JCPenney Credit Card: No Annual Fee and Easy Approval, But What are the Interest Rate and Cashback Points?

Last Updated on July 12, 2021

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The JCPenney Credit Card is an excellent tool to save big at JCPenney department stores, though qualifying items can be limited. Since there is a large selection of goods for purchase at JCPenney, this credit card can furnish your home, restock your wardrobe, or buy some shiny bling for less, saving you with discounts and scoring you impressive cashback rewards to be used in-store.

The Rundown – JCPenney Credit Card

The JCPenney Credit Card can only be used at JCPenney stores, which limits the card in its flexibility compared to other credit cards. However, for someone who does a majority of their shopping at this department store, it can be well worth it to apply for this piece of plastic because it helps you save big. Plus, there are no annual fees!

There are two tiers beyond the basic JCPenney Credit Card:

  • The JCPenney Credit Card Gold Card is obtained by keeping your annual spending at $500 or more on qualifying purchases. The Gold status doesn’t improve a whole lot on the original card, however, it does include a “Pick Your Own Sale Day,” as well as other coupons and special offers to enjoy throughout the year.
  • The JCPenney Credit Card Platinum Card is awarded to those who spend $1,000 or more annually. Platinum status adds two more perks for the cardholder, including “bonus points days” that reward extra cash-back bonus points on select brands and JCPenney merchandise. There are also “Platinum appreciation days,” which are exclusive sale days that offer an extra 30 percent off on purchases.

Note: The upgraded cards appear as a status bump, and are not separate credit cards. Your status is subject to removal if annual spending habits drop below the required amount.

The Incentive: The JCPenney Credit Card offers an initial 15 percent off the first purchase made with the card, though the selection of qualifying merchandise is limited to select apparel, shoes, accessories, fine jewelry, watches, salon products, furniture, mattresses, home, blinds, and shades. There is also a 5 percent discount on certain electronics, smartwatches, Tempur-Pedic, and the Modern Bride Design Your Dream Ring.

JCPenney Credit Card: Annual Fee, Interest Rate and Cashback Points on JCPenney Rewards in 2021
JCPenney Credit Card: Annual Fee, Interest Rate and Cashback Points on JCPenney Rewards in 2021. Photo Credit: Idealphotographer /

Rewards: Cardholders earn 1 point on every $1 for qualifying purchases and 1 point for every $2 on all other JCPenney merchandise. These points can only be redeemed in-store for special discount certificates.

Cash It In: For every 200 points, you earn a $10 JCPenney Rewards certificate. This equates to about 5 percent cash back on all qualifying purchases, which is a very good in-store cashback program.

Enjoy Interest-Free Payments

Unlike the T.J. Maxx Credit Card, JCPenney cardholders get a grace period of 23 days and 0 percent APR on intro purchases for 18-48 months. After that, APR rises to 25.99 percent, which is on par with other in-store credit cards. There is a max late fee of $40, however, there is no max overlimit fee or max penalty APR. JCPenney also offers limited-time offers, such as 0 percent APR for 48 months on qualifying merchandise, though they change the selection every few months.

Be Aware

Though great on paper, the JCPenney Credit Card has a few caveats to be aware of.

  • There is a cap on your transactional earnings. There is a limit of 2,000 Rewards Points per transaction, which means you can lose out on rewards during huge shopping sprees.
  • There is also a deadline to use your rewards certificates. While you’re a cardholder, your rewards points don’t expire. However, once you redeem them for the $10 rewards certificate, the clock starts ticking. Make sure to check the expiration date, it may be closer than you think.
  • Other credit cards are more flexible and offer better cashback bonuses across thousands of stores. So, if you’re not a JCPenney loyalist or care for the huge discount days, there are better cards out there.

Will I Be Approved?

It’s fairly easy to get approval for the JCPenney Credit Card whether you apply online or in a store. Most online forums claim that potential cardholders need at least a 640 credit score, which is a low bar compared to other in-store credit cards. There are also other requirements, such as annual income and the number of other credit cards you have, but many cardholders claim they were approved within minutes.

The Verdict

The JCPenney Credit Card is one of the stronger in-store only credit cards out there. With huge cashback bonus rewards and special discount days for cardmembers, active JCPenney shoppers can save a ton on purchases. The Gold and Platinum statuses are also a great touch for those able to keep up with the spending requirements since those upgraded tiers offer very impressive incentives such as passbook coupons and Platinum appreciation days. There is also a special birthday gift for all Rewards Members, though that isn’t limited to cardholders.

For those that aren’t avid department store shoppers, there are better credit cards on the market. With relatively high APR, limited purchasing options, and reward certificates that expire, the JCPenney Credit Card leaves a lot to be desired.

The bottom line: For JCPenney shoppers, there is no reason not to get the JCPenney Credit Card. With exclusive discounts, huge cashback rewards, and a simple application process, the credit card is worth the trouble. Just make sure to pay off your monthly bill on time, or face the sizeable consequences.