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Barclaycard Ring Credit Card Review

Our Barclaycard Ring credit card review: You want to avoid carrying a balance on credit cards, but sometimes you can’t avoid it. The Ring card offers a low regular APR, no balance transfer fee, and 1 percent cash back on transferred balances to save interest when you can’t pay off your credit card in full.

BarclayRing.8.5.LgWhen it comes to using credit cards, the advice you should strive to follow is simple: Pay off your balance each and every month. If you do that faithfully, you don’t have to worry about what your card’s APR and focus instead on earning rewards back for your spending.

But what if you sometimes have to carry a balance on a credit card? When you’re young and trying to start up your life on a tight budget, it’s not always possible to avoid paying credit card interest.

When that’s the case, the financially savvy thing to do is to pick a card that will minimize the interest you pay rather than maximize the rewards you earn — because you’ll never find a card that pays you more rewards than charges you in interest!

Enter the The Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard®. This credit card features a low variable APR on balance transfers and purchases — historically the Ring card’s APR has been around half of the APR on competing cards.

What’s different about the Ring credit card

It’s simple

The card is designed to be as simple as possible, with a low variable regular APR and no balance transfer fee. There’s no teaser/introductory rate that expires after a year.

It saves you money on carrying a balance

If you carry a balance, that low APR can save you hundreds in a year or two, esepcailly if you transfer a balance from a higher-rate card. Most cards charge between 3 and 5 percent of any credit card balances you transfer. Not only does the Ring card not charge this fee, the card pays a 1 percent cash back bonus on any balances transferred in the first 60 days of account opening.

It’s trying to be different

Barclay’s is calling the Ring card a “crowdsourced” credit card. According to the bank, they are “actively listening” to cardmembers and will change the card’s features in real-time according to feedback.

The rewards program is different, too. Called Giveback, it is essentially a profit-sharing system: when account holders opt in for paperless statements and pay their bills on time, the community benefits; the card will kick back more of a reward to account holders, which you can use as a statement credit or to fund charitable projects.

That sounds cool, but you should not consider this is not a rewards card, per se, rather a card to save you significant amounts of money on interest if you’re paying down a balance over many years.

How much can you save with the Ring card?

With a low variable regular APR, the Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® is best suited to anyone who occasionally uses a credit card to buy big ticket items and pay them off over a few months. For that, the Ring card is ideal. If you did the same with a rewards cards (which currently have average APRs around 16 percent), you would pay double the finance charges as you would on the Ring card.

Let’s say you charge $2,500 to your card and plan to pay $250 each month until the balance is paid off.

  • With the Ring card, at the current variable APR of 8.25 percent, you would pay $96 in interest and clear the balance in 11 payments.
  • A card with a 16 percent APR would still be paid off in 11 $250 payments, but you would have paid $201.25 in interest. Let’s assume you got 1 percent cash back on the $2,500 purchase. That’s a $25 cash rebate, making the net cost of financing the purchase $176.25 – still $80.20 more than the Ring card.

Now having gotten into trouble with credit card debt myself, I always recommend that you pay off your balance every month in full to avoid paying any interest on credit cards. That said, I realize there are times when your finances just aren’t mature enough to do this – sometimes you need to float a credit card balance to pay for unexpected expenses or finance a large ticket item.

In these cases, a simple card with an unusually low regular APR like the Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® makes a good pick.

Learning more and applying for the Ring card

The Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® requires excellent credit. You can check your credit score for free before applying here.

Credit Needed: Excellent

  • No Balance Transfer Fees - start saving immediately!
  • A low variable APR on balance transfers and purchases
  • No Annual Fee
Intro APR
Intro Term
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
n/an/a n/an/a 8.25%* Variable $0

Published or updated on July 30, 2014

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


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  1. Alex says:

    I just saw this offer on the Fidelity website ( where I have an employer sponsored 403(b). Have you seen a reward like this and what are your thoughts on it? It appears like it does at least one of your favorite things which is putting finances on autopilot.

  2. Monica says:

    I find this very interesting. As someone who went through CareOne to get myself out of credit card debt I found Barclays to be one of the worst creditors to work with. Having never been late with them, the way they treated me was cruel. In fact so cruel that I know that it wouldn’t matter what they offered having worked with them in the past they would never get my business again.
    Sorry but I truly have a real hatred for this credit card company!

  3. This is an interesting stance for a credit card company to take. I like the fact that they are listening to their customers and trying new things. You are correct that some of the other cards you link to are better if your goal is maximizing cash back.

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