to set the rules for a credit card is innovative, the question that needs to be asked is: will the card be worth it?

The New York Times has a good overview of the card here. If you’re more into video, this short promo gives a brief overview of the card:

In short, the Barclaycard Ring will initially have an 8% variable interest rate with no balance transfer fees and no annual fee.

Its profit-sharing program, known as Giveback, will be a “transparent calculation” based on the card’s actual revenue and expenses. There will be no other form of rewards associated with the card. And this is precisely the reason why I believe this card will ultimately not be the best deal for most consumers. It’s simply unreasonable to expect that the card will be able to rebate a large cash back percentage, for instance, given the card’s low rate and fee structure. Paul Wilmore, managing director of consumer markets for Barclaycard US, basically admits as much: “A rewards junkie would probably not be attracted to this card.”

Ultimately, Barclaycard is targeting the consumers who want a low-frills, low fees credit card and also want to feel like they have a voice in their card’s features and terms. If you regularly carry a balance–in general, a practice I would recommended against–and are in need of a low interest rate credit card, it’s an option to consider. Otherwise, it probably isn’t worth your time.

The Barclaycard Ring is expected to be available later this spring. To request an invitation, visit

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