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In the market for a new computer? Eagerly anticipating the next iPhone model?
You’re about to check out from the Apple store, when you see that flashy offer: “Take 18 months to pay at no interest!”
Is that a good idea?
Apple wants you to apply for the Barclaycard Financing Visa®, which is designed to help you pay for your next computer or iPhone (or anything else from Apple).
The major feature of this card is the deferred financing offer. You’ll get a certain amount of time to pay for purchases from Apple at no interest, with more time given for larger purchases.
But since this is a deferred financing offer, rather than a true 0% introductory APR, it comes with some strings. If you make a late payment or fail to pay back the full balance by the end of the term, you’ll be charged interest for the entire length of the plan, going all the way back to the purchase date.
So if you slip up, you’ll be charged a whole lot of interest. This is not how credit cards with 0% introductory APRs work; with those cards, once the intro period ends you’ll only be charged interest on any balance that remains. There are no retroactive interest charges. Those cards can also be used to make purchases anywhere, not just Apple.
We discuss how to get the most out of this card below, and explain how to use deferred interest financing offers safely if you do end up taking one. If you follow our guidelines and plan ahead, the Barclaycard Financing Visa can be a valuable way to help you get that new Apple Watch, iPhone, or whatever you have your eye on.
We give this card 3 out of 5 Stars because it’s a mix of good and bad. It offers a decent reward rate at Apple and gives you time to finance purchases, but those rewards are a bit restricted and the financing offer is only deferred interest, rather than 0% APR.
The Barclaycard Financing Visa might be a good choice if you’re planning to buy an expensive computer or other hardware from Apple, but there are quite a few other options that could work better. Check out some of those alternative cards below.
You can use this card anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted, which is pretty much everywhere.
But it will be best to only use this card for big purchases at Apple, rather than for general spending. Check out the following sections to learn why.
The Barclaycard Financing Visa comes with a deferred financing offer, giving you an opportunity to pay off purchases over time at no interest. Most people probably get this card because of this feature, with the aim of taking some time to pay off a new computer or iPhone.
You’ll receive special financing for purchases made from Apple within the first 30 days of opening the account. After the first 30 days, all purchases will be given the standard APR of 15.99% – 28.74% Variable.
After using this initial deferred financing offer, you can contact customer support to request another deferred financing term for more purchases. You’ll then have 60 days to make purchases from Apple, which will qualify for deferred financing again.
The length of your deferred financing term will depend on how much you spend:
|Total Amount Spent||Term Length|
|Less than $499||6 months|
|$499 to less than $999||12 months|
|$999 and over||18 months|
This financing offer will automatically apply to the total amount you spend at Apple during the specified time period, aggregating all of your purchases. The total amount spent will be used to determine the length of the term. You’ll still earn rewards on any purchases that qualify for financing.
Take note that this is a deferred financing offer, rather than a true 0% APR offer. That means if you make a late payment or fail to pay back the entire balance by the end of the term, you’ll immediately be charged interest for the entire length of the term, going all the way back to the purchase date.
Say, for example, you buy a new MacBook Pro for $2,000, getting an 18-month deferred interest plan with a regular APR of 28%.
If your first month’s payment comes in late by just a day or two, you’ll immediately be charged interest at 28% APR for the full 18 months. That comes to $840 in interest! And that will be added to your balance right as you start paying it off.
Similarly, if you failed to pay off the entire $2,000 balance by the end of the term — even if you paid $1,999 and only had $1 left to go — you’ll be charged $840 in interest.
This is why deferred financing offers are so dangerous, and why we recommend using credit cards with true 0% introductory rates on purchases instead. They let you carry a balance at 0% APR, and there is no deferred financing; once the 0% period runs out, you’ll only be charged interest on any balance that remains unpaid. They can also be used anywhere, and don’t have purchase requirements to activate the 0% APR.
Deferred financing plans aren’t evil — they’re just a potentially costly way to pay for something. In many cases they work out fine, and people are able to pay over time for purchases that wouldn’t be affordable otherwise, without getting burned with extra interest. But it’s easy to make a mistake, and the consequences could be expensive.
Follow these three instructions to stay safe with deferred financing plans:
Your statement will show a minimum required payment each month, but if you only pay this minimum amount you probably won’t pay back the entire balance on time. Don’t assume that if you just pay the minimum amount they ask for, everything will be fine. Many people have paid just the minimums, thinking they were doing everything right, only to find a leftover balance at the end which triggered the retroactive interest charges.
Instead of just paying the minimum, divide your total balance by the number of months in the term: that should be your monthly repayment amount. There is no penalty for early repayment, so you should do so if possible. Consider dividing by one less than the number of months in your term, which could help avoid potential problems by paying off the balance a month early.
If you took a deferred financing offer and now find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to finish paying it off by the end of the term, consider transferring that balance over to a different card with a 0% rate. There are many great balance transfer credit cards, with long 0% periods that could give you 12 or 18 months to finish paying off the balance, or even more.
As a cardholder you can check one of your FICO credit scores for free whenever you’d like, based on your TransUnion credit report. You’ll also see the key factors affecting your score, such as if your revolving credit utilization is too high.
Many credit cards today offer a free credit score of some kind, although it’s a bit more rare to find on a retail store credit card. There are several ways to access some of your FICO credit scores for free, whether you have credit cards that offer that service or not.
In addition to the benefits above, if you’re approved for a Visa Signature version of this card you’ll also get a variety of other perks. You may be approved for a Visa Signature if your starting credit limit is $5,000 or more.
If you get a Visa Signature card you may have access to the following benefits, among others:
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|15.99% – 28.74% Variable||15.99% – 28.74% Variable||29.24% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||3%||3%, $5 minimum||5%, $10 minimum|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||Up to $39||Up to $39|
The terms for this Barclaycard are simple, like any other credit card, except for the deferred financing plans described above.
Any purchases you make from Apple after the initial 30-day period will accrue interest at the rate shown above. All purchases from merchants other than Apple will get that rate as well.
But did you know that you don’t have to pay interest on credit card purchases at all? As long as you pay off your statement balance in full each billing period, you won’t be charged interest on new purchases.
However, if you’re carrying a large balance from a deferred financing plan, it won’t be feasible to pay the statement balance in full every month. If you’re using a deferred financing plan, you should just stick this card in the proverbial sock drawer and make payments each month to pay off the balance by the end of the term.
|Barclays Phone Support||1-866-928-8598|
|Apple Phone Support||1-800-275-2273|
We’ve received many reports of poor customer support from users of the Barclaycard Financing Visa. Most of the complaints are about having a hard time dealing with customer service agents, or administrative errors that Barclays made, or problems making payments.
Although it’s difficult to say who exactly is at fault in these situations, it’s clear that many people have had issues with this card compared to others.
If you use this card be sure to completely understand the terms, especially regarding the deferred financing offer. Make your payments early, as soon as your monthly statement is generated if possible. And if you contact customer support about a serious issue, be sure to get any responses confirmed or in writing so you have a record to refer to.
The Barclaycard Financing Visa® is one of your few options for earning rewards at the Apple store, and it could be a good way to finance large Apple purchases. But overall this card doesn’t have a ton of attractive features.
Here are the main points to remember:
As long as you follow those guidelines and use this card responsibly, you should be all set to pay off your purchases safely. But remember that 0% APR offers are a much better deal than deferred financing.
The Barclaycard Financing Visa might be a good pick to help finance your next computer or smartphone, but there are quite a few other options to consider. See some alternative card recommendations below.
You can apply for this card by clicking the Apply Now button below. You’ll first be taken to Apple’s website, where you must click “Apply at Barclaycard.” Then you’ll be taken to Barclays’ website to submit your information. You can also apply for this card in Apple stores.
After being approved, you’ll be given instructions on how to use the card to finance a purchase from Apple. You’ll be able to use it as soon as you’re approved, and approvals often take less than a minute. For online purchases, after linking your new card to your Apple ID, the card will appear as a payment option when checking out at apple.com.
Although the following cards are better in various ways, they do lack one important feature that the Barclaycard has: the ability to be used instantly upon approval. In most cases you can’t use general-use credit cards instantly after being approved, but you can with many store cards, including this Barclaycard.
Maybe you need a new phone fast, or you don’t want to wait the week or two it could take to get your credit card. In that case you may need to go with the Barclaycard Financing Visa so you can apply and make a purchase today.
Amazon sells many Apple products, and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review) provides more cash back for them than you’ll get from the Barclaycard. And you’re not limited to just Apple, you’ll get the same excellent reward rate for everything else you buy from Amazon. This card does not offer a 0% APR for purchases, however, so it won’t be a good option if you want to finance a purchase.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
So you’ll get 5% cash back on the very wide variety of merchandise you’ll find on Amazon. New Apple computer? Check. New socks? Check. New toilet bowl nightlight? Check.
If you can find it at the Apple store, there’s a good chance you can find it on Amazon too. That cash back can add up to a whole lot when you’re buying expensive electronics.
The latest iMac Pro starts at $4,999, not including tax. If you bought that with the Barclaycard you’d earn nothin back. But if you bought that computer with the Amazon Prime Rewards card you’d earn 5% back, for a total of $249.95, and that’s enough for a fancy new pair of AirPods.
The Amazon Prime Rewards card comes as a Visa Signature, so you’ll likely get some of the same Visa perks that are mentioned above for the Barclaycard. The Amazon card does not provide a free FICO score, however.
You’ll pay no annual fee for the Amazon Prime Rewards card, but it requires an Amazon Prime membership ($119 per year for a standard plan).
If you apply for this card but don’t have a Prime membership, if you’re approved you’ll be given an Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review) instead. The basic Amazon Rewards card offers 3% back at Amazon and Whole Foods, but the other terms are similar to the Prime Rewards card. If you ever cancel your Prime membership you’ll be downgraded to that card as well.
You won’t get a 0% APR with this card, so if you carry a balance you’ll be charged interest at a rate of 16.49%–24.49% Variable.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review) is a flat-rate cash back card, meaning it offers the same reward no matter where you shop. You can redeem those rewards easily, and you’ll also get a true 0% intro APR for quite a while.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
The 1.5% reward rate is pretty typical for a flat-rate credit card. The Freedom Unlimited’s signup bonus is also relatively normal, offering a solid 30% return on spend.
Like the Barclaycard, the Freedom Unlimited is available as either a Visa Signature or Visa Platinum. If you’re approved with a credit line of $5,000 or more, you’ll get a Visa Signature with enhanced benefits. Otherwise you’ll get a Visa Platinum, with basic benefits.
If you’re approved for a Visa Signature card, you’ll also get the following:
The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee. It offers an introductory purchase and balance transfer APR of 0% for 15 months, followed by a regular rate of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable.
That’s on the long side for a reward credit card, and it will let you pay off some expensive Apple purchases for over a year without being charged interest. And this isn’t a deferred interest offer, so there’s no danger of retroactive interest charges being applied to the entire balance. Instead, after the intro period runs out, you’ll only be charged interest on any balance that remains.
Read more in our Review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) is an excellent credit card for earning rewards at U.S. supermarkets. You’re probably wondering why a U.S. supermarket-focused credit card is good for buying Apple merchandise — but let me explain (hint: it has something to do with buying gift cards).
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
It would be surprising to find a supermarket that carried any significant Apple merchandise. But they do often sell gift cards for stores that carry Apple products, like the Apple store itself or others like Walmart.
So, here’s the basic strategy:
Ta da! You’ll effectively earn 3% cash back on your Apple purchases, as long as it’s your first $6,000 of U.S. supermarket spending, but it takes that extra step of buying gift cards. You can use this strategy to buy anything, as long as you can buy gift cards at a retailer where you’ll earn rewards. As another example, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card (Review) provides 5% back on the first $25,000 per year spent at office supply stores, which includes Staples — and Staples sells a wide variety of gift cards.
There is a downside to this strategy, however. Most credit cards come with a variety of shopping protections, which often include Purchase Protection, Return Protection, and Extended Warranties. These can come in handy if you have an issue with your purchase. But you won’t get these perks if you pay with gift cards instead of credit cards.
Take note that the purchase of general-use gift cards, like Vanilla Visa Gift Cards, may be counted as a cash advance rather than a typical purchase. Cash advances won’t earn rewards and will start to accrue interest at a very high rate immediately, rather than being subject to the 0% intro APR.
The Blue Cash Everyday is an Amex rather than a Visa, so it has an entirely distinct set of benefits from the Barclaycard. Some of them will be quite similar, however, like the shopping and travel protections.
There is no annual fee for the Blue Cash Everyday card (Rates & Fees).
You’ll get an introductory purchase and balance transfer APR of 0% for 15 months, and then a regular rate of 14.49–25.49% Variable (Rates & Fees). This is almost as long as the 18 months you can get with the Barclaycard, but in this case it applies to any purchases you make, from any retailer.
That includes the gift cards mentioned above, so you can use this card to get a long 0% rate on any Apple merchandise you buy using them.
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card was designed for one purpose: to give you a very long time to pay off purchases or balance transfers. And that makes it a good option for buying expensive Apple gadgets.
There are no rewards for using this card.
There aren’t many benefits with the U.S. Bank Platinum card, but that’s not a big downside because this card isn’t intended for people who want luxurious perks. But it does have Cell Phone Protection, a relatively rare benefit that would go well with an iPhone.
There is no annual fee for the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, and it currently has the longest introductory APR offer for purchases and balance transfers available on any credit card: 0% for 20 billing cycles, followed by a regular rate of 14.24%–25.24% Variable.
That’s even longer than the longest deferred financing term of the Barclaycard, which also requires you to spend at least $999. But this 0% offer can be used for any purchase of any size, from any merchant — including Apple. And purchases will qualify for the 0% rate for the entire duration of the intro period, rather than just the first 30 days.
Was this review helpful to you? Go ahead and share it with a friend! And if you use the Barclaycard Financing Visa, click here to leave your own review, we’d love to hear from you!
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