American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) is a clothing and accessories brand that targets teen and college students 15 to 25, both male and female, although older adults also wear these clothes. American Eagle is known for low-rise jeans, polo shirts, sweats, outerwear, and much more. If you're a frequent shopper there we've put together a great guide on why you might want to consider the American Eagle Credit Card. There are obviously pluses and minuses but at least you'll now be able to make an informed decision.
Founded by Pittsburgh natives Jerry and Mark Silverman, they started out as Silverman Menswear, a subsidiary of Retail Ventures, Inc. The first American Eagle store was opened in Michigan in 1977. In 1991 the brothers sold off their interests in Silverman Menswear to focus on the American Eagle Outfitter brand. Today there are nearly a thousand AEO stores in the U.S., along with over 100 branches of the Aerie brand which the company also owns. This is an intimate apparel line launched by American Eagle in 2006. Sixty-seven of the Aerie shops are located in AEO stores.
Store card or VISA
An American Eagle Credit Card may refer to either the store credit card or a Visa card. When signing up for an AEO credit card you automatically become enrolled in AERewards, the company's loyalty program. The benefits are outlined below. Ladies who get an AEO credit card can get a free bra if they purchase five more with their American Eagle card at Aerie stores.
The store card is easier to acquire. Even if you have a low credit score, you may qualify for the AEO store card. This is only usable at AEO or Aerie stores, not other retailers or for ATM withdrawals, but will help to build your credit as well as save on all your AEO purchases. The store card does involve a higher APR of 25.24%. It can be paid online, by mail, or by phone.
The American Eagle Visa card is more difficult to get, typically requiring a credit score in at least the mid 600s. This is an ordinary Visa card valid with all merchandisers accepting credit cards.
These cards are issued by Synchrony Financial Bank, which backs a number of major retail accounts. It was formerly known as GE Capital Retail Bank until June of 2014, when the name was changed to Synchrony Bank. This was to avoid confusion with a similarly-named financial institution called GE Capital Bank. Synchrony is based in Draper, Utah, and controls assets valued at over $39 billion.
Either version of the American Eagle credit card comes with a generous rewards program. This includes a 25-day grace period on purchase payments. When these credit cards are used at any AEO store, you earn Savings points for each $25 purchase at AEO or Aerie stores. Savings bonuses are 4% of the purchase price. The savings reward level increases with your point total. At 100 points purchasers get 15% of AEO merchandise, 20% off at 200, 30% off at 300, and 40% off at 500 points.
The AEO savings program also allows 15% off your first online purchase at American Eagle or Aerie websites, and $10 savings for every 10 points earned. Exclusive cardholders also can take part in quarterly sales events and a 20% off birthday coupon.
There is no annual fee with either the store or credit card. Consumers can apply for one or both online (https://www.onlinecreditcenter2.com/eapplygen2/load.do?cHash=934578928&subActionId=1000) or at any AEO outlet. Those who fail to get approved for the Visa may still qualify for the store card.
The Visa card comes at four levels of credit risk: Secured, Platinum, Platinum Rewards, and Signature. Each provides generous spending limits, a low variable APR, zero fraud liability, and the same benefits as the store card. The Visa also includes an added bonus point and 1% savings for every $100 spent at non-AEO retailers.
Interest and limits at different Visa card levels:
- SECURED - $250
- PLATINUM- $500 to $25,000
- PLATINUM REWARDS- $500 to $25,000
- SIGNATURE- $5,000 to $30,000
Approved Percentage Rates start at 24.24% but with sufficient credit may be as low as:
- SECURED - 15.9%
- PLATINUM- 9.9%
- PLATINUM REWARDS- 11.9%
- SIGNATURE- 10.9%
VISA cards also include Auto Rental Insurance Waiver, Emergency Cash & Card Replacement, and Warranty Management. Travel Accident Insurance is also included at up to $400,000 dollars for the first three cards and up to $1 million for the Signature card. Online services include Balance Transfers, adding/removing authorized users, e-mailed account statements, lost or stolen card reporting, Payment Protection plans, and account alerts delivered via text or email. Some cards may also be available with embedded Smart Chip. You can also transfer your balance from the American Eagle Visa card to another credit card whenever you wish.
American Eagle Credit Card: Visa Fees and Limits
- Maximum late fee: $35
- Over limit fee: NONE
- Penalty APR: NONE
- Cash Advance Rate: 27.24%
- Cash Advance Fee: 3% (minimum $10)
- Foreign transaction fee: 3%
Who needs the American Eagle Credit Card
For those who shop frequently at American Eagle Outfitters this is a great card, as you can quickly build up points for great savings. The AEO card has better benefits and more rewards than other merchant-issued cards. For AEO shoppers, the eventual savings should more than cover the interest paid. The Extra Savings Points never expire. The yearly birthday coupon can be used whenever you wish, even months later. Even a person who doesn't frequently shop at American Eagle might want the card just for a major clothing purchase - such as holiday shopping or purchasing new school clothes for a child. The 15% initial discount alone could save $45 on a $300 purchase.
You should always read the fine print. For instance the American Eagle Credit Card terms and conditions state the multiple discounts can't be applied to the same purchase. You can't use your Extra Savings Points for $10 off and use the birthday coupon at the same purchase. And the birthday coupon is only valid for accounts in good standing; if you're delinquent in payments it won't be applied. Nor can it be given away or used independently of the credit card (for instance cash purchases or other credit cards).
However, these caveats are typical of store credit cards. Most American Eagle shoppers who obtain the store card are very pleased with the savings program.
Retail credit cards are a blessing for consumers who are anxious to save when shopping at their favorite brands. The American Eagle credit card offers an excellent loyalty rewards program for shopping at either AEO or Aerie stores and websites.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker