In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product overview
    • Fees and charges
    • Application requirements
Barclaycard Forward Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
Finder score
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
£50
Interest-free each billing period
Up to 56 days
Balance transfer fee
0%

Our verdict

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

Previously known as the Initial Card, the Forward card is credit card giant Barclaycard's "credit-building" option. In other words it's aimed at those who want to build or improve their credit history. In reality, all credit cards (if used responsibly) help you improve your credit, but "credit builders" are typically easier to get approved for and might come with features to support you on your journey to better credit. Barclaycard won't be expecting applicants with perfect credit and says that you can apply if you haven't been declared bankrupt in the past six years and don’t have more than one county court judgement (CCJ).

As with most credit-builder credit cards, there's no monthly/annual account fee to worry about, but the interest rate is relatively high, at 33.9%. You can expect a relatively small opening credit limit (limits are tailored to the applicant, and start from £50). You'll need to stay within this limit if you want to improve your credit score.

The big perk with this card is the introductory 3-month 0% interest period – so if you're about to shell-out for something expensive, it's not a bad way to spread the cost. If you're making use of this 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.

A unique aspect of this particular 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.

Barclaycards now come with a few extra perks too, such as Barclaycard Entertainment (savings on tickets across more than 3,500 gigs, comedy nights and family days out each year) and Barclaycard Cashback Rewards (at an ever-changing range of participating retailers). Try not to let these perks lure you into spending money you otherwise wouldn't have though. If you don't pay off your balance in full each month, then you'll incur interest which will outweigh the perks.

Barclaycard also cheekily bills this as 'the perfect travel companion', but – spoiler alert – it's not. There's a 2.99% fee on non-sterling transactions.

Ultimately, if you're in the market for your first credit card or looking to rebuild your credit score, the Forward card is a great choice, as long as you use it responsibly. If you do opt for the Forward card, stick to your credit limit, set up a direct debit to clear your full balance every month, and don't use the card to withdraw cash.

As is now standard, you can check your eligibility for the Forward card before applying, without hurting your credit score. And using Finder's eligibility checking service, you can check your eligibility for a whole range of cards from different banks in one go.

Pros

  • Scheduled rate reductions
  • Interest-free for 3 months
  • Text and email alerts
  • Exclusive discounts and pre-sale tickets for selected live events
  • You can check your eligibility and receive an offer without impacting your credit score

Cons

  • Relatively high standard rate, as expected with a credit-building credit card
  • A personalised credit limit that’s likely to start low... potentially as low as £50
  • Fees on overseas transactions
  • Late repayment fee applies

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Product overview
    • Fees and charges
    • Application requirements

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.

Details

Product overview

Issuer Barclaycard
Network Visa
Representative APR 33.9%
Annual/monthly fees £0
Balance transfers 33.9%
Balance transfer fee 0%
Purchases 0% for 3 months reverting to 33.9%
Purchases interest-free period Up to 56 days
Cash advances 33.9%
Minimum credit limit £50
Maximum credit limit Subject to status: £1,200
Additional cards available 4
Incentive
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 Info 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. Save 10% on food and drink at all UK 02 Academy venues.
Potential costs 3.5 ★★★★★
Doing its job 4.0 ★★★★★
Extras 4.0 ★★★★★
Overall Finder score 4.0 ★★★★★

Fees and charges

Minimum monthly payment 4.25% or £5 (whichever is greater) or the total of any interest, default fees and charges plus 3% of the outstanding balance.
Annual/monthly fees £0
Balance transfer fee 0%
Foreign usage charge (EU) 2.99%
Foreign usage charge (rest of world) 2.99%
Cash advance fee 2.99% (min. £2.99)
Late payment fee £12
Replacement card fee £0
Duplicate statement fee £0
Exceeding limit fee £0
Additional card fee £0
Dormancy fee £0

Application requirements

Minimum Age 18
Minimum income £3,000
Residency UK resident for at least two years
Availability Available to new customers
Additional Criteria You must not have been declared bankrupt in the past six years and must not have have more than one County Court Judgement (CCJ)

The Barclaycard Forward Credit Card is issued on the Visa network (used by a whopping 4.2 billion cards), so you'll be able to use it at more than 100 million merchant locations across more than 200 countries and territories.

Barlcays Forward card app features

Key credit-building features of the Barclays Forward 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 depends 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

Case study: Frances got this card as her first in the UK

Frances Solnick profile pic
Frances Solnick

London

I'm originally from the US and came to the UK as a student. When I got this card, I didn't have any credit history here. My boyfriend is with Barclays and we want to open a joint account so I wanted a card from Barclays, which is why I chose this one.

It was easy to apply for the card, and then to increase my credit limit in the app but less easy to see the dates for the statement cut-off each month. I've had it a year and I'm ready to apply for other cards now and I'd like them to tell me about which ones I'm eligible for.

If there's one thing you'd tell a friend who's thinking of getting this, what would it be?
Be aware you might want to get more information about building your credit from other sources.

How to apply

If you've compared cards and settled on the Barclaycard Forward Credit Card, you can head over to Barclaycard's secure online application to apply. Don't forget, you'll need to be over 18 and a UK resident to apply, with an income of at least 3000.

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 scores

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — 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.

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though 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, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.
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