GAP Credit Card Review (Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta)
The GAP has over 3,500 stores worldwide, close to 2,400 of which are in the United States. With a revenue of $16 billion and a family of brands that encompasses the country’s best-loved names, it’s a giant of the retail sector and has helped to clothe families for generations.
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Like all big stores, the GAP has a store credit card, one that incentivizes shoppers to spend and gives them rewards and perks in exchange for their loyalty.
GAP Credit Card: The Basics
The GAP credit card is an open-loop card, which means it can be used everywhere that accepts Visa. It uses a points-based system, with 5 points offered for every $1 spent at the GAP family of stores (Athleta, Old Navy, Banana Republic) and 1 point for every $1 spent elsewhere.
- Credit Card Issuer: Synchrony Bank (Visa)
- Annual Fee: $0
- Regular Interest Rate: 27.49% Variable APR
- Intro Rate: Not Offered
- Minimum Credit Score Required: Good
This card is not ideal for use abroad, as there is a foreign transaction fee of 3%, but cardholders can access their accounts 24/7 and are also offered zero fraud liability.
GAP rewards can be redeemed at a rate of $5 for every 500 points, which is a good return for GAP purchases but a poor return for everything else.
Cardholders will receive 500 bonus points when they register their email address and 500 bonus points when they agree to paperless billing. If they earn 5,000 points in a year, they will be upgraded to GAP silver status, which comes with additional benefits, including free online shipping, a 20% quarterly points bonus, and more.
The GAP card also offers regular discounts, including 10% off all qualifying GAP purchases (also applies to GAP Factory stores).
Although there is no sizable welcome offer here, cardholders can get a discount of 20% on their first purchase, providing they purchase from the GAP Inc brand within 30 days of account opening. Cardmembers will also be invited to special sales, offered gift cards, and given a birthday gift.
GAP Credit Card Pros and Cons
GAP reward points are very easy to come by, especially if you like this brand’s attire and spend a lot at GAP, Athleta, Banana Republic or Old Navy Stores. It’s also easy to secure an additional 1,000 points as soon as you join, which earns you $10 in GAP savings and takes you 20% of the way towards silver status.
However, for every upside, there are several downsides.
Firstly, the GAP credit card has a rather high APR, and this climbs even higher if you use it to collect a cash advance. The cash advance fee is 4%, with a minimum of $10, and there is also a cash advance APR of 28.49% variable.
If you use the card at an ATM or to buy lottery tickets, you will be stung with those high rates and could find yourself seriously out of pocket.
The GAP Visa credit card is also only beneficial when used at GAP stores or stores that are part of the GAP brand. The rewards rate for all other purchases is very low.
When compared to the benefits and account opening offers provided by other rewards cards, the GAP Visa card is disappointing, to say the least.
How to Use the GAP Card
As soon as you activate your new credit card, remember to take advantage of the sign-up bonus, which gives you 20% off applicable GAP purchases. We also recommend signing up for paperless billing and registering your email address as soon as you can.
Pay attention to every sale and special event you’re invited to and make sure you clear your balance in full every month, lest you be hit with a high-interest rate.
Reward cards like this are great if you use them properly. They don’t charge annual fees and there’s no reason they can’t sit in your wallet for months on end, waiting for the moment you visit a GAP family store or shop at GAP.com. But as soon as you let the balance rollover, the high APR will kick in, your credit report will take a hit, and you’ll stop reaping the benefits.
Is the GAP Credit Card Right for You?
Brands like the GAP have struggled in recent years. Online shopping, auction sites, and cheap imports have seriously impacted their ability to turn a profit, hurting their bottom line. But they’re still going strong, they still produce clothes for all of the family and, with help from the GAP credit card, they offer cheap prices and great benefits.
As with all store credit cards, this one probably isn’t right for you if you don’t shop at the GAP or any of their sister stores. But if you have a big family and spend a significant amount of money here, and you have the credit score required, it’s worth it. Just remember to take a look at the other available credit cards and make sure you calculate how much the card will earn you and whether or not you can benefit from its many perks.
Credit Cards Similar to the GAP Credit Card
The GAP credit card clearly has many positives and could be just what countless consumers are looking for. But it’s not the only top store card out there. In fact, it would barely even scrape a list of the top ten. To show you just what you can get elsewhere, we have listed three of the best reward cards below, two of which are branded with the names of leading stores, while one is offered by the country’s biggest brand.
Amazon Prime Visa Signature Credit Card
Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world right now. It has many irons in the fire; countless fingers in countless pies, so it’s no surprise that the Big Zon also has a credit card. In fact, if you include closed-loop store cards, it has several of them, and they differ considerably from country to country.
The Amazon Prime credit card is arguably the best one available, as it’s the most generous. Offered by Chase Bank as part of the Visa Signature program, this card gives consumers up to 5% cash back every time they use the card at Amazon.com and Whole Foods.
There is no annual fee and while Prime membership can be expensive (certainly more than the average credit card annual fee) it’s not required. Non-Prime members can still apply and receive up to 3% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
If you spend a lot of money at Amazon/Whole Foods, this card is definitely worth considering. To calculate whether you should apply for Prime membership or not, simply weigh up the additional benefits (faster shipping, a 2% higher rewards rate) and compare them against the $119 annual price tag.
- Credit Card Issuer: Chase (Visa)
- Annual Fee: No
- Regular Interest Rate: 15.74% to 23.74% Variable APR
- Intro Rate: None
- Rewards Program: 1%, 2%, and 5% cash back rates, with the highest paid for Whole Foods and Amazon purchases
- Welcome Offer: $100 Amazon gift card
- Other Perks and Benefits: None
Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi
The Costco Visa card is a triple whammy of big brands. It is issued by Citi, uses the Visa credit card network, and carries the Costco branding. If you have a big family and spend a lot of money at this wholesale store, the Costco Anywhere Visa could be just what you’re looking for.
Not only will the Costco Anywhere Visa give you 2% on all Costco purchases (online and in-store) but it will also give you 3% when you use the card at qualifying restaurants and 4% when you use it at gas stations. There is a $7,000 cap for the higher rewards rate, but few cardholders will spend anywhere near $7,000 on gas every year and the ones that do will only slightly go over.
Once this cap has been surpassed, the rewards rate drops down to 1%. That 1% rate also applies to all purchases that don’t fit in the above categories.
- Credit Card Issuer: Citi (Visa)
- Annual Fee: No
- Regular Interest Rate: 16.24% Variable APR
- Intro Rate: None
- Rewards Program: Up to 4% cash back on qualifying purchases
- Welcome Offer: None
- Other Perks and Benefits: Annual credit card reward certificate
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
The Chase Freedom card is America’s most popular rewards credit card. It offers a fixed rate of 1% and a higher, limited rate of 5%. However, many users may find that higher rate to be too limiting, and for those, there is the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Chase Freedom Unlimited is a Visa credit card that has a flat rate of 1.5% for all purchases. As the name suggests, there is no spending cap and absolutely no limit to the amount of money you can earn. Furthermore, if you spend just $500 in your first three months as a member, you can get a bonus of $200.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited also has an intro rate of 0% for 15 months. This means that you won’t pay interest on any purchases or balance transfers until this period has passed.
- Credit Card Issuer: Chase Visa card
- Annual Fee: No
- Regular Interest Rate: 16.49% to 25.24% Variable APR
- Intro Rate: 0% intro APR for the first 15 months
- Rewards Program: An unlimited rate of 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Welcome Offer: Spend $500 in your first three months to get a $200 bonus
Other Perks and Benefits: Earn more by referring a friend and get a host of purchase and travel protection benefits