Barclaycard reward programme is being eliminated

Posted in Credit Cards on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 at 11:18 by Sarah Evans.

UK consumers who like to factor in reward schemes when they do a credit card comparison will need to take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the Barclaycard now that the company has announced a decision to eliminate the reward programme associated with the card.  According to the company, the move was prompted by changing market conditions, but this will be cold comfort to the consumers who had come to rely on their “Reward Money” balances.  As the Barclaycard reward scheme was the third-largest such programme in the entire nation, more than a million consumers will be affected by the change.

Barclaycard is not cutting its customers off cold.  Instead, those who have a Reward Money balance will still be able to redeem the funds – but only until 26th July, at which point they will become inaccessible.

The change highlights a problem with reward schemes in general: they are subject to sudden changes.  Unlike a car loan or another form of secured loan, which comes with set terms in writing that do not change (though interest rates may be set up in advance to fluctuate according to the market), bank card reward programmes are subject to changing terms or even complete elimination at any time.  This works to the disadvantage of consumers, who may organise their spending in careful ways designed to maximise their rewards; some even use the cards as part as an overall debt management scheme that helps them to meet their bills from month to month.

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