Barclaycard Initial credit card: what's on offer?

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The Barclaycard Initial credit card is Barclays' credit builder product - marketed for people either looking to establish a new credit history or to rebuild and strengthen previous credit problems.

It stands out in its category, however, because Barclaycard extend pretty much all of their cardholder services across their entire range of cards: that means that the Barclaycard Initial stands up well even against the Barclaycard Platinum, in terms of cardholder services.

What makes this card different from a Premium Barclaycard, however, are the rates and fees charged (high) and the length of the introductory offers (short).

This is a card which is clearly meant for building or rebuilding credit.

For full details of the cost of the credit and how to apply see below.

Suitable for: Poor credit history or new to credit (suitable if your financial situation has improved over the last 12 months, even if you have missed payments or have had CCJs in the past)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 34.9% p.a. (variable), your representative APR will be 34.9% APR (variable).

Note that, as we update this review, Barclaycard are offering 0% on purchases for the first 3 months that cardholders own the card.

That's a decent offer, though far from market leading, and, as well as being useful for spreading the cost of purchases, it could be a useful buffer for those new to using credit cards.

Ultimately, building up a new credit history, or rebuilding a damaged one is the main reason to have this credit card.

To find out more about credit building in general, see our guides to repairing a credit rating or how credit cards can help to build credit, or read on for more on making an application.

Application criteria

The Barclaycard Initial credit card requests that applicants have not been declared bankrupt or have any CCJs or IVAs within the last 12 months, and that their financial situation has improved over the last 12 months.

Applicants without any credit history will also be considered.

For a full list of criteria though check on the Barclaycard website, or for more on applying online in general see our guide.

Purchase and fraud protection

Barclaycard's well advertised purchase delivery insurance policy is offered to Initial cardholders, and will offer cover if newly purchased items don't arrive or turn up damaged and the issue can't be resolved with the retailer.

Items are covered when bought online, mail order, over or the phone or on the high street as long as they are delivered to a home address.

There are limitations and exclusions and the full policy should be checked before relying on it.

As with all credit cards, purchases will also be protected under the legislation of Section 75.

There is an active fraud monitoring service and all Barclaycard cardholders will be protected with a no liability fraud guarantee as long as cardholders notify Barclaycard as soon as they become aware of any problems and take reasonable precautions.

Cardholders will also be able to use the Verified by Visa (3D secure) password system when shopping online with participating retailers.

Additional features

Barclaycard was the first credit card issuer in the UK and so it's not surprising that they continue to benchmark innovation and features in the industry.

As the first issuer to integrate contactless payment technology, cardholders will be able to pay for items of £20 or less without needing to provide a signature or enter a PIN number.

The service does require a certain receiving device at the retailer however, so whilst the rollout is continuing, it's currently still limited to big chains and particularly for commuters around London.

Barclaycard are also in the process of rolling out mobile phone payment technology as well, called PayTag.

PayTag can be used on any mobile phone, but again it is restricted by participating retailers and purchase amounts of up to £20.

Cardholders will also be able to access mybarclaycard, a new online account management tool that offers such features as charts and graphs of spending to help with budgeting.

Barclaycard also offer worldwide assistance and an emergency card replacement service to all cardholders when travelling abroad.


The Barclaycard Initial credit card stands out in its category simply for the volume of additional cardholder services offered.

It provides a useful option to help build or strengthen a credit history, with the backing of one of the most experienced credit card operators.

When the card is kept repaid in full each month - there is little between this and a platinum Barclaycard.

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