Should You Get a Banana Republic Visa Card?

FT Contributor  | 

The Banana Republic Visa Card offers rewards for users who shop at the Banana Republic and other stores that operate under the Gap umbrella. These stores include Old Navy, Gap, Hill City, and Athleta.

This card is from Visa, and the issuing institution is Synchrony Bank. The Banana Republic Visa is one of several cards offered by Gap stores.

The Banana Republic Visa is a regular credit card, which means that you can use it anywhere that accepts Visa credit cards. However, you only earn rewards of five points per dollar at the Banana Republic and other Gap retailers. Every 500 points lead to $5 off a future Banana Republic purchase. That is equivalent to $5 off for every $100 spent. Other purchases earn one point per dollar.

People who use their card wisely can earn rewards while shopping at the Banana Republic or Gap without incurring penalties or interest charges.

As of April 1, 2020, the variable interest rate for the Banana Republic Visa is 25.99%. That is an above-average interest rate. However, the card does not have an annual fee.

You need a good credit score to get approval for a Banana Republic Visa card. The clothing retailer also has a store charge card, which does not require a good credit score.

Features

The Banana Republic Visa offers rewards for the Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Gap shoppers. However, it also has additional features.

  • Cardholders earn $5 off for every $100 spent at Banana Republic and stores that operate under the Gap umbrella. There is no limit to the points you can earn. However, you have to spend your rewards within 24 months, or they will expire.
  • The card has no annual fee.
  • Users currently get 20% off their first purchase after they activate the card.
  • Cardholders get access to exclusive sales, and they may get additional rewards opportunities above the usual five points per dollar.
  • Cardholders get a special gift on their birthday each year (as long as their account is active and in good standing).
  • You can currently earn additional points for signing up for paperless statements and providing an email address.
  • Cardholders can achieve Luxe Status, which is Banana Republic’s elite status, when they earn more than 5,000 points, which requires spending $1,000 at Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, and the Banana Republic.
  • Luxe members get a 20% bonus added to their points each quarter. They also get free shipping and “choose your sale” days. Luxe status qualifies you for free shipping for online purchases and alterations on all Banana Republic purchases.

Pros

The Banana Republic Visa has some advantages that could make it a good card for users who have learned how to manage rewards credit cards.

  • The card offers generous rewards for Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap, and Athleta shoppers.
  • The card does not have an annual fee.
  • You can reach Luxe Status (elite status) and qualify for additional perks after spending $1,000 at the Banana Republic and other Gap retailers.
  • You do not need a receipt to return items you purchase with the credit card.
  • You get access to occasional additional rewards days and special deals that are exclusive to cardholders.
  • Luxe members get free three-to-five-day shipping for online purchases.

Cons

The card also comes with some drawbacks that make it less attractive for some users.

  • You need a good credit score to qualify for this card.
  • The interest rate is quite high, so you cannot carry a balance from month to month. If you do not pay off the entire balance after each billing cycle, the interest payments will cancel out the value of any rewards you earn.
  • Purchases not made at the Banana Republic or other Gap retailers only earn one reward point per dollar.
  • There is no introductory bonus offer except 20% off your first purchase.
  • You need to spend $1,000 before earning elite “Luxe” status.

Best Candidates for the Banana Republic Credit Card

This card is a good credit card option for people who make a majority of their apparel purchases at Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, and other stores under the Gap umbrella.

Also, this card has a high-interest rate, so you need to manage your credit card accounts well and pay off the entire balance each month. If you do not have the cash flow to pay off the whole balance, you may be better off with another credit card.

Casual Banana Republic shoppers who frequently shop elsewhere may be better off with a more-general rewards card.

You also need a good credit score to qualify for this card. If you have a fair or poor score, you would be better off applying for the Banana Republic Store Card.

Application Process

You can apply for this credit card here and check the latest introductory offers through the Banana Republic website. Once you choose to apply, you get sent to the Synchrony Bank site to finish your application.

As with most credit card applications, you need to provide income information, identity information, and a Social Security number when applying for the Banana Republic card.

You can also apply at a Banana Republic store, but you will still need to provide your Social Security number and income information during application.

Applicants may qualify for instant approval. In some cases, Synchrony Bank may take additional time to decide on your application. When this happens, they will contact you within 30 days for further information or to inform you of a decision.


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