New credit card gives you a say on interest, fees

Woman holding credit card

With so many companies getting onto social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it was only a matter of time before the first "social" credit card was introduced.

That honor goes to Barclaycard, which is launching the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard as the first card that lets card members have control. You have to request an invite online at its website,

Besides flexible terms and transparent fees, the Ring card promises cardholders a look at the card’s profit-and-loss statements, the opportunity to offer suggestions toward the future of the business and a small share of the company’s profits.

Too good to be true?

The best-looking advantage of the Ring card is the low 8% variable APR that applies to everything -- purchase balances, balance transfers and cash advances. That’s simple to keep track of, compared to other cards where even the best-ranked ones have a different APR for each balance type.

The Ring card lists its fees clearly and simply on its website. There's no annual fee, and the foreign transaction fee is only 1% compared to the industry average of 3%. The cash advance fee is $1 per transaction, and the late fee is $25.

The customer-is-in-control methods will be interesting to watch over time.

As a Ring cardholder, you’ll be able to go online to get a profit-and-loss statement that lets you see how the company is doing.

You’ll get to vote anytime Barclaycard suggests raising fees, changing the annual percentage rate or altering the card’s terms and conditions.

You’ll also get to weigh in on marketing ideas and website enhancements through online forums.

Basically, you’ll always be able to discuss any ideas and concerns you have with other cardholders and a Barclaycard "community manager," who has the dual role of customer service representative and forum moderator.

As for the profit-sharing, Barclaycard says it will share its profits with the card-carrying community through its Giveback program. A "transparent calculation," to be based on the community’s actual revenue and expenses, will determine how cardholders share in the profits.

While some portions of the Giveback program seem to be exempt from shaping by the community, users will have the option of directing some of the profits to charities, although they’re not tax-deductible.

If you want that money to come to you instead, you’ll get a little bit of money back if your account is in good standing.

But don’t count this as a rewards program -- there are few, if any, rewards with this card, compared to what you could get with other credit cards.

If you’re looking for cash back, you’re better off with a cash-back credit card.

But the low APR is a good reason to check out this credit card.

And if you’re interested in being able to vote on your terms and fees, the Ring card certainly offers a new spin on democracy.

But credit cards aren’t one size fits all, so what’s good for other cardholders might not necessarily be good for you.

While you’re not required to vote or offer your suggestions, which is more of a time commitment than you’ll have to give any other card, you’ll still have to live with whatever terms your fellow cardholders pick for you.

If you’re not comfortable with that, this might not be the card for you.

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