Review: J Crew Credit Card

j crew storeIn less than three short decades, J Crew has grown to be one of the largest clothing retailers in the country. They have fashionable clothes for reasonable prices, but does their credit card actually make sense?

Where can you use it?

The J Crew card is not affiliated with any major payment network (like Visa, Discover, etc) so it can only be used for purchases from J Crew, whether it’s at their store, on their website, or via their mail order catalog.

What are the rewards?

Surprisingly, the J Crew credit card application doesn’t do a very good job explaining the rewards program. Here’s what you need to know:

  • For every $500 spent at J Crew a $25 rewards card is given that can be spent at their stores
  • Usually a 10% off first purchase made is included with the card, however there are a number of exceptions – the offer does not apply toward branded merchandise. For example, Bobbi Brown, Adidas, Levis, Angela Adams for J.Crew, J Girl by J Brand, and dozens of others won’t qualify for the discount.

What’s the interest rate?

At the time of this review the APR is a very high 24.99 percent! This is excessive to say the least and it makes their rewards program not worthwhile if you ever carry a balance.

Are there any other benefits?

Most of the benefits listed on the card’s application are far from impressive. For example they list “personalized service” and invites to sales. But there is one benefit listed that sounds nice – complimentary standard alterations. But be aware that the fine print lists some exclusions; J Crew factory merchandise and sale items.

Should you apply for it?

This appears to be your typical run-of-the-mill store charge card.

That being said, in defense of their card, it could be worthwhile if you regularly shop a lot at their stores and have a need for basic alterations.

But how much do you really spend at their stores per year? Do the math to find out to determine whether the savings are worth it for you:

  • $500 per year in purchases = $25 rewards
  • $1,000 per year in purchases = $50 rewards
  • $1,500 per year in purchases = $100 rewards

If you are a light spender, it’s not worth dealing with another credit card account just to earn $25 per year in rewards. But if you’re spending $2,000+ at their stores per year, I would say it could be worth it.

The only reason I don’t recommend it for light to moderate spenders is because it’s useless outside of their stores. And sometimes, rewards

The J Crew rewards program is nice but it only applies to purchases at their store. Meanwhile there are major credit cards that give 5% at all apparel stores, so the rewards program in and of itself does not justify getting the J Crew card.

Other reward cards you should also consider…

Here are 3 that I personally recommend:

Discover It – Get 5% cash back on eligible categories (when it’s clothing stores, that includes J Crew)
BarlcayCard Arrival – Earn rewards worth 2.2% on every purchase
Blue Cash Preferred – Get 3% cash back at select US department stores

Written or last updated August 9, 2013

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Horrendous service. Do not use