Review of the Barclaycard Upromise World MasterCard®

Review of: Upromise World MasterCard®

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On December 6, 2013
Last modified:July 25, 2016

Summary:

This card offers an easy way to save for a child's education on top of 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.

If you’d rather save for your child’s college education than get cash back or other credit card rewards, the Barclaycard Upromise World MasterCard® is an excellent option. Through the popular Upromise program, you can put this card’s hefty cash back rewards directly into a college savings account.

What is Upromise?

Upromise is a broad program that offers cash back rewards to help parents and students save money for college. You don’t have to use the World MasterCard to get Upromise cash into your college account. You can also shop online, use special grocery coupons, or eat at participating restaurants.

Various participating stores offer between 2% and 10% cash back when you shop online through the Upromise.com website. You can also register your credit or debit cards to your Upromise account, use them at participating restaurants, and get cash back for your dining purchases.

You can see how cash-back savings would really add up, and if you use the Barclaycard Upromise World MasterCard, you’ll pack in even more savings.

Savings with the Upromise World MasterCard®

Using the Upromise MasterCard boosts the savings that you already get by shopping with Upromise partners. When you shop online through Upromise.com, you’ll get an extra 5% cash back. And you can get an added 4% cash back when you shop at participating Upromise restaurants.

Here’s a breakdown of the rewards you can get with this MasterCard:

  • Up to 10% cash back when you use your Upromise World MasterCard® on eligible purchases at online retailers and travel partners through Upromise.com
  • 2% cash back on eligible in-store and movie theater purchases
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • No Limit to the total cash back you can earn on eligible purchases
  • No rotating reward categories
  • Complimentary FICO® Credit Score

The card also comes with a $100 cash back bonus after your first purchase, and has no annual fee.

The Barclaycard Upromise World MasterCard® even offers an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, with an interest rate of 14.24% to 20.24% or 23.24% after that.

One Caveat

This is really an excellent credit card to have if you want to save up your rewards for college. But the caveat is that it’s typically an excellent credit only card.

According to a Credit Karma survey, 38% of cardholders have a credit score of over 750, and another 30% have credit scores of 701-750. Another 22% of cardholders had credit scores between 651 and 750, and only 10% had scores under 650.

If you have excellent credit and are saving for collegeor paying off student loansyou may want to apply for this card soon. But if you don’t yet have excellent credit, you might put the Barclaycard Upromise World MasterCard on your list of “great credit goals.”

How to Use Upromise Money

At this point, you may be wondering exactly how you would use all those cash back rewards. With Upromise, there are three ways to use the rewards you get from any Upromise programs, including this World MasterCard:

  • Invest in a high-yield savings account
  • Invest in a 529 college savings plan
  • Pay off Sallie Mae student loans

Invest in a High-Yield Savings Account

You can choose to transfer your Upromise funds into a High-Yield Savings Account from Sallie Mae. The account has no minimum balance, no monthly fees, and a 10% annual match by Upromise on any Upromise earnings.

You can even set up automatic monthly transfers from your Upromise account, so you don’t miss out on any earnings.

Invest in a 529 Plan

If you’re saving for a college educationyours, your child’s, or another loved one’sa 529 college savings plan is one of the best ways to go about it.

You can open a 529 directly through Upromise, or you can invest in a plan administered by Upromise. Plans that will link with Upromise include:

  • CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan
  • College Savings Iowa 529 Plan
  • CollegeAdvantage Direct 529 Savings Plan (Ohio)
  • CollegeChoice Advisor 529 Savings Plan
  • CollegeInvest Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan (Colorado)
  • HI529 – Hawaii’s College Savings Plan
  • IDeal – Idaho College Savings Plan
  • Learning Quest
  • Learning Quest Advisor
  • Learning Quest by Schwab
  • MOST – Missouri’s 529 Advisor Plan
  • MOST – Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan
  • Montana Investment Plan
  • NEST Advisor
  • NEST Direct
  • New York’s 529 Advisor-Guided College Savings Program
  • New York’s 529 College Savings Program Direct Plan
  • North Dakota’s College SAVE Plan
  • Pennsylvania’s 529 Direct Investment plan
  • Pennsylvania’s TAP 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan
  • SMART529 Select College Savings Plan
  • SMART 529 WV College Savings Plan
  • SSgA Upromise 529 Plan
  • Schwab 529 College Savings Plan
  • The GIFT College Investing Plan (Arkansas)
  • The Hartford SMART529 College Savings Plan
  • USAA College Savings Plan (Nevada)
  • Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan (Nevada)

Again, you can set up your Upromise account to automatically transfer funds into your 529 account. You can also open 529 accounts for different beneficiaries, and split up your Upromise earnings accordingly.

Pay Down Sallie Mae Loans

If you have any student loans through Sallie Mae, you can use the Upromise Loan Link program to automatically transfer money from your Upromise account to your Sallie Mae student loan balance.

The Bottom Line

For anyone saving for college or paying off Sallie Mae student loans, the Upromise World MasterCard® from Barclaycard is an excellent way to boost savings or pay down that debt more quickly. Pay attention to where and how you shop and dine, and you could get a load of cash back every year to go towards college.


Published or Updated: July 25, 2016
About Abby Hayes

Abby is a freelance journalist who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and lives with her husband and children in Indianapolis.

Comments

  1. Gene Shiau says:

    I have been a Upromise credit card (issued by Barclay) owner for five months. Because the online shopping bonus seemed too good to be true, I have been using a spreadsheet to track every spending I made with this card and every cash back I received. Based on my experience, I have to say that the Upromise credit card fails to deliver on its promise.

    Just to be clear, the “up to 10% cash back” is the sum from the credit card issuer and the online merchant. The credit card issuer guarantees 1% cash back on all spending, and up to 4% additional cash back for “eligible” online purchases. There is generally another 5% reward (but as low as 1% and as high as 9% during promotion) from the online merchant for your “eligible” online purchases.

    However, the online portal that one must use to make one’s purchase eligible for this generous cash back is unable to reliably track my spending. I have had to file many claims for the missing 4% out of 5% Master Card cash back and the merchant-dependent 1-9% online shopping bonuses. Even so, many of my bonus claims were denied after Upromise’s reviews (that included $287 online purchases from Toys’R’Us and $312-and-counting Hertz rentals). The reasons for denial were always generic examples like “clicking between multiple browser windows or tabs” and “taking advantage of other promotional offers” — I made sure I didn’t do any of those after my first denied bonus!

    Were there successful shopping experiences? Yes. Drugstore.com purchases and hotel partners (to be precise, I’ve only booked with IHG and only once so far) were the only two that reliably paid out my bonuses in these five months of my card ownership. But this is hardly worth the hassle of fighting for every missing bonus. I am already thinking about canceling my Upromise credit card and Upromise account. I’ll fund my daughter’s 529 directly using the cash back from my other easier-to-use credit cards. That’s less work than emailing/calling Upromise every week.

  2. Judith B. says:

    Just canceled our Barclay Upromise card. The customer service is absolutely the worst. While the reps are polite, they are not empowered to help you with your claims. It’s not worth the time on the phone to try to get everything sorted when there are so many better cards out there – both in terms of rewards and in being able to resolve a problem.

    I would give this card 1 star only.

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