By now, it’s a shopping standard: you get up to the check-out counter and the associate asks if you want to save money by signing up for the store’s branded credit card.
Well…of course you want to save money. But is the credit card really worth it?
In this review, we’re taking a serious look at Kohl’s and their Kohl’s Charge card to answer that question.
Table of contents
The Kohl’s Charge Card at a Glance
|Late Fee||up to $37|
The Kohl’s Charge card is also referred to as the Kohl’s credit card and can only be utilized at Kohl’s and Kohls.com.
Who is the Kohl’s Charge card best for? This store-branded card is most useful for shoppers who frequent the retail chain often and those who aren’t bothered by combining multiple discount programs. You’ll need this to find the best possible price (we’ll explain more in the drawbacks section of this review).
Who should skip this card in favor of an alternative rewards credit card? Shoppers who don’t visit Kohl’s very often, or those who want a simple and straightforward rewards program with everyday rewards on every purchase.
Kohl’s Charge Card Benefits
The Kohl’s Charge card is a bit different than other store-branded cards in that it doesn’t give shoppers an everyday discount. Instead, cardholders get at least 12 special offers every year. Kohl’s defines these special offers as additional discounts on their sale prices.
Cardholders receive their special offers in the form of scratch-off coupons that arrive in the mail once a month. You then scratch to reveal either 15%, 20% or 30% off your entire purchase for the offer period, which is usually a fairly limited amount of time (a couple days).
Another main benefit is the 25% discount on a customer’s first purchase in-store or online.
Of course, there are a number of restrictions including (but not limited to):
- Gift cards
- Prestige brands of cosmetics/skincare
- Select electronics
- Premium sunglasses
- Sporting goods & sports team merchandise, including many popular brands like Nike, Columbia, Dyson, Under Armour, etc.
This list kind of leaves us thinking…”What’s left?” (You can find a full list of exclusions at Kohls.com/exclusions)
Additionally, shoppers get another 15% off discount when the credit card arrives in the mail. The same stipulations as the 25% off discount apply here as well.
The last main benefit of the Kohl’s Charge card is the opportunity to become an MVC (Most Valued Customer) after spending $600 on the card per calendar year. With the upgrade to MVC, shoppers will receive an additional 6 special offers (at least) for a grand total of 18 or more.
Additional Card Features
The Kohl’s credit card has a few additional notable features:
- $0 annual fee
- Receipt-free returns on purchases made with the card
- Advance notification of Kohl’s Charge sales events
- Access to My Kohl’s Charge online account management platform
Fees & Drawbacks of the Kohl’s Card
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Kohl’s Charge card is not having the ability to use rewards anytime. Your special offers are only good for a certain period of time — if you miss it, you’re out of luck.
Yes2You earns shoppers 1 point for every $1 spent, earning a $5 reward for every 100 points. Yes2You members also get 8 savings offers a year, a free birthday gift, opportunities to earn bonus points, and more.
Kohl’s Cash is a program where shoppers earn $10 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 they spend. The coupon is sent via email or automatically stored in the app. You can’t use Kohl’s cash for gift cards or Kohl’s Cares merchandise.
The good news is, the Special Offers from your Kohl’s Charge card can be combined with Yes2You points rewards AND Kohl’s Cash (they cannot be combined with Yes2You savings or percent-off offers). The Kohl’s Charge percent-off coupon is applied after all other discounts are taken.
The bad news is, they can only be stacked when the promotion dates overlap. This can get really confusing if you have a tough time keeping track of your coupons and their respective promo dates. This is also really frustrating if you’ve got a busy schedule and miss out on the prime days to save or miss out on your promo dates altogether.
Another big drawback of the Kohl’s Charge card is the high APR. At 24.99%, cardholders who carry a balance will accrue hefty interest fees quickly, especially with low minimum payments stretched over long periods of time. Additionally, late fees will cost you up to $37.
Alternative Rewards Credit Cards
If you don’t shop at Kohl’s very often or don’t think you can keep up with their confusing rewards program scheme, there are a number of other rewards-based cash-back credit cards that are worth your consideration.
Many of these cards can earn you savings anywhere — and some even have bonuses in popular everyday spending categories (vs. only at Kohl’s).
You should also consider these cards if you want the versatility of spending your cash-back rewards however you wish, instead of earning coupons that are only valid at Kohl’s.
Here are some other rewards cards to consider:
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card earns you 1.5% unlimited cash-back on any purchase from any store, including online. Further, you’ll earn a sign-up cash bonus after you spend a certain amount once you open your account (check our review for the most current offer).
- 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. There is no annual fee for this card.
- 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. This card has a $95/yr annual fee, but it does have a higher cash-back earning rate.
Applying For the Kohl’s Credit Card
You can apply for a Kohl’s Charge card in-store or online.
In general, you’ll likely need a fair credit score to be approved, although those with slightly lower scores have noted approval in the past.
Kohl’s states that upon credit review, some applicants will be approved instantly (and there are many instant approval credit cards out there). However, some applications for this credit card 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.
Kohl’s Credit Card Login & Account Management
Kohl’s provides cardholders with My Kohl’s Charge, an online portal where users can log in and manage their accounts.
Within this platform, users can perform the following actions:
- Access account information
- Monitor transactions
- Pay your bill
- Sign up for paperless statements
- Request a credit line increase
For avid Kohl’s shoppers, the Kohl’s Charge card is a no-brainer. You’re probably already used to monitoring the promotion dates with your Yes2You Rewards and Kohl’s Cash, so what’s one more promo period to throw in the mix? (Or should we say 12 more?)
If you don’t shop at Kohl’s often or you simply can’t keep track of various coupons and their respective promo dates, then this isn’t the card for you.
It also isn’t the card for you if you need a card for everyday use or are looking for rewards with every purchase you make — try a more general cash-back credit card.
Finally, if you’re hopping on the points and miles train, this definitely isn’t the card for you. In that case, you’ll want a travel rewards credit card instead.