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.)
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.
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!