Credit Cards

TJ Maxx Credit Card Review: The Pros and Cons

TJMaxxCreditThere are a plethora of credit cards available today, and the selection of cards affiliated with stores continues to grow. Here’s a look at all aspects of the TJ Maxx Credit Card so you can decide if it’s the right one for you.

The Store Card
TJ Maxx actually offers two cards: a store card and a Mastercard (see below). Both cards offer the following amenities:

  • a 10% discount off your first purchase (in-store only)
  • 5 rewards points for every $1 spent at either TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Sierra Trading Post or HomeGoods
  • a $10 reward certificate for every 10,000 points earned
  • no annual fee

The Mastercard
The TJ Maxx Platinum Mastercard offers card holders the following additional benefits:

  • 1 rewards point for every $1 spent wherever Mastercard is accepted
  • 0% fraud liability
  • global use of the card
  • the ability to use the card to obtain cash at ATMs
  • price protection and extended warranties
  • resolution of identity theft

The biggest advantage to both cards is the ability to accumulate rewards points. This is great if you’re a big shopper at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, HomeGoods or Sierra Trading Post. If you, for example, do all your back-to-school or holiday shopping at these stores or were doing a major home redecoration project, this could pay off well.

Having no annual fee is nice, although getting to be more of a norm these days. Both cards offer a 23-day grace period for payments, and you can manage your account online to avoid worrying about postal delays with your bill.

The Not So Good Stuff
First of all, one of the greatest disadvantages of the TJ Maxx Card is the confusion about which card you’re applying for. It appears from the application process that you apply for both cards, and whichever card your credit report best suits is the one you receive. If you’re looking for a regular credit card for purchases outside the TJ Maxx family of stores, you could be disappointed to only qualify for the store card. And that’s a ding on your credit for the inquiry, even if you didn’t really want that card.

Many card holders also report being given very low credit limits ($300 and below), which doesn’t go very far if you’re shopping for your entire family. Moreover, if you approach the limit on your card, your credit bureau credit utilization ratio goes way up. That’s the relationship between available and used credit, and the bureaus like to see a low number here if you apply for other loans, like mortgages or home equity lines of credit.

A number of the other disadvantages with the TJ Maxx Credit Card are typical of store cards, and unfortunately, they bleed over into the Mastercard as well. The regular interest rate, or APR, is 26.99%–pretty steep compared to regular credit cards. It’s also fairly high for a card that requires good to excellent credit for approval. There is no special introductory rate, and the late fee is $35. The cash advance rate on the Mastercard is 29.99% with a 4% cash advance fee. Foreign transactions are charged 3%.

The TJ Maxx Credit Card is backed by Synchrony Bank (formerly GE Capital Retail Bank, AKA GECRB), which is not known for stellar customer service. Many customers complain of unhelpful, largely scripted responses to their questions, and it’s likely that the customer service department is outsourced overseas. Other consumer complaints include difficulty receiving rewards points, frozen accounts when large payments are made and interest added to accounts after card holders have paid them in full, thereby incurring late fees for customers who don’t catch this because they think their bills are paid off.

This card is not a good suggestion for someone who forgets to pay monthly bills or doesn’t shop much at the TJ Maxx group of stores. It’s also not recommended if you only want a major credit card and wouldn’t be okay with just receiving the store card.

If you do a lot of shopping at TJ Maxx and its affiliates and are meticulous about paying your bill in full every month, this card can offer good rewards points that you can redeem at stores you visit frequently.

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