Don’t Close your REDcard Just Yet! Find Out What Can Still Be Loaded

If you have Redbird (Target Prepaid REDcard), then you probably already know that it can’t be loaded with a credit card. That change went into effect on May 6th when Target sent out a memo to all its stores. So the new nationwide policy is simple, no credit cards can be used for loading Redbird.

Target AmEx REDcard

Here in NYC this has long been the standard, but the difference is that it now has been hard-coded into Target’s POS (point of sale) computers. I checked out a Target in Brooklyn, NY yesterday and the cashier let me try out a credit card swipe. As expected, it didn’t work. This means that American Express Gift Cards can’t be loaded directly into Redbird either. They process as credit. You can still work around this if you want to take advantage of those 2.25% cash back offers from discount portals, but now you have to purchase PIN based gift cards with your AGCs. and then load those to Redbird.

Should you get rid of your Redbird?

The answer is NO. There’s still a lot of value to this prepaid card, besides the 5% cash back at Target. Debit cards are still allowed and you can still use pin-enabled gift cards to load your Redbird (see more below). The limit’s haven’t changed either so $5K/month, $2.5K/day, $1K/transaction is still a great deal.

For some people Target might be a better option than Walmart. At least around me there’s more Target options than Walmarts. I also find Target employees to be much friendlier and the experience much more relaxed than Walmart.

How can i load Gift Cards?

There is some changes to the gift card loading, post memo. Now you have to process them as debit, unlike before. You have to enter your PIN on the customer terminal after you swipe your gift card, and you no longer need to tell the cashier the last four digits of your card.

You can still do split payment as well, just a bit differently again. You would have to tell the cashier to do split tender, since you’re no longer auto-draining the gift cards as credit cards. So let’s say you want to load the $1000 transaction limit using $200 VGCs. You tell the cashier you want to load $1000 onto the REDcard using debit, but you want to do a split tender of $200 each, then proceed to swipe and enter the pin of each gift card. The cashier will have to enter the amount for each card.

What works?

Looks like any PIN based gift card will work. Even Vanilla Visa can be loaded easily which is a nice option compared to Walmart.

  • Fixed rate Visa Gift Cards
  • Variable rate Visa Gift Cards
  • Vanilla Visa Gift Cards
  • Fixed rate Mastercard Gift Cards
  • Variable rate Mastercard Gift Cards
  • Debit Cards
  • Cash

What doesn’t work

  • Credit Cards
  • American Express Gift Cards

Bottom Line

I am keeping my Redbirds. It’s always best to diversify your loading avenues, so if you already have some Bluebird/Serve cards, then keep your Redbird as well. This only change in my process will be the unloading of AGCs which I know have to convert to VGCs or MGCs, since credit card loading was already difficult around here.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Close your REDcard Just Yet! Find Out What Can Still Be Loaded

  1. Can anyone advice me as I am new in this game, I like to use my chase ink card which gives me 5% cash back from office supplies stores but I am unable to find more than $200 value gift cards from staples or office depot to load my redbird. I am looking for $500 debit gift cards as I have only $4.95 X 2 ($9.90 in fees) to load $1000 but with $200 cards I have to pay $4.95 X 5 ($24.75 in fees) that will negate the benefits and effort.


  2. I have 2 BB and 1 RB and I’m still using all 3. I’ll really miss the ease of unloading AGCs though. You could do $2500 in 20 seconds at Target

  3. Since RB does not allow CC loads now, I’ll just keep it as back up after maxing out all my Serve card in-store loads. I prefer to load at WM which I have more of, than Target. Aside from the fact that I prefer to deal with a machine to load than line up at Target CS.

    • It’s the other way around for me. I have a few Targets around, but I have to take a 45 minute drive for a Walmart with a working Kate. I have a few of each and they’re pretty interchangeable now.

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