5 Things to Know About the Kohl’s Credit Card

The Kohl’s Card offers in-store rewards and a variety of discounts — if you can keep track of them all. But it can be used only at Kohl’s and carries a high APR.
May 3, 2022
5 Things to Know About the Kohl's Credit Card

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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 Card — 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. And your rewards expire quicker than you can say “shop till you drop,” in just one month.

Here are five things to know about the Kohl’s Card.

1. It’s a credit card, not a charge card

Even though the card formerly was called the Kohl’s Charge, it’s a store credit card, not a charge card. Credit cards let you carry a balance from month to month and apply interest to unpaid balances, while charge cards require you to pay in full each month.

The Kohl's Card is, however, a "closed-loop" store card, meaning you can use it only at Kohl's.

(Kohl’s and Capital One announced in March 2022 they plan for a new co-branded card to arrive “as early as 2023,” but offered no details.)

2. You’ll get savings and coupons, though it's a lot to 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, it gives a percentage back in its loyalty currency, Kohl’s Cash, which can be used on future purchases. Card benefits are intertwined with the department store’s regular promotions and sales. Here are the main components.

Introductory discounts

For starters, when you open a new Kohl’s Card, you may qualify for one-time savings off the first purchase on your new card. A common offer is to save an extra 35% off a purchase within 14 days of approval for the card.

Kohl's coupons

Kohl's Card cardholders periodically receive monthly exclusive discounts either in the mail or in their electronic Kohl’s Wallet, available in the Kohl’s mobile app. The Kohl’s Wallet keeps track of your various offers and coupons, so you don’t have to worry about physical coupons. However, coupons can’t be used on a slew of brands and product categories.

Kohl’s Rewards

Unrelated to the credit card is the Kohl’s loyalty program, called Kohl's Rewards. Regular members earn 5% back on purchases in the form of Kohl’s Cash, which is issued in $5 increments on the first of the following month. Kohl’s Cash earned from purchases expires in 30 days, a very short expiration period that hurts the value of the rewards.

But if you have the Kohl’s Card, you instead get 7.5% back in the form of Kohl’s Cash, a nice bump from the regular rate.

Kohl's Cash

Kohl’s Cash is the loyalty program currency. Kohl's frequently runs promotions in which shoppers get a $10 Kohl's Cash coupon for every $50 they spend. Coupons are doled out at the time of purchase, 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. These discounts can stack with (be added to) discounts exclusive to cardholders.

Kohl’s Cash has far fewer exclusions overall than Kohl's coupons, but it has some. Kohl's Cash can’t be earned on Kohl's gift cards and can’t be redeemed for Kohl's gift cards or Kohl's Cares products. It specifically excludes “Sephora at Kohl’s” purchases.

Cardholders also receive advance notification of Kohl's Card sales events by mail and receipt-free returns on purchases made using the Kohl's Card.

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. You’ll also get 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 as of May 2022, it was 26.24%.

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 Card 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.

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