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Review: the Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card – the best card for sole traders?

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This is our review of the Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card for businesses.

Let me answer the obvious question first. Why are we covering it, given that it doesn’t earn you any points or miles?

(The cynical answer, of course, is that Barclays will pay us if you apply, which is true. As part of our relationship with Barclays Premier we now have access to Barclaycard products. As you should know, however, we only promote products which genuinely offer value. You won’t see any other Barclaycard products on HfP for now.)

Why would you get a cashback small business Mastercard?

There is, at the moment, a gap in the market for small business miles and points cards.

You can apply for American Express Business Platinum, American Express Business Gold and British Airways Accelerating Business, but Amex acceptance is lower in the B2B market than in the consumer market. You will need a Visa or Mastercard as well.

Our recommended alternative is the Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa card. This earns points worth an impressive 1 Avios per £1 spent and has a sign-up bonus (exclusive to HfP readers) which converts into 10,500 Avios.

However, at present, Capital On Tap is only accepting Limited Companies and LLPs. You cannot get the card if you are a sole trader or partnership.

This leads to the question ‘What is the best business Visa or Mastercard for a sole trader to use alongside a Business Amex?’.

The answer is probably a card which is:

  • free
  • offers 1% cashback on virtually all of your spending

Key link: Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card application form

The representative APR is 21.9% variable.

Here are the key facts about the card:

What are the conditions of applying?

As well as the standard age and residency restrictions, your business turnover must be over £10,000 per year.

If you are a start-up, you are welcome to apply if your business plan shows expected turnover of £10,000+ per year.

Sole traders are welcome to apply.

What is the Barclaycard Select Cashback annual fee?

There is no annual fee.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

You earn 1% cashback on virtually all spending charged to the card.

You are paid your cashback each month, via a credit to your card statement.

Review: the Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

Any other benefits?

Barclaycard runs a special programme for its Business credit and charge card holders called Business Rewards.

You can find full details on this page of the Barclays website.

It offers a variety of discounts and cashback deals for customers. These currently include, for example, 15% off your first £100+ purchase at Amazon Business, 12% off Heathrow Express and 15% off business stationery at Ryman.

If you spend a lot on online advertising, you will get 5% cashback – up to £250 per calendar year – on search campaigns on Microsoft Advertising. If you are advertising on Bing, it is worth getting the card purely for this benefit.

Is this a good card to use when travelling?

It’s not ideal, as Barclaycard Select Cashback charges a 2.99% foreign exchange fee on non-Sterling transactions.

However, you will receive your standard 1% cashback which takes the net cost down to 1.99%.

You will pay the same 2.99% fee if you use any of the American Express Business cards that we cover.


The Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card is, perhaps surprisingly, an aggressively good product from Barclays.

With no annual fee and 1% cashback on virtually all your spending, paid monthly, there is nothing to dislike. Even if you are considering getting American Express Business Platinum, Business Gold or British Airways Accelerating Business due to their generous rewards, this card is useful for places which do not accept American Express.

The 5% cashback on Bing search advertising will be a good enough reason in itself for some readers to apply.

Full details, and the application form, for the Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card can be found here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (19)

  • Genghis says:

    The 1% is taxable at marginal rates, however, whether as income or as a rebate against purchases.

    • PB says:

      Is the cash back not treated as a discount by HMRC , it used to be , when did that change ?

      • Genghis says:

        If it’s treated as a discount (ie Debit cash, credit purchases) it has the same effect as income (debit cash, credit income) by increasing taxable income by the amount of the cash back, hence more tax paid.

        • Genghis says:

          We’re talking about sole traders, of course, who carry out a trade

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            Exactly so.
            To compare directly to Capital On Tap
            Normally you’d take 1p cash rather than an Avios worth 1p (well I would) – so this would seem better than COT as there is no fee.
            However if profits incur marginal tax at something like 50% (depends where you are sitting in the tax spectrum of course – could be higher if you’re in the evil band just above 100k), then the choice is 50p or 1 tax-free Avios…. so you choose 1Avois. COT and Amex are stronger choices in most scenarios, but if you’re low-profit sole trader this makes sense.

            The real mystry to me is (unless I’ve misunderstood the range) why the premium version of this card has … for a £150 fee … a worse cashback rate (0.5%) and an annual cashback cap of £400 where this has neither. Your standard product shouldn’t make your premium one look rubbish…?

  • P4D says:

    “we only promote products which genuinely offer value. You won’t see any other Barclaycard products on HfP for now.”
    Very curious about the continued lack of enthusiasm for Barclaycard Rewards card for travelling then. With no FX fee and 0.25% cashback it clearly looks competitive to me, maybe I am missing something, Rob?

    • Jonathan says:

      That’s a personal card you’re referring to, and I remember seeing on one of my Barclaycards, that business spending is not allowed. So don’t skate on thin ice by doing business spending on a personal card when the card issuer specifically tells you not to do so

      • P4D says:

        yeh agree, unrelated to the bizz card above. Just personal barclaycard for fgn spend, just related to the extent it is Barclaycard but Rob is not keen on.

    • Mark says:

      All the analysis I’ve seen suggests that Mastercard rates tend to be better than Visa, to the extent that you’re probably better off with something like a Halifax Clarity card for overseas spend (beyond what you can put fee-free through a Curve card) even though it doesn’t offer any rewards.

  • Colin JE says:

    Will this work with a Curve card to avoid the FX fee?

    • the_real_a says:

      Yes, although technically you should have the business version of curve to add a business mastercard – no idea if this is enforced.

  • RussellH says:

    Back in the day I used to get lots of card issuers promoting their business Visa/M-cards to me.
    At the time, I could never see the point.
    They all carried a fee that I had to pay (I realise that this one is an improvement on that).
    There was never any payback (again, unlike this one).
    Worst of all, they were, and as far as I know, still are, a massive rip-off on the business accepting the card (the fact that this card gives 1% cashback pretty much confirms it). I found it very easy to decide to avoid these cards on the last ground alone, let alone the others.

    I have no idea if using my Hilton Visa card to buy 400 first class stamps from the Royal Mail business shop or buying stationery from Viking was a technical breach of Ts+Cs, but there were certainly no complaints and and I still have and use the card.

  • Jeff says:

    As a sole trader if I use this card for my personal spending am I going to get into trouble.

    • Rob says:

      Beyond a certain point, yes, because shops pay SUBSTANTIALLY more to accept Business cards than personal cards and, obviously, they don’t like it.

      Virtually anything is OK as a one-off – perhaps £1000 at Agent Provocateur could be stretching it – but week after week of Waitrose and Costa charges will get you shut down. Barclaycard has no choice, because Mastercard will shut them down if they are not seen to be keeping an eye on misuse.

      • Ryan says:

        Spending at Costa is easily explainable as business spend – subsistence whilst away

        Agree with anything supermarket related – that’s probably not getting breakfast or lunch whilst away for the day… but still possible

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