Today we have our first guest blog post from Julia Roy. Julia is a self-proclaimed “digital girl,” who by day serves as a freelance social media consultant and by night is a technology enthusiast and productivity expert. This is the first of 5 posts in a series that she will be contributing to the Barclaycard Ring Community blog.
This year I had the chance to get to know the Barclaycard team at SXSW in Austin, TX. As I chatted with Jen, Jared and Paul over dinner and drinks, I fell in love with the team and the mission behind the Barclaycard Ring card and community. I was actually a bit shocked when they asked me to be an “Ambassador” cardmember, because I have not always had the greatest relationship with money. However, as Barclaycard has approached the Ring as a credit card experiment, I figured what the heck, this should be a fun experiment for me too.
Before I get into my experience with the card so far, I’d like to tell you a little about myself. In 2007, a few years out of college, I was bartending, holding a degree I had no interest in pursuing and sitting on mounds of debt. As luck would have it, I discovered social media early on and moved from Boston to New York City as the first hire at a digital media agency startup. Making very little, living from paycheck to paycheck, I was determined to leverage the growing social media industry to build my career and get me out of the financial hole I was in from loans and credit cards. It took a few years, but with a lot of ambition, passion and late nights on my computer, I grew my social presence, blog readership and career. Now with 500,000 total fans, followers and subscribers I love collaborating with and clients I love working with, I’ve been able to make leaps and bounds toward financial and personal success.
With that said, I can’t deny that I’ve been haunted by my past financial mistakes and poor education in money management.
My ability to gradually improve my bank balance and increase my credit score over the years has to be credited to the latest online financial tools and lifehacking techniques. New financial sites like Mint and Manilla have served as my digital advisors, reminding me to pay my bills on time, manage my money and control my budget. Barclaycard Ring is now a part of this “financial” system of mine, and I’d like to share why (so far, for me) this credit card has stood apart from the rest.
I got the card and joined the Barclaycard Ring community a few months ago. For those of you who are Barclaycard Ring cardholders, you know what I mean. For those that are not, I bet you’re thinking: Credit card community? What is that? Barclaycard Ring is attempting to change your relationship with your credit card. Built into your online account is a community, blog and Giveback program. Because of this, I’ve been learning from other cardmembers and the Barclaycard Ring community every time I login to my account. The number of active community members at this points is pretty small and conversations in the forums is mostly centered around questions and issues specific to the card, versus discussions around more personal financial matters. I am hoping that the conversations shifts from technical questions about the card to more in-depth conversations about financial learnings and financial health. The community is young and I am interested to see how it develops as more people become cardholders. On average, people do not like to discuss their financial matters with others and I hope this community, since it is a closed and private cardholder community, starts to open up to one another more.
A clear benefit for me so far has been that I actually get a good feeling when I pull the card out of my wallet to pay for something. In a recent discussion about the card, I compared it to committing to a new diet or workout program. It’s the commitment to get in shape that makes you feel different about food and exercise. You may not be in great shape yet, but you are actively taking the steps to get there. Similarly, the Barclaycard Ring credit card is a commitment rather than a crutch to financial stability, or a means to earn freebies. It is a representation of the oath you take to commit to a healthier financial future. Will it work? Will I become an active, open and honest community member? Will my credit improve because of using the card and participating in the community?
The test of time will tell. But so far, when I open my wallet and see it next to my other cards, I see it as a subtle reminder to be a better borrower, thoughtful spender and more conscious consumer.