Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays review

A solid everyday cashback card for AARP members wanting to earn rewards on medical expenses.

  • Get this card if you’re an AARP member and you want to earn rewards on gas and medical expenses.
  • Pick something else if you’re not an AARP member or you want to earn rewards on a wider variety of purchases.
  • Apply with a good credit score of 670 or higher.
No reviews yet. Write a review

$100

Welcome offer

Up to 3%

Cash back

$0

Annual fee

16.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$0
Welcome Offer$100 cash back bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days
Rewards3% cash back on gas and drug store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart)
2% cash back on medical expenses
1% cash back on all other purchases
Purchase APR16.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% variable
Balance transfer APR0% intro for the first 15 months (then 16.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% variable)
Recommended minimum credit score670
IssuerMastercard

Review by


Steven Dashiell is a writer at Finder specializing in all things credit cards. With more than 300 articles under his belt, he aims to help readers embrace credit cards and maximize their rewards. Steve is studying to become a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, and is a frequent face on Finder’s YouTube channel, offering the latest in credit card hacks and advice. His expertise has been featured on numerous outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Time, CBS, Fox Business, Lifehacker, Martha Stewart Living and more.

Expert review

The AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays is a rewards card designed to reward the everyday purchases of AARP members. It has no annual fee, earns 3% back on eligible gas and drugstore purchases, 2% back on medical expenses and 1% back on all other purchases. It also comes with a $100 signup bonus after you spend $500 in your first 90 days days of account opening, and a 15 months 0% intro APR on balance transfers, reverting to a variable APR of 16.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74%.

For a card with no annual fee, this is a terrific bundle of features. This is one of the few cards on the market that earns rewards on medical expenses, and it also earns an unlimited 3% back on gas. While this isn’t the highest rate for gas on the market, it is uncapped, which isn’t always the case for gas cards. The card also offers an impressive 15 months 0%% APR intro period, which has become a somewhat scarce feature as of April 2021.

How to apply for the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays

You can apply for the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays by doing the following.

  1. Go to the Barclays website and click on Credit cards at the top navigation bar.
  2. Click on the Cash back icon to filter the card list.
  3. Scroll down to the AARP Essential Rewards and click Learn more.
  4. Click on Apply now to start the application process.
  5. Fill out the requested information and click Submit.

What credit score do I need?

You should apply for the AARP Essential Rewards card with at least a good credit score of 670 or higher.

AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays benefits

  • Rewards. Earn an unlimited 3% cash back on eligible gas and drug store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) and an unlimited 2% back on medical expenses. Earn an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases.
  • Signup bonus. Earn $100 after you spend $500 on purchases within your first 90 days of account opening.
  • Intro 0% APR on balance transfers. Get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months, reverting to 16.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% variable depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Charitable donations. Barclays will donate $10 to the AARP Foundation for every new account and 1% of eligible electronics and telecommunication purchases.

AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays drawbacks

  • Potentially high APR. The lowest APR you can get with this card is 16.74% variable, which is typically the average for credit cards on the market. On the top end, your APR can go as high as 25.74% variable.
  • For AARP members only. You’ll need AARP membership to apply for this card.
  • Balance transfer limitations. You’ll have just 45 to transfer your debt if you want to take advantage of the card’s intro offer. Most cards offer 60 days.

Compare cashback rewards credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Up to $350: 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months for up to $200 back, plus $150 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn up to $350. In your first 6 months, you can earn a $150 statement credit when you spend $3,000, and earn 20% back on Amazon purchases made with your card, up to $200 total. Having 6 months to earn a welcome offer is a rare benefit as most cards give you only 3. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Up to $250: 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months for up to $150 back, plus $100 statement credit after spending $2,000 within the first 6 months
3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
$0
Earn up to $250. You'll get 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first six months for up to $150 back, and $100 after you spend $2,000 in the first six months. This is a higher-than-average welcome offer for a card with no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus 5% cash back at grocery stores (not including Target® or Walmart®) on up to $12,000 in the first yeares) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 5% on Lyft, 3% on dining and drugstores and 1.5% on all other purchases
$0
This solid 1.5% cashback card gets even better with the addition of up to 5% back in categories like travel, drug stores and dining.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays reviews: What do customers say about Barclays?

Barclays has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2001 and currently sports an A+ rating. It has amassed more than 1,200 customer complaints, with 548 of these complaints closed within the last 12 months. Customers rate the bank a 1.11 out of 5, with many citing poor customer service as a reason for their low rating.

The bank has earned a 1.5 rating from Trustpilot as of April 2021, with customer service also a primary reason for many customer complaints.

Bottom line

If you’re an AARP member and want a card that offers a great rewards rate on gas and the opportunity to earn cashback on medical expenses, the AARP Essential Rewards Card is worth a spot in your wallet. It’s also a great choice if you need a balance transfer card.

If you’re not an AARP member or you want a card with rewards on more diverse everyday earnings, compare all credit cards to find one that suits your needs.

Ask an expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our finder.com Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.
Go to site