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Have It Your Way With This Credit Card

Social media has crossed a new frontier. Sign up for the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard and you are encouraged to join an online community on the Web site, where you may influence the card’s operations and evolution. Even if you’re not a regular on Facebook or Twitter, you might be tempted by the card’s appealing 8% interest rate.

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Paul Wilmore, managing director of consumer markets for Barclaycard US, hopes that the community will serve as a virtual credit union where members engage with one another, share stories and ask for advice. Plus, he compares the company’s dialogue with its customers to a shareholders meeting. Cardholders may propose changes to the credit card’s terms (there is an online moderator). One recent post suggested that cardholders who do not call customer service should receive a credit. Wilmore anticipates Barclaycard will pose three or four of its own questions to the community once or twice a year. For example, participants might be asked whether the late fee should be dropped from $25 to $10 and the interest rate raised to 8.25%.

Barclaycard plans to show the card’s profits and losses online and to introduce a Giveback program in which cardholders receive a share of the profits. The community will then decide whether the profits should be returned to individuals or donated to charity.

To qualify for a Ring card, Barclaycard US is looking at applicants’ payment record with other lenders, FICO credit scores and any previous experience that Barclays has had with them. Wilmore expects the average credit limit to be several thousand dollars.

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