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Barclaycard Forward Credit Card review January 2020
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: ★★★★★
Doing its job: 4.5/5
In a nutshell:
0% interest on purchases
|Min. credit limit||£50|
|Max credit limit||Subject to status: £1,200|
|Credit limit note||Subject to status|
|Purchases||0% for 3 months reverting to 34.9%|
|Purchases interest-free period (days)||56|
|Additional cards available||1|
Chris Lilly is a publisher at finder.com. 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.
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
Other credit builder credit cards
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?
Can the interest rate change over time?
Does this card come with access to Barclaycard Entertainment?
What will my credit limit be?
Finder credit card ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
Our experts evaluate credit builder credit cards comparing and contrasting them to similar credit cards on the market. The most important scoring criteria have to do with how these cards help you improve your credit score, from giving you access to your credit record to providing handy budgeting tools. We also look at fees, rates and costs.
Head to our credit card methodology page to learn more on how we do this.