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Review

2020 Review: JCPenney Credit Card – A Good Department Store Card?

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Our rating
Min. credit level: Fair
Annual Fee: $0
Regular APR: 27.49% Variable

JCPenney Credit Card

Our rating
Fair Min. credit level
Apply Now See Alternatives

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.

JCPenney Credit Card

JCPenney Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelFair
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR27.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn $10 at JCPenney for every 200 points you earn
  • 15% or 5% off select purchases on the day you open your card
  • 1 point per $1 spent at JCPenney using your card, and 1 point per $2 spent using another form of payment
  • Gold status after spending at least $500 in a year
  • Platinum status after spending at least $100 in a year
  • $10 or $15 birthday gift each year on your birthday
  • Free shipping from JCPenney.com with Platinum status
  • Earn up to 2,000 points on a single purchase
  • No annual fee
  • High APR of 27.99%

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 Rewards

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%.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 1X point per dollar at JCPenney
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 15% or 5% off select purchases on the day you open the card

You can earn up to 2,000 points on a single purchase.

Redeeming

The point redemption process for this card is pretty simple.

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.

The Benefits

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
27.49% Variable None None
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 None
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
None None
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
JCPenney Credit Card

JCPenney Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelFair
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR27.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn $10 at JCPenney for every 200 points you earn
  • 15% or 5% off select purchases on the day you open your card
  • 1 point per $1 spent at JCPenney using your card, and 1 point per $2 spent using another form of payment
  • Gold status after spending at least $500 in a year
  • Platinum status after spending at least $100 in a year
  • $10 or $15 birthday gift each year on your birthday
  • Free shipping from JCPenney.com with Platinum status
  • Earn up to 2,000 points on a single purchase
  • No annual fee
  • High APR of 27.99%

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.

Was this helpful?

Alternatives to the JCPenney Credit Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 15.74% to 23.74% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

If JCPenney doesn’t have what you’re looking for, Amazon probably will. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review) is your key to rewards with the largest online retailer.

The Amazon card doesn’t have an annual fee, but it does require you to subscribe to Amazon Prime. If you don’t want to do that, there’s always the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card (Review). It doesn’t require a subscription, but you’ll get lesser rewards than you would with the Prime card.

Similar to the JCPenney Credit Card, the Amazon Prime card earns up to 5% cash back. But you won’t be confined to earning rewards in one place — it earns not only at Amazon, but also at Whole Foods, with a smaller reward at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% everywhere else.

While you won’t get exclusive saving days or coupon books, you will gain some travel and shopping protections, such as travel accident insurance and purchase protection.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back at:
    • Amazon.com
    • Whole Foods Markets
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Restaurants
    • Gas stations
    • Drugstores
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon approval
  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: At eligible hotels you’ll get a $25 food and beverage credit, automatic room upgrades when available, VIP guest status, and more.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: Call any time for non-emergency assistance, like help making dining or travel reservations.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Including travel accident insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and purchase protection
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.74% to 23.74% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0 (Amazon Prime membership required)
  • Requires active Prime membership
  • Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits or at Amazon.com checkout
  • Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • Earn 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores
  • Earn 1% back on all other purchases
  • Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval
Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Fair
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 24.40% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Target REDcard™ Credit Card (Review), as you might expect, benefits people who prefer to shop at Target.

But instead of featuring typical rewards, the Target card offers an automatic 5% discount on eligible purchases. Cardholders will get early access to certain promotions as well as let in on exclusive sales. So you’ll still earn some savings, but in different ways than the JCPenney Card.

If you prefer this red-themed department store over the others, maybe this is the retail credit card for you.

Spending Discount
  • 5% off eligible purchases at Target and Target.com
  • Free two-day shipping: Get free two-day shipping on eligible purchases from Target.com.
  • 30-day extended returns: Get 30 extra days to make returns on purchases made with a REDcard.
  • Anniversary bonus savings: Sign up for Target marketing emails to receive a 10% off coupon for Target purchases by email on your account anniversary.
  • Early access offers: Receive occasional early access offers to Target events, promotions, and sales. These offers may be based on your previous purchases and location.
  • Exclusive extras: Get opportunities for exclusive deals and discounts, only available when purchasing with a REDcard.
  • Purchase APR: 24.40% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • 5% off every day at Target & Target.com.*
  • Free 2 day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items at Target.com.*
  • Early Access to products and promotions*
  • Exclusive Extras including special items and offers*
  • Starbucks discount on in-store locations – get everyday 5% savings when you pay with your REDcard*
  • Cartwheel – save 5-50% on hundreds of items in store & get everyday 5% savings when you pay with your REDcard*
  • Target Subscriptions – save 5% on everyday essentials delivered on your schedule when you subscribe, plus get everyday 5% savings when you pay with your REDcard*
  • Get everyday 5% savings on specialty gift cards when you pay with your REDcard*
  • Target Wallet, easy and fast checkout. Use Wallet in the Target app to save with Cartwheel and pay with REDcard by scanning your phone at check out in store.
  • *Some restrictions apply. See Target.com/redcard for benefits and program rules
Macy's American Express® Card

Macy's American Express® Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Fair
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 27.24% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Macy's American Express® Card (Review) is another store-branded credit card, providing rewards and discounts focused on Macy’s.

However, this is also an American Express card and can therefore be used everywhere Amex is accepted. While the bulk of the rewards come from restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets, the benefits deal strictly with Macy’s.

So you’ll have more freedom with where to use this card, and you’ll get discounts like annual Star Passes which save you 25%. In addition, you’ll gain access to Amex Offers, providing exclusive reward deals at a slew of different vendors.

If Macy’s is your preferred department store, this is another viable option for you.

Spending Rewards
  • 3X points per dollar at Restaurants
  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Gas stations
    • Supermarkets
  • 1X point per dollar for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 20% off Macy’s purchases on the day you’re approved and the day after, up to $100 in savings
Status Annual Spend Requirement Annual Star Passes Benefits
Silver $0–$499.99 3
  • Star Money Days
  • Perks and Offers
  • Birthday Surprise
Gold $500–$1,199.99 6
  • Free Shipping
Platinum $1,200+ 12
  • 5% Back in Rewards at Macy’s
  • Star Passes: Get Star Passes each year, which can be used to get 25% off at Macy’s on any chosen day.
  • Perks and Offers: Receive occasional special offers at checkout, event invitations, access to exclusive sales, and more.
  • Star Money Days: These are limited-time events during which members can earn points on eligible Macy’s purchases when spending with their credit cards.
  • Birthday Surprise
  • Amex Offers: Access the Amex Offers program, which provides opportunities to save money by earning additional rewards at a changing selection of retailers.
  • Purchase APR: 27.24% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • 3X points per dollar at restaurants, 2X points per dollar at gas stations and grocery stores, 1X point for all other purchases
  • Macy’s Star Pass mailings
  • Surprise savings at checkout
  • Star Money days
  • Registry star rewards
  • Free shipping for Gold and Platinum members only
  • 5% back in rewards at Macy’s for Platinum members only
  • Birthday surprise every year
  • No annual fee
Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Our rating
Min. credit level Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer (Review), unlike the other cards mentioned here, is a general-use rewards credit card and not co-branded with any stores.

So rather than focusing on benefits and discounts centered on a single store, you’ll earn cash back for everything you buy, no matter where you shop. And as far as no annual fee reward cards go, the Citi Double Cash is one of the best available.

Along with a flat rate of 2% cash back, you’ll be able to access your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report. That’s a pretty useful perk, being able to keep an eye on one of your credit scores.

With this card you’ll get more freedom in where you can earn, but it will be less than the 5% cash back equivalent the JCPenney Credit Card offers.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase
  • Free FICO credit score: Keep tabs on your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report.
  • Personal concierge service: Call 1-800-508-8930 to speak with your own personal assistant, for help with all kinds of non-emergency tasks.
  • Citi Private Pass: Get preferred access and presale tickets to select events and experiences, including music, sports, dining, and theater.
  • Quick customer service: Call customer support and say “representative” to be connected with a human rep more quickly than usual.
  • Purchase APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable).
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

JCPenney Credit Card

JCPenney Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelFair
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR27.49% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Earn $10 at JCPenney for every 200 points you earn
  • 15% or 5% off select purchases on the day you open your card
  • 1 point per $1 spent at JCPenney using your card, and 1 point per $2 spent using another form of payment
  • Gold status after spending at least $500 in a year
  • Platinum status after spending at least $100 in a year
  • $10 or $15 birthday gift each year on your birthday
  • Free shipping from JCPenney.com with Platinum status
  • Earn up to 2,000 points on a single purchase
  • No annual fee
  • High APR of 27.99%

Do you use the JCPenney Credit Card? How has it treated you? Let us know how you like it in the comments!

Interested in shopping somewhere else?

Best Retail Store Credit Cards

At a glance

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.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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