Barclaycard Ring MasterCard puts customers in the boardroom

A new low interest credit card soon to be launched by Barclaycard aims to make its operations transparent by including customer input in key decision-making. In a statement to reporters, Barclaycard officials announced the pending launch of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard.

Barclaycard spokesman Paul Wilmore explained that Ring cardholders would gain access to profit and loss statements for the product. Members will also use a combination of social media networks and private customer forums to help make decisions about the card's features and about Barclaycard's charitable giving efforts.

No-frills credit card market gets more crowded

Barclaycard Ring MasterCard joins an already large field of "plain vanilla" credit cards that Mintel Comperemedia identified as one of the fastest growing segments of the consumer lending industry. Some of the new card's features mirror those from competitors, like Citi Simplicity and Chase Slate. Mintel researchers credited banks with turning recent rule changes into product benefits, such as enhanced communication and streamlined fee structures.

However, the Ring MasterCard's crowdsourcing element makes it unique among American credit cards. "Some might say we're creating a virtual credit union or community bank," Wilmore said, "but we're taking that model much further by giving our members a seat at the table to help decide what card features and benefits are really best for them."

Barclaycard Ring available "later this spring"

A division of global banking giant Barclays, Barclaycard operates its American consumer lending business from a historic site along the Wilmington, Del. waterfront. The company currently offers affinity and airline credit cards in partnership with major brands like Virgin America, Barnes & Noble and US Airways.

Although consumers can't yet apply for a Barclaycard Ring MasterCard, they can request invitations from a promotional website. Company officials described the low interest credit card as being "in alpha testing," with a wider rollout to follow later this spring.