Athleta Credit Card: Fun Idea, But Not Worth the Trouble

PFG's Rating:

Recommended in specific cases. Use the Athleta Credit Card cautiously. Requires special attention to on-time payments to avoid very high APR and/or fees. If you shop at Athleta or Gap brand stores very frequently, the 5% back in store credit can make it worth having this card in your wallet

Pros and Cons: Athleta Credit Card Rewards

Pros

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Effectively a 5% rewards rate – a reasonable rate for a store card

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You earn the 5% store credit rewards rate at all Gap inc brands – that’s Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic, and Old Navy

N

No Annual fee

N

20% your first purchase with the card

N

You can use the card anywhere – not just at the Athleta store 

N

Reputable issuer (Barclays)

Cons

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Very high APR – 28%+ – like most store co-brand cards. Be careful to pay off your bill fully each month 

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Point are only valid at Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy

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3% foreign transaction fee

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5% balance transfer fee 

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No real above and beyond special perks, compared to other cards 

  • 5% store credit rewards rate – only applies to Gap brand stores
  • Free shipping for online purchases over $50
  • 20% off of your first purchase with the card
  • A small amount of extra points for shopping at Gap’s family of brands (e.g., making purchases not just at Athleta, but also at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. Store credit value, even if you hit the maximum here is estimated at under $50, so not a huge benefit 
  • 28.24% APR – this is extremely high, but not uncommon for store co-brand cards
  • This is a variable rate, so they will shift it as the Prime Rate fluctuates over time 
  • No annual fee – $0 annual fee.
    • Applications are subject to credit approval
    • While they will take into account your total application, we recommend a credit score of at least 620 to be likely for approval
    • Be 18 years old (or the age of majority in your state or territory)
    • Have a government issued photo ID and tax identification number (for example a social security number)
    • Be willing to provide a non-PO Box mailing address
    • Early access and/or notification of sales and promotions 

    Interested in other credit cards?

    Check out our credit card hub!

    Athleta Credit Card  Executive Summary: You Will Need to Spend Thousands of Dollars at Gap Brand Stores Annually to Make it Worth It

    The Athleta credit card is an ok option for those who very frequently shop at Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. Their points scheme equates to a 5% store credit.

    Let’s get into all the details ⏩ ⏩

    Athleta Credit Card Basic Intro

    But, if you do not frequently shop at any of these stores, the very high APR of the credit card likely makes this card not worth it. You will have to spend thousands of dollars per year at Gap brand stores (Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy) to make it worth earning the high 5% store credit, instead of other options like earning 1.5-2% cash back on a general purpose card.

    Even if you are a frequent Athleta shopper, be sure to regularly pay off your balance to avoid the high-interest rate on this card and extra fees. Fortunately, there’s no annual fee to worry about, however.

    For those who haven’t seen their rapid, recent rise, Athleta is a women’s activewear brand owned by Gap Inc., whose family brands include Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy.

    Athleta Features and benefits discussion

     Let’s check out the benefits:

    Athleta credit card features and benefits

    Pros of the Athleta credit card

    • You earn five points for every dollar spent at Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. Since 100 points = $1 of store credit, this equals a 5% store credit reward rate
    • The Athleta credit card has no annual fee
    • You can use this card anywhere, not just Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy – a benefit not seen in many store cards
    • You’ll earn 20% off of your first purchase when you open the card (must be made within 14 days of account opening) – a good benefit if you can group your annual clothing purchase into one giant order
    • Cardholders of the Athleta Rewards Mastercard get early access to special promotions and sales. To us, this just sounds like you will receive a lot of extra marketing materials and emails

    Rewards

    Rewards of the Athleta credit card include earning points for purchases outside of Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy, and earning even more points for purchases at any of those stores. This is somewhat unusual among store cards, many of which only work in the specific store they are co-branded to.

    The rewards rate for purchases outside the Gap inc brands works out to be about a 1% store credit. Not great for points portability and not competitive for what you can get with general-purpose cash back cards (about 1.5-2%)

    Once you earn 100 points, you receive $1 to use toward a purchase at Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy. You’ll also receive free shipping on all online orders if you spend $50 or more.

    Additional Perks and Benefits

    Additional perks and benefits of the Athleta credit card include:

    • Early access to sales
    • Exclusive offers available only to members
    • Points are exchangeable as a store credit at Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy

    • Quarterly bonus points for frequent shoppers. These are capped at 500 points or about $5 of store credit, so barely worth mentioning
    • Fraud liability protection for lost/stolen card
    • Gaining bonus points when you shop at a family brand: if you shop at multiple Gap inc brands within the same year you can receive up to 2,000 points or $20, so again, such a small benefit it’s barely worth mentioning

    Features and Benefits of the Athleta Credit Card

    While you earn points for shopping outside of Gap Inc. brand stores, points for spend outside of Gap Inc stores are only worth about one cent for every dollar spent, making it difficult to rapidly accumulate points.

    The basic benefits of the Athleta credit card include fraud liability protection so your money is shielded in case your card is missing or stolen.

    The benefits of the Athleta credit card are especially good for frequent Athleta shoppers. If you love Athleta’s clothes, you will gain access to sales and exclusive shopping opportunities earlier than those without an Athleta credit card. You’ll also receive quarterly bonus points to use toward purchases, worth only a couple of dollars, though. And you will get free shipping on online orders of $50 or more.

    If you are considering getting an Athleta credit card, try to apply for it on a day when you are planning on making an expensive purchase from Athleta. You will receive 20% off your first purchase, so save it for something very expensive.

    Since the Athleta Rewards Mastercard has no annual fee, there’s not much cost to have it, other than the headache of another credit card login, tracking another payment schedule, and having one more card account to manage.

    Fortunately, the issuer of this card is Synchrony bank, a large and well-knowm store brand credit card issuer. Synchrony bank is a generally reputable, public company.

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    Drawbacks and Cons

    Here’s what to watch out with the Athleta Rewards Mastercard:

    Athleta credit card cons and drawbacks

    Cons of the Athleta Rewards Mastercard

    • This card’s APR is way higher than the current national average – but still about in line with most store cards’ APR

    • Compared to other store cards, this one has about the same benefits as average – nothing really special or unique here  

    • There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee if you use this card outside of the US 

    APR/Interest Rate 

    The APR for purchases and balance transfers is 28.24% and the APR for cash advances is 29.24% – quite high for credit cards in general, but about average for store co-brand cards. You’ll definitely not want to carry a balance and actually incur interest charges with this card!

    Fees

    There is no annual fee for the Athleta credit card, but there is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% (whichever is greater).

    Negative Aspects of the Athleta Credit Card 

    You should avoid using your Athleta credit card overseas because the 3% foreign transaction fee. 

    The APR rate is much higher than average at over 28%, so this is not a card for users who tend to carry a balance. You should make sure you fully pay off your balance every month – make that payment on time! 

    The benefits of the Athleta rewards MasterCard are only valuable to users who spend a lot of money – think thousands annually, at Athleta and other Gap brand stores. If you do not spend a lot of time or money at Gap Brand Inc. stores, don’t apply for an Athleta credit card. 

    Who the Athleta Rewards Credit Card is great for

    Athleta credit card: who's it good for?

    Who Should Get an Athleta Credit Card? 

    An Athleta credit card is ideal for people with good credit who spend a lot of money on clothing from Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy. These users will rack up the most points and thus receive the most benefits. 

    Who Should Avoid an Athleta Credit Card? 

    Anyone with a track record of not paying off their credit card balance in full every month should not apply for an Athleta credit card.

    It is also not worthwhile if you do not frequently shop at Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy. 

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    Final Thoughts on the Athleta Credit Card

    While the headline rate of 5% rewards sounds like it’s substantially above the competition and may be worth it, we don’t think it is. You will need to spend thousands of dollars annually at Gap brand stores to make this worth it. If not, you are probably better off passing on the Athleta credit card. Consider getting a general purpose unlimited cash back card instead.

    The Athleta rewards credit card is an ok choice for people who extremely frequently shop at Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy.

    Shopping at one of these stores will help you accumulate points quickly, but don’t forget that you can only cash in those points at one of those stores. 

    While the 5% store credit might be worth it if you shop for your whole family frequently at these stores, consider how much you will need to spend at these store to make it worth having another credit card to keep track of.

    For example, if you used this card, instead of a 2% cash back general purpose card, and spent $1,000 at Athleta, you would have $50 of rewards instead of $20. That’s only $30 extra for spending $1,000 on clothes AND the whole $50 of rewards are only useable at Gap inc brands stores, not anywhere like cash back.

    Probably not worth the hassle of imagining an extra credit card login and account.

    Additionally, at over 28% This card has a very high APR, making it a risky choice for the average user. You will want to track your payment schedule very closely, so you don’t incur interest.

    Athleta Credit Card Review

    Eligibility

    To get an Athleta card, you will go through a credit check. To be eligible for a check, you must have a valid email, address, and phone number and show your social security number and annual income.

    Finally, you must have a reasonably good credit score to be considered for the card. Many store cards have lower credit requirements than average, general-purpose credit cards.

    Background Information on Athleta Credit Cards 

    Athleta credit cards, like many other store credit cards, are managed through Barclays. Transactions are processed through Mastercard, one of the world’s largest and most trusted credit card processors.  

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Get fast answers to the most common questions 

    Can you use your Old Navy credit card at Athleta?

    Yes! All Gap brand store cards work at other Gap brand stores. Gap brand stores include: Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Old Navy

    I'm looking for my Athleta credit card login

    If you just need your Athleta credit card log in, try navigating here 

     

    Is Barclays reputable?

    We think generally so. They’re a large, public company, that’s been around for a long time and is the bank behind hundreds of store-brand credit cards

    Am I in the right place?

    Common misspellings and very similar searches for this card include:

    • Athleta card
    • Athleta Synchrony 
    • Athletacard

    Editor's Note:

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    Meet the Author:

    Cody Beecham

    Cody Beecham

    Founder/Owner/Editor/Author

    Cody is the founder and owner of Personal Finance Guru. His day job is as a management consultant at one of the Top 3 firms (think Mckinsey, Bain), where he advises Fortune 500 C-suite clients on their most important and pressing business problems. He completed his business education at Harvard Business School. 

    After seeing the lack of personal finance education for regular people, Cody started the website with the mission to provide everyone access to information that will help them achieve their financial goals.

    Cody approaches personal finance from a maximalist perspective, shunning typical advice around simply not buying a cup of coffee instead of more effective methods like investing in yourself to quickly grow your income. 

    He believes in saving money and investing for the future, but he also knows that you need to enjoy life today. That’s why Cody approaches money with a sense of humor and a positive attitude. He knows that if you’re not having fun while you’re growing your wealth, then what’s the point?

    Cody approaches life with the same gusto that he brings to personal finance. He loves to travel and experience new cultures, and he is an avid reader and learner. He also enjoys playing sports (especially tennis) and spending time with his family and friends.