Top 7 things I dislike about REDbird

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?

REDbird_card_imageI’ve been writing a lot lately about the great new Target Prepaid REDcard (AKA REDbird).  And, there’s no doubt it’s a great new product.  It gives you an automatic 5% off Target purchases and free shipping via Target.com.  Even better, it can be reloaded with a credit card for free so that you can earn credit card rewards when loading it.  And, it offers fee-free bill pay, ATM withdrawals, and more.

So what’s not to like?  I’ll tell you…

Hard to get

REDbird is currently available only in select Target stores (see “How to find REDbird”).  Eventually, I expect it will roll out to more stores, but for now it’s a nuisance for those who want the card but would have to travel far to get one.  It would be even better if they would let people simply order them online the way you can with Bluebird and Serve.

One card per day limit

The fact that REDbird is available in only select stores has led to people asking others to pick up cards for them.  This works fine unless they buyer wants to pick up more than one.  If you try to buy more than one card per day with the same Social Security Number, the system won’t allow the second purchase.  Its not hard to work around this limit (see: “REDbird advanced – Experiment results”), but still its hard to imagine what purpose it serves.

Ridiculous two-stage registration

When you buy a new card, it’s necessary to give the cashier your drivers license so that they can enter in your license number, name, and address.  Then, on the swipe terminal, you are required to enter in your social security number, phone number, and date of birth.  After all that you would think you were done, right?  Nope.  The next step is to register the card online.  Here you can enter the same information again or enter different information if the card is intended for someone other than the person who bought it.  At least they got that latter part right!

Technical issues galore

Many have been plagued with technical issues.  Common issues include: cards improperly activated in-store; and problems registering the cards online.  See “REDbird technical issues.”  Of course, its not unusual to experience technical challenges with new products like this.  And, this is probably part of the reason why Target hasn’t yet rolled out the product nationwide.  Hopefully they’ll fix these issues soon.

Forced choice: REDbird, Bluebird, or Serve

For those of us who have been happily using Bluebird or Serve cards, its unfortunate that each person can only have one: REDbird, Bluebird, or Serve.  I want all of them!  See: The complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, Serve, and SoftServe.

Cheap look and feel to permanent card

This was a bit of a surprise.  When my wife’s permanent card finally came in the mail it looked and felt exactly like a temporary card.  The only visible difference was that her name was printed on the permanent card.  Usually you can expect permanent cards to be more substantial and with raised numbers. The good news is that these cards take up less space than expected in my already card-overloaded wallet.

No Amex Offers (yet)

American Express often comes out with “Sync Offers” in which you can save lots of money at certain stores after syncing your card with Amex via Twitter (or other social media) and then enrolling in the promotion.  Amex lets Serve cardholders enroll in these promos.  And, coming up soon is Small Business Saturday in which it will be possible to get up to $30 of free spend per Amex card (see “Small Business Saturday better than ever!”).  Unfortunately, while Serve and Bluebird cards can be registered for this, REDbird cannot.

Read more about REDbird:



Also:


Last updated on March 31st, 2019

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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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DaninMCI
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DaninMCI

At least you don’t have to visit a Walmart to get it. 🙂

Treesha
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Treesha

No doubt. My soul dies a little bit each time I walk into Walmart.

Stannis
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Stannis

Tell me about it. I’m in line at the Money Center right now 🙁

dean
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dean

FINALLY. Greg, It’s posts like these that I’ve come to respect you as a blogger. I was beginning to worry you succumbed to the Apple-fanboy disease for a minute.

I suspect the onerous sign-up is to front-end the work that it sounds like Wally-mart is doing w/ loads > $500. People are all up in arms about it, but Target (already the target, no pun intended) of CC scams, are getting out front this time. So while “it sucks”, I think it bodes well for how long this product will be around.

The question remains is…at some time in the future will Amex start sharing “questionable” transaction history with authorities/IRS/etc (whether voluntarily or via some new law or existing guideline already in the various money laundering, etc acts passed previously)?? Amex has always been at the forefront w/ a lot of the backend tech and data mining, so it wouldn’t be hard at all for them to collect such data with a little bit of work.

-2 cents

Wicked Gringo
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Wicked Gringo

You have been writing that credit cards can be used to load this thing. The cardmember agreement does not show credit cards as an accepted form of payment.

Can you elaborate on why it seems to be OK even though it is likely the kind of thing that will flag a fraud alert with Amex.

Treesha
Guest
Treesha

Directly from their User Agreement: “To add funds to your Account with cash or other accepted tender at a participating Target store in the U.S., present your activated Card and the amount of cash or other accepted tender you want to add to your Account to the cashier.” See that part about “other accepted tender?” Currently credit cards are “other accepted tender.” Who knows how long it will last, but the wording is vague enough that Target & Amex can put the kibosh on any time it wants.

mdtravel
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mdtravel

For me one draw back is going to Target. I love target compared to Walmart, don’t get me wrong. But at least at Walmart they are familiar with transacting this type of business and there is the off chance that you can get a kiosk and avoid human interaction completely.

Treesha
Guest
Treesha

No Amex Offers (yet). I’m hopeful they will come. Here’s a promising snippet from the Cardholder Agreement: “In addition to the REDcard Benefits described above, Special Offers may be available from time to time at participating merchants.”

Gee
Guest
Gee

As a Bluebird CC HOLDER, I would like to cancel my BB & sign up for the Redbird.

From what I’ve read, from my point of view there is no way to write a check from Redbird to pay my land lord. , who doesn’t accept CC payments

I see I can load Redbird via CC ‘s , but how do I solve the above dilemma ?

Of course I want to earn points by loading Redbird with a CC, but the only way I then see is to transfer from Redbird to my local bank & write the landlord a check from my local bank. ?

Any help appreciated
I loved BB but am not yet in love with Redbird

TIA

Jessica
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Jessica

I know I’m probably an outsider here and this is breaking news but you have blogged about this virtually every day for the last 2.5 weeks. Are we just going to post about it everyday until it dies?

Wally
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Wally

Hey, at least it’s not the same content insisting that you must run out and get the Chase Ink PLus card for THE GREATEST DEAL EVER RIGHT NOW reposted 4 times every day like some OTHER blogs…

Frank
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Frank

Can you load the REDbird with a REDcard credit card? If so, will you receive a 5% discount on the load?

MSPDeltaDude
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MSPDeltaDude

@ Frank – no
@ Jessica- it’s his blog and he is definitely at top of knowing what’s going on. If you don’t like it read another blog.

Prntraveler
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Prntraveler

thank you for keeping things objective in your blog!

Leo
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Leo

can we load redcard by using amex spg?

ChicagoMS
Guest
ChicagoMS

I have the same question. Amex SPG failed for my wife on initial purchase in Denver area. Subsequent Chase card gave fraud warning, but Amex just would not work.

Vikas
Guest
Vikas

it worked for me about a week ago, I bought it using SPG in MA.

Leo
Guest
Leo

So.. did u get any spg points for that payment?

john
Guest
john

can u liquidate AGC with RED??

Brad
Guest
Brad

Does the prepaid red card come with a PIN? Or can you establish one somehow?