Loading Target REDcard (REDbird) – My First Experience(s) & Suggestions

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loading target prepaid redcard

Loading Target Prepaid REDcard is Easy

Note: As of October 13, 2015 the Target REDcard (REDbird) can only be loaded with cash in-store at Target. This means that neither debit cards nor gift cards can be used to load REDcard any longer. For more info about the changes and where to go from here, see: REDbird Postmortem: An MS Path Forward

I shared with you a few weeks ago that I had finally decided to make the switch to Target’s REDcard. After loading up my Serve card earlier in the month, I ordered a permanent REDcard and was finally able to load it this past weekend.

Related: Bluebird, Serve & REDcard. A Comparison Chart of Amex Prepaid Debit Alternatives

Like others, I was curious to see if loading the card was as easy as I had heard. To be honest, we actually have two REDcards and my wife and I both loaded the cards at separate times, but our experiences were similar.

How It Went

My wife was the first to load her card a couple of days ago. After going to a regular register, she was directed to customer service. While normal registers should be able to load the card, apparently this store does things differently.

Once at customer service, she asked the cashier to do a total of $2,500 in loads in increments of $1,000, $1,000 and $500. One of her cards processed the two $1,000 loads just fine, while the other card (issued by Citi) had a fruad alert for the $500 load.

On the same day I visited a different store and decided to head directly to customer service since it was busy and I didn’t want to waste time waiting at a normal register only to be sent to customer service. At customer service I was using a Chase & a Citi card. Both had fraud alerts, but I was able to clear them and complete the loads all with the same cashier in separate transactions.

My wife and I both made a second trip with similar results as the first. In the end, we each loaded $5,000 over the course of two trips. The load process is as simple as swiping a credit card and signing for the transaction. It is incredibly easy and I prefer it 1000% to the Walmart experience.

loading target prepaid redcard
Loading the Target Prepaid REDcard with a credit card is only one of the benefits.

Takeaways

If you are on the fence about switching because you are used to the Walmart experience, then I highly suggest thinking about the REDcard. Everything about the experience from the store to the cashier was superior. Perhaps I am just sick of Walmart after years of spending way too much time in their stores.

I would also highly recommend setting up fraud alert texts and emails on any cards you are going to use to load. It seems almost certain that you will eventually trigger a fraud alert. Being able to clear them quickly via text or email is a must!

You should be able to load the card at any register, however some stores only allow loads at customer service. I suggest just heading to customer service if it isn’t busy. I will try going to regular registers this week to see if other stores in my area allow loads at regular registers.

Conclusion

I had been hesitant to switch from Serve to REDcard because I didn’t feel that credit card loads would last. Now after seeing how easy it is, I am sort of regretting not switching sooner. While I will miss my $1,500 in online credit card loads on the Serve, being able to avoid Walmart is certainly a worthy tradeoff.

Feel free to share your REDcard loading experiences in the comments. Oh by the way, happy 1st of the month. Enjoy your newly recycled load limits!


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42 COMMENTS

  1. I am experiencing multiple fraud alerts when using my Delta biz reserve amex. I can only load 1000$ per day, and that takes a twenty minute phone call. The amex will not allow me to do multiple transactions. It’s been a very frustrating and inconvenient experience. Because of these problems, I could only load 3000$ in February. I have the fraud alerts set up for text and email. Anything else I should do to make this an easier experience?

  2. I’m happy for you, Shawn. Unfortunately, things in NY are quite gloomier.

    Got my Redcard last week, hit two Targets thus far. The first has stopped accepting CC loads altogether earlier in the month. The second still allows them, but capped at 1k daily per Redcard. Can’t load anyone else’s Redcard but your own–they check IDs. And the only one allowed to do the loads for you is a specially designated employee at Guest Services, so you can’t just hop away to a different register to try your luck with another cashier.

    There are two other Targets in Brooklyn I haven’t tried yet, but both are also much further away. I’m pretty disappointed.

  3. I’d love to say goodbye to the “service” desk at wm, but I can’t see exchanging 5% for 2.2% (OBC/Arrival+). Even before adding in the extra $1500 of online loads, that’s a big hit to take. Am I the only one who thinks a taste of wm is tolerable if it means double the net cb?

    • I’m fairly new to the hobby. Can you elaborate regarding ” can’t see exchanging 5% for 2.2% (OBC/Arrival+).”
      How are you earning 5%? What is OBC? I’m familiar with Barclay Arrival+.
      Thank you.

  4. Thrilled that you’re a convert of the now infamous REDbird! I think it’s quite the points earning mogul that likely won’t be around for awhile.

    Glad to see you’re taking advantage while we can!

  5. Got a friend to grab a Redcard for me since the nearest participating Target is over 150 miles away.
    I am hurrying to cram both of our BlueBirds with $5000 each, shut them down and Register permanent Recard for $10,000 more via Target.
    $20k in one month!
    Question: Assuming credit card loads stop, and they likely will at some point, can we still load AMEX gift cards or at worst, Visa GC’s(from grocery stores et al)?
    If so, that’s still a win as most prefer Target to Wally World.

  6. Picked up my 1st Redbird back in Sept. or Oct. and acquired two more in Nov.. Had to deal w/ alerts many times. Having three Redbirds and four Amex for Target is a challenge, but way worth the alert issues. I have many options for loading so I now use numerous cards for the loads which eliminated the alerts. All the CS reps know us well and can’t do enough to assist us.

  7. First off i’d like to say that Mike is FOS. Prob trying to scare people off for fear of it being flooded. NY is just fine – been doing re-loads at several targets since Oct. No probs at all. In fact the next time you are told by a cashier to go to customer service simply ask them to swipe the card and follow the prompts. I’ve trained several cashiers this way. I explain i’ve done it many times, its a new product, schmooze schmooze schmooze……. Once they swipe they are prompted that they cannot accept a target gift card. Show them the credit card and you are good to go. The credit card does NOT need to match the redcard. I”ve told them i’m loading my wifes, son, daughters card. I will s.t. just offer my drivers license if the cashier seems reticent.

    • Smay, thanks for sharing. Which targets did you do this at? The one at Barclays center refused CC loads altogether, and the Broadway Junction one was the 1k daily cap.

    • Smay, that’s a bit harsh. I have experienced the exact same thing in the Target’s by me in NY as well. 1k load limit per day. I asked why I was able to do $2500 a week back, the answer is it’s a change in policy, something I wasn’t going to make a scene about. CSR told me “everyone is loading these cards with cc for points and then using the ATM for withdrawal. It’s wrong and we’re not going to let that happen” YMMV don’t think everyone is evil and trying to not ruin a good thing for you.

      • Ah, I didn’t even realize Smay was insulting me, too lazy to look up ‘FOS.’ Thanks for sticking up, Adam. Could you let me know which Target locations have been the most agreeable in your experience?

  8. Shawn, I think the reason their telling you to go to customer service is because they don’t know how to load the card. This happens to me 90% of the time. I tell them, “Oh, this card can easily be loaded here. Just swipe it and the computer prompts you the rest of the way.” They are amazed at how easy it is. I usually get someone who hasn’t loaded it before. So, I’m doubtful it’s a store policy.

    • Thanks Shannon. The reason I didn’t push it was that I was doing it over a busy weekend and customer service was actually just as quick as a normal register. I plan to do my normal loads during the week where it should be much quieter. I will definitely try going to a regular cashier.

  9. love the blog – I’ve had the card for two months now. The first month I loaded even dollars and triggered fraud alerts for citi and Barclay. Second month I loaded values with cents with no problems. For me no fraud alerts is worth sacrificing a dollar or two a month.

  10. Please explain how you set up fraud alert texts and emails and how that works.
    Also, DavidNJ, I thought you could only have one Redbird. Really? It’s possible to have multiple Redbirds? Do you acquire the all in the same way?

  11. Have had 2 Redbirds (myself and spouse) for several months…Denver area.. working fine.

    Cashiers are not trained yet on new cards but if you tell them to treat it just like any other prepaid card they will do just fine.
    Schmooze them as the other person said..it works.

    Barclays does not like Redbird and will call every time until you tell them it will be a fairly frequent purchase..Best to load 1k or under per day …as Barclays does not like multiple swipes at Target.
    No problem here loading money to my spouse’s card. Never asked for an i.d.
    I would not load more than your monthly limit on the card ( rinse and repeat) or – your monthly income.
    Good article today on Frequent Miler about such issues.

  12. I am hedging my bets. I have Serve and wife has Redbird. I appreciate my good fortune in living near a store cluster with WM (with Money Center), Staples and Target within 1/4 mile. Now, how can I convince family members to let me manage accounts for them?

  13. I like the concept but loading it has been a bit of a hassle. When I get a good/easygoing customer service person who doesn’t get all up in my business about the card or the amount I’m loading… it’s flawless… unless the credit card declines due to a fraud alert.

    Minor annoyances:
    -Cashier doesn’t know the card
    -Raises eyebrows at the amount to load
    -Declines from Delta AMEX and Barclaycard Arrival

    Less minor annoyance:
    -Ran into the system issue weekend of 2/22. Card charged but amount not loaded to Redbird yet.

  14. Thought you might find this interesting. This comes from the Frequent Miler blog regarding how the systems were down the other day. The “Poster” is not me but someone who claims to be involved in Redbird.

    Poster:

    I am in direct contact with a high level executive at American Express and I can confirm that Amex was indeed doing system wide maintenance yesterday across all of its products. This equally affected REDCard, Bluebird, Serve, as well as some credit cards, and accounts using online bill payment systems. This was a major update and we expected intermittent problems. Because REDcard is a test product, it is certainly possible that credit card loads will be disabled in the future. However, Target and Amex are currently in disagreement over this feature because Target believes that the ability to load credit cards has attracted a lot of new customers as well as increased spending at Target. They are measuring this by the number of people who pick up a few things every time they load their REDcard. As such, Target has proposed to pay a larger portion of the percentage fee incurred for using credit cards as payment. For now, all indications point towards the continued use of credit card reloads for REDcard.
    Reply

    I responded:

    You seem to have quite a bit of inside info. The info seems reasonable as well. Respectfully, are you personally involved in the operations of Amex..”..major update and WE expected intermittent problems”…or simply have friends in high places…? Thank you.

    Poster:

    I am personally involved with both the rollout of REDcard and its subsequent implementation and updates. My colleagues don’t know I’ve been manufacturing spend myself 🙂

  15. I too am noticing some trends that could signal changes in loading from credit cards.

    My wife tried to do a load of $1,000 (or actually $998.47 or something) in Cincinnati, OH and it was able to go through. She went through and did a purchase and tried to load again and it was declined. They referred her to customer service where a manager claimed that the cashier who allowed her to do the $900+ transaction was incorrect because they weren’t allowed to do transactions larger than $500 in any given day. Now, granted that is incorrect information. But is it a case of ignorance in the store or some new policy that could be real in the near future? Not sure.

    I did two loads last week in Houston, TX. In both cases I was able to load the first $1,000 (one day it was exactly $1k; one day it was less) after clearing a fraud alert but I was not able to get a second transaction to go through. I stepped away from the register both times and expected to clear a fraud alert but did not see one. I then tried a different card entirely for the reload (Chase VISA instead of AmEx) and again was declined but could find no fraud alerts.

    I’m not sure what was going on here but it went less smoothly in February than it did in January and my difficulties were experienced in Ohio and Texas. I personally believe there’s no way this loophole will last forever and I’m curious as to exactly how the stop will come down.

  16. Can you load Redbird with multiple $500 One Vanilla Visa cards? I was thinking of using my Old Blue Cash to buy One Vanilla’s at drugstores, and then draining them with Redbird.

  17. Since its inception, we have been loaded ALWAYS with odd amounts (987.56, 898.31, etc…) and have had no issues.

    Again, we are in a state where this product is not sold, and we have been able to train the three stores where we are located with absolutely NO ISSUES.

    Every cashier we have engaged has been more than willing to follow our directions, and they can verify by the on-screen prompts. Since we are (seem to be at least) the only ones doing it in our town…we get no negative comments or criticisms. Everyone in the stores actually are looking forward to when their stores will begin offering the RedCard….but that may be far off in Target’s rollout schedule.

    We are using a mixed set of cards…every brand/version mentioned so far…and never getting a decline. Of course, we have had these cards for a while, so we have a history of charging and paying off our balances as well as purchases in various locations when we are traveling.

  18. I’ve only loaded a couple times and always even amounts – do the cashiers not think it’s odd when you load $998.79,etc? I would think that would raise red flags

    • Like John Delta, I live in a state where the card is not available yet and only a couple of other people go to my store with a Redbird. Once an associate asked me why I’m loading such strange numbers and I simply said that an even dollar load would trigger a fraud alert.

      • Our explanation is:

        “We operate a business and we have to deposit amounts equal to those which we have received from clients/customers so it matches our books.”

        Only replies thus far: “That makes sense.”

  19. Thanks for sharing your experiences with this. I am looking forward to using this to pay bills that do not take credit cards.

  20. I sell the REDcard to people who can’t get it on their local Target, so while I might be biased to it because of that factor, the personal usage alone is awesome! I currently use 3 REDcard (Redbird) myself, I load them all with my own credit cards, one of which gives me 5x directly from the loads at Target. This blows Serve/Bluebird out of the water!

    For the still hesitant camp (though don’t see the reason why) I’d suggest having a family member help you out and keep both. Soon you’re realize–like Shawn did–that you shoulda done this earlier.

    For people in NYC, the Atlantic store in Brooklyn does NOT load with credit cards since Feb. In NC none of the stores currently load with cc. The vast majority of Targets do load though in all 50 states, albeit some have implemented policies like going to cust service desk, when local managers are concerned.

    There’s also lots of misinformation (total ignorance) among Target employees. All local stores within 30+ miles of me have this, I visit them repetitively and vast majority of times cashiers either don’t know this at all (but follow comp prompts) or have misinformation about it, being that its still relatively new.

  21. Hi, I have been loading my bluebird at WM using Debit Card only. Can I use credit card? I thought it is not possible for bluebird. Is that possible with Serve (until April) and RedCard?

    Thanks!

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