Barclaycard introduces CashForward card

When Barclaycard first introduced their Arrival Plus card, it was pretty exciting.  At the time, it offered 2 points per dollar for all spend plus a 10% rebate on all points redeemed.  The card offered an effective return of 2.22% back on all purchases, as long as points were redeemed for travel.  Since then, the Arrival Plus has devalued a bit.  The 10% rebate has been lowered to 5% and the minimum redemption amount was increased from $25 to $100.  It’s not nearly as great as it was (that $100 minimum is particularly galling), but its still a solid card with very few competitors that can meet or beat its earning rate.

So, I was excited to see that Barclaycard was introducing a new card: CashForward.  Is it as groundbreaking as the Arrival Plus was?  Quick answer: No.  Not even close.

 

CashForward basics

  • Earn 1.5% cash back for all purchases
  • Get a 5% rebate when you redeem rewards.  This makes the CashForward effectively a 1.575% cash back card.
  • Redemptions start at $50
  • 0% intro APR for the first 12 months See our Best Offers page for details on the current offer.
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • 3% Foreign transaction fee (ouch!)

Why this card is a loser

Sorry Barclaycard, but consumers who want cash back with no annual fee can do far better.

2% cash back alternatives

Why earn 1.575% cash back when you can earn 2% cash back?  Both Citibank and Fidelity offer 2% cash back cards with no annual fee:

1.5% cash back alternatives that can return much more than 1.5% cash back

There are a couple of noteworthy cards with the same base earning rate as the CashForward card, but each has potential to earn much more (and each has no foreign transaction fees!):

  • Discover It Miles: Earn 1.5 “miles” per dollar. Miles are worth 1 cent each, so this is effectively a 1.5% cash back card.  Even better, all rewards are doubled in the first year (so, you can think of it as a 3% cash back card for the first year).  No foreign transaction feesFree in-flight wifi (up to $30 per year).  No annual fee.
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards: Earn 1.5 points per dollar. Points are worth 1 cent each towards travel. Bank of America banking customers can earn a relationship bonus from 10% to 75%, depending upon the size of the relationship.  At the high end, the card can earn 2.625% back for all spend. More details can be found here. Pair with the Fidelity Investment Rewards card and a Fidelity account in order to redeem points for cash back.  No foreign transaction feesNo annual fee.

Wrap Up

Sadly, the new CashForward card isn’t too exciting.  It’s not a terrible card, but there are plenty of better options.  Keep in mind, though, that the Arrival card comes in two flavors: Arrival and Arrival Plus.  It was the Plus version that was exciting.  Will Barclaycard introduce a Plus version of the CashForward?

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. FM – The current 20K BOA rewards card is somewhat attractive for churning purposes. I currently have one. If I get another, are the points combined into one rewards account or are they kept separate by card account (thus having take into account and plan which card I’m using for travel purchases)?

  2. It’s intellectually lazy to just casually compare different cards with no foreign transaction fees when they give drastically different exchange rates. Drive to Windsor today with all of your credit cards and load your Starbucks card $10 at a time. You’ll see the different rates you get totally outweigh any rewards earned

  3. “Pair with the Fidelity Investment Rewards card and a Fidelity account in order to redeem points for cash back.”

    Could you give some more information on this?

  4. When comparing these cards, it’d be nice to state how they compare based on current credit scores(provided that’s known). For some folks this card might be better than others simply because they don’t qualify for others. I don’t know if that’s the case but it’s something I’d be interested in reading since I was the victim of a previous bad marriage that really hurt my credit.

  5. I tend to agree, but it’s an option to consider if a Barclays card is needed. I’m thinking of those currently holding the Aviator card who intend to cancel when the fee hits. In that scenario the Cash Forward might be useful if you are maxed out in cards from the other banks and are looking at Barclays products. I’m also factoring in the $100 back from the initial $500 in purchases.

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