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Kohl’s Charge credit card review

Kohl’s Charge credit card review

Published: November 15, 2017
Ratings Policy
Retail Rating:
1.9 rating
1.9 rating
1.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.9
Rewards Flexibility: 2.8
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Despite a paltry points system, regular Kohl’s customers can still save a considerable amount of money with the Kohl’s Charge card – but a steep APR puts cardholders at risk of having interest charges eat into their rewards and discounts.

Rewards Rate
1:1 Kohl’s purchases

Sign-up Offer

  • 25% off first Kohl’s purchase
  • 15% additional discount once your card arrives

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Savings ($1,325 monthly spend)
$113

APR
24.99% (variable)

Rewards Redemption

Pros

  • Points automatically redeemed as certificate at end of each billing cycle (mailed in 2 days)
  • Can combine Yes2You rewards with Kohl’s cash and other discounts
  • No limit to the points you can earn

Cons

  • Certificates expire in only 30 days
  • Points expire 1 year after they’re earned
  • Can only use certificate at Kohl’s and Kohls.com

Other Notable Features: 12+ special offers each year, 18+ special offers for Most Valued Customers (must spend $600+/year), birthday gifts and other surprises, receipt-free returns

With nearly 1,200 stores in 49 states, chances are there’s a Kohl’s near you. The discount department store has somewhat of a cult following among thrifty consumers who pride themselves on finding the best deals on everyday items, and those are exactly the kind of customers who stand to benefit the most from the Kohl’s Charge card. Features such as no annual fee, monthly coupons, birthday gifts and invites to exclusive sales make the card a no-brainer for frequent Kohl’s visitors.

Of course, there are caveats: The key to maximizing this retail card lies in stacking multiple savings opportunities on top of each other, requiring cardholders to be a bit more strategic in their card usage. Further, a high APR could put wide-eyed bargain hunters in a bind if they run up a big balance, so impulsive shoppers should keep a close eye on their spending when charging their purchases to the card.

Bare-bones earnings scheme

The Kohl’s Charge card offers an unimpressive 1:1 rewards on Kohl’s purchases, far below many of its retail card competitors and cash back cards such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express.

Rewards are earned as part of the Yes2You Rewards program. Any Kohl’s customer can open a Yes2You Rewards account to earn points, and the Kohl’s Charge card doesn’t offer additional points on top of these base points, so owning the credit card doesn’t give you any advantage in collecting rewards points.

However, where the Kohl’s card becomes worthy of serious consideration is in the ability to stack rewards with other offers and discounts, which we explore in further detail below.

Good sign-up bonus

Kohl’s fans will more than appreciate the credit card’s sign-up bonus, which offers a cool 25 percent off your first purchase upon account activation. You’ll also snag an additional 15 percent discount for a future purchase once your card arrives in the mail. Combined with the retailer’s everyday price breaks on national clothing brands, shoes, accessories, housewares and more, new cardholders have the opportunity to cross a ton of items off their wish list on the cheap.

Comparatively, the Target Redcard offers no sign-up bonus at all, while the Walmart Mastercard comes with a lesser discount of 20 percent (limited to $50 total) on the day of account opening.

Yes2You Rewards and other impressive perks

Instead of offering automatic savings at checkout like other store cards, the Kohl’s Charge card’s best features come in the form of monthly coupons and secret sales, which are particularly valuable when combined with Kohl’s Cash and Yes2You Rewards Cash (both of which are available to all Kohl’s customers). Here’s the scoop:

  • Kohl’s Cash can be earned by shopping in stores and online during specified earning periods. For every $50 in purchases, customers collect $10 coupons, which can only be used during corresponding redemption dates (typically occurring right after the earnings window). Kohl’s Cash is issued at the time of in-store purchase and is emailed within 24 hours for items bought online.
  • The free-to-join Yes2You Rewards program pays 1:1 points on every purchase that can be exchanged for certificates ($5 for every 100 points).

In addition, Kohl’s Charge cardholders receive at least 12 coupons each year ranging from 15 to 30 percent off, while those who spend $600 or more (known as Most Valued Customers) get an additional six coupons annually on dates of their choosing. In addition, credit card customers receive birthday gifts and sometimes have access to private sales events. Combined with Kohl’s Cash and Yes2You Rewards Cash, it makes a convincing argument for Kohl’s enthusiasts to sign up for the card. 

A high APR plus a lot of maintenance

Unsurprisingly, the overall appeal of the Kohl’s Charge card is weighed down by a rather high APR of 24.99 percent. (Meanwhile, APRs for the Freedom Unlimited and Blue Cash Preferred from American Express start at 15.74 percent and 13.74 percent, respectively.) Plus, rewards certificates have an extremely short shelf life of 30 days.

In other words, if you don’t keep track of your balance and rewards, you run the risk of charging more than you can afford to pay off every month and/or letting your rewards expire before you have the chance to cash them in.

Why get the Kohl’s Charge credit card?

  • You’re already a Kohl’s devotee who knows all the secrets to shopping there, from surprise coupons when using in-store Wi-Fi to watching for the retailer’s night owl and early bird specials.
  • You shop frequently enough at Kohl’s to use rewards certificates before their expiration date.
  • You’re looking for merchandise discounts rather than cash back.
  • You don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month. 

How to use the Kohl’s Charge credit card:

  • Pay for all Kohl’s purchases with your Kohl’s Charge card to automatically earn Yes2You Rewards. (Otherwise, you’ll need to provide your phone number or email address at checkout.)
  • Rewards points expire one year after they’re issued, so make sure to convert your points into Yes2You Rewards Cash before then.
  • Download the Kohl’s app and open it in-store to add 10 free Yes2You Rewards to your card’s running points balance.
  • Because of the card’s steep APR, pay your balance in full every month to avoid paying higher-than-average interest.

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