Manufactured Spending

My Experience Loading My Target Prepaid REDcard (AKA Redbird)

The coveted Target Prepaid REDcards
The coveted Target Prepaid REDcards

As of May 6, 2015 Redbird can no longer be loaded with credit cards or Amex gift cards.

I’ve been getting lots of emails lately about whether I’ve had success loading my not-so-recently acquired Redbird card. I picked up the card last month when I was in Michigan and found out soon after that Redbird cards have been appearing in Target stores in the Bay Area and Sacramento. The process of activating my Redbird cards was a bit of a hassle, but three of them arrived in the mail and I was finally able to put them to use recently. Since there were plenty of reports out there about successful Redbird loads, I wasn’t anticipating any problems. 

As usual, I went to the customer service register, where I tend to experience fewer issues loading my Amex for Target card than at check-out. The cashiers actually know what a prepaid card looks like and don’t freak out when I want to load $1,000 onto it. The process was the same as Amex for Target – the cashier swipes your card, you sign for the purchase, and then he/she types in the last 4 digits of the card (no ID check in my case). I loaded $900 using my Barclay Arrival Plus card, which seems to be a safe amount that avoids fraud alerts, and it went through without a problem. I loaded another card for $800 using my U.S. Bank-issued Club Carlson Visa and it went just as smoothly. 

During this trip, I did end up using my Redbird card for actual purchases, which is a habit all of you should be getting into to avoid account closures – regardless whether the recent report of a Redbird shutdown was a hoax or not. Besides, that 5% discount really adds up if you’re buying all of your essentials at Target. I don’t know about you, but no matter what I take to the Target register, it always comes up to $60. It could be a pack of gum and chapstick and it will always be $60.

Remember, you can use your Redbird outside of Target, which can be quite lucrative. If you’re loading Redbird with a credit card that codes Target as a grocery store, you can generate a substantial bonus on your everyday spending through Redbird. 

To get back to the point, loading Redbird shouldn’t be an issue, regardless of whether your home state sells them or not. I would still be careful not to focus on this card purely in terms of a manufactured spending tool. Mix in some regular spend, use it for a 5% discount on your shampoo, groceries, or bath towels. Remember, this is Target – a shopping utopia where everything is perfect and easy, unlike its evil counterpart Walmart, which made manufactured spending a pain in the a** for everyone with their long lines, broken Bluebird kiosks and terrible customer service. So be nice to your Redbird card and it will be nice to you.

Subscribe via email for more points, miles and free travel

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



  1. To put “regular spend” I also use my Redbirds for billpay on third-party websites, where I used them like a regular credit card, i.e. car insurance website, utilities etc. Plus small purchases at self checkout lanes in other grocery stores.

    Quick note to your North Carolina readers; sorry, still no credit card loads to REDcard for you. Same for the Atlantic Ave store in Brooklyn (NYC). I’ve heard someone say Arkansas is also no go but haven’t heard of anyone actually trying to load there and reporting about it. The rest of the almost 2 thousand stores in the country should load fine, barring any recent singular store.

    • I like the idea of using the card to pay bills directly with the merchant rather than using the bill pay function. Looks much more normal than using the bill pay function constantly.

    • I can speak to Arkansas. Redbird reloads worked here until some time in February. I haven’t tried in the past week, but as of the end of March it was still not working.

      • Still no go in Arkansas, as of a couple of days ago. Someone got a Redbird from me knowing it might not work there (I had heard it might not work but didn’t have any data points yet). They got the permanent card shortly after, tried and were told by store management that it hasn’t worked for a while there and not sure when it will work; that is the POS (comp system) won’t let you load it, same as in North Carolina.

  2. Hi Ariana, may I ask which Target store(s) in Sacramento that has Redbird? I have not seen on in my area. Thanks

    • I don’t know where exactly but several readers have told me they’re in the area.

    • If you’re still not able to find the Redbird locally, you can buy a temporary activated one online for a reasonable fee. I’m one of the people who sell them (hence a bit of auto-ad here) and have provided them to hundreds and its fast delivery, usually minutes, up to a couple of hours; I have many buyers references on public blogs that I can offer (some of them can bee seen here:

      If you plan on using it minimally might wait to see if you stumble upon one, though if you plan on utilizing its full $5K/month potential, its quite a loss to forego even e month (compare to the price of buying one online right away).

      The only requirement to register for REDcard is being over 18 and not having an open Serve/Bluebird in your name. Once in a while Amex asks people to verify identity and residence by uploading ID and a utility bill, which is painless; you can call a few minutes after you upload those docs online and they approve you.

    • Forgot to include my email for people who are interested:

    • Use this link to find Target stores that carry Redbird. The Amex red card described above is a different card. The redbird has no load fees and no ATM fee at Target. There are two different cards. Target says redbird is not available in California.

  3. You say Redbirds are appearing in the Bay Area, but no California stores are listed on the Redbird web page. So that makes me wonder if some might be in other areas near me. I live in Northern Kentucky and I know there are no Redbirds at my local store…but wondering about Southern OH. They have some up by Cleveland but that’s a 5 hour drive. The closest one for me would be about a 2 hour drive to Indy.

    • If it’s that far away, I would buy them on ebay instead.

    • According to flyertalk, someone purchased them in Dublin. According to him there are two targets there and only the old one stocked them. Not sure if it is still there. I would rather go the ebay route (so convenient and hassle free) where the rate have gone down considerably.

    • I’ve purchased Redcards in Memohis and Indianapolis. I’ve educated many of their cashiers on how to load the cards. You should have no issues finding them in multiple locations within Indy, just call ahead to the respective stores to make sure they are in stock. I did that while in Indy for a biz trip back in December.

  4. how do you cash out the redbirds not in your name- if you Billpay won’t it say its from the name of the person the redbird is registered to.

    • When you activate them, you provide the correct information (which doesn’t have to match the name of the person who purchased them). Once the card has been activated, you can unload via bill pay, ATM or regular purchases.

    • LK, while I don’t know for sure, I believe in most cases what banks see is account numbers, not names.

      I currently have 3 Redbird, the two not on my name I use to pay the credit cards with which I load the other, still on my name, i.e. Red 2 is loaded with cc A but pays the bill of cc B.

      If you want to cover your basis, add the name of the person on Redbird as authorized user on the credit card that you billpay with that Redbird. I’ve yet to hear anyone have any issues as such though (granted Redbird its only been around since Onct 2014).

  5. If you Google “Redcard Resales”, they are now offering the Target Prepaid REDcard online for folks in states where it isn’t available. Looks like a very legitimate website. Has anyone bought one here?

  6. Is the load limit still $2500 per day, $5000 per month?

  7. I’m Glad to hear that you had no problem loading your Barclay card. I rcvd an instant fraud alert notification on my phone after swiping my Barclay card, which I quickly acknowledged.

    Then I switched to my Chase card and I was denied my first swipe transaction and instantly rcvd a notification from Chase on my phone. Once I acknowledged the alert, I was told by Chase to proceed re-doing my transaction.

    A question for you; you previously stated you got 4 Redbirds. How are you managing them? I’ve started a rough spreadsheet, with tabs for each Redbird card to track spending, as this seems like it could get difficult to manage with multiple revolving credit cards and Redbirds.

    • Chase hardly ever gives me any trouble, though Barclay and Citi are a bit more vigilant. Next time try an amount that’s less than $1k and includes cents (i.e. $653.45). That looks more like an actual purchase and will be less likely to cause a fraud alert.

      You’re way ahead of me because all I’m doing with Redbird so far is keeping balance/remaining load info on a document along with gift card balances.

    • Mint ( has added Redbird as beta, though you as a customer don’t see anything, i.e. doesn’t work for you yet, but Mint says by adding the accts now it helps them to get this faster up and going. I’ve added all my 3 Redbirds. I contacted them to see when this might go live, they said they don’t know.

      Maybe if there’s more of us adding Redbird accts there it will go live faster.

  8. Local target in West Sacramento does not carry them. Employees said they have seen them come through. (And their info says California does not carry them) If anyone has picked them up in the Bay/Sacramento area, please let us know.

  9. I’ve read that you can use gift cards to load your REDBirds. Does anyone use this method? If so, which type, AMEX or VISA? This would be fantastic if it works to go to Staples with an INK card and pick up gift cards there.

    • Yes, you can load Redbird with gift cards, any gift cards, except for Target gift cards. Many people have reported doing this in various blogs, including Ariana here.

      • Awesome!! Thank you!!! I’m headed to Staples later today to stock up on some merchant cards. I’ll check out what types of gift cards they have and test the waters at the service desk at Target on Saturday.

        • NoonRadar is right. I have on occasion been told that I can’t use Amex gift cards to load Redbird or AFT cards. If that happens, I would just use a credit card and avoid getting a manager involved. Once they’re aware of a “problem” they’ll start instructing all of their cashiers on how to deal with it and it probably won’t be in our favor.

          • I see. I won’t try to go hard and big on my first visit with REDBird, I’ll go slow and see how it goes. If they don’t take the gift card I’ll whip out the CC I want the miles/points on.

  10. Midday_radar

    If anyone would like to purchase an activated and ready to register REDCard feel free to email me –

  11. Midday_Radar… trying to take advantage of Noon’s alias and widespread respect and legitimacy

  12. Hi! If anyone is looking the get their hands on a Target Prepaid Red Card but do not live anywhere close to one, please feel free to contact me. I recently made another trip out to MD to grab a stack of them. Each one has been pre-loaded with a dollar. My fee is $25 per card.

    Once you make a payment to me (I prefer Venmo), I will email/text/call you with the card information for you to finish activating online and change your information. Once you have done that, your permanent card will be on it’s way to you, and the temporary card will be deactivated. I can, of course send the temporary card to you if you wish, however, it really isn’t necessary.

    I currently have 5 more on hand. First come first serve!

    Email is

  13. I had loaded my Target RedCard with $2k worth of Visa Gift Cards that I purchased from Kroger in one day, and I had no problems. On Day 3, I paid off the bills of the Credit Card via Target. On Day 3, I went back to Kroger and bought $1500 worth of Amex gift Cards and tried to load them onto the RedCard. It would not let me. It just kept saying “Payment info not accepted”. I tried using a regular Capital One credit card then, it let me put in $1000 in one swipe and then wouldnt let me anymore. Frustrated, I came home, only to realise that Capital One had sent me a fraud alert email that I had to respond to for them to remove the hold on my account. So maybe, it would work today, which makes me wonder if Amex Gift Cards are really a problem. Oh, I also tried doing it in 2 different Target locations. The Target customer service guy wasnt helpful at all and kept insisting that I should try to load the RedCard with cash instead(Ya, sure!). Sure wasnt a problem with Visa Gift Cards though. As a last resort I plan to hit a different target store tonight and try one last time. Hopefully they all work, if not will use one of CC and just use the Amex gift cards for regular spending I suppose. All in all, wasnt a pleasant experience at all, especially cos this is only my 2nd attempt in using it.

    • I’m frequently hearing about issues with gc’s purchased in store. I’ve never had an issue with loading Redbird with Amex gc’s purchased online.

      • Message I saw from Frequentmiler’s “The complete guide to REDbird: The Target Prepaid REDcard.” discussion thread. And also posted in this article “REDbird credit card loads: here today, gone tomorrow? Developing…”.

        I hate spreading unconfirmed rumors, but this one is important, if true. A few people via comments on this blog have reported a memo that supposedly went out to all Target stores saying that credit cards will no longer be an allowed form of payment as of tomorrow May 6. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it at first since it is common for memos to be described as corporate wide when they are store specific, but then Dan of Dan’s Deals claims to have confirmed the memo himself.

        Assuming this is true, there is no word yet on whether this will be hard coded in the register or left to employees to enforce. There is also no word yet on whether or not debit card payments will be allowed.

        I tried to verify this memo at my local Target, but the overall store manager knew nothing about it. Maybe there’s hope? Maybe the memo is store specific, after all? I’ll post again once more is known.
        Why publish now, without proof?

        I wanted to give everyone a heads up in case this is true. If you can, it would be worth running out to Target today for what might be your final credit card load.

        Just got word from sources that Target employees received a memo to NOT accept credit cards for Red Card prepaid loads anymore, starting 5/6/2015.

  14. Noonradar Target Prepaid Redcard was indeed expensive. I’ve ever emailed him and asked him the price, so, I didn’t buy it from him. Instead when I traveled to Oklahoma City for business, I bought a bunch of the Target Prepaid Redcard for myself and others. If you like some, I still have them. I offered you a very competitive price! Much better than Noonradar price 🙂

  15. Thank you NoonRadar for the speedy and painless transaction!

  16. I got plenty of Redcards for sale if anyone is in a state that doesn’t carry them! Just $20! Will give instructions and guidance if needed. Many satisfied customers on different forums. Can txt or whatsapp me 2485080871. Fast and friendly service 🙂

  17. I just wrote a step by step guide on loading Redbird with the newly upgraded registers (K8):

    If you’ve already loaded with the new POS, please take a look at my post and if you see something that I missed, or if you had a different experience, please let me know via a comment there. Thank you.

Leave a Comment