JCPenney Credit Card review: Worth it for frequent shoppers?

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In a Nutshell

The JCPenney Credit Card boasts store-specific rewards that could be hard to beat. And with access to more than 100 days of exclusive savings events, cardholders can rack up even more deals at JCPenney. But beware of the high purchase APR of 27.99%.

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Pros Cons
No annual fee High purchase APR
Earn 1 rewards point for every $1 spent at JCPenney or jcp.com Reward points don’t expire as long as you earn points at least once every 12 months
$10 in JCPenney Rewards for every 200 points you earn Rewards certificates expire within a few months
Tons of ways to exclusively save at JCPenney Card can only be used at JCPenney and affiliated stores

What you need to know about the JCPenney Credit Card

The JCPenney Credit Card, issued by Synchrony Bank, could be a compelling option for fans of department store credit cards. Here’s what to know before you apply.

Straightforward points for your purchases

When you pay for your in-store or online qualifying JCPenney® purchase with your JCPenney Credit Card, you receive one point for every $1 you spend. Plus, purchase exclusions for earning rewards are minimal.

Automatic rewards

When your account hits a balance of 200 rewards points, you’ll automatically be sent a $10 JCPenney Rewards certificate that you can use toward eligible purchases at JCPenney. That works out to a rewards rate of 5%, which is pretty nice. And rewards certificates should be available electronically within 24 hours of reaching the magic 200-point mark.

Unlimited rewards that you can stack

There’s no limit to the number of JCPenney Rewards certificates you can earn. Plus you can redeem up to 10 JCPenney Rewards certificates — that’s up to $100 in rewards — on a single purchase in store or online.

Points that never expire (as long as you keep spending)

Your rewards points will stay with you if you keep your JCPenney Rewards membership active by earning points at least once every 12 months.

Exclusive deals

Eligible JCPenney Rewards members will receive notification of members-only offers such as bonus points opportunities, dollar-off coupons and even a special birthday offer.

In fact, JCPenney boasts that its cardholders receive more than 100 days of exclusive savings deals each year.

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What else you should know about the JCPenney Credit Card

The JCPenney Credit Card isn’t without its drawbacks. Watch out for these not-so-great features.

  • High purchase APR: This card comes with an interest rate that’s no joke — 27.99%! If your balance carries over month-to-month, your interest due could be astronomical.
  • Cap on your transactional earnings: If you’re hoping to rake in the rewards on a huge single purchase, think again. You’re limited to 2,000 Rewards Points per transaction, regardless of the price of your purchase.
  • Ticking clock on rewards certificates: Your points may not expire while your account is active, but those $10 rewards certificates don’t last as long. Note the expiration date on each certificate you have — it’ll be at least 45 days from the date of issue — and be sure to use your rewards certificates before that date.

Who this card is good for

As with most store cards, there’s zero benefit to carrying this one if you’re not a regular shopper at JCPenney. And if you tend to carry a balance from one month into the next, you could wind up paying more in crazy-high interest rates — considering the card’s 27.99% purchase APR — than you recoup in rewards.

But JCPenney fans can enjoy the deluge of special deals and the 5% year-round store rewards rate. With more than 100 days of savings events for card members only, the JCPenney Credit Card rewards shoppers who can’t stay away.

(Bonus tip: Hold off on making a purchase until one of those savings events comes along. You probably won’t have to wait too long.)

Want more rewards? How to get the JCPenney® Gold Card and JCPenney Platinum Card

Like other retailers, JCPenney offers a tiered rewards system for its cardholders.

When your spending on the JCPenney Credit Card for the calendar year hits $500 in purchases at JCPenney stores and online, you’ll be upgraded to the JCPenney Gold Card, though that level gives you little more than a special JCPenney coupon book. You’ll have to keep your annual spending on the card at $500 or more on qualifying purchases to maintain Gold status.

Once your calendar-year spending on the JCPenney Credit Card hits $1,000-plus in purchases at JCPenney stores and online, JCPenney bumps you up to its Platinum Card. Extra perks include special sales available only to Platinum members. You’ll have to keep your annual spending at $1,000 or more on qualifying purchases to maintain Platinum status.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.