Banana Republic: "You Need To Create A New User Name Every 3-4 Months"

There’s some weirdness going on with Banana Republic’s store credit card website. Reader Bernard wrote us to say that a Banana Republic CSR told him that every 3-4 months Banana Republic’s credit card site would be “updated” and that everyone would have to re-register—including signing up for a new user name. Is this the case of an incompetent CSR, or is there something strange going on with Banana Republic’s credit card site? Has anyone else had trouble with it? Read Bernard’s email inside.

I went to to check and see if I had a balance on my card. The account that I’ve had for years wouldn’t let me access any of that information without “re-registering” my account.

I spent half an hour messing with the site. Each time I tried to re-register, it gave me the error that my account name was already in use. In frustration, I gave up and called the 800 number of the card. I explained the situation to the rep, who confirmed that every three to four months, the site would be updated and we would have to re-register. I told her I already tried that and it was telling me that my username was already in use. The rep confirmed that I would have to create a new user name.

I thought I misheard her and asked her to repeat. Yes, every three to four months, you will have to re-register your account and create a new username and password. I complained, stating that I didn’t mind changing my password every three to four months, but creating a whole new user name? Who would want to go through the hassle and use the site anymore??

I then asked for an email address to send a complaint. She didn’t have one. Only a snailmail address. I told her she was lying as this was the year 2007 and a website was sure to have an email address. To prove my point, I pulled up the BR site and found it immediately. I asked her if was the correct address. She told me to go ahead and write to that address. I thanked her for nothing and hung up. Instead of writing to that email address, I thought I’d write to you guys instead.

That’s just strange. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Matt Phillips)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Black Bellamy says:

    You shouldn’t have told her she was lying. There’s no reason to get rude since incompetence of that magnitude can only be explained by ignorance. Malicious intent is usually more insidious :)

  2. tigerjade says:

    My vote lies with uninformed CSR. I shudder to think of the havoc created in a database by having users reassign user IDs every 3-4 months. It’s not common practice to even force a password change outside of a network; in the web app world, that’s typically left up to the user as to whether and when they want to change their passwords.

  3. amyjay says:

    I’ve had issues with Gap’s credit site. I assume they’re similar because it’s the same company. I was using the same username and password each time, and each time I went to sign-in it told me to re-register. It didn’t say that username didn’t exist, or that my password was wrong. Instead of trying to re-register, I’d asked it to mail me the password though the typical password recovery, and I got nothing to my registered e-mail account. So I gave in, re-registered, paid my bill, and swore to never bother with it again.

  4. actofgreen says:

    I don’t know about the changing every 3-4 months part, but after reading this post I logged into my account with my user and password. To check my credit account though, the BR site says they have updated and I needed to reregister choosing a new username and password (again I was already signed in with my current user and pass). Definitely quite tedious and annoying.

  5. quantum-shaman says:

    I haven’t had any trouble with my Banana Republic credit card because I stopped buying their egregiously overpriced khakis 15 years ago. I hate that store. They were okay before they got all hoity-toity.

  6. coconino says:

    The credit card company that administer the payment of Banana Republic and Gap Card is I have the BR card too and I absolutely hate going into that website to pay the bill because they don’t do a good job refreshing what are my upcoming bills. Though I must say that their E-support was not bad at all. BR Credit card CSR are rude to hell, I have had the account for more than 5 years and I forgot to pay my bill for one pay period so they called me 5 times a day and interrogated me like I owed them $1B. I am in the process of crossing my acct and stop using their card because of that. Late fee is money to your pocket, idiot.

  7. chipslave says:

    If this is true, talk about a SQL nightmare!

  8. suckonthat says:

    Now that you mention it, I got a weird error message from last time I tried to buy something. I figured it might have had something to do with a pending return and I was in a hurry so I just registered a new account under a different email address. If this is a chronic issue, that is definitely going to interfere with me actually purchasing things.

  9. kip says:

    I’m sure if you e-mail the custserv@ e-mail address, you will not reach management and your complaint will not be heard.

    The CSR likely gave you the snail mail address, as your letter would be handled by someone higher up the food chain. Although, the insistence that you snail mail is an intentional deterrent (likely established by BR polices and not personally by the CSR).

    The next time that you are in a situation like that, I would suggest that you ask to be escalated to the CSR’s supervisor. First, you will get a more authoritative answer to your question. Second, if the answer the CSR supplied was incorrect, the supervisor will become aware that he or she needs to make sure everyone in the call center is on the same page. If one CSR is giving out incorrect information, chances are there are others doing the same. You can save other customers from the same hassle!

  10. tvh2k says:

    Just to point it out, Old Navy/GAP/Banana all issue their credit cards through GE Money Bank (among many other retail stores). The online site is hosted at, which is registered to General Electric. So don’t blame banana for incompetence, blame GE!

  11. xxxmmm says:

    It’s true, shockingly enough – at least that’s been my experience with the BR site the last couple of months. It’s hideous.

  12. rotorglow says:

    It’s been at least two years since I logged into my BR account, but I did tonight (after seeing this post), and everything worked fine. I’ve been surfing around for a little while, checking (nonexistent) balances, etc., and haven’t seen any warnings or messages thing about changing my username, etc.

    So, I say it’s a misinformed CSR.

    And if I *was* forced to change my username, I’d definitely be blaming BR, not GE (the issuing bank/site host). I’d be willing to bet that BR sets the business logic in these cases, not the host. Afterall, it’s BR who’d lose the customers because of such foolishness, not GE….

  13. Avitania says:

    For what it’s worth, I’ve been a Banana/Gap/Old Navy credit card customer for over four years, and have never had to change my username. Although I use the card frequently, I usually have not needed to contact customer service. But when I have, customer service at the card’s 800 number has been fairly decent (except for the time two years ago when I had to call in three times to get my address changed, because the CSR couldn’t get my address right).

    Anyway, it does sound like you reached a really incompetent/misinformed CSR. Maybe it was the same person who couldn’t understand how to type in “First Avenue” when I tried to change my address.

  14. Amry says:

    TVH beat me to it – yes, Gap/Banana/Old Navy credit card sites are all the same, and yes, they’re all held by GE Money Bank. Emailing the customer service address on those brands e-commerce sites – which is that custserv@ email address that was mentioned above – will not get you to anyone who does anything with the credit card payment sites, and will almost certainly get you an email back with GE’s phone number and a suggestion to call them.

    She probably does not have an email address she can give out, but if one exists, it would end in or something similar – not

  15. jcanz says:

    Hilarious! I was just whining about this the other day. I recently had to choose a new user ID and password for the THIRD time since I got the Banana Card. And it won’t let you use usernames you have used in the past.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with an incompetent CSR. I just think they have some very bad web/database designers. Either that or a really big account problem.

    Whatever the reason…way annoying!

  16. marjeacar says:

    I just stumbled on this site while sitting on hold with BR tech support. For 2 years I thought it was just me. I’ve got so many usernames & passwords written in my checkbook for the BR account, the white-out is peeling! It just took me 1 hr, 15 minutes of being shuffled around to different CSRs to get logged in and I still can’t see my statement. They did however offer to let me make a payment over the phone… for a $10 fee!!! I’m a Luxe-Card Member no more… I just canceled my account. Boy that felt good!

  17. ukkatie says:

    Probably the worst-designed and set-up website, whether or not it is GE’s doing or BR, Gap or Old Navy. I have changed username and password so many times, it is unbelievable. On the 14th I was asked to re-register with everything and, in addition, had to identify an object and give it a name. Not only this, I then had to provide answers three security questions. Today, just 16 days later, I logged on to pay my bill and guess what? Had yet another item to identify and had to provide answers to security questions again. It would seem that the programming is unable to store information. I give up!

  18. strosg97 says:

    I tried making a payment this evening as my bill is due by midnight tonight. After I entered the amount to pay it stated that payments must be made 2 days in advance??!!?? What the hell? 2 days????