2021 Review: JCPenney Credit Card – A Good Department Store Card?
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The JCPenney Credit Card offers 1X point per dollar at JCPenney, which comes to a 5% cash back equivalent. It features membership tiers with increasingly beneficial perks, including special savings and offers for JCPenney shoppers. This card can only be used at JCPenney.
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Our Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars
We give the JCPenney Credit Card three out of five Stars. It features straightforward rewards along with special savings and offers for people who love shopping at JCPenney.
Why We Like It
- 1X point per dollar (5% cash back equivalent)
- Automatic $10 JCPenney reward certificate per 200 points
- Offers like special financing options and exclusive sale days for shoppers
- Upgrade to Gold and Platinum status to get better perks
- Birthday gift
Why It Could Be Better
- High interest rate (typical for store credit cards)
- No shopping protections, like extended warranties or purchase protection
The JCPenney card’s features revolve around special deals and offers for customers of the department store chain.
If you shop often at JCPenney, you should find some solid value here. The 1X point per dollar works out to a 5% cash back equivalent, which is good even by normal rewards card standards.
It’s important to note that this card can only be used at JCPenney, either online or in store.
Becoming a cardholder will grant you access to bonus events and special savings days. And the higher membership tiers expand on the savings, including select 30% off discount days and extra point earnings.
Continue reading to see if, and how, this card will benefit you.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- Have your card handy: You’ll want to use your card for all of your JCPenney purchases, in-store and online, to earn the equivalent of 5% cash back.
- Keep an eye out for bonus earning days: You’ll get access to special days where you’ll be able to earn extra points, occasionally boosting your rewards.
- Take advantage of the discounts: As you progress through the membership tiers ($500 in annual spending for Gold, and $1,000 for Platinum), you’ll gain access to a coupon book and exclusive sale days.
- Maintain responsible habits: You can only benefit from the rewards and perks as long as your card is in good standing, so be sure you’re keeping up with the minimum payments (but we recommend always paying your balance in full unless you have a 0% APR).
- Consider your options: Do you frequent JCPenney enough to justify applying for a retail store card? Maybe a general rewards card would be better. It’s important to take a look at your spending habits to see what type of card is best for you.
The JCPenney Credit Card rewards program offers 1X rewards point per dollar for every purchase you make at JCPenney stores. And for every 200 points you earn, you’ll get a JCP reward certificate that’s worth $10. That means you’ll get a cash back equivalent of 5%.
The point redemption process for this card is pretty simple.You can earn up to 2,000 points on a single purchase.
Every time you earn 200 points (by spending $200), you’ll receive a $10 JCPenney rewards certificate.
So there’s little fuss in turning your points into something you can use. As long as your account is in good standing (which means paying on time each month), you’ll be able to earn points and get the reward certificate.
Your points won’t expire as long as your account remains active: In this case, that means making a purchase that earns rewards at least once in a 12-month period.
Beyond the basic reward membership JCPenney offers, which anyone can enroll in, there are three membership tiers associated with this card. Each one accumulates additional perks as you rank up.
The first and standard cardholder tier offers:
- Birthday gift: You’ll be emailed a special birthday gift, probably a JCP reward certificate, as long as you’re in good standing and have earned points within the last year.
- Bonus events: You’ll get access to special bonus events which allow for increased point earnings.
- 150+ credit savings days: Exclusive saving days for JCPenney cardholders
- Special financing: You’ll gain access to more financing offers, subject to credit approval and with minimum monthly payments required (follow the terms carefully, as these might be deferred-interest offers).
The Gold membership tier requires you spend $500 or more within a calendar year, and expands on those perks, adding:
- Passbook of coupons: A booklet of special deals and offers, including a Pick Your Own Sale day and more
- Birthday gift upgrade: The certificate you receive on your birthday is increased to $10.
The third and final tier, the Platinum membership, has a $1,000 annual spending requirement and adds:
- Bonus point days: You’ll have access to special opportunities to earn additional points on brands throughout the store.
- Platinum Appreciation: Enjoy exclusive sale days with an extra 30% off.
- Birthday gift upgrade: The certificate you receive on your birthday is increased to $15.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||Up to $38||None|
There isn’t really much hidden here. But you should take note of the high interest rate.
In order to avoid accruing interest on your balance, we recommend paying off your statement balance in full each month. If you follow that strategy, assuming you’re paying on time, you’d also ensure that your account remains in good standing. That way, you can continue to earn rewards and won’t have to worry about paying interest for your purchases.
The Bottom Line
The JCPenney Credit Card should only be considered by people who shop frequently with JCPenney.
It’s a pretty rewarding option, and it can lead to some decent savings, especially if you manage to reach the higher membership tiers.
With the 5% cash back equivalent and bonus days, you could probably earn some decent savings just by being a cardmember.
But some spending is required to really get the most from this card. For Gold status, you’ll have to spend at least $500 in a calendar year to get additional discounts via a coupon book, and for Platinum status, $1,000 to unlock more bonus days and Platinum Appreciation. So, it might only be worth it for die-hard JCPenney shoppers.
How Do I Apply for the JCPenney Credit Card?
Simply use the apply now button near the card name. You’ll be directed to JCPenney’s website where you’ll be prompted to fill out an application.
All the necessary info you’ll need is listed below, and you’ll typically hear back instantly if you’ve been approved or not.
What Credit Scores Do You Need for the JCPenney Credit Card?
The JCPenney Credit Card is designed for people with fair credit.
If you’re within 580–669 for FICO and 601–660 for VantageScore, you’re considered to have fair credit. Obviously, it’ll be even better if you have higher credit scores.
With that being said, approval relies on more than just credit scores; if you have lower credit scores than what are recommended, you may still be approved. Or, even if you have high credit scores, you might not be accepted.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number
- Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
- Financial information: Total annual income
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I use the JCPenney Credit Card?
This card can only be used at JCPenney, in store and online. If you’re looking for other store cards, you can see some of our favorites here.
Or, see some excellent reward credit cards you can use to earn points or cash back anywhere you shop.
What are my points worth?
Each point is worth 5 cents.
For every dollar spent you’ll earn one point. For every 200 points you earn, you’ll get a JCP reward certificate that’s worth $10.
Therefore, the cash back equivalent for your spending works out to 5%.
When will my points expire?
Your points won’t expire as long as your account remains active: In this case, that means making a purchase that earns rewards at least once in a 12-month period. And as long as your account remains in good standing (which means paying your bill on time each month), you’ll continue to earn rewards.
How much do I need to spend to get the benefits?
You won’t have to spend anything to get the most basic level of benefits, like reward points and bonus events. But to reach the Gold and Platinum tiers, you’ll need to spend $500 or $1,000 in a calendar year, respectively.
Alternatives to the JCPenney Credit Card
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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