Is the T.J. Maxx Credit Card Worth It?

Matt is a Certified Financial Planner® and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes personal finance and investment advice, and in 2017 he received the SABEW Best in Business Award.

We are committed to full transparency as part of our mission to make the world smarter, happier, & richer. You should know that offers on The Ascent may be from our partners - it's how we make money. That transparency to you is core to our editorial integrity, which isn’t influenced by compensation.

The T.J. Maxx credit card, officially known as the TJX Rewards® credit card, is issued by Synchrony Bank, which is one of the leaders in the store credit card business. The card comes in two varieties -- the TJX Rewards® credit card (which I’ll also refer to as the “store card”), which is only usable at T.J. Maxx and other TJX-brand stores, and the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard, which can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted.

If you’re curious, in addition to T.J. Maxx, the other major TJX brands include Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post. So, the store card can only be used at these stores, as well as on the T.J. Maxx and Sierra Trading Post websites.

While the TJX Rewards® credit card and the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard certainly have some valuable perks, there are also some drawbacks that need to be taken into consideration before applying. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of what consumers should know about these credit cards before making their decision.

Benefits

Strong rewards program -- The card has a strong rewards program when used for purchases within the TJX family of brands. Cardmembers earn a $10 rewards certificate for every $200 spent at TJX-brand stores, an effective 5% rewards rate. Rewards certificates can be issued whenever you want to redeem the points you’ve accumulated, and issued reward certificates are good for up to two years. The TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard also earns rewards at a 1% rate for any other purchases of goods or services outside of TJX-branded stores and websites.

In addition, the TJX Rewards® program (which you don’t need to be a cardmember to join) offers perks such as free shipping for online orders from T.J. Maxx and Sierra Trading Post. You’ll also receive alerts when new shipments arrive and will be entered to win gift cards and other free merchandise.

No annual fee -- Also, both the TJX-only card and the Mastercard variety have no annual fee. This is standard for store credit cards, but is still an advantage worth mentioning, as many traditional cards with similar rewards rates do charge annual card membership fees.

Drawbacks

High APR -- As with most store credit cards, one of the biggest downsides to the TJX Rewards® credit card is the interest rate. In a nutshell, if you plan to carry a balance, the interest on your purchases can build up rapidly.

No 0% intro APR or promotional financing -- Not only is the APR high on both versions of the card, but there’s no promotional financing offer associated with the card. Many other credit cards, particularly those in the Visa and Mastercard payment networks, offer 0% introductory APRs for as long as 21 months. And many store credit cards offer zero-interest or deferred-interest financing at any time. For example, my Best Buy store credit card offers 24-month deferred-interest financing on any purchase over a certain dollar amount, so if I pay the entire bill within two years, I won’t pay a dime in interest. The TJX Rewards® credit cards have neither form of interest-free financing available.

Rewards can only be used at TJX-brands -- Furthermore, although the rewards rate is generous at T.J. Maxx and the other TJX brands, it’s worth pointing out that the reward certificates you receive can only be redeemed at TJX-brand stores and websites. They cannot be redeemed for cash, travel, or anything else. In other words, if you want more flexibility with how you use your credit card rewards, it’s a good idea to look elsewhere.

Low rewards rate on non-TJX purchases -- Another drawback is the Mastercard version’s non-TJX reward rate of just 1%. In the current market, you can find cash-back credit cards with 2% cash-back rates and no annual fees. Not only do these give twice the rewards, but you can use your cash-back rewards wherever you want.

Small introductory discount -- Finally, competition in the credit card industry has never been higher and as a result, there are some pretty impressive introductory bonuses out there. For example, consumers with at least average credit can easily find a no-annual-fee cash-back credit card with a $100 cash bonus after $500 in spending. In contrast, both versions of the TJX Rewards® credit cards offer only 10% off the first purchase for new cardmembers. You’d have to spend an awful lot on your first purchase for this to be a competitive bonus.

Other cards to consider

There are a few major drawbacks of the TJX Rewards® credit cards, so they may not be ideal choices for you. With that in mind, here are a couple of alternatives you might want to take a look at.

As of Nov. 18, 2019
Discover it® Cash Back Chase Freedom®
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Apply Now
Secure lock icon.

On Discover's Secure Website.

Read Full Review Rates & Fees
Apply Now
Secure lock icon.

On Chase's Secure Website.

Read Full Review

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: Double cash back in the first year Bonus: $150 after spending $500 within three months
Rewards Program: Earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories you activate ($1,500 quarterly spending cap), 1% back on all else Rewards Program: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 1% on all else
Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 14 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 14 months Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Regular APR: 13.49% - 24.49% Variable Regular APR: 16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Annual Fee: $0 Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

Highlights:

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠

Show More Arrow graphic to expand and collapse content
Apply Now
Secure lock icon.

On Discover's Secure Website.

Show More Arrow graphic to expand and collapse content
Apply Now
Secure lock icon.

On Chase's Secure Website.

Is it worth it?

It depends. If you’re a frequent shopper at T.J. Maxx or one of the other store brands under the TJX umbrella, there are certainly some good reasons to consider one of the TJX Rewards® credit cards. After all, a 5% rewards rate is unlikely to be matched by a traditional credit card product, unless it’s part of a limited-time rotating category.

The TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard offers identical rewards to the store credit card version in the TJX family of stores, but quite frankly, the rewards rate on other purchases doesn’t quite measure up to many other cash back and travel rewards credit cards on the market. And don’t forget that it has an extremely high APR.

In other words, although the TJX Rewards® store credit card can’t be used anywhere other than TJX-brand stores and websites, there’s really no good reason to use the TJX Rewards® Platinum Mastercard for any outside purchases. For this reason, I’d put both cards on equal footing, with a slight edge to the Mastercard for the “just in case you need it somewhere else” factor. Quite frankly, I’d consider both of these credit cards to only be useful at TJX stores and websites.

As a final point, neither of the TJX Rewards® credit cards are a good idea if you plan to carry a balance. The sky-high APR can erase the value of your 5% reward rate in just a few months. Plus, the TJX Rewards® credit cards don’t have any sort of 0% APR introductory financing offer. So, if you think you might want to finance your TJX purchases for more than a month, you might be better off with a traditional credit card, especially one with a generous 0% introductory APR offer.

The bottom line is that the TJX Rewards® credit cards can be a good idea if you shop at TJX-brand stores often and you don’t carry a balance. If this is the case, one of these cards could be a smart addition to your wallet. If not, you’re probably better off looking at a traditional credit card to finance your purchases.

About the Author