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L.L.Bean Visa® Card Review

At a Glance
llbean-visa-credit-card
3.7 / 5
Rating

L.L.Bean Visa® Card

  • Sign-Up Bonus: None (one-time LLBean.com shopping discount of 15% for instant approvals at LLBean.com only)
  • Rewards: 10% back on L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School purchases; 3% back on all other L.L. Bean purchases; 1% back on all other non-L.L. Bean purchases
  • Benefits: Free return shipping on L.L. Bean purchases; free monogramming on select L.L. Bean merchandise; access to cardholder-exclusive sales on L.L. Bean products
  • Intro APR: None
  • Fees: 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The L.L.Bean Visa® Card is a Barclaycard-issued rewards credit card that caters to practical fashionistas. Though it basically functions as a store credit card for L.L. Bean, a popular apparel maker that also happens to be on our list of companies offering health benefits to part-time workers, the L.L. Bean Visa can be used wherever Visa is accepted.

That’s pretty much everywhere.

The L.L. Bean Visa has no annual fee and a nice lineup of features for frequent L.L. Bean shoppers. Let’s take a closer look at its important features, advantages, drawbacks, and overall suitability.

Key Features

Instant Approval Bonus

If your application is eligible to be instantly approved, you’ll receive a one-time discount of 15% on any eligible purchase made during the same LLBean.com session. Once you navigate away from the site, the opportunity ends. This offer comes with some category restrictions (for instance, no firearms purchases), so be sure to read the fine print before shopping. Be warned that it only applies to applications made through L.L. Bean’s website, not Barclaycard’s site.

Earning L.L. Bean Rewards

The L.L. Bean Visa Card earns unlimited 3% back on all L.L. Bean merchandise purchases made directly with L.L. Bean’s businesses (online and in-store). All other non-L.L. Bean purchases earn unlimited 1% back. There’s no limit to how much you can earn.

Redeeming L.L. Bean Rewards

When you accumulate $10 in L.L. Bean rewards, you’re automatically sent a $10 L.L. Bean coupon. You can redeem your coupon for L.L. Bean purchases online, in-store, or by phone.

10% Back on L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School Purchases

This card has a special rewards category: 10% back on all L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School purchases.

L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School is essentially an outdoor adventure outfitter that offers curated excursions involving stand up paddle boardinglong-distance wilderness hikes, open-water kayaking, fly fishing, shooting and archery, orienteering, and more. Outdoor Discovery School trips aren’t cheap, but this perk lessens the sting.

Cardholder Exclusive Sales

L.L. Bean Visa cardholders have access to exclusive sales on L.L. Bean merchandise and categories. The depth and breadth of potential discounts vary – check with L.L. Bean for more details.

Free Return Shipping

L.L. Bean Visa cardholders are entitled to free return shipping on all L.L. Bean purchases. Each return shipment costs $6.50, regardless of the merchandise involved or the underlying dollar cost, so this can really add up for picky buyers.

Free Monogramming on Select Merchandise

L.L. Bean Visa cardholders enjoy complimentary monogramming on select merchandise. The service normally costs $8 per line.

FICO Credit Score Access

Cardholders have free and unfettered access to their FICO credit scores through their online account dashboards and monthly account statements.

Important Fees

The L.L. Bean Visa Card has no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost up to $37.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit. If you have significant credit blemishes in the relatively recent past, your application may be denied.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. The L.L. Bean Visa Card has no annual fee. This is great news for frugal cardholders looking to maximize the value of their earned rewards.
  2. Great Return on L.L. Bean Spending. This card returns 3% on L.L. Bean product purchases. That’s higher than the 2% rate of return offered by most other brand-specific credit cards, including a number of travel rewards credit cards and retail credit cards backed by Barclaycard. If you’re already a loyal L.L. Bean customer, you now have an even bigger incentive to keep shopping.
  3. Fantastic Rate of Return at L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools. This card returns 10% on spending at L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools. While not every cardholder has the time or budget for an Outdoor Discovery School excursion, this perk certainly sweetens the deal for fence-sitters.
  4. Exclusive Sales for Cardholders. Beyond the 3% and 10% rewards categories, the L.L. Bean Visa Card users extract value from cardholder-exclusive sales that promise even deeper discounts. When you keep this card in your wallet, the sales find you.
  5. Nice Instant Approval Bonus. If Barclaycard is able to instantly approve your card application through the application portal on L.L. Bean’s website, you’re entitled to 15% off eligible L.L. Bean purchases made during that browsing session. If you’ve been waiting a while to stock up on merchandise and gear at L.L. Bean, this is a great opportunity to reduce your final bill.
  6. Free Return Shipping on L.L. Bean Orders. The L.L. Bean Visa cardholders are entitled to free return shipping on all orders, regardless of the products purchased or original order cost. That’s worth $6.50 per order.
  7. Free Monogramming on Select L.L. Bean Products. This perk is worth $8 per line. No more hemming and hawing over whether it’s really worth the extra expense to monogram that backpack or raincoat.
  8. No Penalty APR. This card doesn’t charge penalty interest on past-due balances. That’s a big relief to cardholders who occasionally miss statement due dates because of unpredictable cash flow or unanticipated, unavoidable expenditures.

Disadvantages

  1. Modest Rate of Return on Everyday Spending. The L.L. Bean Visa Card has a modest rate of return on non-L.L. Bean spending – just 1% back. If you’re looking for a general-spending card that earns an elevated rate of return on a wider range of purchases, opt for a broad-spectrum cash back credit card  , such as Citi Double Cash Card (unlimited 2% back) or Chase Freedom Unlimited (unlimited 1.5% back).
  2. No Traditional Sign-Up Bonus. This card lacks a traditional sign-up bonus for applicants who don’t receive instant approval through LLBean.com. That’s a major drawback relative to other no-annual-fee rewards credit cards. Chase Freedom, a popular cash back option, entices new cardholders with a $150 bonus on $500 in new net purchases within three months of account opening.
  3. Rewards Issued as L.L. Bean Store Credit. This card earns L.L. Bean store credit, not straight cash back. While that might be fine for committed L.L. Bean customers, it’s a drawback for people seeking a wider range of redemption options.
  4. No Introductory APR Promotion. Unlike most Barclaycard products, whose promotions can last as long as fifteen months from account opening, the L.L. Bean Visa Card doesn’t have an introductory APR promotion on purchases or balance transfers. The variable regular APR applies from the day you’re approved for this card.
  5. Foreign Transactions Cost 3%. This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it shouldn’t be your first choice for international spending. If you regularly travel overseas, consider a foreign-transaction-fee-free card like Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

Final Word

The L.L. Bean Visa Card has one purpose: reducing the budgetary hit of purchases made with L.L. Bean.

That sure simplifies the card’s suitability test. If you’re a regular L.L. Bean customer, or you frequently buy L.L. Bean gifts for your friends and loved ones, this product probably deserves a place in your wallet. If you couldn’t tell L.L. Bean from Columbia from North Face, you’re probably better off sitting this one out.

Verdict
llbean-visa-credit-card
3.7 / 5
Rating

L.L.Bean Visa® Card

The L.L.Bean Visa® Card is a straightforward rewards card by and for L.L. Bean lovers.

Though its ideal user is someone who regularly purchases L.L. Bean products and experiences for themselves and their immediate family members, the nonexistent annual fee makes it appropriate for occasional use as well – for instance, to finance holiday gift purchases for outdoorsy friends and relatives.

This card isn’t appropriate for people who don’t wear L.L. Bean, nor those looking to play the sign-up bonus or introductory APR promotion game.

 

Notable advantages include no annual fee, very good rate of return on L.L. Bean purchases, fantastic rate of return on L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School purchases, solid instant approval offer for those who qualify, free monogramming on select merchandise, free return shipping, access to exclusive sales, and no penalty APR.

Significant drawbacks include the modest rate of return on non-L.L. Bean purchases, no traditional sign-up bonus, rewards accruing as store credit, no introductory APR promotion, and the 3% foreign transaction fee.

Overall, this is a great card for loyal L.L. Bean customers. With no annual fee, it’s worth keeping around for occasional use.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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