If you’re a Gap enthusiast, then you must have already heard about the Banana Republic Credit Card. Designed for true loyalists of the brand, the new Banana Republic Credit Card promises great rewards, handsome long-term savings and priority treatment from not just their Banana Republic line, but all Gap clothing lines such as Gap, Hill City, Athleta or Old Navy. Granted, the rewards system is a little complicated, but if you’re practically a Gap brand ambassador, it’s well worth your time to find out the details about the card.
Issued by the Synchrony Bank, the Banana Republic card comes in two basic forms:
- Exclusive Banana Republic Credit Card, valid for rewards only at the Gap Inc. family of brands,
- Banana Republic Visa Card, valid for rewards through purchases at any outlets accepting Visa.
Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of owning a Banana Republic credit card before you go applying for one. And yes, that’s right — it’s an application process, where they reserve the right not to issue you a card for you, or not.
Benefits of Owning a Banana Republic Credit Card
While there are many upsides to getting one of these for yourself, we will only talk about the most important benefits here.
- Recurring Rewards
With the Banana Republic Card, you get to earn $5 for every $100 that you spend at a Gap Inc. brand outlet. This is available as reward points that can be cashed in for purchases at Gap Inc. outlets. With the Banana Republic Visa card, you get one reward point (roughly amounting to 1 cent) for each dollar spent from the card, regardless of where you spend it.
- One-time Benefits
You get one-time benefits such as reward points for sharing your social media profiles/e-mail and connecting digitally with the brand, as well as for going paperless. Additionally, you get a 20% discount on your first purchase made with the Banana Republic Card.
- Additional Perks
This includes special offers and early access, bonus points shopping days, surprise birthday gifts and receipt-less returns among others.
- Banana Republic Luxe Card
If you spend $1000 within one year using your card, you qualify for a Luxe membership with Banana Republic. This makes you eligible for added bonuses such as free shipping, quarterly 20% bonuses, free alterations, and a Choose your Own Sale day from Gap.
- Zero Annual Fee
Although the regular annual percentage rate (APR) is a tad on the higher side, Gap makes up for it by having a $0 annual fee.
As we said in the beginning of this section, there are many more benefits to having one of these cards. However, you shouldn’t go for one without knowing what you’re getting into. So, in the next section, we’ll consider the downsides of owning a Banana Republic credit card.
Drawbacks of Getting a Banana Republic Credit Card
We’re not saying these are absolute deal-breakers, but you should certainly know about these things before applying for one of these cards.
- Ambiguous Application Procedure
As mentioned before, you must apply for a card at the Gap Website or stores. After applying, you don’t have a say in which card you’ll get if you’re chosen to receive one. This means that you cannot ensure that you get the Banana Republic Visa card even if you want to, and must leave things up to them.
- Abnormally High Interest Rates
Compared to most other shopping-related credit cards, the Banana Republic credit card comes with a rather high regular APR. It is currently 25.99% and variable, having been recorded at more than 27% in January 2020. This makes it wiser to pay off the card every month instead of carrying a balance if you want to enjoy your rewards without having to pay interests.
- Complicated Rewards System
The redeeming process for the points you earn through your purchases is unnecessarily complicated. You may stand to lose out greatly if you are not wily with your usage of the system. The points you earn are converted into rewards at the end of each month, and deposited in your account. For every $100 dollars you spend at a Gap outlet, you gain 500 points, which translates to a $5 reward in your account. The maximum reward you can get on a single purchase is $50, and the maximum monthly rewards you can collect is upto $250. Leftover points at the end of the month, however, get carried over to the next month.
So, for example, if you spend $500 on a single purchase, you get a $25 reward, which you can only use at a Gap outlet on a later purchase. You can only stack 3 such rewards per purchase in-store, and 5 for online purchases, when redeeming them. So if you’re not careful with your purchases (for instance if you make 3 separate $100 purchases), you can end up with a bunch of $5 rewards that you can only stack into a $15 discount for a purchase in-store (or $25 online).
Moreover, discounts and sales are also counted within the limit for applying offers, so if you’re purchasing an item that is already at an offer (say 10% off), you can only stack 2 rewards on top of that in-store (and 4 online).
- Downsides of Synchrony Bank
Another consideration to be made is that in the USA, Synchrony Bank is not very highly regarded when it comes to matters of customer service, security and general credit performance. In fact, a January 2020 study conducted by J.D. Power puts Synchrony second to last in a customer satisfaction rating. The security features of the card, although satisfactory, are also not at par with many of its competitors, even in the Banana Republic Visa Card – which does not qualify for Visa’s zero fraud liability policy for purchases at Gap Inc., as is mentioned by the bank.
Is the Banana Republic Credit Card a Good Choice for You?
It depends mostly on your spending habits, especially pertaining to the Gap Inc. family of brands. Are you a loyalist and regular customer of their brands? Do you end up making large purchases quite often, either in-store or online, from multiple brands by Gap? If yes, these cards are definitely for you, especially if you manage to get the Visa card. Just ensure that you pay off the card’s dues every month to avoid the high interest rates.
That’s not the case if Gap is only one of the many brands you usually buy from or if your regular purchases aren’t large. In that case, there are other credit cards that can offer similar, if not better, deals for you over a much larger spectrum of spending.