It’s not surprising that so many retailers market their own branded credit cards — after all, with high APRs and low minimum payment options, a store card offers the company an opportunity to cash in on some serious fees and penalties.
Given the potential downsides, why do people apply for these cards? Usually, it’s the lure of receiving discounts at a store where they enjoy shopping often. So can these cards ever work in your favor? The answer is yes, sometimes…but usually only if you’re a responsible cardholder.
Since some cards have better perks than others, let’s review the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard from Synchrony Bank and see where it stands.
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The TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard at a Glance
There are few things you should know right off the bat about the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard.
First: WHOA, that’s a hefty APR! This could mean big trouble for those carrying a balance on this card.
Second: There are a TON of horrible consumer reviews (on multiple sites) about this particular credit card. That’s a red flag in our book!
Third: We’re reviewing the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard here, which some people often refer to as the “T.J.Maxx Credit Card.” It can actually be used to earn points across the TJX family of stores.
Lastly: There may be instances where applicants do not qualify for the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard. These applicants are then automatically considered for the TJX Rewards® Credit Card. You can find information on that card below in our “Additional TJX Card Options” section.
TJX Rewards, also commonly referred to as T.J.Maxx Rewards, offers shoppers 2 different types of perks. One is a loyalty program called TJX Rewards Access. The other is an opportunity to earn points via the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard.
TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard: TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard holders earn 5 points per $1 spent on the card at the TJX family of stores. These stores include:
- Sierra Trading Post
- Online at tjmaxx.com
- Online at sierratradingpost.com
Cardholders also earn 1 point per $1 everywhere else MasterCard is accepted.
Once a cardholder earns 1,000 points, these points are automatically redeemed for a $10 reward certificate. The reward certificate is only valid for use at T.J.Maxx and its sister stores (see above).
TJX Rewards Access: Shoppers can sign up to TJX Rewards Access without holding a TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard, but they won’t receive the above points-earning opportunity. All TJX MasterCard holders do, however, earn the same perks as TJX Rewards Access Members.
These benefits include (but aren’t limited to):
- Free giveaways
- Exclusive sweepstakes
- First dibs on tjmaxx.com arrivals
- Earn visits to TJX stores
- Members-only must-haves
- Private parties
- Advanced arrival alerts
Additional Features of the Card
The TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard also comes with the following benefits:
- No annual fee
- Fraud protection
- Identity theft assistance
- Price protection (eligible purchases)
- Extended warranty (eligible items)
- Additional standard MasterCard benefits
Fees & Drawbacks of the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard
When it comes to fees and drawbacks of this card, they’re pretty hefty. Remember, with these high percentages/fees, things can get ugly fast for cardholders carrying a balance.
- APR: 27.99%
- Cash Advance APR: 27.99%
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $10 or 4% of each cash advance amount (whichever is greater)
- Late Fee: $25-$35
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
If those fees aren’t enough to scare you off, a quick online search will return tons of poor reviews for this card.
From individuals who state they never received their rewards certificates to issues with dropped credit scores, suspended accounts, delayed credit limit increases, and reports of horrible customer service…this really doesn’t seem like the best card option on the market.
Lastly, let’s be clear — this is not a true cash-back rewards card. Cardholders can only use their reward certificates at the TJX family of stores. This is in contrast to true cash-back rewards cards that return the money to you on your statement so you can use it however you wish.
Applying for the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard
If you still feel this is the right card for you, you can apply online here, or in-store. As mentioned previously, there are technically 2 cards you can get via TJX: the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard and the TJX Rewards® Credit Card.
Shoppers submit 1 application and are initially considered for the MasterCard, since this card has slightly higher qualification criteria. If the applicant does not qualify, they are then automatically considered for the TJX Rewards® Credit Card.
Upon credit review, some applicants will be approved instantly. However, some applications may need further review, resulting in a 7-10 day waiting period. Additionally, applicants should note that the age requirement is 18 years+ to apply.
The TJX Rewards® Credit Card: This card can only be used at the TJX family of stores.
There are some similarities and some differences to the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard:
- No annual fee
- APR stays the same at a whopping 27.99%
- All other penalties/fees are also the same as with the MasterCard
- You still earn 5x points within the TJX family
- You DO NOT earn points elsewhere, as the card is not valid
- No cash advance opportunities
Sign-up bonus: The current sign-up bonus for TJX cardholders is 10% off their first in-store or online purchase (of course, restrictions apply).
Alternative Rewards Credit Cards
It’s fairly clear the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard comes with some serious concerns. So are there better cash-back credit cards that are worth a look? Absolutely. Plus, most of these cards can be used in many places, as opposed to a store-branded card that locks you into a couple particular retailers.
There are lots of excellent options, but here are just a few examples:
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card earns you 1.5% unlimited cash-back on any purchase that you make (from anywhere) — as well as a cash-back sign-up bonus after you spend a certain amount after your account opening. Check our review for current offers!
- The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases; then 1%), 2% cash-back at all U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash-back on everything else. While this card doesn’t specifically earn you extra at TJX stores, you can use the cash-back returned to your statement however you wish.
- The Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express offers 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases; then 1%), 3% cash-back at all U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash-back on everything else. Again, while this card doesn’t specifically earn you extra at TJX stores, it earns in some serious categories that are big spenders for most people. Plus, you can use the cash-back returned to your statement however you wish.
Logging in & Managing Your Account Online
If you are a TJX Rewards cardholder, you can sign up/login online here to manage your account. Here are a few options you have within the platform:
- Monitor account activity
- Make payments
- Set up account alerts
- Sign up for paperless statements
- Learn about special offers
We have a tough time recommending the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard from Synchrony Bank for many reasons.
Yes, the perks seem pretty decent, but you can get many of them simply by signing up to the loyalty program — which doesn’t require getting the credit card. Additionally, cardholders can only earn max benefits and use the rewards certificates at TJX stores, which severely limits your purchasing options.
Furthermore (and probably most importantly), the fees on this card are absurd. If you aren’t sure whether you can pay off your card in full every month, this could put you in some serious debt — and fast.
That being said, if you’re a responsible cardholder who fully pays off your card on time every month and you regularly shop at the TJX family of stores, then you could certainly benefit from the TJX Rewards® Platinum MasterCard. Just educate yourself on the risk vs. reward…with so many horrible reviews on this card, it may be more hassle than it’s worth.
Lastly, there are a number of other quality cash-back rewards cards out there. Many of these cards have excellent reviews and can earn you some serious returns in big categories like groceries, gas, and even some department stores. Plus, they’re true cash-back cards, meaning you can use your earnings any way you want!