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L.L. Bean Mastercard Review

overall rating
3.1

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The L.L. Bean Mastercard is a co-branded card, a joint offering from the outdoor-oriented retailer and Mastercard. With the L.L. Bean Mastercard, consumers accumulate Bean Bucks (as L.L. Bean calls its points system) with their purchases. The amount of Bean Bucks earned is a percentage of the total spent; the percentage varies, depending on where the transaction occurs. Card membership includes a variety of small ongoing perks, such as free shipping on purchases, along with a one-time thank-you bonus: 20% on your first L.L. Bean purchase.

L.L.Bean Mastercard

overall rating
3.1
L.L.Bean Mastercard
On Citi's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Save 15% on your first L.L.Bean purchase upon approval with the L.L.Bean Mastercard.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 19.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4 Bean Bucks at L.L. Bean, 2 at restaurants and gas stations, and 1 on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee 5% of each transaction, minimum $10
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The L.L. Bean Mastercard is not one of our top rated rewards credit cards. You can review our list of the best rewards credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of L.L. Bean Mastercard

Pros
  • Straightforward, generous rewards system

  • Free shipping and monogramming

  • Relatively low APR

Cons
  • Must have an L.L. Bean account to apply

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • No introductory APR

Pros Explained

  • Straightforward, Generous Rewards System: With the L.L. Bean Mastercard, you receive Bean Bucks based on spending, and the system is pretty easy to understand: Each Bean Buck is equal to $1, which amounts to a dollar off a purchase down the road. In many cases, when you earn points with rewards programs, the valuation comes out to something like one cent per point for cash back or travel. For example, the Gap Visa card (another store co-branded card) offers $5 for every 500 points you get, which works out to be a lower rewards rate. L.L. Bean purchases provide 4% back on your purchase amount, so spending $100 at L.L. Bean means four Bean Bucks—or $4 in rewards. This is a relatively high reward rate. The 2% back for dining out and for gas is decent, if less extraordinary.
  • Free Shipping and Monogramming: Cardmembers who make purchases with the L.L. Bean Mastercard enjoy free regular shipping and free return shipping when they shop the store or website. They also get complimentary monogramming, if they want to slap their initials on those flannel pajamas or duffel bag.
  • Relatively Low APR: The L.L. Bean card has a relatively low regular purchase APR, at least when compared with other store cards. In general, this card has a regular purchase APR of 14.99%–20.99%, depending on the applicant's creditworthiness. That's pretty good for store cards, which often skew much higher, usually between 25% and 27% APR.

Cons Explained

  • Must Have an L.L. Bean Account to Apply: This card requires an L.L. Bean account. Before applying, a consumer either needs to log into their account or create an L.L. Bean account. Those who don’t have an L.L. Bean account, no matter how much shopping they do, can't get this credit card.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: Even though this is a Mastercard, and so accepted worldwide, using it overseas could result in hefty additional charges. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee for each purchase.
  • No Introductory APR: While there is a 20% discount on the first L.L. Bean purchase made with this card, there is no introductory APR offer. There is no 0% APR introductory period for balance transfers for purchases.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist

This card is likely to work better for those who are loyal to L.L. Bean and make a lot of purchases with the company. The rewards are in Bean Bucks, which can only be redeemed at L.L. Bean, so this card might not be suitable for those who aren’t devotees and don’t shop at the retailer regularly. 

For those who do make L.L. Bean purchases, it can be a decent choice, since each Bean Buck can be applied to future purchases to reduce the cost on a dollar-for-dollar basis. For those who want to earn Bean Bucks faster, this card might help with the 2% Bean Bucks on purchases made at restaurants and gas stations. 

On the other hand, even with the generous rewards value, those who don’t do much shopping at L.L. Bean might not see as much value. Instead, it might be worth it to get a rewards credit card that offers more universal rewards on more common purchases. 

L.L. Bean Mastercard Bonus

There isn't a true bonus with this credit card. However, for those who are approved, it’s possible to get 20% off the first L.L. Bean purchase made with the card. This includes those who are instantly approved online and then use the card to make an immediate purchase and get the savings. 

Rewards Earning Details

With the L.L. Bean Mastercard, rewards are based on tiers. Cardholders get 4% of their purchases made at L.L. Bean back in Bean Bucks. Additionally, the card offers 2% of the purchase price in Bean Bucks on gas station and restaurant purchases.

It's important to note that the 2% Bean Bucks might not be credited for certain purchases, such as those made at wholesale clubs and department stores that offer gas or bakeries and cafes located inside some department stores. 

All other purchases get 1% in Bean Bucks back.

Rewards Redemption Details

Bean Bucks can only be redeemed through L.L. Bean. It's possible to redeem Bean Bucks in any amount, and they should be available when you log into your account. Cardholders can redeem Bean Bucks online, over the phone or in person.

Each Bean Buck amounts to a one-dollar reduction in the cost of the L.L. Bean purchase. For example, someone that has accumulated 100 Bean Bucks could apply those Bucks to a purchase of $150. That would leave $50 remaining to pay on the purchase.

Transferring Points

There is no mechanism for transferring Bean Bucks. They are expected to be used to reduce the cost of items purchased through L.L. Bean.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

The most likely way to maximize rewards is by using them at L.L. Bean. In fact, that’s the only way to maximize them, since there isn't a mechanism for transferring Bean Bucks to another program.

For the L.L. Bean loyalist, maximizing the rewards is about focusing on the ways to get Bean Bucks faster and then redeeming those Bean Bucks for discounted purchases later. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average consumer spent $1,866 on apparel in 2018. If you buy all of your clothes from L.L. Bean, that’s a potential for 7,464 in Bean Bucks.

For loyal L.L. Bean shoppers, additional maximizing can be done by using the L.L. Bean card for most other purchases, as well. For example, the average consumer spent $3,459 on food away from home in 2018. If all of that were spent at restaurants, and a member used their L.L. Bean Mastercard for all of those purchases, that would mean 6,918 Bean Bucks. That’s enough to buy a decent amount of L.L. Bean merchandise.

L.L. Bean Mastercard's Outstanding Benefits

  • Free shipping/returns
  • Bean Bucks reduce the cost of purchases dollar-for-dollar

Standard Benefits

  • Standard Mastercard protections and perks

Cardholder Experience

The L.L. Bean Mastercard is issued by Citibank. When it comes to mobile app satisfaction, Citibank ranks third, with a score of 870 out of 1,000, according to J.D. Power. 

When it comes to satisfaction as a credit card issuer, though, Citibank ranks lower and only gets "average" ratings, according to J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. In this study, Citi got 799 points out of 1,000, ranking even a little below the national issuer average of 806.

However, for those looking for L.L. Bean related perks, it might not be as important that Citi is at best average among issuers. Experiences like free shipping and monogramming might make up for it, as well as the dollar-for-dollar discount on purchases when using Bean Bucks.

Security Features

In general, because the L.L. Bean card is a Mastercard, it comes with the issuer’s basic protections available. This means $0 liability for fraudulent purchases as well as ID theft protection.

Our Verdict

For the most part, the L.L. Bean Mastercard is only going to work for those who already are big fans of the brand, and who make quite a few L.L. Bean purchases throughout the year. For L.L. Bean devotees who want a little extra perk and price break, using this card for their purchases at the retailer can result in ongoing benefits.

Plus, cardholders don't have to try to make their rewards offset an annual fee, since this card doesn't have one. As a result, it won't cost you anything to have it in your wallet.

On the downside: The most generous rewards by far only come with purchases at L.L. Bean; the 2% and 1% offered in other categories are pretty par for the course in the rewards-card universe nowadays. And, no matter how you accumulate them, the rewards are limited to Bean Bucks that can only be redeemed on L.L. Bean purchases. 

For consumers looking for more general and flexible rewards programs, it might make sense to consider other reward credit cards—either instead of, or as a companion to, the L.L. Bean card—for more all-around use. 

For example, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card offers 3% cash back on at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 on purchases each year)and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. Those rewards might be a little more practical for someone hoping to get actual cash, rather than just discounts on a single brand’s merchandise. For frequent travelers, there are also options like the Bank of America Travel Rewards card. Also annual free-fee, it earns an unlimited, never-expiring 1.5 points for every $1 spent on any purchase anywhere. These points can be redeemed to pay for a whole host of trip-related expenses, from flights to hotels to cruises to rental cars.

Apply Now
For L.L.Bean Mastercard
on Citi's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
L.L.Bean Mastercard
overall rating
3.1
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 13.99% - 19.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 4 Bean Bucks at L.L. Bean, 2 at restaurants and gas stations, and 1 on all other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.