The Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card is a decent card for travel use, because it doesn't charge FX fees on non-sterling purchases. Plus you get 0.25% cashback on all your spend. But how do the rewards compare? Read our review to find out, and to learn about what not to do with the card overseas.
Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card Review
The Barclaycard Rewards card is one of the few credit cards on the market that doesn't charge FX fees on non-sterling transactions. And it pays cashback rewards, making for an interesting combination of travel and rewards card. Let's look at how the rewards compare and how it really works overseas.
Are the rewards any good?
Cardholders earn 0.25% cashback on all your purchases. Compared to the best UK rewards credit cards, this is a pretty weak rewards rate. You can find free cards that pay 2X as much or more—but most of them aren't good for using abroad (i.e., they charge a non-sterling FX fee).
In addition, new cardholdes can get up to five months of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and Apple Arcade for free (continues as a paid subscription afterwards).
Using the card abroad
You can use the Barclaycard Rewards card for purchases abroad without any non-sterling transaction fees. This means you can use the card to pay for hotels, in shops and at bars and restaurants without added fees.
Pay in Pounds or Local Currency? As with all purchases made abroad, you'll typically save on the currency exchange rates by opting to pay in the local currency. This means, when you're asked if you want to "pay in Pounds or Euros," for instance, you should say "Euros." Why? Credit cards are known for giving a good exchange rate so you're better off taking this than letting the local retailer do the exchange.
Should you withdraw cash abroad?
Not unless you really need to.
For starters, the summary box is not clear about non-sterling fees on cash advances. Barclays specifically says transaction fees are NOT charged on non-sterling purchases, but they don't say anything about foreign cash withdrawals.
Most credit cards are quite clear about whether or not FX fees are charged on non-sterling cash advances, but there's no information available online for this card. To learn more we called into the Acquisitions team, but they didn't really seem to know the answer either. They kept repeating that cash withdrawals are subject to a 2.99% cash handling charge, without confirming whether or not there's an additional FX fee.
Where does that leave us? Unsure about the Rewards card's foreign transaction fees. You may only be charged 2.99% on foreign cash withdrawals, or you may be charged that fee PLUS a non-sterling fee. If you have this card and have ever made a cash withdrawal abroad, please let us know in the comments section below how much you were charged in fees.
Keep in mind that withdrawing cash using a credit card is generally expensive, too. But while cash is usually charged at a higher interest rate, this card now charges the same variable APR for purchases and cash. You can see where the Barclaycard Rewards card's 22.9% APR (variable) on cash withdrawals falls relative to other travel credit cards in the chart below.
Bottom Line: Those planning a trip abroad can use this card for purchases while on holiday without incurring any additional fees, and can earn some rewards along the way (but they're not great).
Barclaycard Rewards Card Benefits & Features
|Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card Features|
|Transaction Fees||No non-sterling transaction fees on purchases|
|Rewards||0.25% on purchases|
|Cash withdrawal Fees||2.99%, minimum £2.99 on sterling and non-sterling cash transactions|
|Travel Cash Interest||Maximum 56 day interest free period on non-sterling cash withdrawals if you pay off in full before your next statement due date according to the same rules as purchases|
Income Requirement: There is a recommended £20,000 minimum income requirement on the Barclaycard. Those with lower incomes may want to consider the Aqua Advance for foreign purchases made while on holiday abroad.
How Does the Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card Compare Against Other Credit Cards?
In order to decide if the Barclaycard Rewards credit card is for you, it’s best to compare it against the closest competitors. Below we discuss the differences between the Barclaycard travel card and some other popular cards, so you can decide which is best for you.
Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card vs Halifax Clarity Credit Card
The Halifax Clarity Credit Card charges no fees on non-sterling cash withdrawals or transactions, making it an ideal travel card. The only aspect of the card to be aware of is that, like most credit cards, interest on cash ATM withdrawals starts accruing immediately. By getting online and paying back your cash withdrawals ASAP (even while you're still abroad), you can mitigate this potential cost.
Quick Takeaway: The Clarity sports a lower cash interest rate and doesn't charge any fees on non-sterling transactions or cash withdrawals, which are more favourable features for using abroad. The Barclaycard Rewards card has one advantage, that you might get up to 56 days interest free on non-sterling cash withdrawals. Both are good for transactions like paying at restaurants, bars, hotels and shops abroad.
Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card vs Aqua Advance Credit Card
The Aqua Advance Credit Card charges no FX fees on non-sterling cash withdrawals or transactions made abroad, but beware of taking out cash from an ATM because there's still a 3% fee at home and abroad (£3 minimum)—plus cash advances incur interest right away, at a high interest rate. This card will accept those with weaker credit histories, however, so those with poor credit may find it suitable for purchases on holiday.
Quick Takeaway: The Aqua Advance has higher interest rates so is technically not as good as the Barclaycard Rewards card—but it may accept you if the Rewards card won't.