Kohl’s Card vs. Target Card – Which Is Better?

Kohl’s Card vs. Target Card – Which Is Better?

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Posted: November 15, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines and are updated regularly.

Look at any list of the top retailers in the United States and you’re practically guaranteed to see Kohl’s and Target appear in the rankings. While each store has its unique style and product offerings, both attract budget-conscious shoppers who seek value and reasonable prices on clothing, housewares, and other everyday essentials.

Since Kohl’s and Target have the shared missions of helping consumers save, it’s no surprise that both retailers have store credit cards to make shopping even more affordable. Either of the cards may be a reasonable option to spend less if you’re a regular shopper at their respective stores, but if you want to know which card can snag you more savings at checkout, well, that requires a deeper look what each card has to offer.

Kohl’s Charge Card Overall Rating: 3.7/5.0

Kohl’s offers the Kohl’s Charge Card for shoppers who want a branded card that will also provide rewards on every purchase. The credit card is closed-loop, though, which means it can’t be used on purchases outside of Kohl’s — which restricts your opportunity for savings.

While most other store cards provide rewards based on a percentage of each branded purchase, the Kohl’s Charge Card doesn’t offer traditional rewards.

Instead, cardholders have access to savings through exclusive perks like insider sales, special financing options, and at least 12 cardholder-only offers per year. Plus, the initial 30%-off coupon offer for opening an account can make it a lucrative card if you’re a regular Kohl’s customer.

Kohl's Charge Card

  • Rewards: Receive 12+ special Kohl’s offers each year
  • Signup Bonus: One-time 30%-off coupon
  • APR: 26.99%
  • Annual Fee: $0

Overall, the Kohl’s Charge Card’s deals really stand out because they can be combined with other Kohl’s rewards programs to help frequent shoppers save on branded purchases.

Consumers can combine their earned discounts from the Kohl’s Charge Card with Kohl’s Cash® and Yes2You Rewards® to boost their savings on everything from premium kitchen appliances to items in the women’s clothing sale.

Another perk to getting a Kohl’s Charge Card is how it simplifies your Kohl’s shopping experience. Because your information is already in their store database, in-store returns are streamlined and quick. Also, if you forgot to bring your card, you can actually still charge items to it verifying your account information with a sales associate and present your ID to confirm.

Approval Requirements & Application

While the Kohl’s Charge Card can offer value to regular shoppers, it’s high APR makes it a questionable additional for regular consumers. At the same time, reviewers with bad credit have reported being approved, which may make it a decent credit-builder card (provided you pay it off in full each month).

To submit an application for a Kohl’s Charge Card, visit any Kohl’s store location or apply online through the link above.

Advantages of the Kohl’s Card Over the Target Card

Cardholders of the Kohl’s Charge Card have a variety of options for maximizing their savings because the exclusive member coupons and discounts can be paired with rewards points offers on your Kohl’s purchases.

Given that the Target REDcard doesn’t provide as many options to boost your discounts,  the flexibility of the Kohl’s Charge Card may give it a leg up on the Target REDcard for those who revel in getting the best possible deal.

Target REDcard Overall Rating: 4.1/5.0

If you’ve ever checked out at a Target store, there’s a good chance you’ve been asked to apply for a Target REDcard by an associate. The store’s closed-loop credit card, the Target REDcard stands out from most store cards by providing a flat 5% discount on your entire purchase, both in-store and online.

Beyond offering a big discount on your checkout total, the Target REDcard provides cardholders with several secondary benefits, including insider discounts and exclusive promotions that can add up to significant savings over time. In addition, cardholders can receive early access to special events and have the first look at new products.

Target REDcard

  • Rewards: Save 5% on qualifying purchases at checkout
  • Signup Bonus: None
  • APR: 24.90%
  • Annual Fee: $0

Yet, while it may appear to be an enticing deal to any budget-conscious spender, the card’s high 24.4% variable APR guarantees steep interest rates if you carry a high balance.

And the Target RED is a closed-loop card, which means that it can only be used for purchases made at any Target store location or online. The shopping restriction can prevent your ability to save especially if you aren’t a regular Target shopper.

Furthermore, the card’s 5% off discount can’t be applied to all products. Prescriptions and over-the-counter pharmacy items are excluded from this benefit. Gift cards, select restaurant merchants, and Target Optical™ eye exams are also not eligible for the discount.

Moreover, any additional fees, such as for gift wrapping, shipping and handling, or protection programs on purchases, will not be discounted at checkout.

Approval Requirements & Application

Even with a bad credit score, the Target REDcard may still be a viable option. According to reviews, consumers with FICO credit scores as low as 580 have been accepted. While the card’s high APR means carrying a balance is bad news, cardholders who maintain on-time payments and regularly pay in full may use it to rebuild their credit.

You can apply for a Target REDcard at any Target location, or you can fill out an online application via the link above.

Advantages of the Target Card Over the Kohl’s Card

Most consumers will likely find that saving with the Target REDcard requires less work than it does with the Kohl’s Charge Card. Unlike the convoluted discounts and multiple rewards programs Kohl’s must navigate, shoppers who use a Target REDcard receive a straightforward 5% discount on every sale.

And for those looking to build credit, Target’s offerings can better fit into an everyday budget, and many consumers have reported success improving their credit with the Target REDcard.

Better Cards to Use at Kohl’s and Target

While the Kohl’s Charge Card and the Target REDcard each have their money-saving strengths, they do share two common weaknesses: closed-loop restrictions and high APRs. In other words, these store cards may have their unique perks and exclusive savings, but they also have strict limits on how they — and their rewards — can be used.

Unless you frequently make shopping trips to either store, you’re likely better off with an open-loop rewards credit card that can offer savings anywhere you spend — or, at least, a much better APR. And, if you still want to find ways to save at Kohl’s or Target, you can easily search online for the latest coupons at both stores for the next time you shop.

Cash Back

Exclusive discounts or a percentage off your purchase is useful if you’re a brand loyalist who can make the most of their value. But, with a rewards credit card that provides cash back on every purchase, you can likely rack up even more savings in the long run. And the APR you’re offered will likely be better than what you’ll get with a store card.

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74-25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
Discover it® Cash Back Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
CASH BACK RATING
★★★★★
4.8
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • Receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited monthly membership through Dec. 2019 with the Capital One Savor Card
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

+See More Cash Back Credit Cards

0% APR

A huge downside of the Kohl’s Charge Card and the Target REDcard alike are their high APRs. Small balances, if left unpaid, can easily spiral out of control as interest fees start to multiply.

With a good 0% APR credit card offer, you can have a year or more without the stress of having to pay off your card at the end of the billing cycle to avoid interest. And better yet, many of these card offers extend to balance transfers that can help with existing balances (though balance transfer fees may apply).

0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74-25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74 - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
0% INTRO APR RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More 0% APR Credit Cards

Travel Rewards

Finding ways to lower the cost of an upcoming trip can require a lot of digital legwork. But, with a travel rewards credit card, you can stash away savings year-round — and unleash them when booking airfare or hotel accommodations.

Even better, these open-loop cards can earn rewards anywhere they’re accepted — including popular retailers like Kohl’s and Target.

AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
5.0
OVERALL RATING
4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good
Discover it® Miles Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
10.99% for 14 months
13.74% - 24.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent
AIR MILES RATING
★★★★★
4.9
OVERALL RATING
4.8/5.0
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74% - 23.74% variable APR after that
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
N/A
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+See More Travel Rewards Credit Cards

The “Better” Card Will Depend on How You Use it

It’s difficult to directly compare the store cards at Kohl’s and Target because their rewards are so different. Both help cardholders save, just in different ways.

Budget shoppers who want to strategically boost their savings at checkout may find the Kohl’s Charge Card particularly useful. For consumers who want a big percentage off when shopping for everyday essentials may have their needs better met by the Target REDcard.

Regardless of which card’s savings style you prefer, however, your purchasing power is limited with both cards due to their closed-loop restrictions. And both cards have less-than-ideal APRs that can mean high interest fees.

One of our top-rated open-loop credit cards may prove the better option for most consumers, as these all-purpose cards can help users save on purchases beyond those made at Target or Kohl’s.