Banana Republic was originally founded in 1978 with a safari theme and the long-winded name, "Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company." The popular retail company was purchased by Gap Inc. in 1983 and given its shortened moniker, Banana Republic. Today, the brand is known for upscale fashion rather than savanna chic, and Banana Republic stands out from its Gap Inc. compatriots by selling higher-end clothing and accessories from its 600-plus locations.
Built for those who loyally shop Banana Republic, the Banana Republic Card provides shoppers with solid savings that few would shake a stick at. While only usable in Gap Inc. brand locations due to its closed-loop nature, many consumers are going ape for the rewards awarded by their Banana Republic Card. At the same time, the card's customer service and payment portals aren't as revered, both getting two opposable thumbs down from a number of reviewers.
Better Cards to Use at Banana Republic
While the Banana Republic Card can be a good value for those who go wild over the latest spring line, offering rewards and exclusive deals, if you can't reach Luxe-level membership you might not save as much as you think. For the average shopper, the limited locations you can use the card (or the Rewards it provides) means it won't be much more than a trophy.
Instead of a card best suited to your mantle, try a card you can really sink your teeth into. An all-around rewards credit card will allow you to make purchases in a wider variety of places than a closed-loop store card, helping you earn rewards wherever you go — including that African safari you've always dreamed about.
Cash back rewards are the simplest of credit card rewards programs. As you make purchases with your card, you'll earn cash back equal to a percentage of your purchases. When you're ready to redeem, just choose your form — statement credit, check, or gift card — to enjoy the savings. You can select from a variety of cash back programs based on your personal spending habits to maximize the rewards.
Few things make cardholders go wild like a great deal on interest — and what's better than free? Introductory 0% APR offers let you carry a balance interest-free for the length of the introductory period, potentially saving you big bucks in interest. Combine a great intro APR deal with some solid rewards, and you've got a credit card that should be in every cargo pocket.
While Banana Republic may have strayed far from its pith-helmeted roots, you can keep the adventure alive with a high-flying travel rewards credit card. Whether you want to stalk gazelle across the savanna or do acrobatics in an acacia, you can earn rewards toward a grand getaway as you stock up on trail mix and bug netting. Seek out a sensational signup bonus to boost your rewards and get flying faster.
Shoppers whose wardrobes aren't complete without the latest Banana Republic fashions will likely get a lot of use out of their Banana Republic Card. For the rest of us, well, with an entire world of rewards to explore, it seems a shame to limit yourself to a few retail brands. Pick up a card that will let your wanderlust actually wander — and earn you rewards along the way.
What Others Say About the Banana Republic Credit Card
The best way to really get a good idea of whether the Banana Republic Card is for you is to see what the natives are saying about the card. We've collected review specimens from around the web to help you explore a few other opinions.
I had this card as well as Gap & Old Navy. I never miss a payment and have paid in full multiple times. This company has no appreciation for loyal customers. As a reward for my timely payment history and continued business, they first lowered all three account limits as a result of an annual credit review they use to screen already open accounts. Last month I paid all of my accounts off and this month they canceled the Banana Republic card stating that the annual review of my credit report showed a high credit usage. First of all, I am an educated and capable individual. I know exactly how much credit I have and how much of it is used. My payments on every single account that I have are always on time and often paid in full. The fact that they take no consideration of your history on their accounts and judge you only by what they think they see on a credit report is appalling. Great way to lose customers! — CreditKarma.com”
The Banana Republic cards are a smart choice for people who make a high volume of purchases at Banana Republic and its sister brands. It is most attractive to people who can reach Luxe status for the extra rewards. Effectively, with Luxe status, you earn 6% rewards on your spending at BR and the sister brands. Another consideration is that rewards can only go towards purchases at those brands as well. — MyBankTracker.com”
I hate the phrase, but this card really "is what it is." I needed to buy a suit and was rather low on money, so I applied for and got this card simply because it would allow me more time to pay for the suit. Also, there was a promotional deal at the time which allowed me to receive a certain percentage discount (if I remember correctly, it was 15%) This is by no means a frugal card to have, as the interest rates are quite high and the rewards aside from the first purchase I had are not much to be thrilled about. I have heard better things about the Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy branded Visa cards. If put in a similar position again, I would only get the store card if I knew I could immediately pay it off and just use it for the immediate bonus provided. — WalletHub.com”
Is the Banana Republic Card Right for You?
If you need a little Banana in your Republic for a happy closet, then the Banana Republic Card may be just what the witch doctor ordered. You'll net rewards on your Gap Inc.-brand purchases, bag exclusive bargains, and ship your catch for free — just don't carry a balance, or those sweet savings will turn sour. And those who don't spend enough to qualify for Luxe status will likely be better off with an open-loop rewards card that will bring in the big game.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.