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T.J. Maxx Credit Card: Is It Right For You?

March 1, 2017
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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Department store giant T.J. Maxx accepts the usual array of credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. But if you’re a superfan of T.J. Maxx or its sister stores — Marshalls, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post — you may want to consider one of the company’s own credit cards.

In general, the Nerds recommend getting a dedicated store credit card only if you shop at that store often enough to earn significant rewards and redeem those rewards, and only if you pay in full each month to avoid high interest charges. If that description fits you, then you might get good value out of a T.J. Maxx credit card.

What T.J. Maxx credit cards are available?

The parent company of T.J. Maxx, TJX Companies, offers two credit cards.

  • The TJX Rewards Credit Card can be used only at T.J. Maxx and its affiliated stores. With it, you earn 5 TJX Rewards points per $1 spent at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post or their websites. Points are worth 1 cent each, so the rewards rate is 5%.
  • The TJX Rewards Platinum MasterCard® can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. You earn the same 5 points per $1 spent at T.J. Maxx and its affiliated stores, plus 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

With both cards, you get a small sign-up bonus in the form of a 10% off coupon, which you must use within 30 days. You get your rewards in the form of a certificate, sent to you automatically once your rewards balance reaches 1,000 points ($10) or 2,000 points ($20), depending on your preference. You can redeem the certificates for merchandise in store or online. Points in your account don’t expire, but certificates expire after two years.

Should you get a T.J. Maxx credit card?

The Nerds usually frown on store credit cards. They tend to have low credit limits, so a big shopping trip can push your balance dangerously close to your limit, which can hurt your credit score. They’re also not great if you need to carry a balance for a while, since their interest rates tend to be higher than those of general credit cards. But there’s no denying they’re handy if you’re a creature of habit and shop at the same store all the time.

The T.J. Maxx credit cards are pretty typical store cards. They don’t have annual fees. You must use your rewards at an affiliated store. And as of February 2017, the ongoing annual percentage rate on both cards is a hefty 27.24%.

The 5% rewards rate is tempting, however. The TJX Rewards Credit Card is a good option if:

  • One of these four stores is convenient for you
  • You find yourself shopping there often
  • You plan to pay off your balance each month, thus avoiding interest

That’s why it’s one of NerdWallet’s best store credit cards.

But you can do a whole lot better than the TJX Rewards Platinum MasterCard. That card’s rewards rate at non-TJX stores is low, and you’re locked in to redeeming your rewards only at TJX stores.

Alternatives to T.J. Maxx credit cards

The Discover it® Cash Back offers 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories that you activate, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, and 1% on everything else. In the past, department stores have been among the bonus categories. (Check out the current bonus categories here.) The annual fee is $0. The best part? You can redeem your rewards for cash and use it any way you like.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a rewards structure designed to give you cash back on your regular household spending. You’ll get 6% back on up to $6,000 per year in spending at U.S. supermarkets and 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. Terms apply. T.J. Maxx isn’t among those select stores, but a lot of alternatives are. (See the list here.) That 3% rewards rate is lower than the 5% rate on a TJX card, but you earn it at more places, and if you spend a lot on gas or groceries you can more than make up the difference. The card has an annual fee of $95.

Suppose you do decide to get a T.J. Maxx credit card. You would still benefit from a good flat-rate card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. This card pays 1% back on all purchases, plus another 1% back when you pay those purchases off. You could double your rewards on non-TJX Companies purchases. The annual fee is $0.

» MORE: How to maximize credit card rewards when shopping

Information related to the TJX Rewards Credit Card and the TJX Platinum Rewards MasterCard has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards.

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @vcmcguire.