JCPenney Credit Card Review: Features, Fees, and Rates

Irina Tsymbaliuk

If you find yourself shopping at the same few stores time and again, you might have considered getting a dedicated in-store credit card. But the big question is, is this actually worthwhile? Take JCPenney, for example. They offer their own credit card, complete with a rewards program and numerous benefits for regular shoppers, but are they enough to consider the offer?

In this JCPenney credit card review, you can learn more about this offer by Synchrony Bank, its eligibility criteria, features, benefits, and fees. Also, we will compare it to other similar cards so you can make a more informed decision.

JCPenney Credit Card: A Closer Look

First off, JCPenney offers two types of credit cards: a closed loop one for use only at the store as well as a JCPenney Mastercard, which you can use for purchases anywhere.

The eligibility criteria differ slightly depending on which option you choose. In both cases, you need to be over 18 years old as well as have a physical address in the United States, sufficient income, and a valid SSN. The difference lies in the required credit score for a JCPenney card.  The in-house credit card requires a score of at least 640, while the Mastercard is available at 700 and above.

JCPenney Credit Card: A Closer Look

JCPenney Credit Card Perks

The benefits of this card are:

  • $0 annual fee;
  • A welcome bonus of 35% off pre-selected purchases;
  • Earning 1 point for 1 dollar spent (up to 2,000 on a single purchase);
  • More than 100 “saving days”;
  • An opportunity to get discounts and promotions depending on how much you spend (Gold or Platinum status);
  • Possibility to get special financing depending on the credit approval.

With a JCPenney Mastercard credit card, you get all the same benefits, with the only difference being that you can earn points when making purchases in other stores. The downside is that regardless of where you shop, the rewards are redeemable with JCPenney only.

Now let’s see how this credit card holds up compared to some other rewards credit card options.

Target RedCard Credit Card

Similarly to the JCPenney credit card, there are two options — a Mastercard one and for Target purchases only. The advantages include no annual fee and 5% off on Target purchases, both online and offline. Unlike the JCPenney card, this one offers an immediate discount, so you won’t need to redeem rewards at a later date. However, the card also has a high interest rate.

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

This is a general-purpose credit card, so it’s not limited to any specific store, making it more convenient to use. Additionally, you’ll get higher rewards because you can use it anywhere you shop. The card doesn’t have an annual fee, and you get a 2% cash back on all purchases on top of that. Another significant benefit is a 0% intro APR for 15 months.

While you won’t get any bonuses for shopping at a certain store, other benefits make this card a decent alternative for brand-specific offers.

JCPenney Credit Card: Everything to Know about Fees

JCPenney Credit Card: Everything to Know about Fees

The strong selling point of this card is the absence of annual fees. Because of this, you can use it comfortably even if you don’t make purchases at JCPenney all that frequently.

JCPenney credit card interest rate, on the other hand, is far from the best, with a variable APR of 31.24%. In the best-case scenario, some shoppers may be qualified for a 0% intro offer that can last up to 30 months. You should also be aware that there is a late fee of $41.

Here are some tips to make sure you don’t have problems with fees or interest:

  • If you get a 0% interest for a certain period, make sure to check the exact duration beforehand to avoid getting into debt. You will need to pay the amount you owe in full within the promotional period. Otherwise, you will be charged interest when it is over.
  • To avoid paying late fees, you should always pay a total minimum payment due. To make sure you don’t forget about this, you can set up an auto-pay for a minimum amount each month.

Final Thought

Even if you are a loyal customer of JCPenney, you should think about whether you need their credit card, as it clearly has some significant limitations. You can earn a decent amount of bonuses if you are a frequent shopper, but if you only visit the store occasionally, a general rewards card may be a better option. If you can qualify for JCPenney Mastercard and plan to apply for the card anyway, we suggest you go for the advanced version, as you will be able to use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted. We also recommend checking JCPenney Mastercard reviews online before making the final decision.


What are the eligibility criteria for a JCPenney credit card?

A JCPenney credit card is accessible to most shoppers, as the required credit score for a JCPenney card is just 640. However, If you want to get a Mastercard version, you need to have a good credit score of 700 and up.

What are the benefits of the JCPenney credit card?

The benefits of a JCPenney credit card are a $0 annual fee, a 35% off welcome bonus, and earning 1 point for each dollar spent (those can later be redeemed at the company’s offline or online stores). Most JCPenney Mastercard reviews agree that it makes more sense to get a Mastercard version for more versatility.

How do I apply for the JCPenney credit card?

You can apply right in the store by filling out a paper form. Alternatively, you can go to the official JCPenney website and submit a form online. Your application will be processed within 7–10 days, and you will receive your card by mail. We advise you to make sure you meet JCPenney credit card score requirements and prepare the necessary documents in advance.