About Gap Credit Card
Here’s a little secret about me: I used to own the GapCard.
Gap was my favorite store to find bargains on clothes that fit me well and lasted a long time. I’d go in there at least once a month and pore over the sale racks until I found one or two shirts or pants to add to my wardrobe.
When I found out there was a Gap Credit Card – and that I could use it at Old Navy, too – I saw no drawbacks to signing up for the card.
If you can identify with any part of this story or you’re here to learn more about the card, then I can assure you I know what it’s like to live with this card.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do my research when I signed up for the card. I did what many consumers do. Saw the card at the register. Thought about it for about five seconds. Said, “Yes.” Filled out the application. Done.
Owning a store card isn’t as simple as the sign-up process. Really, it’s one massive high-risk, high-reward decision that can pay off if you’re responsible or can make you pay if you’re not.
This review will help you understand how the card can help you and how it can hurt you. We will also include a section on what other people like me and you are saying about the GapCard experience.
Note: Gap offers a GapCard and a Gap Visa. We’re covering the GapCard, the company’s store credit card that can only be used at stores under the Gap umbrella.
GapCard Rewards: How This Card Can Help You
The Gap Credit Card gives you one major up-front reward and then a host of ongoing rewards:
20% Off Your First Purchase
When you’re approved for your GapCard, you’ll have 30 days from the day of approval to use a 20%-off coupon for one in-store or online purchase. According to the fine print, you can’t combine this offer with any other discounts.
Also, while you can use your GapCard at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, only Gap-branded items are eligible for the 20% discount.
You’ll also get free shipping if you use this discount online.
Rewards Points on Purchases
Whenever you use your GapCard for purchases, you’ll earn 5 rewards points for every dollar you spend. Those points are worth $1 for every 100 points. For every 500 points you earn, Gap will issue a $5 credit you can use at their stores.
Gap says it will take up to two billing cycles for your rewards to show up. Once they arrive, you can redeem them for Gap cash as long as you do it in increments of 500 points. What’s great about these rewards is that you can combine them with sale items and store promotions.
Everyday Discounts on Purchases
What really makes this store credit card stand apart from the Targets and Best Buys of the worlds is that not only do you get a 5% rewards rate on purchases but you also get a 10% discount on all purchases you make at Gap stores, Gap Outlet and the Gap website.
The fine print says that you can’t combine this discount with an employee discount or with the first-purchase discount we mentioned earlier.
Remember, the 10% discount applies to each item you buy and not to taxes or any shipping charges.
Note: The fine print said the 10% discount was good to the end of the year. There’s no guarantee it will continue the following year.
Multiple Other Discounts Throughout the Year
Aside from the big-ticket discounts we mentioned in the past few sections, GapCard customers also get a series of random and scheduled discounts:
- Special events with exclusive discounts
- Certain days with bonus rewards rates
- Birthday gift
Another benefit we think is important is that, when you make purchases with your GapCard, you won’t need a receipt if you plan on making any returns from that purchases.
Gap Silver: The Rewards Program for Big Spenders
Gap’s got a program called Silver and it’s a status reserved for customers who rack up 5,000 rewards points on their Gap Credit Card. Once you hit that mark, Silver kicks in and provides you with an upgraded level of benefits.
One of the strongest perks of this program is the fact that using the code “MYCARD” on checkout will get you free shipping on orders from Gap.com, BananRepublic.com, OldNavy.com, and Athleta.com.
If you make an average of 10 orders a year, free shipping can save you a least $50 on your purchases. When you combine that with the 10% discount on all purchases, there’s a potential to save at least $150 for Silver customers.
You’ll also receive a 20% quarterly points bonus, which means that, at the end of each three-month segment of the year, Gap will add rewards points to your account equivalent to 20% of what you earned during that quarter.
So, let’s say you earned 2,000 points from January to March. Gap will credit your account an additional 400 points ($4).
This 20% is by far the most generous of its kind, beating out store cards and even rewards credit cards. For example, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus has a 5% points bonus on what you’ve earned.
A few of the other benefits you get in the Silver program are:
- Free basic alterations on purchases made at Banana Republic (not available for suede or leather items)
- Special invite-only Silver events
- Sale days you get to choose
In summary, the GapCard’s rewards and benefits provide a lot of rewards and discounts for Gap loyalists, whether or not they’re spending enough to get Silver status.
The GapCard’s Rates and Fees: How They Can Hurt You
If the card’s rewards and discounts and all that good stuff are the upsides to owning the card, it’s the rates and fees which are the downside.
You see, Gap doesn’t necessarily want to offer crazy discounts just to be nice. They know that the better discounts they offer you, the more likely you are to spend. And the more likely you are to spend, the more likely you are to carry a balance on your credit card.
And, when you do, you’ll be hit with a 25.99% APR. This interest rate isn’t all that weird in the store credit card world, but it’s definitely out of place in the universe of regular credit cards. In fact, many credit cards designated rates above 24% as the worst of three rates.
It’s very rare that you see a non-store credit card with just one rate, let alone one rate in the 24%-25% range. So, let’s say you carry a $300 balance on your Gap Credit Card because you got a little carried away buying Christmas presents for others and yourself.
Over the course of one year, carrying that balance will cost you:
- $77.97 on your GapCard
- $47.97 w/a 15.99% APR on the Chase Freedom Unlimited
As you can see, you’ll pay $30 more in interest on your GapCard than you will with a popular credit card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Unlimited has a low APR of 15.99%; this rate is reserved, in most cases, for people with credit scores in the 700s. However, if your scores are lower or in the low 600s, then you may get the highest APR: 24.74%.
The GapCard has a single APR whether you've got good or bad credit and, for this reason, we think it may not be a good fit for you if you're going to carry a balance.
Of course, if you pay your balance in full every month you won’t ever have to worry about APRs.
Also, late or returned payments will result in a fee of up to $37.
Public Opinion About the Gap Credit Card
We browsed online reviews of the GapCard and found that many consumers were unhappy with their experience. Of the dozen or so most recent reviews we read, all of them were negative and many complained about poor customer service and unwarranted fraud alerts.
These complaints should be taken seriously, as the customer service/fraud alert scenarios can work hand in hand to frustrate consumers. If, for example, your card is declined because you traveled to another state, you’ll have to call the bank who runs Gap’s credit cards to resolve the situation.
Our Final Thoughts About the GapCard
We believe that the GapCard is one of the better store credit cards out there because of the generous rewards you get whenever you make purchases. Not only are you awarded a 5% rewards rate, but you also get a 10%-off discount on all purchases you make with the card with just a few exceptions.
The benefits to this card get even better if you’re able to earn 5,000 points a year because you’ll get the Silver program’s exclusive benefits: free shipping, the 20% points bonus and more.
As far as downsides go, we think the card’s APR is too high and can slowly drain the wallet of consumers who like to carry balances on their credit cards.
Based on our research, we think that someone who loves Gap and can spend the $1,000 a year to earn Silver status will truly enjoy this card. The rewards and discounts you get are better than any other combination we’ve seen from the store cards of leading retailers.