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GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card – Is It a Good Retail Rewards Card?

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The GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card lures new members through a promotion for 15% off at sign up. The offer is good for the first qualified purchase made on the card within 90 days of opening the account, but many items may be excluded from the promotion (including Cashmere and gift cards, as well as several specific lines) and the discount cannot be combined with other offers or promotions. Additional points may also be available for signing up for email updates during the sign up process.

Rates for the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card

The GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card comes in two flavors. The Visa has a generally high APR for purchases of 23.99%, and there is a “store” card without the Visa branding that has an APR for purchases of 24.99%, both of which vary with the Prime Rate. The Visa APR for balance transfers is the same 23.99%, and the Visa APR for cash advances is 25.99%. Neither of these options is available for the store brand version of the card. These rates are based on the Prime Rate as of August, 2013.

Other Fees for the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card Visa

The Visa version of the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card has several associated fees. Balance transfers incur a transaction fee equal to the greater of either 3 percent or $5.00. The transaction fee for a cash advance is equal to the greater of either 4 percent or $10.00. The transaction fee for transactions in foreign currency is equal to 3 percent of the total, after conversion to US dollars. There are late payment and penalty fees of up to $35, typical of most Visa cards.

Other Stores That Honor the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card Rewards or Perks

The GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card is accepted in both the “store” branded card and the “Visa” branded card versions at Gap stores and online at the Gap web store. The Gap brand is linked to other retail brands, including Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and Piperlime. The rewards offered by the card can usually be extended to these other brands, and purchases at the other brands can usually be reflected in associated rewards on the Gap branded credit card.

Rewards for the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card

The rewards program offered by The Gap is available to both versions of the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card, including the “Visa” branded version and their “store” brand card. The program is the same for the versions of either card offered through Banana Republic and Old Navy as well. In order to qualify for the rewards program and either earn or redeem points, accounts may not be more than two payments past due and otherwise in good standing. Rewards points do not accrue for debit card or cash purchases or for purchases made on other credit cards besides a GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card.

If the account holder has accounts with more than one store version of the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card, i.e., a Gap card and an Old Navy card, then the rewards points between the two accounts cannot be combined. Also, the points accrue based on the card being used, not the store being shopped at. So a Gap card being used at Banana Republic or Old Navy would accrue points only for the account associated with the Gap card.

When using the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card to make purchases at any U.S., Puerto Rico or Canada store location or online for Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Piperlime, Gap, or any of the Gap branded specialty stores such as BabyGap or Gap Maternity, or the Gap Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Store, each dollar spent is worth five rewards points based on net purchase amounts. Account holders can also earn one point per dollar when the Visa is used at any other merchant locations or at the associated Gap brand store locations outside of the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Amounts of cash advances and balance transfers do not apply toward rewards, nor do the costs of fees or finance charges.

Reward certificates or cards are issued to GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card account holders when they accrue 1,000 points. These certificates are worth $10 each, and the certificates are issued in either $10, $20, $30, $40 or $50 increments, up to $250 per billing cycle. (Old Navy branded accounts receive rewards valued at $5 for 500 points, and up to $50, up to $250 per billing cycle.) Rewards points that fall below the automatic redemption value roll over to the next month, as do points that would be above the $250 limit. Points and rewards cards may only be used by the account holder and may not be transfered to other accounts or individuals.

While there isn’t any limit to the total number of points that can be accrued during a year, points do expire if they are not applied toward a reward card or certificate credit within twenty-four months of the latest purchase made on the account. When credit amounts are issued on a card, the card comes with an expiration date by which the credit must be used at the associated store. Rewards cards may be presented in store during the card’s valid dates or used online with the code printed on the card. Up to three rewards cards may be redeemed simultaneously on a single in-store purchase and may even be combined with another promotional offer (such as a coupon or sale). In all cases, the purchase price must exceed the value of the rewards card(s) being used. Any returns of purchased goods made with rewards cards will have the cost of the item(s) converted to rewards points in the account. Rewards card redemption is not allowed to be combined with employee discounts offered through the Gap Inc.

Rewards may not be applied toward statement credits or applied toward any previous purchases. They may not be used in exchange for cash. And they cannot be used to purchase gift cards. Rewards also cannot be accrued from or redeemed at Intermix stores or the Intermix online store. When an account is closed, any unused rewards points are forfeited.

Other perks of the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card include birthday savings offers, advance notice of sales and exclusive promotional offers, plus 10% off every Tuesday at Gap, Old Navy and Piperlime.

Bonus Rewards Program for GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card

The GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card has an upgrade available for qualifying account holders to either Gap Silver or Banana Republic Luxe status, depending on the store branding of the account holder’s card. To qualify, the card must be used for a minimum net $800 in purchases at associated store locations within a calendar year and maintain minimum monthly payments while keeping the account in consistently good standing. The upgrade will automatically occur within three or four months following qualification and a new card will be sent out for the account. To retain the associated benefits of the upgraded program, account holders must continue to spend a minimum of $800 at the associated store locations each calendar year. The benefits of upgraded status include free shipping, the option of a 15% off sale day of the account holder’s choice, free basic alterations on any purchase at Banana Republic, special offers (like days which earn triple points) and a seperate phone number for customer assistance.

Bottom Line for the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card

This card makes sense for individuals who prefer shopping at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athelta stores. If frequent purchases are going to be made at one of these brand locations, the rewards cards add up to $10 for every $200 in net purchases, which is a fairly high reward rate. However, with the high APR, this is only of real value if the account balance is paid off every month or only a small balance is carried over. Because the points can only be redeemed for purchases at one of these brands, there is no real flexibility for the consumer. In general, there are better rewards programs to choose from, but the GE Capital Retail Bank Gap Credit Card may offer a good suplemental rewards program for those who prefer these brands and tend to spend at their store locations.

 

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