Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard vs American Express Blue Cash Everyday

July 24, 2013

Credit card rewards in the form of points and miles can be great, but there is no denying the appeal of simple cash back. There are many cash back cards on the market, and rewards can be distributed in several different ways. Cards can offer different rewards based on fixed bonus categories, merchant categories that change each quarter, or just a flat rate of return on all purchases. And the only thing better than earning cash back is doing so with a card that has no annual fee.

The Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard and the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card both offer bonus points on some purchases without charging an annual fee. Let’s see how these two cards stack up against each other.

Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard

BarclaycardRewardsBarclaycard is well known for offering reward cards co-branded with partners such as US Airways and Priceline, but its own cash back rewards card tends to fly underneath the radar. New cardholders earn $50 cash back after making their first purchase. After that, cardholders earn two points for all spending at gas stations, grocery stores, and utilities, and one point per dollar on all other purchases. Each point is worth one cent when redeemed for cash back rewards.

In addition to rewards for spending, new cardholders also receive 12 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers.

There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee imposed on all charges processed outside of the United States.

Insider tip: This card is offered in two versions. This one is for those with “excellent” credit, but there is another version for those with merely “good” credit. The lesser version has a higher APR, only six months of introductory financing, and just 2,500 bonus points, worth $25. But if you have had some credit problems in the past, this can still be a good deal. Just make sure to pay each month’s statement balance in full to avoid the super high interest rates.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday

American Express Blue Cash EverydayAmerican Express offers so many travel reward cards that it is easy to forget that they are a major player in the cash back rewards market as well. New cardholders earn $100 in rewards when they spend $1,000 on their card within three months of opening an account. 3% cash back is earned at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually then 1%), 2% at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cardholders also receive 12 months of 0% APR financing on new purchases, but there is no promotional financing offer for balance transfers. After the promotional financing expires, the standard interest rate is 12.99% to 21.99%, depending on the applicant’s credit worthiness.

Cardholders also enjoy perks such as a return protection policy, a purchase protection policy, and extended warranty coverage. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee that applies to all charges processed outside of the United States.

Insider tip: This is a great card for one with no annual fee, but applicants should also consider the Blue Cash Preferred. It offers an amazing 6% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores. This card has a $75 fee, but it will result in a net gain of more cash back for those who spend just $50 a week at grocery stores.

The Verdict

These cards are very evenly matched, but the decision has to go to the American Express card. It offers a higher rate of cash back at supermarkets, plus a lot of nice benefits. Barclaycard offers 2% cash back at gas stations, grocery stores, and utilities, but there are very few utilities that accept credit cards without imposing a surcharge. In the end, it all boils down to American Express’s cash back at supermarkets, which is great for a no-fee card, as well as its superior benefits.

When it comes to getting the most cash back from a card with no annual fee, follow the numbers and you will find that the American Express Blue Cash Everyday is the card to beat.

Which card do you feel is right for you?


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Jason Steele has been dissecting credit card bonuses and loyalty travel programs for years. Digging into the details of credit card offers has enabled his family to vacation in cool places around the world. Pay attention to the details he digs up about which card is best for you.

All posts by


Comments are closed.