bank rates

$495 Annual Fee For Barclays’ Black Card!

Wow. This would have to be one amazing credit card to be worth an annual fee like that.

It’s more than the $450 annual fee on some of the most expensive personal charge and credit cards from American Express, including its Platinum and Delta Reserve cards.

If you’re like us, you’ve seen the slick ads promoting Barclays Bank’s new Black Visa Card as “the world’s most prestigous…credit card” and wonder what it does to warrant its exceptional cost?

The terms are sure nothing special.

It charges a variable interest rate of 13.24% APR (prime plus 9.99% for purchases) and 19.24% for cash advances (prime plus 15.99%), and imposes just about every fee you can imagine, right down to the 3% currency conversion charge.

Nor are the rewards.

Cardholders can earn 1% cash back on purchases or get one point for every dollar they spend to be used for travel on any airline at anytime. That’s routinely available, too.

So it’s got to the be exceptional benefits such as a high credit limit, access to more than 500 airport lounges around the world, “Luxury Gifts from some of the world’s top brands” and the 24-hour concierge service “to assist you with all your travel, leisure and personal needs.”

But American Express offers similar perks. Even cards such as the Visa Signature and World MasterCard from Chase Bank come with travel benefits, gifts, and concierge service — oh, and a considerably lower annual fee. (None for Signature card and $65 to $85 for the World card.)

Bottom line: The Black Card is just another prestige card vying for the well-to-do and image conscious consumers who think a credit card can make them look important.

Barclay’s certainly plays up that angle, claiming that “The Black Card is made with carbon, creating a more unique card, guaranteed to get you noticed.”

But does a credit card, any credit card, really do that? And is that a good reason to spend nearly $500 a year to carry it?

Bank of America is raising interest rates on another bunch of its credit card customers. Find our who, and how to fight back when a credit card does that you, on Bankaholic’s Personal Finance Blog. You can always reach that blog by clicking on the “finance” tab above.

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Comments (12)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 3.86 out of 5)
12 Existing Comments
  1. Joe Black said:
    on April 13th at 11:41 am

    Is this card finally the one designed for us black folks?

  2. Bimbo said:
    on April 13th at 11:56 am

    OMG!! This black card will look perfect with my Louis Vuitton Coffin!

  3. Romesh Chander said:
    on April 14th at 10:20 am

    I applied for the Barclay card. They gave me one. To find out my credit line, I must activate it (it means $495 fee even if I decide not to use it). I did not activate it.

    You know what was my credit line? $10,000. That is right Ten Thousand dollars. Now, how many days can you stay at Waldorf Astoria with 10K credit line? Probably one day. Or can you get a suite at a cruise? Not with $10K credit line.

    Card for high net worth people?????

    I think, it is rip off.

  4. High Class John said:
    on April 16th at 05:11 pm

    Its a joke!
    Even my Chase BP card has $40,000 credit line, and its free, no annual fee for the rest of my life.

  5. Monn said:
    on April 16th at 11:15 pm

    The American Express Black or Centurion card is the true black card, and is only available by invitation. You can not apply for it. The Barclays version is a credit card that is just a little prestigeous than your standard Visa platinum card. I still think that the Amex platinum card holds more weight and they have just about the same annual fee.

  6. Joe Obvious said:
    on September 24th at 03:19 pm

    First of all, I had no idea that credit cards with $500 annual fees even existed. Even to the richest egomaniac, choosing a credit card with a $500 annual fee is just ludicrous.

    Also, it begs the question of “why does a wealthy person need a credit card to begin with?”

  7. BlackCard said:
    on November 13th at 04:47 am

    Sure, not everyone will be happy with this card, like the ad says this card is NOT for EVERYONE, it is designed for those who know how to take full advantage of it. It is not designed for angry cheapskates.

    Most people won’t know the difference, between this and the amex black card. Is it true that you get a better service at restaurants when you present this black card? 99% card members have given a resounding YES. Another perk not mentioned , when calling the customer service, if you wait for longer than 2 minutes to speak with a representative, your last purchase charged on this card is FREE. of course. So if you’re someone that values your time, this card is definitely for you.

  8. rebecca said:
    on November 25th at 11:47 am

    I’m a reporter looking for people who were approved for this card but aren’t high earners. If you fit this category, please email me at I was pre-approved for this card, which I thought was amusing, considering I have loads of student debt and don’t earn much. Can’t be that exclusive.

  9. /jun said:
    on February 25th at 12:03 am

    Who the hell would pay this in this economy or any? Even if you are worth a lot, hopefully you are smarter with your money and get any one of the FREE cards available. I have other Barclay cards and they are also free and have rewards. No one needs a concierge or customer care that bad! Take the $495 and donate to your favorite charity or organization!

  10. Kyle W said:
    on August 1st at 05:33 am

    The Centurion Card has $2,500 annual fee and a $5,000 entry fee. This is just a cheap rip off. It’s really insulting. I think it is pathetic that Barclay’s is making this card which doesn’t try to be anything special but an overpriced imitation. All Centurion Card’s have unlimited spending limits. $10,000; that is insulting for a premier credit card. The beauty of the centurion card is you can buy a car, or several Kiton suits; they’ll shut the store down and have you do a private shopping trip. Because you have to spend so much money to get the card, $250,000 in a year, they know you’ll be a big spender and the card alone gives it’s owners superior service. This Black Card is designed so that people mistrake it for the real deal. The only other card that compares is the Quintessentially Card. There are a several other entrats to the category: the Carte Blanche, The visa signiture line gives similar services.

    American Express is a great company. Best customer service of any large company I have ever used. They actually go out of their way to help you rather than nickle and dime you like most consumer finance companies. Then again, their cards are significantly more expensive than other cards. Amex cards and panty droppers too

  11. Candice said:
    on November 9th at 06:34 pm

    Kyle W are you a proud owner of the american experess centurion card? you should give me a call then because I want to be your new friend! lol seriously

  12. D Seif said:
    on June 7th at 02:05 pm


    I applied for and paid the $495 fee for this card back in April 2012 as a replacement for a Costco Amex card. I use this card for all purchases and business travel, so it’s important that it not only be reliable and work, but that the credit limit be sufficient to support my travel. While Barclay’s has tried to portray this card as a premium card with premium services – equivalent or better than those offered by Amex – I must wholeheartedly disagree.

    Here are some of the less than ‘premium’ services with the card:

    1) The credit limit was less than half of what we use with our Amex card. We use the card for all expenses every month and pay it off each month. But, by cutting the limit in less than half, we have to switch cards mid-month, making it more complex and harder to manage each month.
    2) When attempting to increase the credit limit to something more reasonable, we were instructed that we’d have to wait six months before they could consider an increase.
    3) We had both of our cards compromised at merchant retailers within a three week period – it took more than seven days to receive replacement cards via regular mail. Shouldn’t ‘black card’ service come with an expedited replacement card service for free?!?
    4) The Airport Lounge perk that they so prominently advertise is nothing less than a joke – the only lounges that are supported are primarily international, unless you fly to Alaska as Alaska Airlines lounges are supported.
    5) We paid the extra $195 for a companion card for my wife – but beware, as companions DON’T receive the premium Airport Lounge perk which is a separate card that has to be mailed to you.
    6) The website to manage the card is one of the least sophisticated I’ve every seen – granted, it’s all black and gold, but the user interface is antiquated and archaic.
    7) When we tried to close the account due to the lack of ‘premium’ service – we were instructed that because it was past the 60 day window, we could not get a refund, even pro-rated, of the membership fee for either card….$700 down the drain for the premium experience of working with Barclay’s Black Card.

    If you want a card that actually lives up to its name – get an Amex Platinum card and skip the imitations. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.