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JC Penney Credit Card Review

JC Penney Credit Card Review

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Dec 26, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

If you regularly shop for clothing, furniture, appliances and more at JCPenney, it may be worthwhile to consider opening a JCPenney Credit Card, so you can be rewarded for your shopping.

In addition to earning 1 point per dollar spent on qualifying purchases at JCPenney stores or jcp.com., the card offers exclusive savings to cardholders. For example, you can receive up to 15% off select purchases when you open and use your new JCPenney Credit Card.

You can use your JCPenney points, which are worth 0.5 cents each, toward eligible JCPenney purchases. When your account reaches 200 points, you will be issued a $10 JCPenney Rewards certificate.

In this review, we’ll break down the pros and cons of the JCPenney Credit Card, as well as show how it compares to the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card.

In this post:

Where the JCPenney Credit Card stands out

Introductory discount bonus. When you open and use a new JCPenney Credit Card, you’ll Save 15% or 5% on select qualifying purchases. Subject to credit approval. Receive an initial 15% off select apparel, shoes, accessories, fine jewelry, salon products, furniture and mattresses, home items and in-home custom design. Or, receive 5% off select electronics, “Modern Bride Design Your Dream Ring”, smartwatches and Tempur-Pedic items.

Rewards rate. Cardholders earn 1 point per dollar spent on qualifying purchases at JCPenney stores or jcp.com. in stores and online.

Note, Sephora products that aren’t purchased from Sephora in JCPenney Stores or at jcp.com, gift cards and Sephora gift cards are not eligible to earn JCPenney rewards. Pre-sale purchases also do not earn rewards.

Additional benefits:

  • Access to more than 100 special savings days throughout the year
  • Special financing available on qualifying purchases
  • Annual birthday offer

Where the JCPenney Credit Card falls short

High purchase APR. If you’re planning to finance a large JCPenney purchase and pay it off over time, the JCPenney Credit Card is not ideal. Because the card does not offer a 0% intro APR on purchases, you will incur extremely high interest charges at an APR of 27.49% variable if you carry a balance.

That said, we recommend paying your balance in full each month.

Cap on rewards. You are limited to earning a maximum of 2,000 points per transaction, regardless of the price of your purchase.

Rewards expiration. Your points will expire if you do not earn rewards on qualifying purchases at least one time every 12 months.

Compare it to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

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on Chase's secure site

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

More Info

If you don’t want to be limited to earning rewards at JCPenney, you should take a look at a card that offers rewards on every purchase you make, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card.

The flat-rate card comes with the following offer: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

See how the cards compare side-by-side in the table below.

JCPenney Credit Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

JCPenney Credit Card Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Annual fee $0 $0
Sign-up bonus Save 15% or 5% on select qualifying purchases. Subject to credit approval. Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
Rewards rate 1 point per dollar spent on qualifying purchases at JCPenney stores or jcp.com. Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
Intro APR on purchases N/A 0% Intro APR for 15 months
Regular purchase APR 27.49% variable 14.99% - 23.74% variable

Like the JCPenney Credit Card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® comes with a $0 annual fee. However, unlike the JCPenney Credit Card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card lets you carry an interest-free balance for more than a year. The card offers a 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases, then an APR of 14.99% - 23.74% variable will apply – making it ideal if you plan to finance a large purchase.

The bottom line

If you regularly purchase apparel, electronics, appliances and other household items from JCPenney, and you plan to take advantage of the special savings, the store-branded credit card may be a good fit. But if you don’t want to be limited to using your credit card at JCPenney stores, you’ll be better off with a card that offers rewards everywhere you shop – like the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card.


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