Kohl’s offers a no-annual-fee credit card (in partnership with Capital One) that lets you earn bonus rewards on your Kohl’s purchases, plus other cardholder-only perks. But should you add the Kohl’s Card to your wallet?
Only Accepted at Kohl’s
The Kohl’s credit card can be used for purchases inside Kohl’s stores or at Kohls.com, but nowhere else. It is NOT a Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover credit card.
Cardholders Earn More Rewards
Kohl’s has a Kohl’s Rewards program that you can join and earn rewards in even if you are not a Kohl’s Card holder. If you’re not a cardholder, you’ll earn a 5% reward, or $5 per $100 in purchases. However, Kohl’s credit card holders earn a 7.5% reward (50% higher), which means you’d earn $7.50 per $100 in purchases.
(Note that rewards are not earned at Sephora at Kohl’s, and can not be used at Sephora.)
Rewards Are Given As Kohl’s Cash, And It Expires Fast
At the beginning of each month, Kohl’s will total up all of the rewards in your account and issue you “Kohl’s Cash” in $5 increments. (Kohl’s Cash is essentially like a gift card; it can only be used on future Kohl’s purchases.)
For example, if your account started at 0 points and you made $100 of purchases at Kohl’s with the Kohl’s Card, you’d earn $7.50 in rewards. If your account was at $7.50 when they issued the Kohl’s Cash, you’d get $5 in Kohl’s Cash immediately and the other $2.50 would remain in your Rewards account and carry over to the next month. (Note that extra rewards balances will eventually expire after one year if you don’t make further Kohl’s purchases during that time.)
IMPORTANT: Your Kohl’s Cash expires in 30 days! So, once it is issued, you are forced to either “use it or lose it” in a short timeframe, meaning you may end up buying things at Kohl’s before you are ready to, or you’ll just have to let the Kohl’s Cash go to waste. This quick expiration is a clear downside to the Kohl’s Rewards program, regardless of whether you have the Kohl’s credit card.
ALSO IMPORTANT: Kohl’s will regularly have Kohl’s Cash earning periods in which you can earn $10 Kohl’s Cash certificates for every $50 spent. While you can use this Kohl’s Cash just like the Kohl’s Cash rewards we just described, these $10 certificates are issued immediately and have different expiration dates than the Kohl’s Cash earned via the Rewards program. You can use both forms of Kohl’s Cash at the same time as long as none of it is expired, just be sure to watch for the differing expiration dates.
Kohl’s Cash is issued to you either via email or by printed coupon depending on how you earn it, but can be used together regardless of how you received it.
Instant Approval and New Cardholder Bonus Offer
In most cases (but not all), when you apply for the Kohl’s credit card, you will be approved instantly and be able to use the card on that same day. When you are approved, you will get 35% off of your first purchase with the card. You’ll have 14 days to use the discount, so it makes sense to only apply when you are ready to do some buying.
Other Rewards & Perks
The Kohl’s Rewards program also offers other perks, with some being exclusive to Kohl’s Card holders. These include:
- Birthday Gift: An extra discount during your birthday month.
- “Card Anniversary” Discount: A limited-time discount offered at the “anniversary” of opening your Kohl’s Card account.
- Other discounts, some of which will be for all Kohl’s Rewards members and some only for Kohl’s credit card holders.
- Free shipping “events” but only if you are a Kohl’s Card holder who has spent $600 or more with the card in the prior year. (This makes you an MVC — Most Valued Customer.)
The interest rate on the Kohl’s credit card is a whopping 30.24%! While it’s nice to earn rewards, you absolutely want to pay off your balance in full every time your payment is due, because paying over 30% in interest will more than cancel out any rewards you’re earning. Avoid paying that high interest by paying off your complete card balance every month!
Credit Score Needed & Approval Chances
Like most retail store credit cards, your chances of being approved for the Kohl’s credit card are better than they would be for major bank credit cards. While there are no guarantees, if your credit score is 650 or above, your odds of approval are very high. If you are between a 625 and 649 credit score, you are “on the bubble” and your chances are more like 50-50. If your credit score is below 625, your chances of approval will decline the further you are below that 625 score. Again, note that there is no guarantee on approval; these are simply guidelines.
If you are a frequent shopper at Kohl’s, it could make sense to get the Kohl’s credit card, but only if you are a VERY frequent Kohl’s shopper, because the rewards you get expire so quickly. You might also consider it if you have a lower credit score and are looking for an easier chance at approval while working to improve your credit history (just be sure to use it wisely or it could tank your score, too.)
If you aren’t a frequent Kohl’s shopper, or can’t see yourself using the rewards before they expire, you’d be better off using a different credit card at Kohl’s. See our Best Credit Cards page or Best Cash Back Credit Cards for other options.
How To Apply
You can apply for a Kohl’s Card at a Kohl’s store or online. Click here for the online application.
Author: Adam Jusko