A common mistake when signing up for a new credit card is getting overly excited about an introductory offer. Finding out you can get 0% intro APR on purchases or balance transfers for a year or more is exciting, but don’t forget once the intro period is over the APR can skyrocket. For this reason, Barclaycard Ring (2016 winner of CardRating’s Editor’s Choice Award for best low-interest credit card) sparks our interest; you know what you’re getting from day one. Instead of dealing with a future rate that could easily hit 20% (or more), Barclaycard Ring MasterCard® keeps a flat rate of 8.25% variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances — from day one.
Other Ring MasterCard® perks to consider:
Democracy. Any good democratic entity lets the people have control and transparency. Here's how the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard® lets you do just that:
Creative perk: Barclaycard holders share in the profits. Barclaycard will pay you a portion of the company's profits. You can use those "dividends" yourself or donate them to charity through a program called GIVEBACK™ and GIVEBACK™ CHARITY. It's perhaps the most creative rewards program on the market.
We like the GIVEBACK™ program for its creativity however, the red tape could put a damper in its luster. The company promises to make the calculation simple and transparent, but it also says it can discontinue the program at any time. Finally, your account needs to be in good standing to earn the rewards.
The 8.25% APR is also not guaranteed, or fixed. It's a variable rate, which means it can go up or down depending on the interest rates set by the Federal Reserve, which have already started to increase in 2016. Federal interest rates are low right now, so fair warning, this APR will likely go up.
These two cards are substantially different. The Chase Freedom® APR on balance transfers and purchases is 0% for 15 months as opposed to the steady 8.25% APR on the Ring MasterCard®. Other key differences built into the Chase Freedom® card are:
Our vote is to go with Barclaycard if you just can't get used to regular credit card usage, and to go with the Chase option if you can. The rewards will add up fairly quick, and you'll have 15 months of 0% APR.
Chase Slate® is a shining star for balance transfers —they offer a $0 balance transfer fee when you make the transfer in the first 2 months, with a 0% APR on the transfer amounts for 15 months. With the no annual fee perk, the Slate® card becomes an excellent way to pay down debt -- in fact, a cheaper way than the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard®, which charges 8.25% APR from day one. However if it takes longer than 15 months to pay down your debt Slate transitions into a fairly high APR (see terms for details). So, timing is everything.
The Slate® card offers no rewards program where you get credit for particular purchases. Neither does the Ring MasterCard®, but the Ring does reward you with cash back based on company profits.Both cards give you easy access to your FICO® scores. The Chase Slate® card takes it one step further with its Monthly FICO® Score and Credit Dashboard, which provides reasons behind your credit score and tips on improving it.
The BankAmericard® Credit Card isn't fancy, but it does offer one of the longest 0% APR introductory periods you're going to see: 18 months, for balance transfers. There is no annual fee with this card, but there is also no sort of rewards or pay back program. The BankAmericard® is your old-fashioned basic card with a twist -- a year and a half to pay off, interest-free, the debt you were accumulating on another card. We see it as the card to have, for the person who no longer wants to have a card (but still owes on one).
We like this card for you, if:
If you've been burned by credit card usage, Barclaycard has developed a credit card that's worthy of a second chance. It's not power-packed with perks, but it's a program that honors responsible and nominal spending. What's your vote?