Kate vs. K8. Loading Bluebird/Serve vs. REDbird.

Kate vs. K8

Note: As of 10/13/15 the Target REDcard (REDbird) can only be loaded with cash in-store at Target. Gift cards and/or debit cards no longer work to load REDcard. For more info, see: Here is the REDbird memo, “Cash is the only tender guests can use”

Note: On January 8, 2016 American Express sent out a notice to a large number of Bluebird & Serve cardholders informing them that loading capabilities on their accounts had been terminated. For more information, see: Amex kills Bluebird and Serve for manufactured spend

Many Target stores across the country have updated their customer swipe terminals, and the process for loading REDbird (the Target Prepaid REDcard) has changed.  Via email, Rapid Travel Chai reports the new process as follows (bolding is mine):

..Now customer swipes all cards, cashier never touches the RedBird. Cashiers mostly don’t know how to do it, one who did said they need to “K8, K8” then customer is prompted to swipe, after swipe the cashier enters the amount of the load. System is very slow to respond, each load took 1-2 minutes and several prompts for each person. Split payment is possible but not with the “do you want it all on the card” which seems to cancel everything, so cashier needs to be told along with load amount…

After receiving this and several other similar emails over the course of the past week or so, I went back to my local Target to see if anything had changed.  Nope, not yet. So far, things are unchanged at my local Target.  From email reports (like above) and forum reports, I gather the following regarding loading REDbird at stores with updated registers:

  • The cashier must press K8 to get the process started.
  • The customer rather than the cashier now swipes REDbird.
  • The process is much slower than before (this may only be a problem at stores that updated their swipe terminals, but not their registers)
  • Split tender payments can no longer be initiated by the customer.
  • Many/most cashiers do not know about the new process.
  • There seems to be renewed confusion about whether or not debit gift cards are allowed for payment (see: REDbird still flying, but not everywhere).

The funny thing about cashiers having to press K8 is that one could read K8 as “Kate”.  And, as many readers know, “Kate” is the nickname many use for the Walmart Money Center Express Machine, which can be used to load Bluebird and Serve (both of which are similar to REDbird. Please see: The complete guide to Bluebird, REDbird, and Serve).

Kate vs. K8

Kate vs. K8

Now that we have the same phonetic option for loading REDbird at Target and Bluebird or Serve at Walmart, lets compare the options head to head:

Kate
(Walmart)
K8
(Target)
Reliability Poor:  It’s difficult to find a working machine. Good: Few cashier’s know to press K8, but once they do the process generally works.
Split Tender Not available Poor: Requires cashier who understands how to do this.
Speed Poor: If you go to fast, you’ll lock up the machine (details here) Poor: New process is reportedly very slow.
Accepts debit gift cards Good: As long as you don’t try a Vanilla branded gift card. Great (or Poor): All gift cards with PINs work as long as the cashier or manager doesn’t stop you.

Last updated on March 31st, 2019

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

44
Leave a Reply

avatar
27 Comment threads
17 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
29 Comment authors
Emmanuel RuizNoonRadarnewbie008NajibNatasha Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
Notify of
Alvin DTW
Guest
Alvin DTW

I meant to reach out to you as well FM. Data point for mid-mich, two locations have switched to this new way. Confirmed that it is much slower but still reasonable (1 minute vs 30 seconds of you have a cashier that knows what they’re doing). As always, be friendly with the cashiers, especially if they don’t know what they’re doing. Offer to have someone behind you (with a return for example) go ahead of you if the cashier needs more time to look up what to do. I overheard the cashiers saying the reload function was in a new location (presumably K8), this is also the same function that includes drug prescriptions I believe (based on what I heard) and that leads to a sub menu which includes redbird reloads. I’ll try and clarify this next time I head in.

Barrett
Guest
Barrett

I ran into this yesterday and was told that the new software had rolled out the night before. It took three people, but they finally figured out how to initiate the reload (they said it was under the “Extras” menu, which perhaps they have to press K8 to get to). Once they figured out the process, everything went fine. It was a little slower, but not terrible. Still faster than loading with Kate in my opinion.

Madison
Guest
Madison

I went to my local Target last night and it took the cashiers (yes 2 of them) three registers because the first two locked up, to load my Target card. Once they remembered the new system I found it was faster than before (I did two single swipes only) and yes you handle the swipes, not the cashier.

MSPDeltaDude
Guest
MSPDeltaDude

Did 5 swipes in 2min last night. I’m guessing this store hasn’t been updated yet.

Richard
Guest
Richard

Sorry I’m a bit confused here. Are these reloads with GC’s or are these reloads with CC’s? I know Redbird disabled reload with CC, but are you saying the new system changed that?

Dee
Guest
Dee

My Target just installed self-serve checkouts. Has anyone tried to load Redbirds at a self-serve register?

I bought a bunch of Target GCs to max out my Amex spend $100, get $30 back offer. That worked fine on the self-serve registers.

keeb
Guest
keeb

I’m curious about this, too. I haven’t tried but I wasn’t even able to use eGiftCards at self-checkout — i’m guessing they implemented a lot of limitations on the machines.

Audrey
Guest
Audrey

I was also told yesterday that I’m now limited to “$2000/day, one transaction”. Sounded like MS has been in play. I know it was $2500 previously, that may have just been an error. (Also with cc $1000 was swipe limit of course.) but I think “one transaction” was the point.

fauxblogger
Guest
fauxblogger

k8 function at ATL stores that have the POS does NOT work the way others are typically reporting.. k8 merely brings up a list of “POS transaction reports” that cashier can print out.. Other registers within same store also on new POS have no k8 option, even after pressing k5 “Other” menu option, which brings up other k# functions but no K8 exists. Every store requires flashing ST Debit with name, then switching to similarly-colored WM sunnys just prior to swipe. Also tried the rumored starbucks reload option , which shares same in-store target POS platform, but would not work. Leaning toward converting a couple redbirds to Serve since now the Kate’s are reliably up and running again in all most ATL stores, and Serve also provides FD load option.

MilesCollector
Guest
MilesCollector

Are you saying all stores in the ATL area won’t be able to load Redbirds anymore in stores?

fauxblogger
Guest
fauxblogger

@milecollector.. ATL tip: Flash bank ATM card or ST debit at Lenox Tarjay then switch to GC to swipe as cashier looks at monitor. Otherwise, you must stay OTP where new POS and K8 functions properly (albeit slowly) with not GC policing. By mgmt policy, no other ITP stores are permitting debit GC loads even where POS permits them. I was able to slip 2 Staples GC by one ITP store by painting all GC wording with silver sharpie

MilesCollector
Guest
MilesCollector

@fauxblogger: Thanks for the tip! At my local target it was business as usual. I was able to offload a bunch of VGCs without any problem.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Does this apply to loading the Amex for Target card?

exarkun
Guest
exarkun
Wondering
Guest
Wondering

On the old system, it would tell the cashier not to allow target gift cards or target 5% off card. Is the register hard coded not to allow those?

NoonRadar
Guest

The stores I visit don’t have the new upgrade yet, I asked a user on FT what they see to distinguish the new vs the old POS and they said “New version has a house on the bottom right of the screen with a dominant white background”…this would be the customer terminal screen…as opposed to the current/old version that displays the red circle Target logo.

If you’re not sure which POS version it is while you’re loading, if the Target cashier is trying to load your Redbird but it doesn’t seem to go through, suggest they try hitting the K8 key on their computers. From there on they should follow the prompts.

P.S. Not that it matters much, but I’m curious to know with the new software upgrade whether Redbird can optionally be swiped at the cashier register or it must be swiped at the customer terminal.

M
Guest
M

“Not that it matters much, but I’m curious to know with the new software upgrade whether Redbird can optionally be swiped at the cashier register or it must be swiped at the customer terminal.”

From what I read, this change came in response to the anticipated switch to chip cards and no card (Redbird or otherwise) can be swiped on the cashier’s keyboard anymore.

ferry
Guest
ferry

The target in my area is even worse. They won’t let me to load at the cashier, went to the cust service and only allowed to load $500/day.

Joey
Guest
Joey

“The target in my area is even worse. They won’t let me to load at the cashier, went to the cust service and only allowed to load $500/day.” -ferry

That’s nothing. Try $200/day…

NoonRadar
Guest

MS in NYC is hard. Or are you elsewhere?

What is the Walmart/Serve situation nearby you, compared to Target/Redbird?

trackback

[…] Kate vs. K8. Loading Bluebird/Serve vs. REDbird. […]

Hanna
Guest
Hanna

subscribe

Emmanuel Ruiz
Guest
Emmanuel Ruiz

Here in California (San Fernando Valley) outside of L.A. – I went and loaded at a local Target Store. Happy to report a). Old system still, b). GC and Vanillas are ok, c). No load limits, d) No IDs’ asked. Pretty much business as usual…thank GOD!!!

Samir
Guest
Samir

I have the following data points from the past 3 days (I tend to concentrate my MS on the last few days of a month and then the first few days of the next month, giving me a good 50+ days in between):
1. U.S. Bank VGC
– hard coded as “debit not allowed at Walmart registers, including kiosk. I didn’t try $49.99 or less.
– target regular checkout registers did not allow, complaining of invalid PIN. It worked at the customer service/ return counter.
2. U.S. Bank MC GC
– hard coded as “debit not allowed” at Walmart registers (no option to “change payment type” on the pin pad anymore), but accepted at the kiosk
– didn’t try at Target
3. Metabank VGC
– successful at Walmart kiosk
– successful at Target regular checkout
4. Metabank MC GC
– didn’t try at Walmart
– didn’t try at Target
5. Vanilla VGC
– hard coded as “debit not allowed” at Walmart registers and kiosks for a while now. Continues to be as such
– didn’t try at Target recently

Individual cashiers and CSRs continue to impose additional “rules” without any consistency

I plan to try some of the variations I’ve mentioned as not having tried over the next day or so, and can report findings.

This is all in the metro Detroit area (734/810 area codes), consistent across several different Walmarts and Targets.

aireyeonu
Guest
aireyeonu

Went to my local Target today in Nor CA to load RC with a real DC. No more GC that say Debit on them at this store. Cashiers with the new terminals (chip and/or swipe) at their registers were required to use the chip insert for any card presented that has a chip on it, which mine did. My DC failed to load at these terminals. I asked if I could try to swipe instead of the insert and offered to the cashier the recommendations from this post re: K8 entry. Immediate failure again. There was only one register up at the CSC that had not been modified and the loads were successful there the old fashioned way. The CSR told me that was the last register in the store that wasn’t converted. I asked how the RC was supposed to be loaded and she said they were going to “cash only”. OUCH!!!!

Stantheman
Guest
Stantheman

A few days ago I was told my vgc were third party and not load able, but she would try and let me see. They loaded as always with the customer service. even doing a bulk load. Bulk load of 5 $200 vgc today no problem. This is palm harbor, Florida store. I was just about to put wife’s card back to serve, but now I’ll wait and see.

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

Target on LI today told me no gift cards even if a vanilla visa witha debit. Then went to one in upper NYC and was able to use them but could not split tender and only one swipe a day w/ $1000 max . Did $500 but would not let me do a second transaction. Asked why was told they got flagged for too many swipes at store so that is why no split tender and only 1 swipe per day

Jason
Guest
Jason

No POS changes here in suburban Phila; SE PA. The cashiers see the prepaid RedCard so seldom, they do not know how to load it, so I coach them. No stated swipe limits here. Hope no upgrades here soon.

Stantheman
Guest
Stantheman

No problem or change at Target on Palm Harbor, FL

Sherri
Guest
Sherri

Loaded $2K of VGCs at my local Target in NoVA today. No questions, no issue, same process as before so no upgrade yet.

Brand new huge Walmart just opened in in the neighborhood this week. No kiosk in sight. Could this mean that WM is deselecting this weak technology?

Purchased some Sunrise Bank VGCs – have never loaded at Walmart before. The process is that I just walk up to CS, Serve card in hand and ask to have the Sunrise VGCs loaded by the CSR? thanks

Natasha
Guest
Natasha

I guess i’m running a bit confused still on this. I have a Capital One Venture, I’d like to use something like the Serve card. Do I have to purchase giftcards, load something like Serve/Redbird, and then use it to pay back my credit card?

NoonRadar
Guest

Yes Natasha. You can’t load Redbird or Serve directly with a credit card, but you can with a pin-based gift card, that’s why you buy the gift cards.

Natasha
Guest
Natasha

Okay, I think that’s where I was getting confused. Will have to try this out!

NoonRadar
Guest

Once I got to try it myself, I wrote a step by step guide on how to load gift cards to Redbird with the new Target registers (K8): https://plus.google.com/u/0/+NoonRadar/posts/82eSPgNCGi5

If you’ve already loaded with the new POS, please take a look at my post and if you see something that I missed, or if you had a different experience, let me know via a comment there so I can update the guide. Thank you.

Najib
Guest
Najib

Anyone having problems loading serve/BB with VGC’s at Walmart in the Houston area?

newbie008
Guest
newbie008

Hi all,

Can any one let me know about loading redbird with OV gift card from 7-11. I tried a OVGC from drug store but it did’nt work after the recent target updates. Can anyone help with their experience?

Thanks

NoonRadar
Guest

Two comments above I’ve linked to the step by step guide to loading Redbird.

Emmanuel Ruiz
Guest
Emmanuel Ruiz

I just loaded RedBird with two OVGC with no issues. To be very specific, my Vanilla Gift Card is grey with the title” OneVanilla Prepaid Visa Card”. I hope this helps.