Target recodes REDbird registers

Note: As of October 13, 2015, 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”

As of May 6, 2015, Target no longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now what?

Background: The Target Prepaid REDcard, AKA REDbird, is a fantastic tool for manufacturing credit card spend, or for simply saving money at Target.  While the card is functionally very similar to other prepaid cards, Bluebird and Serve, it is the only one of the trio that can be loaded via credit card in-store.  For complete details, please see:  REDcard changes everything, The complete guide to REDbird, and The complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, Serve, and SoftServe.

REDbird_card_image

Let me apologize in advance if the title of this post scared you.  Many REDbird cardholders have been fearing the day when Target stops allowing credit cards to be used for reloading REDbird.  Today is not that day.  And, of course, we don’t know if or when that day will come.  Instead, a much more subtle change has occurred…

To understand what’s happening, let’s review the in-store REDbird swipe limits:

  • Daily limit: Each REDbird can can be loaded, at most, up to $2,500 per calendar day (and up to $5,000 per calendar month)
  • Cashier swipe limit: In order to reload REDbird, the process is to hand your REDbird card to the cashier and ask to reload it.  The cashier then swipes the card on the cashier’s terminal and enters in the amount to reload.  The maximum that can be loaded per cashier swipe is $1000.  That has not changed.  Hilariously, if you try to do more than $1000, the cashier is told “amount is too low”.  Maybe that has changed, I don’t know.  It doesn’t really matter.
  • Transaction limit: Another limit to the Target register is that no transaction can be more than $3,000.

Here’s the key: until earlier this week it has been possible to ask a cashier to load multiple REDbird cards at once, up to a max of $3000.  For example, it was possible to hand the cashier three REDbird cards and ask to load $1,000 to each one.  The cashier would swipe each card once, key in $1,000, and then you would pay the $3,000 charge all at once.  Or, if you had just one REDbird card, you could ask the cashier to swipe it three times in order to load $1,000 + $1,000 + $500.  Then you would pay $2,500 at once.

This multiple swipe process is no longer working.  At least, it stopped working for me at one local Target and I’ve heard similar reports from many others.  The solution is simply to pay after every swipe rather than all at once.  The problem with this is that it takes a bit longer and you are more likely to have your credit card payment denied due to a fraud alert.  I can’t help you with the extra time required, but to handle fraud alerts quickly, please see: Bet You Didn’t Know: How to setup credit fraud alerts by text or email.

Slow but safe: There was a pretty significant problem with the way the registers used to work.  When loading through multiple swipes to one card, the system did not properly protect the customer against trying to load more than the daily or monthly limit to their card.  So, for example, when a person tried to load $2,500 at once to a card that only had maybe $1,500 of capacity left, bad things would happen.  Specifically, the customer would be charged the full $2,500, but only receive $1,500 on their card.  What would then ensue is a nightmare of phone calls, Amex and Target pointing fingers at each other, and most likely long sleepless nights.  Even though the new process is more cumbersome, I’m glad that customers can no longer fall into this trap.

How is it possible to have more than one REDbird card? I get this question every time I write a REDbird post, so I’ll answer it up front…  You’re only allowed to have one REDbird card in your own name, but there’s no reason you can’t manage other people’s cards (such as family members’ cards).  And, there’s nothing wrong with reloading someone else’s card.  They do not check that your ID matches the name on the card, but they may check to see if your ID matches the credit card you use to pay.

Read more about REDbird:



Also:


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.

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steven
Guest
steven

Received the same problem last night

Henry
Guest
Henry

Hi sir:

I have a question about paying the credit card used to load serve/red bird. I have a serve, my wife has a redbird. I use Freedom to load serve online, my wife uses my SPG to load redbird. So here comes the question. Can I use serve to pay SPG, and use Red bird to pay my Freedom?

Best,
Henry

John
Guest
John

You can

Sam
Guest
Sam

what exactly happens when you try to load the old way? or it does not even allow it?

Nate
Guest
Nate

First I’ve heard of feeding multiple birds in the same transaction (not going over $1k on each) not working. Confirmed?

Matt B
Guest
Matt B

You gave me a heart attack. Thanks for immediately covering that in the first paragraph and allowing me to recover.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

FM: Any recommendations for those who are still out $ after trying to load more than the daily or monthly limit across multiple swipe loads and experiencing a failure of 1 or more of them? Have AmEx / Target put a proper procedure in place to help folks out now that they appear to have identified and fixed the issue at the PoS level?

Any insight you could offer for those of us suffering from the nightmare of calls, finger pointing and sleepless nights that you describe above?

Raj
Guest
Raj

My target will not let me do multiple transactions. They said it all has to be done at once per day and the multiple swipe method does not work anymore so I am left doing 1000 a day. New rule also at mine that only the manager can do it and at customer service.

KP
Guest
KP

The workaround your problem is go back inside the store, have little few hundred feet of walking exercise and come back to a different counter. Redbird hasn’t enforced such limit, neither did Target Corporate, so if particular store makes such policy then I think using Multiple counters should work.

abby
Guest
abby

‘apology for the title’ but u did it anyway because you’ve transformed from a useful, unique blog to a click-bait card shilling typical BA blogger. show some integrity and simply DON’T DO CLICK BAIT TITLES! ‘apologizing’ doesn’t make it less disgusting. geesh, the money has really gotten to you.

also, please stop calling it ‘redbird’- it’s like the lowest common denominator showing your bread and butter readership is now novices. it’s called ‘Red Card’. perhaps you could incorporate circles and arrows too…

quite a while ago i gave you pretty much all my credit card sign ups because i thought you deserved it for original content and the lab. even had a relative use your affiliate links. now, no. not with this garbage.

chad thompson
Guest
chad thompson

That’s just the PMS talking.

abby
Guest
abby

nice job there sport, affirming the caliber of his dumbed down readership. what are you… 8?

what’s more pathetic: that you actually posted that or that you actually thought it was funny. (rhetorical, it’s a wash)

Gabriel
Guest
Gabriel

you should start your own blog, so we can post how much of a bitch you are in the comments section

Josh
Guest
Josh

No one forces you to read “this garbage.” If you don’t like it, leave. Don’t try to be dramatic about your exit. No one cares.

Pam
Guest
Pam

Is there any way to get the RedCard if you are in a state that does not yet sell them? Other than traveling to another location or finding someone to buy it for you? Neither option is open to me right now.

caveman
Guest
caveman

You can buy from ebay or if someone offers at flyer talk forum. I have gone through both routes and both worked.

Michelle S (Miles, Points, and Mai Tais)
Guest

Just reloaded today. Had to do $1000 at a time (only loaded $2k total), separate transactions. Luckily 2 back to back “purchases” for the same amount didn’t solicit a fraud alert 🙂

Faith w
Guest
Faith w

When writing cheques, can you write a cheque from the red card to your spouse/friend?

KP
Guest
KP

Should work

Nic
Guest
Nic

Jesus. I haven’t even gotten mine in the mail yet and almost had a heart attack!!!
And yes to those asking …someone in another state purchased and loaded $1 onto a card and then just took a photo if the front of the card so that I could register it. I didn’t try to kiss the temp card yet. Figured I’d just wait for the perm.

Matt
Guest
Matt

This constant posting on RedBird will lead to its quick demise, there’s been an unspoken reason on why many of the bloggers havent been covering this as widely as the VR.

caveman
Guest
caveman

I agree with you. We should try to keep a low profile. Majority of people know about it anyways so no need to discuss minor issues on public forums

Mark D.
Guest
Mark D.

Question, do you have to be 18 to have a redbird? Could my kids each get one, you know, if they were interested.

Pointspinnacle
Guest

I have been using the $1000 swipe and pay since day one. Never wanted to try it any other way. I just do 3 seperate payments. My spg card is no longer getting fraud alerts as its a normal spending pattern for me now.

Kristi Southard
Guest
Kristi Southard

Unfortunately the nightmare scenario is happening to me. Two weeks ago, the cashier tried to load $2000.00 on my REDcard. What my receipt reads is $1000.00 and $1000.00. When I returned home , I only had $1000.00 on my REDcard balance and zero on my AGC. Both Amex and REDcard are pointing fingers . I spoke to a manager and she assured me she would call me with a progress report. Never got the call. Can anyone please give me some advice? I’m still out the $1000.00 two weeks later… UGH…

Chris
Guest
Chris

Why would you apologize in the first sentence…. Obviously you knew the way you worded it would drive traffic. Success, but showing your true colors buddy. You’ve probably never even walked through economy! You live the life of a rockstar and forget about the little guys who pay full pop on a Singapore sleeper suite.

Eric
Guest
Eric

any updates for redbird in NC?

trackback

[…] Target recodes REDbird registers by Frequent Miler. Shawn really has gotten good at those clickbait headlines, don’t worry you can still load with a credit card. Multiple swipes will no longer work as it worked previously, read the most for more information. […]

uff
Guest
uff

You almost killed me there!!!! First thing I thought…CASH ADVANCES!!!

cv
Guest
cv

Exactly what I thought.

Scott G
Guest
Scott G

Another data point here in northern Virginia. Had to swipe 3 separate times. Even the cashier was puzzled as he said only a few days ago he rang someone up for $2500 in one transaction. Oh well, still got my full $2500 load for the day

f
Guest
f

which target did you buy it at in northern viriginia?

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

What a click bait.

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

I had the problem where I loaded $1000, the register accepted it, but it didn’t go on my card because I was at the monthly limit (but didn’t realize it). Took lots of calls and discussions with Target manager (who tried to reverse it but the system wouldn’t allow it) but ultimately was advised to put a “dispute” on my credit card for the charge. They then asked for documentation and I showed them the Target receipt for the load and the RedCard printout for the load history showing it wasn’t there. Reversed the charge right away and a month later got a letter from my CC company saying it was found in my favor.

Another recent change. I originally bought 2 cards, planned to have one in my mother’s name and one in my father’s because I didn’t want to give up my Serve before I knew this would all work. The register let me do it, and then when I registered them online I used their names/information (with their consent). Went in last weekend to get one in my husband’s name. Thankfully, had cancelled his Serve online ahead of time. Tried to buy it myself and then register it in his name at home, but the register knew I had a Serve and wouldn’t allow it. My husband was in the store so I called him to come over and it let him buy it no problem, but that is a definite change. You must cancel your Serve/Bluebird first, and then be the person to buy the temp card in person yourself.

I still love you, FM, but do think this post title was a little sensationalized.

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

I have no problem with the title. I actually thought that if it was coding as cash advance or they weren’t taking credit cards, that would’ve been spelled out explicitly in the title as a full panic alert.

Russ
Guest
Russ

It worked! The title drew out the readers and comments like nothing else.

Now you’re gonna see tons more like it. Why do you think every blog, tabloid, newspaper, and the evening news do it?

If you can’t tolerate it, you have to actually stop reading and commenting.

Bill
Guest
Bill

Oh you people are so entertaining! “Target recodes REDbird registers” is a fine title. It is correct and true. Nothing wrong with it. And the article provides a helpful insight about a recent change. This info helps me keep my credibility with my store clerks, since I now know not to try something that will fail and could make them suspicious of me.

Thanks for another great data point FM!

Christine B
Guest
Christine B

I’ve generally spread the $2500 over 3 separate cards…$1K Southwest business, $1k southwest personal, and $500 on american citi visa for a monthly retention bonus. Three swipes on different cards is way faster than dealing with a fraud alert on my account.

I go first thing in the morning to the customer service desk, so I’m not annoying other people. They know me now. Then stop at the in-house Starbucks, grab a drink at a 5% discount using my redcard, and check the receipt to make sure everything loaded correctly before leaving the store.

Brad
Guest
Brad

A good strategy is to load your REDcard with a AGC or OV because you will not get a FA call/e-mail/text if you try loading $1K, $1K, $500 within the same hour. Any FA would be handled at the time you buy the AGC, OV, or whatever your favorite card is.

Feh
Guest
Feh

“Even though the new process is more cumbersome, I’m glad that customers can no longer fall into this trap.”

Ah, so you’re saying you’re glad the system has now been optimized for the morons who either can’t/won’t follow clear instructions or can’t/won’t do simple math – at the expense of the convenience of those with at least half a brain. Got it.

Caulk up another victory for the bottom-feeder circles ‘n arrows set.

mother fussbudget
Guest
mother fussbudget

Has anyone tried buying VISA gift cards at Target ($400 – priced at $406) with the pre-paid REDcard, and then loading their REDcard from the gift card?

If we get the 5% discount on the $406, total should be $385.70.
If I’m doing the math right, we’d be getting $15 profit from this. What am I missing?

Frank
Guest
Frank

I am sure you won’t get 5% on gift cards

Frank
Guest
Frank

Do you know if this cash register change will also affect the Amex for Target cards?

trackback

[…] Target recodes REDbird registers – Target has recently made some changes to the way they allow you to load REDbird. […]

asdfasd
Guest
asdfasd

Seems like a lot of work this redbird. Does it work with Citi?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I went to a local Target store to load my redbird this Friday. The customer rep told me they don’t allow load any Redbird & AFT anymore. I went to another Target store 5 miles away and I loaded Redbird without any issue. I
am not sure if t his only apply to that specific target store or this will become a new policy.

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

A quick heads up, went into my local Target (Brooklyn – Atlantic Ave), waited in line at the Customer Service desk and approached the register. I informed the CSR that i would like to load my Redcard, she said only with Debit cards, no credit cards. I asked when this policy became effective and she said last Sunday. Did a quick search on FT and noticed another post regarding a problem with a reload. Don’t have enough data points to surmise if this is an isolated store or if it is in effect across all of NYC. Will try and test at another location this coming week.

FYI, i have loaded my Redcard at this location many times in the past several months since the Redcard was first released. Never any problem with one transaction for 3 cards at $1000 each = $3K per transaction or one transaction for 3 cards at the $500 amount = $1500. I have reloaded at the desk as well as in a regular line.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I can confirm your experience at that particular target. I’ve tried twice at that location in the last week and been told debit only. Did you actually try to pass off a credit card as debit? I’m not sure they really check it.

medichill
Guest
medichill

My Target is now only allowing up to $1,000 with a single swipe. This isn’t as convenient as up to $2,500 with the 1k,1k,500 method but since I’m using AMEX GCs I’m not running into any fraud alert issues on my CCs.

JayR
Guest
JayR

Why the hate with the title? If you’re using a Redbird, then this is important information that you should know so you don’t have a meltdown at the Target counter.

@dennis That particular Target has stopped allowing CC, but it is NOT hardcoded yet in NYC. Keep searching 😉

Dennis
Guest
Dennis

Thanks @JayR, appreciate the info. Not too worried about reloads since I travel for work every month. I can always find a Target in a different city. Will visit other Targets in the area when I get back.

Jack Lacosta
Guest

I am following this, here and other sites, anyone caught by our security and loss prevention officers, will be reported to the authorities, cards canceled and balances confiscated

Target Dog
Guest
Target Dog

I can confirm this. I have been trained to sniff out Target Prepaid Red Cards and tip off the rent a cop. We will both board the Target Fake-Segway (if we can ever find the key) and chase you down. So watch out.

LiN
Guest
LiN

Hi FM, have a question i believe someone has already asked but i just cannot find the answer i need..
So I have 2 redcards, one is mine and the other one belongs to my girlfriend. I load them with all my credit cards without hers. So what is the best way to unload it? For now, i just transfer the amount of her account to my redcard account, then use the bill pay. Should it be alright?
Thanks so much! Appreciate it!

El Ingeniero
Guest
El Ingeniero

The fix for the multiple loads with one swipe also “fixed” a glitch with AFTs that was working to my advantage: loading $6,000 per month instead of the published $5,000 limit.

24K free starpoints down the drain because someone wanted to “help” and a bunch of novices can’t do simple arithmetic.

Thanks.

Sympathetic Reader
Guest
Sympathetic Reader

boo hoo!

Traci
Guest
Traci

I think the day has come. I think in the last week the cards were re-coded so you can’t load in store with a credit card.