November 16, 2018

JCPenny Credit Card Review

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You may save money instantly on your purchase if you sign up for a JCPenney credit card. Is it really worth it, though?

© Mike Kalasnik (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

The issuer of the JCPenney store-branded credit card is Synchrony Bank, which also issues an estimated 120 other store-branded credit cards. Applicants of the JCPenney credit card may receive the store-branded credit card or a JCPenney MasterCard, allowing use wherever MasterCard is accepted. Applicants find out which card they can receive after applying for a JCPenney credit card.

Is the JCPenney credit card worth carrying or is it just another store credit card with high interest rates? Keep reading to find out.

Who Should Get the JCPenney Credit Card?

  • You regularly shop at JCPenney. If you buy your clothes, household items, and gifts at JCPenney, carrying their credit card may be beneficial. They offer exclusive savings days strictly for card members. If you shop there often, you may be able to save more money by using your credit card. As long as you only charge what you can afford to pay in cash, you may come out ahead in the deal.

  • You need to buy major appliances, furniture, or mattresses for your home. JCPenney frequently offers special financing for large purchases such as these. This may make it easier to afford the appliances or furniture you need before you have enough cash saved.

    The Truth About "No Interest Deals." Make sure you read the fine print on a no interest offer. You may receive special financing with no interest for 6 months. This means you don't pay interest on the first 6 months that you carry a balance at JCPenney. If it says "no interest if paid in full in 6 months," you must pay the balance in full in 6 months or the interest will accrue starting from your purchase date.

  • You have a "low credit score." Department store credit cards often have "lower qualifying requirements," which may make it easier to get the JCPenney credit card. If you are trying to rebuild your credit and you shop at JCPenney, this may be a good option to help you show your ability to manage your credit.

Reasons We Like the JCPenney Credit Card

  • JCPenney offers frequent promotions for new cardholders. The offers change, but typically, you can find some type of incentive for opening a JCPenney credit card. If you are making a large purchase at JCPenney, the 10% - 20% discount can come in handy.

  • You may earn double JCPenney reward points. JCPenney offers a reward program for both non-credit cardholders and credit card holders. Consumers who use their JCPenney credit card for their purchases may earn more points per dollar spent than consumers who don't use a JCPenney credit card.

  • There is no annual fee. With no annual fee, it's an easier decision to choose the JCPenney credit card, assuming you shop at JCPenney frequently enough to earn at least 200 points in one year. With every 200 points, you are eligible for a $10 reward certificate, which you can redeem with your online or in-store JCPenney purchase.

  • You can manage your JCPenney credit card online. You can pay your bill, schedule payments, or check your balance online. With 24/7 access to your account, you can know what's going on at all times. Synchrony Bank issues and manages both JCPenney credit cards, just as they do many other department store credit cards.

  • You can set up custom alerts. Know when a charge appears on your card, when the bill is due, or when your limit reaches a certain point by setting up your custom alerts. This may help you avoid late charges and catch fraudulent activity quickly.

  • You can earn even more rewards with Gold or Platinum status. If you spend more than $500 in one calendar year, you may earn Gold status. With $1,000 in spending in one year, you earn Platinum status. Either status may provide you with access to more coupons, thank you gifts, and special store events.

  • You can use your JCPenney store credit card at Sephora.com. If you shop online at Sephora, rather than in their stores inside JCPenney, you can still earn points your reward points for your purchase. **Please note, you can't use your JCPenney card at standalone Sephora stores at this time.**

  • You may receive a special birthday offer. If your credit card is in good standing and you used your JCPenney card at least once in the last 12 months, you may receive a birthday offer around your birthday, specifically for you.

Reasons You May Want to Consider Other Credit Cards

  • You may pay excessive interest charges if you carry a balance. Department store credit cards often carry high interest rates and the JCPenney card is no exception. Not only are the rates high, but if you miss your payment, you may be subject to a $38 late fee.

  • You may only earn a maximum of 2,000 points per transaction. It doesn't matter if you spend more than $2,000 in one day. You will only earn 2,000 points. This leaves money on the table, assuming you spend more than $2,000 in one day.

  • You can't use your rewards anywhere else. Unlike other cashback credit cards, you don't have a choice in how you receive your rewards. In other words, you can't get a statement credit or a check in the mail. You strictly receive a rewards certificate to redeem at JCPenney or JCPenney.com.

How It Compares

  • Kohl's Credit Card: Kohl's offers an introductory promotion just like JCPenney, encouraging shoppers to apply for the card. With a Kohl's charge, you have access to special promotions, an anniversary gift, and hassle-free returns. Kohl's also has an incentive for frequent shoppers called the Most Valued Customer program. If you qualify, you may receive free shipping and/or bonus gifts on your birthday.

  • Macy's Credit Card: Macy's, just like other department stores, offers a special saving event on the day you open the card. But they also allow you to use the savings the following day as well. Macy's has a rewards program, similar to JCPenney, but there is an enrollment fee to join.

Bottom Line

If you are a frequent JCPenney shopper, you may benefit from the rewards offered. If you also take advantage of the special savings offered just to credit cardholders, you will get even more from the card. If you aren't a frequent Penney shopper, though, the card leaves little to be desired, as you can't use it elsewhere and you won't earn any cashback bonuses.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

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CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.