Unfortunately, it appears that way. I’m in Roseville, CA for the day and thought I’d take the opportunity to churn a few gift cards. This has been an ms-friendly town – one of the deciding factors in my plan to move here later this year (along with the fact that my sister lives here).
I have both Vanilla Visa gift cards as well as Gift Card Mall Visas purchased from Safeway. At the first Target store, I received a “card type not accepted” message when using a Vanilla Visa to load a Target PrepaidRED (aka Redbird) card. I figured the card might be defective in some way, so I tried another gift card that still didn’t work. Finally, I used my Paypal Business Debit card and that went through fine. When the first card didn’t go through, the cashier remarked, “Are you paying with a prepaid card? Because our registers are set up to reject those.”
I drove to another Target store in town and had the same experience when trying to load two different Redbirds. I even tried to load one with a Gift Card Mall Visa and it was also rejected. Again, the cashier remarked that they don’t accept “prepaid” cards and that’s why the transaction kept getting rejected. I’ve never had this experience at a Target store before. Except when I’ve accidentally selected the “credit” option during the payment process. That’s definitely not what happened here.
Hopefully, this is just a regional thing. But if you have a stash of gift cards to unload via Redbird, I highly suggest you unload them ASAP in case the Target stores in your region are affected. The death of Redbird is inevitable, but it’s always best to minimize the damage by not buying more than you can unload in a day – or via normal household spending if you get stuck with them.
A few folks on Twitter have informed me that their local Target stores have not been affected. They’ve successfully loaded their Redbird cards with PIN-enabled Visa gift cards in the past day without problems.
I’m heading home tomorrow and will stop by a few Target stores on the way to see if their registers are hard-coded as well. Hopefully that is not the case. My stash of gift cards totals just $2,500 and I do have alternative options for unloading them…though I did strike out at a Neighborhood Walmart down the street from the second Target store when trying to purchase a money order with a GCM Visa gift card. I’ll try another store later today, but I’m on kind of a bad luck streak when it comes to manufactured spending today, so maybe I’ll just give it a rest for now.
Have you encountered any hard-coded registers while trying to load a Redbird card at Target?
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