Making the Switch
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
Last year when Target’s new Prepaid REDcard (aka REDbird) came onto the scene I wrote about how I was going to be keeping my Serve for awhile. In that post I listed a few reasons.
Among the reasons were, “I don’t believe credit card loads will last very long.” Well, that was October and this is February and credit card loads are still going strong. Of course they could end at anytime, but there aren’t any signs of that happening yet.
At that time I had also recently switched from my Bluebird card to a Softcard version of the Serve. While there is no official rule against it, I am not sure American Express likes people moving between these products within a few weeks of each other. Now that four months have passed, I feel more comfortable.
So Why Make The Switch Now
- 5x Back – Last month I wrote about our recent round of credit card applications. In that round we picked up a card that pays 5% back at grocery stores. After consulting the Visa website, I discovered that the Target closest to my house is classified as a grocery store.
- Convenience – I am kind of sick of Walmart. Sure it is easy enough to get gift cards and then load them to Bluebird/Serve, but it is so much easier to load the card directly from a credit card. (And I like Target better!)
- I Can Switch Back – American Express has made it easier than ever to switch between these accounts since they can now be closed online. Closing my Serve and opening up the REDcard was a breeze.
What I Am Giving Up
- Online Credit Card Loads – The Serve with Softcard allows $1,500 per month in online credit card loads. While I will lose that benefit, I was paying purchase fees on gift cards that were being loaded to Serve, so it is close to being a wash.
- Amex Offers – REDcard doesn’t currently get Amex Offers, although the only time I really used them on my Serve was during Small Business Saturday. November is nine months from now and as you know, nine months is an eternity in the miles & points game.
Should You Switch
I think the REDcard provides a great deal of value and simplicity. Being able to walk into a store and directly load the card is a huge benefit. If you have a nearby Target that is classified as a grocery store, then there is even more fun to be had.
With that said, you are giving up online credit card loads if cancelling a Serve card and there is no guarantee that credit card loads will stick around for the REDcard. I would decide which is more convenient for you based on availability of gift cards and the location of your local Target & Walmart.
For me, the REDcard is the right move at this time. (You can find a comparison of REDcard, Serve & Bluebird here.)
Do This Before Switching
Before making the switch I made sure to max out my Serve card for the month. By doing that I will be able to “double dip” by loading my Serve card to the max and then my REDcard to the max in the same month. This only works for months that you switch, but it is a nice little perk.
Where To Get One & More Info
The REDcard is still not available in a lot of areas of the country. I was lucky enough to have a friend send one to me, but there are other ways to find them. For everything you want to know about the REDcard along with where you can get one, I highly suggest reading Frequent Miler’s Complete guide to REDbird.
While I am still waiting for my permanent card in the mail, I can’t wait to make my first load. It took some evolving on the issue, but I am finally on board with the REDcard and ready to see where the journey takes me.
How about you? Have you made the switch? Are you still waiting? Let me know in the comments!