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Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

Author: Jacob Davis

If you live in the United States, Barclay's isn't a household name like Bank of America or Wells Fargo but around the world, it's one of the most respected names in banking. For a financial institution, surviving more than 300 years through depressions, recessions, and multiple world wars is impressive. That's why Barclay's is one of the most trusted names in banking in the world.

But should you carry one of its credit cards?

The Bank

Barclay's was founded in 1690 by two goldsmith bankers in London. In 1736 James Barclay became a partner and the bank would eventually take his name. Barclay's is now the seventh largest bank in the world with $2.41 trillion in assets.

And the bank knows credit cards very well. Barclay's gave the UK its first credit card and gave the world the world the first ATM.

Barclay's has failed to find market share in the United States, but it's working hard to change that.

The Card

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard is a higher-end rewards card. You receive two points for every dollar you spend – period. There are no categories that only last for a limited time or other confusing rules. You can redeem your points for cash back statement credits and gift cards. According to Barclay's, 2,500 points equals about $25 in credits or gift cards. There's also no expiration date on the points and no fee to redeem points.

If you spend $3,000 miles in the first 90 days, you receive 40,000 bonus miles – enough for a $400 statement credit. And when you redeem your points for travel-statement credits, you receive 10% of those miles back. According to Barclay's, if you redeem 25,000 points for travel, you receive 2,500 miles back as a bonus to use towards your next redemption.

Other perks include a free FICO credit score – something that is becoming standard in the industry – and alerts when your credit score changes, but this feature isn't available until your account is active for at least 150 days.

Also helpful for travelers: The card comes with an EMV chip that gives you added security in the United States and also allows you to pay with ease while traveling abroad.

The Fine Print

The APR is an impressive 14.99% or 18.99% depending on creditworthiness. There is an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles for each balance transfer made within 45 days of opening the account. After that, the balance transfer rate is the same 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness, with a standard-for-the-industry 3% or $5 fee, whichever is greater. You can find better introductory offers with other cards, including a 0% introductory rate for both purchases and balance transfers.

The cash advance APR is 25.24% with a fee of either 5% of the amount of each advance or $10, whichever is greater. Unlike some other Barclay's cards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard comes with no foreign transaction fee. If you miss a payment or a payment is returned, you'll pay an up to $37 fee each time. There is an $89 annual fee that is waived the first year. If you're not a fan of annual fees, consider one of Barclay's other cards.

The Bottom Line

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard offers generous rewards, a low interest rate (especially for those with excellent credit) and a free FICO score. The EMV chip, travel rewards and lack of foreign transaction fee make it a good card for travelers. On the other hand, it lacks a 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers.

The annual fee is largely to cover the generous rewards program, but if you hold a balance and pay interest, it's not only the annual fee that is eroding the value of your rewards – it's the interest too. Any rewards points you earn are quickly wiped out by interest payments. It's also not a great card for balance transfers (see The Pros And Cons Of Balance Transfers).

For more information read Decoding The New EMV Cards and Do Your Card's Travel Benefits Make the Grade?

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