The retailer allows consumers with its credit card, Kohl’s Charge, to check out in stores with its app.

Kohl’s Corp. is checking out mobile checkout.

The retail chain, No. 19 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, said this week it is deploying Kohl’s Pay in its 1,100 U.S. stores. The mobile payment program allows the 25 million consumers who have a Kohl’s credit card, called Kohl’s Charge, to load it into the Kohl’s app and use it to pay at a store.

Here’s how it works: A consumer saves her Kohl’s Charge information in the iOS or Android Kohl’s app. At store checkout, a shopper launches the app and selects Kohl’s Pay in the app menu, which accesses her smartphone camera. On the store’s point of sale system a QR code appears and the consumer scans it with her smartphone. She then hits approve and the transaction is complete. All Kohl’s Pay transactions are stored in the app so she also can use this smartphone feature to make a return or exchange.

Kohl’s Pay also is integrated with  Kohl’s’ loyalty program, and a transaction automatically applies any discounts connected with the credit card, coupons, Kohl’s Cash and the retailer’s Yes2YouRewards loyalty points.

Adding payment functions into the app makes it more useful to shoppers, says Thad Peterson, a senior analyst with consulting group Aite Group LLC. Plus, integrating loyalty programs into payment apps is a good move because it combines the steps of swiping a card and scanning coupons, making it easier for shoppers, he says.


“For existing Kohl’s card customers this is a huge value-add and simplifier, and adoption among those customers should be good,” Peterson says. A Kohl’s spokeswoman declined to comment on how many consumers it expects to use the new feature.

14 million consumers have downloaded the app, Kohl’s says, and this is an app-only feature for Kohl’s Charge consumers. Shoppers cannot load other credit cards into the app.

Having a mobile payment program is part of the retailer’s goal of connecting its physical stores and digital assets, Kohl’s says. Kohl’s also has an in-store app mode that highlights  features only when a shopper is in a physical store, such as barcode scanning of products to see similar products online. Plus, the retailer rolled out buy online, pick up in store capabilities to all its stores last year.

Kohl’s piloted the payment program earlier this year at 30 stores across Wisconsin, California and Ohio, a spokeswoman says.


Kohl’s developed this technology in-house over the course of a year. Multiple teams worked on the project, a Kohl’s spokeswoman says.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 4 in the Top 500) recently rolled out a similar program, Walmart Pay, at its 4,600 U.S. stores in June. Walmart Pay also involves storing payment in the app and scanning a QR code at checkout. Wal-Mart developed the technology in-house and had to update its point-of-sale software to work with the feature.