Visa® Black Card Requirements (And 5 Other High-Limit Cards)

credit card advice

Linsey Knerl
By: Linsey Knerl
Posted: March 8, 2017
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

Long gone are the days when having a gold card was the sign of elite credit-worthiness. Nowadays, the “Black Card” is the card of choice for elite card carriers. With its strict application requirements and most VIP of perks, the Black Card is one of the most elusive cards on the market.

Then in January 2016, Barclaycard rebranded its coveted Visa Black Card to the MasterCard “Luxury Card” with new and enhanced features. We’ll take a look at these features and what it takes to get the new MasterCard Luxury Card, as well as show you five elite alternatives without the hefty annual fee.

About the Card | Approval Requirements | Credit Card Alternatives (5)

About the Visa® Black Card

Aside from its visual appeal, the card offers perks like 24/7 concierge service and random luxury gifts delivered to your doorstep — needless to say, it’s not the easiest card to get your hands on.

Rebranded as the MasterCard® Luxury Card™ in 2016

Early this year, Barclays reintroduced the “Black” card under its new name: The Luxury Card. Serviced by MasterCard, it has three levels of service and perks, all with various annual fees and “precious metal” associations.

The Black Card can be applied for on the website, although your creditworthiness and spending ability may cause you to be approved for one of the lesser accounts.

Receive an Initial Credit Limit of $20,000 to $25,000

Because cardholders generally have a much higher income (or at least the ability to pay back their cards), MasterCard Black customers are usually given a very high initial credit limit. Spending allowances average between $20,000 – $25,000, with increases given over time for responsible account usage.

Like any other card, you can improve the likelihood of getting an increase beyond your initial amount by keeping an on-time payment history, paying a large average monthly payment amount, maintaining your credit bureau information and credit score, and using your card regularly for both everyday and large purchases.

Equipped with a Hefty $495 Annual Fee

Along with the status that comes with this card, however, there’s also a hefty $495 annual fee. It would be expected that the perks of owning a Black Card would be many, and plush. Only personal preference can determine if the fee is worth it, but here are some of the most promising benefits:

  • cash-back bonuses, usually 1-2% on purchases
  • worldwide acceptance
  • 24-hour concierge service for help with travel, event planning, and shopping
  • periodic luxury gifts, some as pens and magazines
  • enrollment in the VIP airport lounge program
  • travel insurance, warranty extensions, and purchase protections

Cardholders will also receive 15 months 0% APR financing on all purchases and balance transfers when the transfer is completed within 45 days of opening the account.

Approval Requirements

Barclays doesn’t openly publicize its requirements for obtaining a Black Card, but it’s safe to assume based on what we do know about the card that the following requirements are a must.

1. Excellent FICO Score (720+)

Naturally, the MasterCard Black Card requires an excellent credit score, usually 720 or higher on the FICO index. When being trusted with a high spending limit, you have to have exemplified responsible borrowing behavior in the past, which a strong FICO Score will reflect.

2. Big Spending (and Paying) on Your Cards

While the card doesn’t require some of the spending thresholds as other cards (like the AMEX Black Card), you can safely assume that you will need to be an avid user of credit and are very good at paying back thousands in purchases every month to even be considered.

3. High Income Necessary

Of course, to spend big, you have to earn big. To be able to charge and spend as needed to for this prestigious card, a solid job history, adequate proof of income, and a record of making on-time payments is a must. It probably also won’t hurt to be a Barclays’ customer.

5 Elite Credit Cards Without a $495 Annual Fee

As “elite” as the card may seem, the 1.5% cash back is a little underwhelming, while the $495 annual fee is a little overwhelming. If a higher cash-back bonus, lower annual fees, and more widely accepted perks are of interest to you, the following cards may be more appealing.

Discover it® - Cashback Match™ Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

  • Our Take: "One of our favorite cards, with long 0% intro APRs, low ongoing APRs, awesome cash back rewards, and lots more.
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases
  • Matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers)
  • No limit to the amount of cash back that can be matched"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
11.74% – 23.74% Variable
$0
Excellent, Good

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74-24.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Redeem for cash — any amount, anytime
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.74% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74-24.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.74% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Discover it® - 18 Month Balance Transfer Offer Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Our Take: "With a ridiculously good deal on balance transfers, low APR's, and a generous cash-back program, we can see why this card is so popular.
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories that rotate quarterly, up to $1,500 per quarter when you sign up for the quarterly bonus
  • 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers)
  • No limit to the amount of cash back that can be matched"
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 6 months
0% for 18 months
11.74% – 23.74% Variable
$0
Excellent, Good
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

EXCELLENT CREDIT RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • New! Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on virtually every purchase
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 13.74%-25.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
13.74%-25.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

Here are some additional high-limit credit cards an excellent credit rating can get you.

So, is the Black Card Right for You?

The jury is out on whether the MasterCard Black Card is one that you should be carrying around in your pocket, assuming you meet its strict application requirements. Only you can decide whether the $495 annual cost of carrying one is worth the benefits, but the right card for you is out there, and it may have an annual fee you can feel better about — year after year!