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”
I’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: