TJX Rewards Credit Card Review: Is It the Right Card for You?
The TJX Rewards Credit card comes in two forms – one limited to stores, one you can use anywhere – and both provide rewards at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post.
Which card you get is something that T.J. Maxx will decide and, as we point out later, there is a big difference in the number of rewards dollars you can earn.
Store credit cards have some big positives if you do a lot of shopping at the store you have an account with but they also have some very clear downsides. Using these cards requires a certain level of personal finance expertise.
This review will help you understand if this card is right for you, what its strengths and weaknesses are and how the card’s benefits may or may not be better than getting a cash rewards credit card.
Pro tip: From here on out, we’ll refer to the T.J. Maxx card you can only use in T.J. Maxx-related stores as the “T.J. Maxx store card”. We’ll refer to the T.J. Maxx card you can use anywhere as the “T.J. Maxx Mastercard.”
The TJX Rewards Credit Card and Mastercard’s Rewards
When you get a store credit card, there’s a good chance you’ll learn about various rewards that the card gives you. In most cases, there’s a bonus you get up front – a certain percentage off your first purchase – and ongoing rewards that you get when you use the card at the store or at other locations.
Keep in mind that the T.J. Maxx store credit cards allow you to earn rewards at all the stores under T.J. Maxx ownership, which is why we mentioned HomeGoods, Marshall’s and Sierra Trading Post in the introduction – they're all part of the same overall brand.
10% Off Your First Purchase
When you’re approved for the store card or Mastercard, you’ll get a discount code that gives you 10% off your first purchase. However, there is one specific limitation we found in the fine print about this promotion.
If you apply for the card on a desktop computer or a tablet, you can use the 10%-off code for online and in-store purchases. However, if you apply via a phone, then your 10% discount is only good on in-store purchases.
Spending Rewards for the TJX Store Card
When you use the T.J. Maxx store card, it can only be used at the four stores in the T.J. Maxx network. When you use the card to make purchases at these locations, you’ll earn five rewards points for every dollar you spend. So, if you spend $400 during a trip to T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, you’ll earn 2,000 points.
You can redeem those points at a rate of $0.01 for every 2 points, which is half as valuable as the standard store and non-store credit card rate of $0.01 for every 1 point. You can redeem your points for $10 and $20 rewards certificates.
So, going back to the example where you earn 2,000 points on a $400 purchase, you could redeem those points for a $10 gift certificate you can use at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post.
The fine print notes that you can’t use your rewards certificates to purchase gift cards to any the four stores in the T.J. Maxx family.
Spending Rewards for the TJX Mastercard
Whenever you use your T.J. Maxx Mastercard at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post, you’ll earn five rewards points per dollar you spend. The redemption works the same as the store card: $10 and $20 rewards certificates that cost 2,000 and 4,000 points.
The big difference with the Mastercard is that you also get 1 rewards point per dollar you spend everywhere else. So, if you use the card to make $2,000 in purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and all the other places you go during the month, you’ll earn 2,000 points.
This feature makes the T.J. Maxx Mastercard a more valuable rewards card that the store card. However, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get the Mastercard when you apply. T.J. Maxx makes the final decision and, in many cases, that decision is based on your credit score.
If you have a score around 700 - 720, there’s a good chance you’ll qualify for the Mastercard. If your score is in the low 600’s or the 500’s, there’s a good chance you’ll get the store card.
The TJX Rewards Credit Card’s Rates and Fees
The TJX Rewards store card and the TJX Rewards Mastercard has two different sets of rates and fees. They share the same APR – 28.99% -- and the same late fee (up to $35).
However, because the TJX Mastercard is a full-fledged credit card, it allows you to make cash advances, and this is where the cards’ rates and fees differ.
A cash advance is when you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM or to transfer money to a checking account. The interest rate on these transactions is 29.99%. Also, you’ll pay a $10 or 4% fee based on which one is greater.
You’ll pay the $10 fee for all transactions up to $250. Once you withdraw more than, the 4% fee will apply because the resulting fee is bigger than $10. We generally advise against cash advances because the APR is so high. We reinforce that here, especially for advances of $100 or less because the $10 fee will be at least 10% of the withdrawal amount, which is far greater than the 4% you’d pay once you withdraw $250.
Based on our research of more than a dozen store credit card and more than 100 non-store cards, we believe the 28.99% APR is very high and should be avoided at all costs. The main situation in which this rate would be applied to your balance is if you don’t pay your balance in full every month.
How the TJX Rewards Credit Card Compares to Other Store Credit Cards
Based on our research, we’ve found that most store cards that only allow purchases at the store have rewards rates of 5%. The Target REDCard and the Lowe’s Advantage cards are a good example of this. The TJX Rewards credit card does well here.
As far as first-time purchase discounts go, we’ve found that other cards provide you with better offers than what the TJX card gives you. Some examples are:
- Kohl’s: 30% on purchase you make the day of approval
- Macy’s: 20% on purchase you make the day of approval
- Bed Bath & Beyond: $25 off $100 purchase
- Gap: 10% off first purchase
The important thing to keep in mind is that the rewards points you earn with the four stores we listed above are redeemable at a rate of $10 per 1,000 points. T.J. Maxx hinders their card’s value, in our opinion, because they require twice as many points as the competition to get a $10 rewards certificate/credit.
The TJX Rewards Credit Card’s Strengths and Weaknesses
We believe that the TJX Rewards card is an interesting choice for a store credit card not so much because of the rewards you get with the card or because the points redemption rate is curiously low. What makes this card interesting is the fact that T.J. Maxx tends to sell clothes, shoes, and a variety of home-décor items that are cheaper than what you’d find in a department store.
So, while you might only get a $10 rewards credit for 2,000 points instead of $20 like you would at other stores, there’s a good chance that you might be saving more than that $10 difference simply by making purchases at T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, HomeGoods or Sierra Trading Post.
We see the card’s biggest weakness being its high APR. In our guide to the 10 best store credit cards, all 10 cards we researched had lower APR’s than the TJX rewards card. The most common interest rate among those 10 cards was 26.99%.
Over the course of the year, a 2% difference in APR will cost you $20 a year for every $1,000 you carry on the card. Carrying a big balance isn’t as much of a concern with the store card as it is with the TJX Mastercard, which most likely will give you a higher credit limit that the TJX store card.
If you’re on the fence about this card, we believe one of the factors you should consider is whether or not you regularly shop at T.J. Maxx. If you do, this card’s 5% rewards rate is a great perk. However, if you’re looking for a new card in general and aren’t sold on getting the TJX card, consider getting a cash rewards card.
Research from consumer trends firm J.D. Power indicates that consumers are most happy with cash back cards. And, based on our research, there are lower APR’s and more lucrative sign-up offers than what you get with the TJX card.
To learn more about cash back cards, read through our rankings of the best cash back cards of 2018. We provide an in-depth analysis of each card and help you see which one may be the best fit for you based on your particular situation.