Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out About the End of REDcard Credit Card Loads

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redbird credit card loadsThe end of REDcard (REDbird) Credit Card Loads

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

Earlier today I wrote about the end of credit card loads to the Target Prepaid REDcard (aka REDbird). At the time of my post I was fairly confident that this information was true, but it hadn’t been 100% confirmed. Unfortunately in the past couple of hours Greg the Frequent Miler was able to confirm it with multiple Target stores.

Many of you may be new to this hobby and/or new to manufactured spend. Perhaps you got into this stuff only because you learned how easy it was to use the REDbird. After all, being able to walk into Target, swipe your credit card, earn rewards and then pay off that credit card sounded too good to be true and it probably should have been. Someone had to pay the bill for all of those swipes.

It Wasn’t Sustainable

Just about everyone who has been around awhile knew this mechanism wasn’t sustainable. Back in October I proudly proclaimed that I wasn’t jumping on the REDcard bandwagon. I just didn’t see credit card loads lasting more than a couple of months. Of course I was wrong and earlier this year I caved and switched when I came up with a plan to earn 7.5x.

I am not just someone sitting on the outside looking in and telling you to calm down. My family’s two REDcards will become a lot less valuable tomorrow just like yours. So why am I not freaking out? I have gone down this road before and it isn’t worth the wasted energy.

Eventually You Get Used to Loss

I remember when it was discovered that you could use a Chase Ink card to purchase Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot. That was almost as easy as the REDcard. You went into the store, bought a card, then went outside and input a code and the money was loaded to Bluebird. What a points machine that was.

Of course it went away quickly and then we all discovered CVS was selling them and the fun began all over again. Eventually CVS went to cash only for Vanilla Reloads, so we adjusted and bought variable Vanilla Visas, but then those were blocked at Walmart (for transactions $50 and above), so strategies switched again.

There are a lot of other methods I left out of that little story, but if you stick around in this hobby you will learn to adjust. You will eventually learn that change is inevitable and stop freaking out. I loved the simplicity of the REDcard, but I knew it was too simple. I know of more complicated ways to do things and the complexity keeps masses of people away.

REDcard Debit Loads

One other reason not to freak out is that we don’t yet know how prepaid debit cards will work at Target after tomorrow. There happens to be a huge sale on Vanilla Visas right now and if I can load them to my REDcard, then it still has a huge value to me. (Update: Debit loads are still working. More info here.)

Bluebird/Serve

Also remember that Bluebird and Serve are still alive and well. Sure loading Bluebird/Serve require a trip to Walmart and sure it isn’t as easy as simply swiping a credit card, but they still have a very low barrier of entry. I know if debit loads to REDcard don’t stick around, I can easily switch back to one of its blue cousins.

Conclusion

Stick around awhile and you too will react in a similar way to news such as this. I am definitely sad, but I also realize that this isn’t the end of the world. Tomorrow I’ll adapt a different strategy and keep forging ahead until another roadblock changes my path. Who knows, maybe Target’s switchover will be staggered and some of you can sneak in a few extra loads!


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26 COMMENTS

  1. MS will always be out there. It’s just a matter of how badly do we want these points. The ‘lazy’ or ‘easy’ types of MS like Amazon payments, VR, and Redbird are the ones that go away so it is advantageous to have a plan B.

  2. Just loaded the daily max of $2500 onto my RedBird in SC. Talked to the manager and was told he has not heard of any changes from his management.

    Some blogger on Boarding area also mentioned that he was able to reload in ATL and the Target employees weren’t aware of any memos. I am not too worried yet.

      • Yeah at this point we will have to wait and see. I am 100% confident that the memo exists, but there is still a possibility that it is either a staged rollout or that perhaps they are only starting in the markets where REDbird has officially launched.

        More will be revealed tomorrow and these things rarely go exactly according to the memo or terms.

        • I’m hoping this change isn’t hardcoded to all registers because we still have a chance in states where RB is not available. It doesn’t mean anything to me that most Target personnel are clueless to this memo because it’s only the top management guys that get hold of these memo sent to all branches. If it happens to be hardcoded to all registers, it doesn’t matter where we are located, this will hit us the same way. But if it’s not hardcoded, it means there’s a chance for those with friendly Target personnel to override or manually input CCs.

          as mentioned, this gig wasn’t sustainable to begin with. I’m surprise it even lasted this long inspite of naysayers from its debut. I’m just glad I got mine soon as it was mentioned in boards so I was able to meet min spend on a couple of cards. If only for that, I’m grateful and I’ll continue to patronize Target.

        • This is why I’m not even going to ask customer service about the memo. The card isn’t available in this market (it is in other parts of California). There’s a slim chance it doesn’t reach this area and even if it does, perhaps it’ll take a few weeks and I can sneak in another round of loads.

  3. Talk about bad timing – I just bought a Redcard online at eBay for $20 and it hasn’t even come in the mail yet! If the credit card and gift/debit card loads go away, it will have been a total waste of money.

    • Selling Redcards on eBay is against their TOS. Basically the seller will (eventually) be reported and you’ll be getting an email from ebay not to complete the transaction.

  4. Went to Target to load $2,500 in my 3 RB. I completed my first load ($1K, $1K and $500) and saw that the line behind me was long. So, I decided to go back and come again.

    Met the same person again and she asked me if this was my final card, I said no, I have one more. It ended up creating the biggest scene. She went to the security person and talked to her for a minute or two. They both came over and asked me why I was not completing my loads in one go. I told them the people behind me were waiting and I was just trying to be nice. The security person said, I can’t do that and need to now complete both RB loads together. I said fine.

    After the second card was loaded, the rep was still nervous and goes to the security person. She comes back and said, OK this is your final load, you can not load any more than $10,000 in one day. Anyway, I loaded by third RB with $2,500 and left.

    • That’s unfortunate. Were you loading someone else’s card though? If so, I can understand why they’re nervous about you. I never tried loading others cards add I didn’t want to push it. I’d just make trips with my wife to get them done. Either way it’s gone now so it is what it is.

  5. Sad. I just bought Redcard last month. By the way, Shawn, how do you load Bluebird/Serve in walmart with credit card? I tried in Walmart in March with gift card I bought in Ralph’s. but it was failed. Would you give me some hint? Thanks

    • You can’t load Bluebird or Serve with a credit card. You can load with a pin-enabled gift card. The pin will depend on what type of card it is. Once you know the pin, go to a register and ask to reload your Bluebird/Serve. When you go to pay, swipe the prepaid debit card and enter the pin.

  6. I was at Office Depot today and they refused to sell me a Visa gift card paying with a credit card. They said that is the corporate policy via memo which states payment is cash only. However every other Office Depot in the city will sell gift cards when paying by credit card.

    So Target might turn out the same way. Some stores will do it and some won’t. Depends who is has a memo and which manager(s) are hardcore. Unless the payment system is coded not to accept. Don’t panic too early about it.

  7. I was able to load $2.5k to both my and my wife’s card today. I’m in Northern California. Really don’t like maxing out each trip but obviously there was no other way.

  8. …but what’s the word TODAY!?! I’m dying ova’ heah’!!! At work (so I can’t check for myself), but want to know if debit cards are working today? …Maybe it’s a cashier training thing and the cash registers still allow cc loads after all???

    • Confirmed that Target in Westwood Los Angeles not accepting ANY CC amount for REDBIRD 🙁

      Never even had a chance to use the darn thing even once.

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