Until now, Barclaycard’s U. S. rewards card options were of the category variety – elevated rewards in certain spending categories and a lower rate of cash back on everything else.
With its newest offer – the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®, the issuer is offering a simpler rewards structure that gives a slightly elevated rate of cash back on everything. So, how does this card stack up against other cards on the market offering essentially the same thing?
The Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® eschews categories and offers an across-the-board 1.5 percent back on all purchases. In addition, you get a 5 percent redemption bonus, meaning you’re actually earning 1.575 percent back on purchases.
Your cash rewards can be redeemed as a deposit into a checking or savings account, as a statement credit or for gift cards. Rewards don’t expire, as long as your account is in good standing.
Terms and other details
Some other important details about the card include:
- Annual fee: This card has no annual fee.
- The minimum redemption amount: You must have $50 in cash rewards accumulated before you can redeem. That requires $3,333 in spending.
- Foreign transaction fee: You’ll be charged 3 percent of the purchase amount for purchases made with overseas vendors.
- EMV chip: This card has one, and Barclaycard’s products have the added benefit of being chip-and-PIN capable (if a PIN is required overseas).
- Free FICO score: Barclaycard’s credit card products all give you free access to your TransUnion FICO score.
Is it a good choice?
If you’ve read any other card reviews on this site, you know the answer – it depends what you’re looking for.
What this card offers is a straightforward cash-back earning structure. You get the same amount back every purchase – no special category earnings. That means you’ll miss out on the opportunity to maximize categories, but if strategizing isn’t your thing, the CashForward is your type of card.
That said, there are other cards on the market that offer the same thing, and any one of them may be a better fit:
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card: At first glance, this card, which also offers 1.5 percent back on all purchases, appears to be the CashForward’s identical twin. However, the Quicksilver doesn’t have the CashForward’s 5 percent redemption bonus. And if you’re a big spender, that redemption bonus can add up.
However, the Quicksilver has some advantages over the CashFoward. It has no minimum redemption amount, for example, meaning you don’t have to wait until you’ve built up $50 to redeem. It also has no foreign transaction fees.
Citi Double Cash: This card offers 1 percent back on all purchases AND another 1 percent back when you redeem. So, assuming you always pay in full before the due date, you’ll come out ahead rewards-wise with this card. The catch? The Double Cash card hasn’t been generous with sign-up bonuses in the past – and the CashForward card has been offering sign-up bonuses for qualified applicants. A sign-up bonus, if you qualify for one, can make a huge difference in your return on spending in the first year of card ownership.
Discover it Miles: The 1.5 miles you earn per dollar with this card are redeemable as statement credits or cash back (via electronic deposit), which amounts to 1.5 percent cash back. During the first year, however, Discover will double the miles you earn, placing this card squarely ahead of CashForward. After that, though, the CashForward’s redemption bonus puts it slightly ahead. The Discover it Miles does waive foreign transaction fees, but Discover’s acceptance abroad trails behind MasterCard’s.
The bottom line
The CashForward isn’t particularly exciting. In fact, similar options exist. But excitement isn’t the point — simplicity is. And, if you’re looking for an effortless rewards program, the CashForward delivers. Just make sure you review the competitors above — and keep the CashForward’s rather high ($50) redemption minimum in mind.
If you think you might have some patience for maximizing categories (in exchange for more cash back), consider these no-annual-fee cash-back cards (especially if their bonus categories fit with your regular spending):