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”
On May 6th, 2015, REDbird (the Target Prepaid REDcard) reloads via credit card came to an end. Target registers were recoded overnight to accept only cash or debit. While this change wasn’t unexpected, it did make REDbird less convenient for points & miles collectors.
In the post, “REDbird PM (post memo) Answers,” I pointed out that one could still use debit cards, including Visa and MasterCard gift cards, to reload REDbird. As a result, the new process became:
- Use rewards earning credit card to buy Visa/MasterCard gift cards
- Use gift cards as debit cards to reload REDbird
- Log into REDbird and pay bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card (mortgage, rent, or anything).
This is the same process many people use to reload the similar Bluebird and Serve cards (see: The complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, and Serve) except that Bluebird and Serve must be reloaded at Walmart rather than Target (Serve can also be reloaded in this way at Family Dollar). And, REDbird still had a big advantage: Vanilla branded gift cards (found at many popular stores) work well as debit cards at Target, but not so well at Walmart.
Gift cards not accepted… at some locations
Its been more than a month since the credit card ban took effect. Since then, almost every day I’ve heard from at least one reader who has asserted that gift card loads at Target are dead too. They had tried to reload REDbird at their local Target and were told that gift cards were no longer accepted. Some were told that this was a corporate wide policy. At some stores the issue seems to be that they require that debit cards have your name on them. Other stores seem to dislike gift cards in general.
Still, despite this, I’ve continued to reload REDbird regularly with generic gift cards at area Target stores without issue. In fact, I reloaded just yesterday. And, I’ve heard the same from many readers.
A common conversation with a reader goes like this (this reader was referring to the Amex for Target card which has the same reload rules as REDbird):
Personalized gift cards
If the issue at your Target is that your debit card must have your name on it, there are ways to make that happen. For example, please see the section titled “Gift Cards with a Customized Name” in the resource page: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards (found under the Gift Cards menu on this site).
Changing to Bluebird or Serve
I plan to stick with REDbird unless/until my area Targets stop accepting debit gift cards. For those who want to switch to Bluebird or Serve, though, there’s a simple solution:
- Empty your REDbird account: Pay bills; or withdraw to your bank account (found under “Settings”); or send money to another REDbird, Bluebird, or Serve user.
- Close your REDbird account: Log in, click the menu icon, select “Profile”, scroll to the bottom and click “Close Account”
- Signup for Bluebird or Serve online: You can do this immediately after closing your REDbird account. To avoid issues, I recommend using a different email address than the one you used for REDbird.