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If you live in the United States, there's a good chance you live near a Kohl's department store. The company has more than 1,100 locations in 49 states (sorry, Hawaii). Kohl's stores are best known for clothing, shoes and accessories, but they also have a robust offering of housewares, gifts and other products.
The retailer's co-branded credit card with Capital One — the Kohl's Charge — can be a decent choice for frequent customers looking to save some money. But getting maximum value out of the card can be complicated because you'll have to keep track of a variety of sales, promotions and discounts.
Here are five things to know about the Kohl’s Charge.
1. It’s a credit card, not a charge card
Don’t let the confusing name fool you: Even though it’s called the Kohl’s Charge, the product is a traditional credit card, not a charge card. (Credit cards let you carry a balance from month to month, while charge cards require you to pay in full each month.)
The Kohl's Charge is, however, a "closed-loop" store card, meaning you can use it only at Kohl's.
2. You’ll get savings and coupons, though it's a lot track
Many store credit cards, such as the Target REDcard™ Credit Card, offer cardholders a discount on every purchase. The Kohl's card is different. Instead of knocking off 5% or so at checkout, Kohl's runs regular promotions and sales to give cardholders extra opportunities to shop at a discount. These promotions take several forms.
For starters, when you open a new Kohl’s card, you may qualify for one-time savings off your first purchase on your new card. A common offer is to save an extra 35% off your first purchase, plus an extra 15% coupon when your new card arrives in the mail.
Kohl's Charge cardholders periodically receive exclusive coupons either in the mail or in the Kohl’s Wallet app. The Kohl’s Wallet will keep track of your various offers and coupons all in one place, so you don’t have to worry about physical coupons. The coupons are usually good for 15%, 20% or 30% off an entire purchase for a limited time.
Kohl's frequently runs promotions in which shoppers get a $10 Kohl's Cash coupon for every $50 they spend. The coupons are handed out at the time of purchase (and can be added to your Kohl's Wallet app), but they can be used only during specified dates. This way, shoppers have to come back to the store rather than spend the money right away.
The company's rewards program pays points when you make purchases in a Kohl's store or online. You’ll earn 1 point for every dollar spent, and every 100 points earns a $5 reward. You don't have to be a Kohl's Charge cardholder to participate in the program.
3. Bigger spenders can earn status
When you spend $600 with your Kohl’s card in a calendar year, you’ll earn Most Valued Customer status. That MVC status entitles you to additional savings and offers throughout the year, including a special birthday gift. You’ll also enjoy exclusive free shipping periodically, which you can stack with your other Kohl’s offers and cash.
4. You won’t want to carry a balance
Like many store credit cards, the Kohl’s card comes with a hefty ongoing annual percentage rate, meaning interest charges could cost you dearly if you don’t pay the card off in full each month.
The APR will fluctuate, but it could be as high as 24.99% or more.
Try not to carry a balance on this card; charge only what you can afford to pay off at the end of the month.
5. You can see if you pre-qualify without a hard pull on your credit
If you’re interested in a Kohl’s card but worried that you may not qualify, you can check before applying without penalty. Visit the Kohl’s Charge section on the website and look for the pre-qualification link. Enter your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth, and you’ll instantly see whether you’re pre-qualified, without a "hard pull" on your credit report.
If you’re not pre-qualified, you know not to proceed with the application. If you are, you’ll receive a pre-qualification code immediately on your screen. Use that code when you apply for the card by the date given.
If you'd like to learn about more options, see the NerdWallet best credit cards roundup.