JCPenney Credit Card
JCPenney is an icon in the retail business and one the country’s oldest department stores. The JCPenney credit card issued by Synchrony Bank is designed to incent and reward loyal shoppers, and it does so with initial purchase discounts, increased earnings in the JCPenney Rewards Program and special promotional financing for large purchases. But since you can only use the card at JCPenney, your reward earning and redemption options are limited.
If you are an avid JCPenney shopper, you could benefit from being a cardholder. And because store-branded credit cards are easier to obtain, you may qualify with a less-than-perfect credit history. This makes the JCPenney card good for building credit, although you should be warned that the high 26.99% APR and the steep $38 late fee penalize those who carry a balance or make late payments.
While the rewards for the prudent JCPenney shopper are many, the card doesn’t really take the place of a good rewards or cashback credit card that offers more flexible earning and redemption options.
Features and Benefits
The JCPenney credit card has no annual fee and offers the frequent JCPenney shopper the ability to earn shopping rewards certificates, discounts and deferred-interest financing. Cardholders also qualify for elite benefits and greater rewards earning through the JCPenney Rewards Program.
What You Get
- 20% First Purchase Discount: Receive a 15% discount on your purchase on the day of your card approval. Appliances and Modern Bride Diamond Vault receive a 5% discount.
- Shopping Certificates: Spend $200 at JCPenney and receive a $10 shopping certificate.
- Special Financing: Cardholders qualify for the current deferred-interest promotional financing offer which allows large purchases to be repaid over time.
- Double Member Rewards Points: Cardholders receive 1 point per dollar spent at JCPenney versus 1 point per $2 spent for regular JCPenney Rewards Program members.
The JCPenney credit card is not a cashback card, but the simplicity of its earning structure creates a similar result. If you spend $200 at JCPenney, you’ll automatic receive a $10 shopping certificate, which is the equivalent of 5 percent back. The shopping certificates, unlike cash back, can only be used for purchases at JCPenney.
When you are approved for a JCPenney credit card, you’ll receive special promotional financing offers for qualifying large purchases. The offers vary widely depending on the amount of the purchase and the promotional offer in effect at the time of your approval.
These promotional financing offers allow you to spread out repayment of your large purchase over 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48 or even 60 months. If minimum payments are made on time and the balance is paid off by the deadline, all deferred interest is waived. If you make an error or miss payments, retroactive interest from the date of purchase will be applied and owed.
Customer perks begin with membership in the JCPenney Rewards Program and are enhanced by having the JCPenney credit card. General members without the credit card receive one point for every $2 spent at JCPenney regardless of payment method. Cardholders earn rewards twice as fast because purchases at JCPenney made on the JCPenney credit card earn one point per dollar spent.
Once 200 points have been earned, a $10 JCPenney shopping certificate is issued. There is a limit of 2,000 points that can be earned per month. Members can earn Gold and Platinum status by spending levels of $500 and $1,000 respectively. Benefits include discount coupons, birthday shopping certificates, special member events and personal discount shopping days.
What is the Value of JCPenney Rewards Points?
The JCPenney Rewards program has a simplified redemption formula. You automatically earn a $10 shopping certificate good at JCPenney stores or on jcp.com after accumulating 200 points. Spend $200 on the JCPenney credit card and earn a $10 certificate. This works out to a value of five cents per reward point. When it comes to redemptions, however, your options are severely limited. You can only utilize your shopping certificate for JCPenney purchases.
What is CPP and How is it Calculated?
Cents Per Point (CPP) is a way to measure the value of points. It tells you how many cents you get for each point you redeem by dividing the cash price of the hotel room by the number of points of an equivalent award stay costs. This can be a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the stay in both cash and points fluctuates by season and availability.
We use the following formula to calculate the CPP:
Should You Get the JCPenney Credit Card?
If you shop frequently at JCPenney, you could benefit from the JCPenney credit card, especially if you’re planning a major purchase. You’ll receive up to a 15 percent discount on your purchase the day you apply and are approved for the card. Check for the latest offers as they do change.
You’ll then receive 5 percent back in the form of a $10 shopping certificate for every $200 you spend on the card. You can also finance a large purchase for an extended period of time without paying interest if the balance is paid off before the deadline.
If you spend at levels of $500 to $1,000 or more a year at JCPenney, you’ll qualify for elite benefits that include special discount coupons, member events, birthday shopping certificates and members-only discount days. These benefits, however, can be secured just by joining the JCPenney Rewards Program. Only the earnings rate increases when you have the JCPenney credit card.
The problem with the JCPenney credit card is that you cannot use it for everyday purchases and reward redemptions are limited to JCPenney shopping certificates. The card is not a good overall rewards card, and even the loyal JCPenney shopper could do better by having a cash back card that rewards all purchases and has more flexible redemption options.
If you are a shopper who does not pay off your balance in full each month, this card with its 26.99% APR is definitely not for you. If your credit history is just fair, but you shop at JCPenney and want to build credit, the JCPenney credit card may be an option as store-branded cards are typically much easier to secure that other credit cards.
If you shop frequently at JCPenney, your credit history is good and you’re compelled to get the JCPenney credit card, you might consider adding a solid cashback card to your wallet. The Freedom Unlimited, for instance, offers a sign-up bonus and 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase you make.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
How does the JCPenney Rewards Program with the credit card differ from the regular JCPenney Rewards Program?There is only one JCPenney Rewards Program, and you do not need to be a JCPenney cardholder to earn points. You only need to sign up for the program and have a purchase of $10 or more to earn rewards.Members of the Rewards Program receive one point for every $2 spent at JCPenney. When you are approved for the JCPenney credit card, however, you begin earning one point for every dollar spent on your JCPenney credit card, which is double the points of a regular JCPenney Rewards Program member.Once you have spent $500 on your JCPenney credit card in a calendar year, you will be elevated to Gold status. Spending $1,000 at JCPenney on your JCPenney credit card per calendar year elevates you to Platinum status.
- As soon as you reach 200 Rewards points in your account, you will be issued a $10 JCPenney Rewards certificate and the points will be deducted from your account.Points in your account do not expire as long as your account is active. Active is defined as earning points on qualifying purchases at least once in a 12-month period. You should make a purchase of at least $10 when using your rewards certificate because purchases that are less than that result forfeiture of the difference.Some certificates expire in as little as 45 days, so be sure to use them promptly. All rewards certificates can be accessed electronically and are redeemable only at JCPenney stores or online. There is no option to redeem rewards for cash, for prior purchases or for credit to your account.
- Cardholders may have the option to pay for a large purchase over time. These promotional financing offers allow you to spread your payments for qualifying purchases over 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36 or 48 months, depending on the amount of the purchase and the specific promotional offer in effect at the time.No interest is assessed on the purchase if the amount is paid off before the end of the period. However, if you do not pay off the balance, miss minimum monthly payments or miss the promotional period deadline, interest for the entire period is assessed. While this extended financing can be a benefit, it can also cost you if you do not follow the terms precisely.
Do I have to pay off my JCPenney credit card each month? If I don’t, how much interest will I have to pay?While there is no requirement to pay off your JCPenney credit card in full when the statement closes and your balance is due each month, significant interest charges are assessed on your carryover balance. Any balance will be subject to a 26.99% APR interest charge.This hefty APR is charged on the balance carried over even after you have made the minimum payment on your monthly statement. If your minimum payment is late you will also incur additional late charges. Late payments can result in costly consequences as the JCPenney credit card has a severe $38 late fee.
- You can access your JCPenney credit card online and on your mobile device. You can view your statements, check your promotional financing balances, make current payments and schedule future automatic payments. You can view and modify your profile, view your transactions and track your purchases. You’ll also find helpful tips for avoiding fraud and disputing transactions, as well as the terms and conditions of your card agreement.
While you may not have heard of Synchrony Bank, it is a prominent player in the store-branded credit card space, offering dozens of store-specific credit cards. Just like many store-branded credit cards, the Synchrony Bank cards we’re comparing below are designed to incent loyal shoppers, so earnings, rewards redemptions and even purchases are limited to affiliated stores. Sign-up bonuses for these store-branded credit cards are delivered in the form of a discount on your initial purchase the day you’re approved. Fortunately, you’ll not incur any annual fees with any of these cards.
Other cards in the Same Lineup
Sign-up bonuses on store-branded cards are generally nothing spectacular. If you’re making a large qualifying purchase at JCPenney, however, you could end up with a decent initial bonus. If you purchase a $1,000 mattress, for instance, your 15 percent sign-up discount would equate to a respectable $200 off. Not bad for a card with no annual fee.
When it comes to comparing earnings, the TJX credit card initially appears to offer the best earning rate at five points per dollar spent at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post. However, when redeeming points earned on your TJX card, you’ll need 1,000 points to receive a $10 shopping certificate, which works out to the same earning rate as the JCPenney credit card. While you get you get just one point per dollar with the Penney’s card, a $10 certificate costs just 200 points.
In each case, you’re spending $200 to receive a $10 shopping certificate, which is the equivalent of a 5 percent return. The Walmart credit card, on the other hand, earns 3 percent cash back on Walmart and Sams Club purchases, which would require about $334 in spending to earn $10 in rewards.
If you’re an avid JCPenney shopper and you’re planning a major purchase, you might benefit from the JCPenney credit card. One reason is that the sign-up bonus is a 15 percent discount on your purchase. JCPenney also allows you to apply coupons, which it offers generously and often, in addition to your sign-up discount. You could finance your purchase, too, with their initial promotional financing offers. Another benefit of the card is that you receive the equivalent of 5 percent back in shopping certificates.
The bottom line on all of these store-branded cards is that earnings, redemptions and discounts are limited to only their affiliated stores. If your credit history is strong enough, you would do better with a rewards credit card that earns on all purchases, has a healthy sign-up bonus and offers more flexible redemption options.
Some Alternative Cards for JCPenney Shoppers
If all of your credit card purchases were made at your favorite retail store, then having only a store-branded credit card in your wallet would make sense. In real life, however, credit card charges include gas, groceries, utility bills, travel and much more. To maximize the rewards you earn across all of your purchases, you’ll want to select a card that aligns with your spending habits. The no annual fee cards we’re comparing below ensure that every purchase you make, not just those at JCPenney, earns rewards you can use.
- Citi® Double Cash Card
1% cash back on purchases and 1% as you pay for those purchasesRead Review
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards
$150 bonus offerRead Review
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®
15,000 points offerRead Review
Get the Biggest Bonus
An alternative to the JCPenney credit card may be to simply join the JCPenney Rewards Program and then secure the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. You’ll still receive one point per $2 spent at JCPenney just for being a member of their rewards program, and you’ll receive 1.5 percent cash back by using your Freedom Unlimited card.
Plus, you’d get a $150 sign-up bonus with the Freedom Unlimited after spending just $500 in the first three months after card approval. You would then receive 1.5 percent back for all of your purchases, including everyday purchases. The Freedom Unlimited also has no annual fee.
Best Cashback Card
The no annual fee Citi Double Cash Card offers 1 percent cash back on all of your purchases. When you pay off your balance each month, you’re rewarded with another 1 percent back, effectively bringing your total cash back to 2 percent. There are no bonus categories or complicated redemption schedules; you’ll simply be earning 2 percent on all your purchases.
JCPenney purchases will, of course, earn 2 percent cash back when using the Citi Double Cash card. But once you have spent $400 at JCPenney, even using the Citi Double Cash card, you’ll also earn 200 JCPenney Rewards Points (at a rate of one point per $2 spent) and get a $10 shopping certificate, which is the equivalent of another 2.5 percent back on your $400 of spending. The Citi Double Cash card has no annual fee.
Best Initial 0% APR Card
If you need to finance a large purchase or transfer high-interest credit card balances, you might want to consider the no annual fee Capital One QuickSilver Rewards card that offers a 0% APR for the first nine months for both purchases and balance transfers.
You won’t be sacrificing earnings as the QuickSilver Rewards card earns a solid 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase. In addition, the card offers a $150 sign-up bonus after spending just $500 in the first three months after card approval. For JCPenney shoppers, the card is a great alternative to the JCPenney Rewards card as you’ll still be able to finance and receive cash back on large purchases, plus as a member of the JCPenney loyalty program, you’ll also earn JCPenney Rewards.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Good credit score
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the benefits of the JCPenney credit card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this Synchrony card.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 23 days
- Purchase Dispute:
- If you are dissatisfied with your purchase and it is $50 or greater, you have the right to not pay the remaining amount due on that purchase. Certain conditions apply and are listed in your cardholder agreement.
- Special Large Purchase Financing:
- Promotional financing offers allow you to spread your payments over a deferred-interest repayment period.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Cash Advance Fee:
- See Terms and Conditions
Security and Protections
Store-branded credit cards generally offer few security features. The JCPenney credit card issued by Synchrony does have online account access, mobile access and digital payment capabilities.
- Online Account Access:
- You can manage your JCPenney credit card account online. Set up account alerts, schedule automatic payments and view your balances and your transaction history.
- Mobile Access:
- Synchrony’s mService product allows you to pay bills and access your account on your mobile device.
- Digital Payments:
- Your JCPenney credit card is compatible with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
The JCPenney credit card does not offer additional cardholder benefits. Additional cardholder benefits are available only on MasterCard and Visa store-branded credit cards.