Manufactured Spending

Is This the End of Redbird Credit Card Loads?

I’ve been driving around all day, unloading the last of my Amex gift cards and finally got around to checking my email. Reader Brian sent me a link to a post stating that starting tomorrow, Target will no longer allow Redbirds loads with a credit card. Apparently there’s been a lot of fraud (as there always is with prepaid cards) and Target has circulated a memo, stating that today would be the last day credit cards would be accepted for Redbird loads. If you haven’t hit your $5,000 maximum for the month, you still have a few hours left to knock out another $2,500 per card.

Target REDcard
Target REDcard

While I realized this wouldn’t last very long, I’m surprised it’s happening so suddenly. A few days ago, I was at the Target store in Davis, CA where a cashier checked with a manager about whether Amex gift cards were an acceptable payment form for Redbird loads. The manager replied that it was ok, but “our policy on that will change soon.” It makes sense for them to put a stop to gift card loads, but if they stop credit card loads, how will the Target Prepaid REDcard be any different from the RED debit card, which is linked to a checking account? Especially if cash or debit becomes the only acceptable loading method. We might still be able to use Visa gift cards if debit loads are allowed, but they might eventually put a stop to that just like Walmart did.

I’m hoping this change is regional. After all, when CVS implemented a cash-only policy for Vanilla Reloads, lots of folks were able to buy them with a credit card in select regions. While my local Rite Aid hard-coded their registers not to accept credit cards for Vanilla Reload purchases, people out in Michigan didn’t have this problem. Hopefully this is yet another regional policy change or at least one that will be implemented (very) slowly nationally. It may still be bad news for Bay Area residents, as Brian tells me the Target store in Alameda has already hard coded their registers to reject credit card payments for Redbird loads. 

If Target does implement this new policy, I hope at the very least it won’t apply to Amex for Target cards (which, incidentally, have been disappearing from Bay Area stores lately). If the new policy is implemented and it does apply to all prepaid cards, then it may be time to switch back to Bluebird and deal with the mess that are Visa gift card loads. I’ll personally throw in the towel before I ever step into another Walmart store again, in which case it may be time to find more creative ways to earn miles in the future.

Have you heard anything about this change to Target Prepaid REDcards (aka Redbird)?

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  1. This is so sad…Please let us know if you come up with new ways of MS. 🙂

  2. “Apparently there’s been a lot of fraud (as there always is with prepaid cards”

    That’s bullcrap!

    they didn’t like having to pay 3% just for CC loads and the card owners not using them regular for regular purchases at target and other stores.

    that’s the only reasons they are stopping it

    • I have personally experienced this on one of my cards. Mine was a prepaid card that was autodrained at a target in New York (I am in the Midwest). Cannot say with confidence that the person who drained it put it on a redcard, but credit cards loads to redcards in new york were stopped after a few days of that incident, leading me to believe that both were related. Obviously it would take fraud on a much larger scale than one compromised card to implement a policy like that storewide. If Target does away with credit loads and only allows debit loads, a fraudster would need the PIN to make the transaction go thru, adding a layer of security.

      Pretty unfortunate that fraudsters use quite a lot of the methods that we do, closing out avenues for us legit folks.

  3. the Targets in the greater Charlotte, NC area already hard coded against loading AFT all together :'(

  4. I did my last load for May today after reading Greg’s post… Asked the manager at the Target and she said that today was indeed the last day (Houston, TX)

  5. Anthonyjh21

    I loaded 2 cards today I’m in nor cal. Didn’t ask about the memo.

  6. Does this mean that you cannot use debit cards (paypal) anymore either?

  7. I am so sad. I should have loaded them up at the beginning of the month. I’m halfway to diamond on my AMEX Hilton card. I too hope to not have to go back to WalMart Bluebird again, but I will if I get close enough by the end of the year. What a great run it was!

  8. Are you still able to use Amex gift cards to load redcard?

  9. I wrote a post about the most up to date info I aggregated today on various blogs form people testing at Target stores:

    I will update it as/if anything changes in the next coming days. So far main takeaways:

    – No more credit cards of any kind. No AGC (Amex gift cards) either.

    – Visa or MasterCard pin-enabled gift cards work, loading as debit. You can multiple of them too.

    – If you don’t have a Redbird yet and want to get one, wait a few days to make sure the gift card situation won’t change.

  10. I just left Target. While there, I spoke with AMEX customer service directly through the number on the back of my card. Walter confirmed that as of yesterday, no credit cards will be accepted for reloads. This is across ALL Targets. I was in line trying to load the REDcard with my shiny new IHG Chase MasterCard to get my 70,000 points. Terrible timing but like you said, not surprised it didn’t last.

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