Considering the Gap Credit Card? You Can Do Better - NerdWallet
Advertiser Disclosure

Considering the Gap Credit Card? You Can Do Better

Aw nerds! It looks like this page may be out of date. Please visit NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards page for updated info.

The Gap credit card sounds appealing at the checkout line: Just apply now to earn an extra 20% off today’s purchase! Sounds pretty tempting, right? Hold on there, shopaholic; don’t sign up just yet. Like most store credit cards, the Gap card is pretty restrictive, both in terms of where you earn rewards and how you can redeem them. All but the most diehard Gap fans probably won’t get that much value out of the card – and there’s pretty much no reason to use the card outside of the store.

The GapCard basics

For a store credit card, the GapCard tops the standard 3% back in-store. It give you 5 points per $1 spent at Gap and their affiliate stores, which include Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta. There’s no annual fee, and you’ll get a $10 reward card for every 1,000 points you earn. Like most credit cards, there’s a store-only and general-purpose version: the strictly Gap credit card can only be used in-store and with affiliates, while the Gap Visa can be used everywhere that Visa is accepted and earns 1 point per $1 spent.

The GapCard comes with a few other bonuses:

  • 10% off at Gap, Old Navy and Piperlime every Tuesday, online or in-store, provided you pay with your card.
  • A mysterious special discount on your birthday
  • 500 points when you opt for paperless statements
  • 2,000 points if you’re willing to be bombarded with voice message and email “updates” (a fancy word for more spam than you can shake a stick at)

Similar opportunities to pick up a few bonus points also crop up here and there.

Gap Silver: for the big spender

If you charge $800 or more onto your card in a calendar year, you’ll automatically upgrade to a Gap Silver Card, which gives you additional benefits including:

  • Free shipping within the U.S.
  • Free basic alterations on Banana Republic merchandise
  • Special access to additional sales

Some of these perks are better than others. The extra sales and free alterations are nice, for sure, but free shipping isn’t as exclusive as it sounds. Every order of $50 or more at gap.com gets free shipping, regardless of whether you’re a cardholder. Quite a few Gap items cost more than $50 by themselves (1969 skinny jeans are currently going for $69.95), so the odds of you spending that much anyway are pretty good. You’ll also have to fight to keep your Silver status and spend $800 each year: Like many elite programs, if you don’t meet the qualifications, you lose your status the next year.

The fine print

We’ve heard from a number of our readers that, in practice, Gap is a lot more lenient about rewards redemption than their terms and conditions would suggest, various readers haven’t been subjected to the restrictions listed here. That said, we can’t guarantee that you’ll get clemency from their myriad redemption rules. The full rewards program terms and conditions are available here.

Unlike other rewards cards, the Gap credit card is pretty restrictive in terms of point redemption options. You only option is $10 gift cards or certificates (no cash) for the store associated with your credit card account (the Gap credit card earns a Gap gift card, the Banana Republic card earns a BR gift card, and so on).

As if that wasn’t inconvenient enough, you can only redeem two $10 gift cards at a time, which means you can’t pay full price for big purchases with your hard-earned rewards. There are a handful of other restrictions – for example, your purchase must be greater than the value of the gift card.

Bottom line: should you get a Gap credit card?

Getting a Gap card and using a Gap card are two different stories. The world won’t end if you get the card (after all, it has no annual fee), and you’ll get the free shipping and bonus point goodies. But using your card, especially using it often enough to earn Silver status, is a less appealing prospect. Unless you can more or less earn Silver status by shopping exclusively at Gap (spending $800 there each year), you might as well let it go. You might get decent rewards at Gap itself, but in the outside world, you can do a lot better.

There are any number of cards that will give you a higher base rewards rate, a bonus rate on all retailers, or flexible cash back instead of $10 gift cards. Given that the Gap card is restrictive in both earning and redeeming bonus points, it’s often not worth using outside of the store. Even then, a credit card online mall can sometimes net you 5% back or better at gap.com.

Discover it®- Double Cash Back your first year

The Discover it®- Double Cash Back your first year earns a solid 5% back on bonus categories that change quarterly. In 2013, they offer rewards on “spring style” from April through July and “holiday shopping” from October through December. Moreover, if you shop at gap.com through the ShopDiscover online rewards mall, you’ll earn an additional 10% cash back on your purchases everyday – the same value you’d get from the Gap card, but your other purchases are rewarded as well.

Chase Freedom®

20% off today’s purchase might be a decent signup bonus, but this one sounds better: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. That’s how much you can earn by signing up for the Chase Freedom®, which also earns 5% back on rotating bonus categories. Though this year’s categories don’t include retailers, you can still earn 3% cash back at gap.com through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall (and 10% back at Kohl’s, and 7% back at Macy’s…). Since the Ultimate Rewards Mall’s offerings are so extensive, why settle for just one retailer?

  • Did you find this article helpful?
  • yes   no
  • JesusBitesDs

    You don’t have very accurate info on the rewards. First off, the rewards (NOT GIFT CARDS) are mailed once a month during each billing period and come in denominations of $10, $20, $40, and $50. Depending on how many reward points you earned in one billing statement you may get a $10 and a $20 or whatever your points come out to. Secondly, these reward coupons are usable at Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy as long as you use the brand credit card that you earned the reward coupons on. There are however some reward coupons out there from Old Navy mostly that can ONLY be used at Old Navy. Lastly, the standard discount for applying and being approved for GapCard or GapVisa is 15% off all purchases at Gap all day. Sometimes there are promotions where it’s 20% off for opening and DOUBLE Rewards. Customers earn Silver status after spending $800 in a year and they sometimes get TRIPLE Rewards during special promotions. Also, the max amount of reward coupons you can use in one transaction is THREE (3). I’d also like to add that this is a credit card…not let’s spend $100 at Gap and get our next ten purchases free.

  • Monica

    I have to agree with the poster below. You have inaccurate information regarding Gap credit card rewards. The rewards can be redeemed at Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and their respective websites. In addition they can also be redeemed online for Piperlime and Athleta merchandise. And you can use multiple reward cards in one transaction…I have a Gap card and have accumulated over $100 in reward cards in the past year. I don’t know how you are getting such inaccurate information..

  • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ Tim

    If you don’t mind, can you tell me exactly which lines of this article are inaccurate? We got our information from the Gap website and it can be found here: http://www.gap.com/customerService/info.do?cid=37526

  • Anonymous

    I actually work for Gap, and this is completely wrong.

    First of all, the rewards come in the form of a certificate, not a “gift card.”

    “However, the gift card is only good for the store whose name is on your card: though a Gap credit card earns points at Banana Republic, you can’t spend your rewards gift card there.” — No, you can use any BR or ON reward at Gap and any Gap reward at either BR or ON.

    “You can get 15% off on your first online purchase, unless you want to apply that discount to Converse, babyGap, JunkFood or anything on sale.” — No, you get 15% (or whatever the current discount may be) off your entire purchase, regardless of what you buy.

    “What’s more, you can only use two gift cards at a time.” — No, I have done at least 3 certificates together in a transaction at a time, unless there are other promotions that are being used with the rewards certificates.

    “If your gift card is lost or stolen, too bad: Gap washes its hands of the responsibility.” — No, as far as I know, you can call customer service and get a new one sent to you. They have information about which certificates have been used and which ones have not, so they can reissue ones that have not.

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ Tim

      Thanks for the note. The information for this post comes from the terms and conditions listed on Gap’s website. It’s very possible that these terms are just meant to “cover their asses,” and that customers may have a bit more flexibility at the register than they admit.

    • Natalie

      I completely agree, I work at Banana Republic, and most of this article is a blatant fabrication. In addition, I actually HAVE Bananacard, and I love it. Fact is, the rewards are incredibly flexible and are good at ALL GAP AFFILIATES. Being a cashier, I also know that you can combine rewards upon rewards with almost every coupon that banana or gap sends.

    • Person

      You can also use your Gap reward at Piperlime — which I did the other month. Awesome!

      It is also worth it to note that Gap card holders do get access to quite good sales. Just last weekend I bought my husband 3 pairs of pants using a promo code for gap card holders, a promo code for e-mail subscribers and a rewards certificate. Grand total: $65 or $21.66 per pair of pants. Not bad.

      As far as the interest rate — don’t put things on your card that you cannot afford to pay off. That’s just basic responsible use of a credit card.

    • Nick

      maybe this is the way it was in the past, but currently, you can use your rewards in any of the affiliated stores

  • Acez55

    As an owner of GapCard I can say most of those points are wrong and the anonymous employee touches on most of them. But I can add what Gap is doing now in regard to losing your reward card, if they have your email, which most do for online paying or etc, if you haven’t use your rewards in a month, they send you an email reminder saying you have unused rewards and a copy of the rewards in the email in case you did lose. You don’t even have to report it as lost, they send them a copy any for convinence. Also I would like to add the benefits off of 10% every tuesday at Gap, BR, ON and piper lime. Plus now when you sign up you get the 10% every day for your first sixty days as well, which gets me an additional 10% through the holidays. Awesome!

  • Ghblahblahblah

    Considering I was just penalized $75 in late fees for paying my bills EARLY (Yes, the representative even confirmed I wasn’t just paying my bill on time, and above the minimum due.. I was in fact paying it EARLY!) and they still reamed me hard with late fees .. I would not recommend this card.

    Unless you feel like spending 45 minutes arguing with a call center somewhere in Bangladesh. :)

    • Guest

      Yeah, this is unfortunately true with most (if not all) credit cards. If you pay too early, it’s like you’re paying on a balance (even if the balance is $0) for the previous statement, which is independent/unrelated to the pending statement. So as a rule, if you want your payment applied to the almost-current statement, you HAVE to wait for the statement to actually appear first, even if you “know” how much you’re going to have to pay.

    • Amanda

      I have paid my credit card off making an electronic payment through my bank – immediately after making an in-store purchase- before receiving the statement and I have never been assessed an early payment fee. I’ve had this card for 9 years.

  • Guest

    In addition to the other incorrect points in this article, you make it sound like rewards come only in $10 increments (the comment about buying a $100 item using 2 rewards cards totaling $20), when in fact they come in at least $10, $20, and $50 increments. So sure you can get a $100 item with rewards using only rewards and no extra cash–use two $50 rewards certificates!

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi there,
      It seems from the rewards cards’ terms and conditions that they send you a $10 gift card when you accumulate 1,000 points:

      Each time you earn 1,000 Rewards points on your Account, you will receive a $10 Reward Card for that Account. Reward Cards will be issued by the same brand as the Account. For example, Gap Accounts will receive a $10 Gap Reward Card for every 1,000 Rewards points earned;

      Has it been your experience that you can get, for example, a $20 gift card for 2,000 points?

      • Guest

        Yes. It just depends how much you spend in a given month. If you hit 1000 points, they send you a $10 card. If you hit 2000, $20. With 3000, they send a $10 and a $20 card together. And so on. And sometimes they do promotions where you get, say, triple points on certain purchases (like groceries) during a certain period, which makes it possible to rack up 5000 points in a month fairly easily, and then you get a $50 card.

        Keeping in mind that you only have to spend $200 at Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Athleta, or Piperlime to get 1000 points, if you shop at those stores a lot in one month you can hit the higher amounts easily to get the higher reward amounts.

        • Nick

          I work for gap inc and have received 100$ rewards in the past. There are more lies in this article than i am willing to correct, but i think the Gap Card is a great card to have, most of my customers seem to think so.

  • Sbygel8081

    Do a bit more research. I have a gap visa card and love it. I earn far more rewards then I ever thought I would (and no I am not a shopaholic). There are many opportunities to earn double and triple points so you make it to a reward card often. The rewards cards are redeemable at any of gaps sister companies and you don’t have to spend more than the value of the card, you just forfeit the balance if you spend less. In regards to using numerous cards together, the registers at any Gap Inc stores normally won’t accept any more than 3 coupons at a time but the associates are always willing to do what’s right and honor any and all rewards cards. The Gap card also has great fraud protection. My husband borrowed my card when we were on vacation in Canada. His $20 charge went through but when we came back home and I tried to use it at old navy the card was declined. After calling customer service I found out that they put a hold on the card because they thought the canada charge was unusual, it was were from Texas and that was our first time out of the country. The associates always ask for ID too. I like knowing that no one else is going to be able to use my card but me.

  • ba

    I find most of your issues to be 100% incorrect. You can use up to 3 rewards per purchase (no reason you can’t split up your purchase so you can use all of your rewards at once) and you can use any value reward. I have seen many people use 3 $50 rewards in one purchase. You can use your rewards at any gap store, Gap, banana, old navy and outlets including piperlime and athleta. The only restrictions on what you can purchase are sometimes items that are not gap brand. So sometimes junk food items or special runs of a specific item. Again something that Gap does not make.

    You can also almost always combine your rewards with any promotions going on. This last weekend gap card holders received 30% off their entire in store purchase and they could use rewards with this.

    Also you are missing half of what the free shipping gets you with a silver card. It is not just free shipping online it is also in stores. Find a shirt you love but they don’t have your size? If another store ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY has it they will ship it to your door for free. Also if you are in the store buying gift for someone they will ship it to that persons door for free. Plus silver card holders often receive double and triple rewards. But don’t worry the entire month of June all gap card holders get double points.

    To be honest it sounds like you have no actual experience using a Gap card and I have a hard time understanding why you would think you are qualified to tell people what a product is like if you have never used it.

    • http://lizzilivingston.wordpress.com/ Lizzilives

      AWESOME post!

  • Lynn Keller

    The GAP card is (as I’ve told them) the worst most frustrating card I’ve ever had apart from BankAmerica. They have horrible customer service, post payments late and charge me and have randomly shut my card down for fraud alert if I’m even in a different suburb of my city without trying to contact me or notify me.
    I have perfect credit but all this nonsense has caused me several times to stand at GAP stores unable to check out , humiliated and frustrated, being put on calls to people I cannot understand who refuse to reopen my account. Reward points come up as used which were not used and there is no arbitration.
    I keep it only because my kids use GAP clothing . But I just found out GAP owners are tea party extremists who give huge funds to defeat progressive food and medical care legislation in California so I will close it now.

    • Nick

      I understand your frustration, but Gap does its best to prevent you from having your identity stolen, if that means having to wait on the phone a few times, well i think thats a fair trade.

    • Lisa O’Connor

      Same with me. Had it shut down from fraud THREE times. Once I pressed for a letter demanding an explanation of the last one. They mistakenly sent me the name and ADDRESS of the theif, yet did nothing about it. So one time while traveling ,I got nervous and canceled a check payment and they CLOSED my account!!!!! I had perfect credit! Worst card ever!!

  • Lynn Keller

    The GAP card is (as I’ve told them) the worst most frustrating card I’ve ever had apart from BankAmerica. They have horrible customer service, post payments late and charge me and have randomly shut my card down for fraud alert if I’m even in a different suburb of my city without trying to contact me or notify me.
    I have perfect credit but all this nonsense has caused me several times to stand at GAP stores unable to check out , humiliated and frustrated, being put on calls to people I cannot understand who refuse to reopen my account. Reward points come up as used which were not used and there is no arbitration.
    I keep it only because my kids use GAP clothing . But I just found out GAP owners are tea party extremists who give huge funds to defeat progressive food and medical care legislation in California so I will close it now.

  • http://lizzilivingston.wordpress.com/ Lizzilives

    This is not true. I have the Gap Visa Card and I use it as my primary credit card. I got upgraded to silver status even though I did not spend $800 or so of items from the Gap stores or those affiliated. Heck, I don’t even like Gap. Old Navy is alright and that’s where I use my rewards mainly.. AND when I get these rewards, they are NOT limited to Gap only. I can use my reward in any Gap-affiliated store.. Banana Republic, Piperlime, Athleta as well as Old Navy. I have definitely received rewards that were over $10 on multiple basis. As long as you buy a lot or let your points linger on.. they can get bigger. I had a $30 reward last month. So to conclude, this article above is misleading and don’t fall into its false message. I love my gap visa card and it’s awesome. You don’t even have to be a Gap fan to enjoy it.. :) As long as you like Old Navy or the others… 😛 :) -Lizzi

  • http://lizzilivingston.wordpress.com/ Lizzilives

    This is not true. I have the Gap Visa Card and I use it as my primary credit card. I got upgraded to silver status even though I did not spend $800 or so of items from the Gap stores or those affiliated. Heck, I don’t even like Gap. Old Navy is alright and that’s where I use my rewards mainly.. AND when I get these rewards, they are NOT limited to Gap only. I can use my reward in any Gap-affiliated store.. Banana Republic, Piperlime, Athleta as well as Old Navy. I have definitely received rewards that were over $10 on multiple basis. As long as you buy a lot or let your points linger on.. they can get bigger. I had a $30 reward last month. So to conclude, this article above is misleading and don’t fall into its false message. I love my gap visa card and it’s awesome. You don’t even have to be a Gap fan to enjoy it.. :) As long as you like Old Navy or the others… 😛 :) -Lizzi

  • WojoMI

    As a gap visa card holder, this article (and it’s inaccuracies) confused me, until I got to the bottom which conveniently provides the reader with links to sign up for other credit cards! (Referral pay back, me thinks!) Anywho, we use this card as our daily, all-purpose card and pay it off weekly, so we never carry a balance and never pay interest. That being said, according to my Savings Summary found on the card’s website, I’ve enjoyed $690 in Gap Rewards Certificates (which I have combined a $50 and a $10 and a $10 and a $10 at a recent single Gap store visit). Coupled with a $676 discount I’ve received while shopping at the brand’s stores, I’ve enjoyed a total of $1,366 in savings since putting this little nugget into my wallet.

  • WojoMI

    As a gap visa card holder, this article (and it’s inaccuracies) confused me, until I got to the bottom which conveniently provides the reader with links to sign up for other credit cards! (Referral pay back, me thinks!) Anywho, we use this card as our daily, all-purpose card and pay it off weekly, so we never carry a balance and never pay interest. That being said, according to my Savings Summary found on the card’s website, I’ve enjoyed $690 in Gap Rewards Certificates (which I have combined a $50 and a $10 and a $10 and a $10 at a recent single Gap store visit). Coupled with a $676 discount I’ve received while shopping at the brand’s stores, I’ve enjoyed a total of $1,366 in savings since putting this little nugget into my wallet.

  • Teresa Gott

    I work for Gap and have a Gap visa you can redeem 3 rewards of any amount per transaction. All cashiers will separate transactions if you have more rewards. Rewards can be combined with any coupon.

  • Teresa Gott

    I work for Gap and have a Gap visa you can redeem 3 rewards of any amount per transaction. All cashiers will separate transactions if you have more rewards. Rewards can be combined with any coupon.

  • Andrew

    I had a GAP card and had a bad experience. Poor customer service, limited payment options, and limited rewards. Many better options out there, nobody can deny that.

  • Andrew

    I had a GAP card and had a bad experience. Poor customer service, limited payment options, and limited rewards. Many better options out there, nobody can deny that.

  • Anh Nguyen

    gap credit card is the worst card I EVER had! They put a $300 charge on my card and none of the customer services nor fraud agents know why. I got all my statements because they closed my account and see that there’s no $300 amount. the balance was 0.

    The worst part is that they always sent me to someone in another country who don’t know craps. None of them can see anything that was $300. And then it is just $300 from their headquarter with no details. Everytimes i talked to them result in a pointless 1hrs call, last one was 1hr32mins. So i attempted to chat online with a representative, named “Fiona,” and she closed my account again. I chatted with her because the new account had the random $300 and some other charges I MADE, but no rewards, so i asked her to send me all the statements because the reward was $120, she sent me the statement and closed my account again!

    Then I recieved a letter from them that they have resolved the $300 and it is credited back to my account… 2 weeks later it is still on my balance.. I gave them two weeks because they’re slow. Called again, and said they will get to it in 2 weeks!!!!! Are they freaking serious???!! They and I both cannot see where the $300 came from and still wait another 2 weeks. And apparently they reported me to collection, which in the “resolved” letter stated that they have contacted the collections to remove it.

    After the debacle is FINALLY taken off my account, I will definitely cancel this stupid card.

    Not to mention that I had my account was used in FL twice this year alone! one for $255 at a grocery store in FL, while i was at work in Memphis TN, on a THursday! Both fraud cases was in FL! and their other base is in FL, so apparently someone had my account and dulicated the card! AS of now, I DO NOT trust them for anything…

  • Courtney Rogers

    I love my Gap card! I pay it off in full every month. I have never had any problems with it and I always get pretty close to FREE clothes! They recently changed their rewards program to where every 500 points gets you a $5 reward. But their bonus structure is awesome. Right now until the end of the year they have 5X points on every purchase outside their brands (it’s regularly only 1 point) and a 100 point bonus for every day you use your card. The biggest reward you can get is $50 max value. So, if you earn $80 in rewards, you will get one $50 and one $30 reward, but you can use up to 3 at a time on top of a sale. I will always buy things when they are having a 40% off sale and stack my rewards on top and littlerlly spend $1-3 for at least $100+ of clothes. And you can use the rewards at any of their stores. I used to only shop at gap, but now I think I’ve graduated to banana republic.
    But this is the best that happened: last year during Black Friday week, they had a promotion where for enery purchase you make over $75 you would get a $10 reward. Well I took advantage of that big time and separated all of my transactions. (FYI: they shut my card down after the first 3 transactions for fear of fraud, but I called them while I was in the store and I was back to buying in no time at all). Next month my rewards came around and I got $210 in rewards!!! I coasted with that for a few months of free clothes. And yes, I did pay off my balance, no interest! I believe I’m called a deadbeat from the CC companies, since I never pay them interest. Sorry…not!

    So sorry for all you complainers out there saying Gap is a bad card, obviously you don’t know what you’re doing.