Barclaycard Forward Credit Card review 2023

Barclays Forward Credit Card (formerly known as the Initial Card) can help you build a positive credit history, provided you use it correctly.

If you have little or no credit history, the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card could make a smart first foray into the world of credit cards. It also offers access to Barclaycard Entertainment discounts on days and nights out.

  • Protect and build your credit history with text alerts and direct debit repayments.
  • A personalised credit limit that’s likely to start low.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 33.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 33.9% APR (variable).


Minimum credit limit

Up to 56 days

Interest-free each billing period


Representative APR


Balance transfer fee


Annual/monthly fees£0
Balance transfers33.9%
Balance transfer fee0%
Purchases0% for 3 months reverting to 33.9%
Purchases interest-free periodUp to 56 days
Cash advances33.9%
Minimum credit limit£50
Maximum credit limitSubject to status: £1,200
Additional cards available4
Rate discounts: 3% interest rate reduction if you make all your repayments on time for the first year, and a further drop of up to 2% more if you continue to do so in the second year.
Additional Rewards InfoBuy tickets for up to 3500 selected live events through Barclaycard entertainment and get 5% off tickets per year and exclusive pre-sale tickets on selected festivals with 10% off ticket prices. Save 10% on food and drink at all UK 02 Academy venues.
Potential costs★★★★★
Doing its job★★★★★
Overall Finder rating★★★★★
Customer rating
Satisfaction survey
83% of Barclaycard customers in our 2023 customer satisfaction survey would recommend the brand to a friend.
Some deals have little ongoing value after the introductory promotional period has expired.

Review by

Emily Herring is a Publishing Executive at Finder specialising in credit-based products including credit cards and business and personal loans. Emily has a Masters in Creative Writing & Publishing and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Media.

Expert review

Previously known as the Initial Card, the Barclays Forward card is credit card giant Barclaycard’s “credit-building” option, aimed at those who want to build or improve their credit history. You can expect a 3-month 0% interest purchase period and you won’t have to worry about fishing out an annual account fee as this card doesn’t have one.

However, as with most credit-builder credit cards, the representative standard rate is relatively high at 33.9% and you can expect smaller opening credit limits starting from £50 compared to the broader market. It’s good to note that credit limits are tailored to applicants and you will need to stay within these limits if you want to improve your credit score, as breaching this could have a negative impact.

If you are making use of the 0% intro period, just be aware of the fairly punishing standard interest rate that will kick in and apply to any outstanding balance once the introductory period expires.

That being said, one of the main USPs of this particular credit card is a feature called “price promise” – something you don’t see too often in the credit-building market. Price promise could allow you a 3% interest rate reduction if you make all your repayments on time in the first year. And if you keep on top of your repayments in the second year, you could receive a further 2% reduction.

Another great benefit of Barclaycards, in general, is the access to Barclaycard Entertainment, which means savings on tickets across more than 3,500 gigs, comedy nights and family days out each year.

Ultimately, if you’re in the market for your first credit card or looking to rebuild your credit score, the Barclays Forward card is a great choice, as long as you use it responsibly.

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Pros and cons of the Barclays Forward card


  • You don’t need a perfect credit score to get approved
  • Introductory 0% interest rate for 3 months
  • No annual/monthly account fee
  • Price promise – you could get up to a 5% interest rate reduction over 2 years if you keep on top of your repayments
  • Exclusive discounts and pre-sale tickets for selected live events
  • Online banking, mobile app and text alerts to help you manage your card
  • You can check your eligibility and receive an offer without impacting your credit score


  • Relatively high standard rate, as expected with a credit-building credit card
  • Credit limits could be as low as £50 (subject to status)
  • 2.99% fee on overseas transactions
  • £12 late repayment fee

Barlcays Forward card app features

Key credit-building features of the Barclays Foward credit card

  1. Price promise: Price promise could allow you a 3% interest rate reduction if you make all your repayments on time in the first year. If you keep on top of your repayments in the second year, you could receive a further 2% reduction.
  2. Text or email repayment alerts: You will receive text or email alerts when your balance is due. This will allow you to keep on top of your spending and repayments, which could help improve your credit score.
  3. Manageable credit limits: Most credit-builder credit cards come with lower credit limits and this card is no different. However, by having a lower credit limit, you could find it easier to keep on top of your repayments, which in the long-run will help boost your credit score. Tip: set up a direct debit with Barclays so your repayments are always paid in full and on time.

Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.

Repayment options

You can make manual repayments through Barclaycard's app by logging in to your online banking or over the phone (0800 151 0900). Alternatively, you may wish to set up a direct debit.

A direct debit protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and damaging your credit score – making it harder and more expensive to borrow money in the future – and getting hit with a penalty fee (£12) as a result.

You can arrange a direct debit for repayments when you apply for the credit card. The table below shows the options available.

Choose from the following direct debit options for your monthly repayments:

Minimum amount Fixed amount Fixed percentage Full amount

How to apply

First, you can use Finder's eligibility checker to find out if you'd be likely to get approved for the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card. This won't impact your credit score. If it's good news, you can then proceed to Barclaycard's online application, which takes 10–15 minutes to complete.

If your application is successful, your shiny new Barclaycard could be with you in 5 working days.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to receive the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card Visa?

If your application is approved, Barclaycard states your card can be with you in as little as five working days. If in doubt, you can check up on the status of your application.

Can the interest rate on the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card Visa change over time?

Yes – outside of any promotional periods, your rate is variable, so if the Bank of England base rate goes up, Barclaycard's rates might go up too. However, if you use your card correctly for 12 months, Barclaycard states your rate could be reduced.

Does the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card Visa come with access to Barclaycard Entertainment?

Yes. Hello pre-sale tickets!

What will my credit limit be on the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card Visa?

Credit limits are tailored to the individual. That means Barclaycard will assess your situation and, if you get approved, offer you a particular credit limit. After a period of responsible card use, your limit can usually be reviewed.

Finder credit card ratings

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★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Our experts score credit builder credit cards to determine their value against similar products on the market. We look at a number of important factors, like interest rates, credit limits, features to help you track your credit, plus the potential costs involved with running the card both in the short and longer term.

You can read more about our scoring criteria on our credit card methodology page.

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    Default Gravatar
    February 19, 2020

    What is the most cash you can withdraw with this card

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      February 19, 2020

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your question. It’s generally not recommended that you use your credit card to withdraw cash, but you can withdraw cash up to your agreed credit limit, with a maximum limit of £1,200. For example, if you credit limit is £500, you could potentially withdraw up to £500.

      However, you’ll pay a 2.99% cash advance fee on any money you withdraw and will also be immediately charged interest. This means it could be quite expensive to withdraw cash using your credit card.

      I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any other questions.



    Default Gravatar
    May 9, 2019

    When making a purchase, how do I use my Barclay Forward credit card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      May 10, 2019

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Firstly you’ll need to activate your Barclaycard – you can do this in your online banking or in the Barclaycard app. Just like any other credit card, you can then use the Forward Card by simply tapping the merchant’s card reader when prompted to do so (for transactions up to £45) or inserting your card into the card reader and keying in your PIN (for transactions over £45). The first time you use the card, you’ll need to insert your card and enter your PIN regardless of the amount. When you make a purchase online, you’ll be asked to provide the long card number on the front of your card, the card’s expiry date, your billing address and the CVV number (the three digits on the reverse of the card). Usually, most online shops accepting credit cards as one of their payment methods will guide you through how and what to enter online.


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