Barclaycard Forward Credit Card review September 2019

Formerly known as the Initial Card, the Forward Credit 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.

Finder rating: ★★★★★

Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).

3 months

0% interest on purchases


Representative APR


Account fee

Up to 56 days

Interest-free each billing period


Annual/monthly fees£0
Min. credit limit£50
Max credit limitSubject to status: £1,200
Credit limit noteSubject to status
Purchases0% for 3 months reverting to 34.9%
Purchases interest-free period (days)56
Balance transfers34.9%
Additional cards available1

Expert review

Chris Lilly

Review by

Chris Lilly is a publisher at He's a specialist in credit-based products including business and personal loans, mortgages and credit cards, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their borrowing. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.

Expert review

As a “credit builder”, Barclaycard’s Forward credit card comes with no annual fee to worry about, plus opening credit limits (which are tailored to the applicant) are relatively small and the standard rate is relatively high. However, if you clear your balance in full each month, you won’t pay interest on purchases – you’ll benefit from up to 56 days of 0% interest each billing cycle (this doesn’t apply to cash advances).

To help ensure you pay on time (and therefore protect and improve your credit score), you can set up a direct debit for whichever day of the month suits you, to make your monthly repayment. You can choose to clear your balance in full, pay a set amount or pay the minimum amount required. You can also set custom text alerts to keep up-to-date with your balance and monitor when any payments are due.

While benefits are usually few and far between with “credit builder” cards, this card comes with an introductory 3-month 0% interest offer on purchases, which is handy if you have a major outlay coming up and need to spread the cost. 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.

Access to Barclaycard Entertainment comes as standard, which means savings on tickets across more than 3,000 gigs, comedy nights and family days out each year.

Barclaycard credit cards are offered on the Visa network so they’re accepted at over 30 million locations worldwide.

Pros and cons

  • Introductory 0% interest rate for 3 months, and long interest-free repayment period
  • There's no annual/monthly account fee
  • Exclusive discounts and pre-sale tickets for selected live events
  • Online banking, mobile app and text alerts to help you manage your card
  • Credit builder cards target “risky” customers, so the interest rate is high and credit limit is low, as expected
  • 2.99% fee on overseas transactions

How does this card compare with other credit builders?

The Forward card

Updated September 16th, 2019
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Min. credit limit Max credit limit Min income Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
Subject to status: £1,200
Buy 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.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).

Compare up to 4 providers

Other credit builder credit cards

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Updated September 16th, 2019
Name Product Annual/monthly fees Min. credit limit Max credit limit Min income Rep. APR Incentive Representative example
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
Stay in control of your account with online servicing, a mobile app, SMS and email alerts.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 24.7% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
Subject to status: £1,500
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.3% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.3% APR (variable).
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
You could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and further increases every 5 months, up to £4,000.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.84% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Subject to status: £600
Earn Asda vouchers every time you shop - 1% cashback on all Asda spend, 0.2% on all other transactions. Once £2.5 is earnt a voucher can be downloaded to spend in Asda stores.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 34.9% APR (variable).
Subject to status: £1,000
Not specified
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 39.94% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 39.9% APR (variable).

Compare up to 4 providers

Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The APR shown represents 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

When it comes to repayments, you can make manual repayments online or over the phone (0800 731 0200), or alternatively set up a direct debit. A direct debit is a great idea because it protects you from forgetting to make a repayment and either damaging your credit score, getting hit with a penalty fee or losing any promotional rates 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 for the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card

If you’ve compared cards and want to apply, completing the secure online application form takes about 15 minutes. Before you apply, it’s a smart idea to quickly use the “eligibility checker”, which can give you a good idea of your chances of approval before you apply. Crucially, because it uses a “soft” credit search, this tool won’t affect your credit score.

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

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to receive the card?
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 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 this card come with access to Barclaycard Entertainment?
Yes. Hello pre-sale tickets!
What will my credit limit be?
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.

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Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar products on the market.

We look at the how good the card is for its designated purpose – spending abroad, clearing debt, earning air miles etc. – how costly it is to use day-to-day and whether it offers much in the way of extras.

We exist to help you find better. The offers we've compared on this page are from a range of products whose details we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own financial circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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  1. Default Gravatar
    May 9, 2019

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

    • AvatarStaff
      May 10, 2019

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Just like any other credit card, you can use the Barclay Forward Card by swiping the card and choosing credit as the type of transaction. When you make a purchase online, you will be asked to provide the card number. Usually, most online shops accepting credit cards as one of their payment methods will guide you how and what to enter online.


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