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JCPenney Credit Card Review

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JC Penney

If you’re a die-hard department store shopper, then you know that JCPenney is one of the oldest department stores in the United States, where you can find just about everything under one roof. You can buy everything from clothing, to home goods to kitchen appliances – some stores even have hair salons.

What keeps JCPenney customers continuing to come back is the ability to save money on every purchase. There is almost always a coupon available to use, and they have a reward system available to everyone-whether you’re a frequent JCPenney shopper or not. But if you find yourself constantly making purchases at JCPenney, getting a JCPenney store credit card gives you access to additional benefits and savings – and that can be worthwhile to a frequent JCPenney shopper.

Benefits of the JCPenney Credit Card

JCPenney Credit Card

After you are approved for a JCPenney store credit card (either in-store or online) you will receive a 20%-off coupon (until November 14, 2018) toward select apparel or 5% off select appliances which can save you a lot of money. (some exclusions apply to this offer – be sure to check the terms and conditions when you sign up).

Every time you use your JCPenney credit card, you receive one point for every $1 you spend. When you reach 200 points, you receive a $10 coupon to use on your next purchase. There is a limit of 2,000 points that you can earn on a single purchase, regardless of how much you spend. Keep in mind, also, that because this card is a closed-loop credit card, you will only be able to use it at JCPenney stores and at Sephora stores located inside JCPenney.

About Store Credit Cards

One of the benefits to store credit cards is that gaining approval tends to be easier than with bank issued, general-purpose credit cards, so this can be a great way to get your credit in better shape. Even though you might not have a good credit score, it’s possible you can still be approved for a store card with a lower credit limit, but remember, in most cases, store credit cards carry higher APRs. Some store cards will even raise your limit if you make monthly payments on time, but this also depends on the issuer’s terms and conditions.

What are the rates and fees for this card?

With the JCPenney credit card, the variable APR on purchases is a high 27.99%. That means it will be crucial that you pay off your balance each month or the finance charges could get very expensive. There is no annual fee for this card.

When it comes time to pay your bill you’re not only going to want to make sure you are on time because of the high APR. There is also a penalty fee of up to $38 on late payments. Making late payments also negatively impacts your score. You can make a payment online, over the phone, or in a JCPenney store. Just make sure you have the money in your bank account to cover it because you will not be able to use another credit card to pay your JCPenney card.

Alternatives to the JCPenney Credit Card

If you are a frequent JCPenney’s shopper and spend a decent amount of money at JCPenney, then their store credit card might be a great option. However, if you prefer the freedom to shop at multiple department stores without having too many credit cards, or would rather earn cash back rewards for your purchases, then you might be interested in one of these alternatives.

Chase Freedom® Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Apply Now
on Chase's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
0% for 15 months on purchases

Ongoing Apr:
17.24% - 25.99% Variable

Balance Transfer:
Intro: 0% for 15 months

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • New Offer! Double Cash Back: Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 17.24-25.99%. Balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit JourneySM
  • No annual fee

Card Details +

Why We’re Mentioning It: The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great credit card for anyone hoping to earn cash back. 

Card Details: You earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with this card. It’s automatic too. Plus, you earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. There’s no minimum to redeem for cash back and cash back rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now
on American Express's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
0% for 12 months on purchases

Ongoing Apr:
14.99%-25.99% Variable

Balance Transfer:
14.99%-25.99% Variable

Annual Fee:
$95

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Card Details +


Card Details: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and 1% cash back on all other purchases

When applying for any of these cards (or any other credit card for that matter), keep in mind that every card issuer conducts a hard inquiry into your credit, which can ding your credit scores. That’s why it’s a good idea to make sure you qualify by checking your scores ahead of time. You can get two free credit scores at Credit.com, updated every 14 days.

At publishing time, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

This article updated on March 5th, 2018. 


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Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.