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T.J. Maxx Credit Card Review: Great for Shoppers but Lacking Elsewhere

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If you're a fashionista on a budget (or if you just have a lot of kids to clothe), the T.J. Maxx credit cards might have piqued your interest. There are two of them -- the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® that can be used anywhere, and the TJX Rewards® Credit Card that can only be used in-store.

Since they don't carry an annual fee, you may think there's no harm in applying for either card -- it's essentially free rewards, right? That's largely true, but as you'll see in our T.J. Maxx credit card review, for most people these cards are a bit more of a tired tchotchke than a shiny bargain. If you're good at scoping out deals on your wardrobe, it's likely you can find better deals for your wallet as well.

Full T.J. Maxx Credit Cards review

Top perks

Good earnings rate for TJX brand purchases: Each card will give you 5% back in TJX stores towards TJX Rewards Certificates. This is a pretty good rewards rate, on par with some of the highest cash back credit cards.

Use your card to earn rewards from multiple brands: The cards say "T.J. Maxx" on them, but you can also use them to buy things at Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra (formerly Sierra Trading Post), and Homesense stores. These are all great stores for people scouting out deals.

Automatic rewards redemptions: These cards have one of the easier rewards redemption options we've seen. Instead of fussing with external accounts or debit cards, you'll simply get a Rewards Certificate in the mail with your statement when you've accumulated enough points. These are sent out automatically in $10 or $20 amounts, so if you don't have enough points they'll roll over until you do.

No annual fee: These cards don't come with an annual fee. Which is a good thing, considering there's a pretty long list of drawbacks.

Alternatives to consider

  • If you want a better all around card: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® will offer most cardholders more cash back with its unlimited 1.5% back program. What's more, the card includes a big sign up bonus and a long 0% intro APR offer.
  • If you want to earn cash back while paying off debt: The Discover it® Cash Back card offers up to 5% cash back up to the quarterly maximum in rotating quarterly categories you activate. Better yet if you're in debt, it comes with a 15-month 0% intro APR offer to help you pay it off. The go-to variable rate applies after the 0% intro APR expires.
As of Jun. 21, 2022
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Chase Freedom Unlimited® Discover it® Cash Back
Apply Now for Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's Secure Website.

Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Up to $300 cash back

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Cashback Match

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1.5% - 5% cash back

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1% - 5% Cashback

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0% Intro APR, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0% Intro APR, 15 months

Regular APR:

15.74% - 24.49% Variable

Regular APR:

12.74% - 23.74% Variable APR

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Redeem cash back in any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • NEW Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 12.74% to 23.74% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
Apply Now for Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's Secure Website.

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What could be improved

Application process: There's only one application for both cards. You don't get to choose which one to apply for -- you fill out the form and see which one they decide to offer you, if any. If you're hoping for the higher-end TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® and all you get offered is the TJX Rewards® Credit Card, for example, you've just added another credit inquiry to your report and potentially dinged your credit score for nothing.

Poor earnings rate on non-TJX spending: Speaking of the differences between these cards, you can only use the TJX Rewards® Credit Card at TJX stores and nowhere else. You can, however, use the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® elsewhere, but you'd be better off avoiding it if you have better rewards card options. That's because it only earns 1 point per dollar spent on non-TJX purchases.

Limited rewards use: We hope you like these brands, because you can't use your Rewards Certificates for anything else. You can't get cash back or gift cards -- just discounts on T.J. Maxx brands, and that's it.

Rewards Certificates expire: It's nice that the company sends out your rewards automatically. But that also means you have to actually use the rewards on a regular basis, because each Rewards Certificate has a two-year expiration date. In other words, you can't save up your rewards and then redeem them on a mega shopping spree.

High interest rate: We recommend avoiding this card entirely if you think you might carry any balance at all. If you pay off your balance each month you won't have to pay any interest. But if you don't, you'll have to pay a sky-high interest rate. If you need to finance your clothes or other purchases, choose a credit card with a lower interest rate or better yet, one with a 0% intro APR offer.

No 0% intro APR offer: Speaking of 0% intro APR offers, these cards don't have any of them. It's pretty standard for retail credit cards to offer you some sort of discount financing after you open the card, but this one doesn't. It's yet another reason to never carry a balance on this card.

Lackluster perks: It's also fairly common for retail cards to offer a jackpot sign-up bonus, fancy perks, or other nice touches to entice you. Don't get us wrong, the T.J. Maxx cards do offer perks -- they're just not as shiny as we would expect. The only extras you get are a 10% discount on your first purchase after you sign up and access to "exclusive private shopping events," whatever those are. We think T.J. Maxx could do much better.

Find the best credit card for your needs

Compare credit card rewards, fees, APRs, and more using our side-by-side comparison tool.

Suggested credit score

You'll want fair to good credit -- a score of at least 620 -- to have a chance at approval for these credit cards. A higher score of at least 670 will significantly increase your odds of approval.

Remember that a high score isn't a guarantee of approval, and a low score doesn't always mean you'll be denied. Other factors, such as your income, existing debts, and credit history will be taken into consideration.

This credit card is right for you if:

If you're a frequent shopper at T.J. Maxx or one of the other store brands under the TJX umbrella, you're unlikely to find a traditional credit card product that matches the high rewards rate on purchases at TJX stores, unless it's part of a limited-time rotating bonus category.

While you could use the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® outside the TJX family of stores, frankly, the rewards rate on other purchases doesn't quite measure up to many other cash back and travel rewards credit cards. And don't forget that it has an extremely high APR.

These credit cards are only really useful only at TJX stores and websites. And only if you plan to pay off your balance in full each month because otherwise any cash back you get will be more than wiped out by interest charges. If you're not a frequent shopper at TJX stores, or you plan to carry a balance, you're probably better off looking at a traditional credit card.

FAQs

  • T.J. Maxx credit cards often have low credit limits, and many cardholders start with a credit limit of $200. There is the possibility of receiving a higher credit limit depending on your creditworthiness.

  • The TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard® can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

    The TJX Rewards® Credit Card can only be used at:

    • T.J. Maxx, Marshalls
    • HomeGoods
    • Sierra Trading Post

    When you apply for a T.J. Maxx credit card, you could be approved for either one depending on your credit profile.

  • Yes, a T.J. Maxx credit card can build credit if you use it regularly and pay the bill on time. The card issuer reports activity to all three consumer credit bureaus.

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