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This article was last updated Mar 27, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Kohl’s is known for the wide variety of items the store carries, such as clothing, shoes, home furnishings and jewelry, but a huge draw for shoppers is the store’s seemingly endless parade of coupons and rewards that bring customers back again and again.
Among those coupons and rewards are the Yes2You Rewards program (get a $5 reward for every $100 spent), Kohl’s Cash® ($10 Kohl’s cash back for every $50 spent) and regular promotions and coupons offering 15% to 30% off.
The Kohl's Charge card is designed to help its most loyal customers maximize those coupons and rewards, as well as offer extra perks just for cardmembers.
But, like many store cards, it comes with a very high ongoing 26.74% variable, making it extremely expensive to carry a balance from month-to-month. For that reason, this card is only worth it if you’re a regular Kohl’s customer who pays the balance in full each month.
Below we’ll review of the Kohl's Charge credit card. If the terms of this card don’t work for you, we’ll take a look at the Target REDcard Credit Card as an alternative.
Where the Kohl's Charge stands out
The perks. New cardmembers can take 30% off your first purchase in-store or online when you use your Kohl's Charge. So if you spend $500 on your back-to-school shopping, that’s $150 off your total purchase right off the bat. Once that discount is applied, you can save even more by applying any of your dollar-off discounts, Kohl’s Cash coupons, Yes2You Rewards and promotional gifts toward spending.
The offers. You receive 12 special offers and an anniversary offer every year, and you have the ability to combine your Kohl’s Charge discounts with Kohl’s Cash and Yes2You Rewards. And earn Most Valued Customer (MVC) status when you spend $600 on the card by the end of the year. That earns you another six offers per year, a birthday gift and exclusive free shipping events every month.
Easy redemption. The points you earn on the card are automatically converted to rewards cash at the end of each month. Your rewards are emailed to you approximately two business days after your points have been converted.
Soft pull available. If you’re worried about whether you qualify for a Kohl's Charge card, it offers the option of doing a soft inquiry, which doesn’t hurt your credit score if you’re not eligible. If you prequalify and decide to apply officially, a hard credit pull is performed.
Where the Kohl's Charge falls short
The penalty APR. The regular variable APR is already quite high. Another big minus with this card is If you don’t make your minimum payment on time every month or a payment is returned, your APR will jump from 26.74% variable to 29.74%. Make sure you can pay your card off in full each month, or you really won’t be saving money, even when you rack up store discounts, as so much of your payment will go to interest charges.
The card can only be used at Kohl’s. You can only use it at Kohl’s stores, which really cuts back on your flexibility.
Rewards expire quickly. The rewards cash you earn on the card every month expires 30 days after it’s issued. Leftover points not converted into rewards cash expire a year after they’re issued. If your account is inactive for 12 months, your balance will automatically be reset to zero.
Discounts can’t be used on certain brands. There’s a long list of brands that you can’t apply to your coupons, discounts and rewards for purchases, including American Girl®, Columbia, Converse®, Adidas®, Nike, Timberland®, Dyson, Levi’s®, Ugg® and Under Armour®. You also can’t use them for Kohl’s gift cards, prestige brands of cosmetics and skincare, select brands of fragrance, premium electronics, premium sunglasses, sporting goods and select online-exclusive merchandise.
Temptation to overspend. With myriad deals on the table with Kohl’s, it may be challenging to use all the coupons, promo codes, rewards, Kohl’s Cash and discounts offered at the store. And you certainly don’t want to spend just for spending’s sake, as you can simply wind up in debt.
Compare it with the Target REDcard Credit Card
If you want a store-branded card that comes with solid rewards, great perks and a larger selection of merchandise to choose from than Kohl’s, then consider the Target REDcard Credit Card instead. When it comes to rewards, you earn a flat 5% discount on Target and Target.com purchases at Target or Target.com, and you don’t earn points or cash back. You receive the card’s discount every time you swipe it.
The card comes with free two-day shipping at Target.com on many items. For those items that don’t qualify for two-day shipping, you’ll pay standard rates and merchandise is expected to be delivered within three to five business days. Standard shipping is free on orders more than $35 or on orders paid for with the Target REDcard Credit Card.
Receive an extra 30 days to make returns when you use the card at Target or Target.com. Get 15% off and free shipping on select diapers, wipes and formula subscription orders when using the Target REDcard Credit Card.
Cardholders can get a 10% discount through Nov. 1, 2019, when booking at Hotels.com after logging into their Target REDcard Credit Card account. There’s also a 5% discount at in-store Starbucks locations, discounts of between 5% and 50% when you use the card in the Target app for hundreds of daily Cartwheel offers and 5% on subscriptions for essential items plus another 5% when you use your Target REDcard Credit Card.
If that isn’t enough, the card comes with a 5% discount on gift cards for travel, restaurants, movie tickets and more. Target REDcard Credit Cardholders get 5% off top deals of the week and 5% off clearance prices. Cardholders also receive early access to select products and promotions, along with exclusive extras, including special items, gifts and offers.
Items that don’t get the card’s discount include: prescriptions, over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter and clinic services at Target; Target Optical™ eye exams; Target gift cards and prepaid cards, stockpile (gift cards for buying stocks), gift of college gift cards (used for 529 college savings, ABLE disability savings accounts or to pay down student loan debt) and lottery gift cards; previous purchases; certain restaurants in Target stores, such as D’Amico & Sons Italian Kitchen and Pret A Manger; credit account payments; Target debit card cash back; cash advances on the Target Mastercard; Shipt membership fees; gift wrap, shipping and handling charges on Target.com purchases; and wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by mobile carriers.
The Target REDcard Credit Card’s extended return doesn’t apply to Target Optical™ purchases and non-returnable items.
|Kohl's Charge||Target REDcard Credit Card|
|Regular purchase APR||26.74% variable||24.65% variable|
|Rewards||Get 12 special offers every year; special anniversary offer every year; and combine Kohl’s Charge discounts with Kohl’s Cash and Yes2You Rewards.||5% discount on Target and Target.com purchases|
|Sign-up bonus||take 30% off your first purchase in-store or online when you use your Kohl's Charge.||None|
|Foreign transaction fee||Not applicable||Not applicable|
The bottom line
Here’s the deal — if you’re a dedicated Kohl’s shopper and are willing to do what it takes to wring out the benefits of every coupon, promo code, discount, Yes2You reward points and Kohl’s Cash, then the Kohl's Charge is a great option. Just remember to make your payments on time so the card’s higher interest rate doesn’t kick in.
But if you want a card that offers a broader selection of merchandise, a simple flat discount on all purchases and great perks, then the Target REDcard Credit Card is the better choice.