One thing Kohl’s does well is getting shoppers into its department stores. Its e-commerce game is also strong with the addition of an in-store pick-up option. Also, who can forget the coveted Kohl’s Cash?
If you are a Kohl’s shopper and have ever wanted to earn even more benefits from shopping there, you might want to strongly consider opening a Kohl’s Card.
The basics of the Kohl’s Card
The Kohl’s Card operates like most credit cards, but it’s something known as a closed-loop card, which means you can only use your Kohl’s Card at Kohl’s stores.
Since the Kohl's Card is a store card, the APR (annual percentage rate) is typically higher than most credit cards and will vary with the Prime Rate. There’s no balance transfer or cash advance option. The card has no annual fee, but late fees can be up to $40.
So, if you can qualify and pay your credit card bills on time and in full, your Kohl’s Card is literally free for you to have, and you get all the benefits of being a cardholder.
What’s great about the Kohl’s Card
There are some amazing benefits to having a Kohl’s Card, so let’s start from the beginning. As soon as you’re approved for your card, you’ll get an extra 35% off your first Kohl’s purchase using your card. This purchase can be made online or in-store. As a cardholder, you'll also get the following benefits:
- Special coupon: When you receive your Kohl’s Card in the mail, it will include a 15% off coupon to use on your next online or in-store Kohl’s purchase.
- Bonus for going paperless: If you opt in to paperless statements, you’ll get another $10 coupon in your email inbox.
- Exclusive offers: You’ll receive 12 special offers in the mail throughout the year. Each special offer is available for a limited time and can be applied at checkout online or in-store. These special offers include a promo code that randomly gives you an extra 15%, 20%, or 30% off your purchase when you use your Kohl’s Card. If you can’t find or lose your special offer mailer, you’ll automatically get 15% off your purchase during the promotion time.
- Most Valued Customer (MVC) bonus: If you spend more than $600 per year at Kohl's, you’ll also receive six additional offers and a birthday gift for being an MVC.
- Advanced notice of upcoming sales in the mail: You can be among the first customers at the door when the sale hits the store. If you prefer online shopping, you can preload your cart before the sale date and then check out after the sale starts.
When it’s time to make a payment on your Kohl’s Card, there are a variety of options to make doing so convenient for you. Cardholders can make payments in the store, through the mail, over the phone, through the Kohl’s app, or online when they set up their account portal.
Things to watch out for with the Kohl’s Card
As wonderful as the Kohl’s Card can be, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of.
1. Not all items are eligible for discounts
Even Kohl’s cardholders aren’t eligible for discounts on some items. There are several brands online and in-store where discounts won’t apply. If you had your heart set on a pair of Levi’s jeans or a new Dyson vacuum, you won’t be able to use any promotional coupons, but you can still earn and use Kohl’s Cash during your purchase. Several sporting goods brands, professional sports team merchandise, consumable products, premium athletic brands, and select electronics also cannot be discounted using Kohl’s coupons. But these brands do occasionally run their own Kohl’s specials online and in-store. If you do end up opening a Kohl’s Card account, it’s best to become familiar with which brands and categories of merchandise will be discount-free.
2. Offer time frames are short
To really take advantage of the special offers you’re mailed, you’ll need to act quickly. The time frames for each special offer are short, so if you miss it, you’ll need to wait until your next special offer arrives to save on your purchase.
3. Late fee and high APR
The Kohl’s Card comes with a high late payment fee, and its APR could be better. The average APR for credit cards is around 16%, so the variable APR on this store card is quite high when compared to other options. This high APR can result in high interest charges if you don't pay off your balance in full each month. Also, your spending limit will likely be lower than other credit cards; however, you can request a credit line increase every three months if you meet certain requirements.
4. Potentially confusing rewards
Kohl’s is well-known for having lots of rewards programs, but some of them have nothing to do with having a Kohl’s Card. For example, all shoppers are eligible for Kohl’s Cash. And you’ll have to open another account if you want to benefit from Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards program. Getting a Kohl’s Card doesn’t automatically enroll you in other rewards programs, and it can be confusing to keep track of everything to get the most benefit.
Who should consider the Kohl’s Card
If you already shop at Kohl’s or are considering switching over from another department store, the initial savings you get for opening a Kohl’s card are hard to pass up.
And if you’re a savvy shopper who has the discipline and flexibility to shop during special offer periods, you’ll reap the benefits of this retailer credit card.
Also, if you’re good at tracking rewards, you’ll get the most possible out of your cardholder and rewards benefits.
How to apply for the Kohl’s Card
It’s simple and easy to apply for a Kohl’s Card. You can see if you prequalify online without receiving a hard inquiry on your credit report. Once you know you’re qualified, you can submit an application online or in-store to open your card account. There’s no required minimum credit score for being approved, so you might be approved even if your credit score isn’t great.
Is the Kohl's Card worth it?
The Kohl's Card offers generous discounts to cardholders. Cardholder perks begin with your first purchase and also include special offers throughout the year.
However, many of the discounts require you to spend money on in-store purchases or at Kohls.com in order to take advantage of them. And, as with most store cards, the Kohl's Card can't be used at other stores and doesn't provide rewards that can be redeemed for merchandise outside of Kohl's.
If you shop at this store often, you may find the Kohl's Card is worth having. However, if you aren't a regular Kohl's customer or would prefer more flexibility from your credit card rewards program, a general-purpose rewards card could be a better fit.
What credit score do you need for the Kohl's Card?
The Kohl’s website does not state a required minimum credit score to get approved for a Kohl's Card, and it might be possible to qualify even with a limited credit history, fair credit, or an imperfect FICO score.
Does applying for a Kohl's Card affect your credit?
You could choose to get pre-qualified for the Kohl's Card without a hard inquiry. However, if you decide to apply for the card, it will result in a hard inquiry, which could remain on your credit report for up to two years.
Which bank issues the Kohl's Card?
The Kohl's Card is issued by Capital One.
Alternatives to the Kohl’s Card
If you’ve started to think the Kohl’s Card might not be the best fit for you, there are plenty of other cards you can pick up and use at Kohl’s.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has no annual fee and a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months (then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR). That means you won’t accrue any interest on your Kohl’s purchases during that period. You'll also earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
For travelers, check out the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Your purchases earn you 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day and 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. And the annual fee is only $95. All the rewards you earn with this card can be redeemed toward travel.
Unlimited Cash Back
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5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases