When 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
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 8.0 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.
Great For: Low interest rates with no balance transfer fees
Credit Needed: Excellent
- No Balance Transfer Fees - start saving immediately!
- A low variable APR on balance transfers and purchases
- No Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fee
- Chip card technology, so paying for your purchases is more secure at chip-card terminals in the U.S. and abroad
- Get rewarded through the new Giveback™ program, where Barclaycard Ring members get money back for good performance
- Get exclusive access to our online community and vote on the card features you like and view the financials of the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard online
- Complimentary FICO® Scores as a benefit to active cardmembers. Opt-in to have instant and convenient access to FICO® Scores from your Barclaycard online account.
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