Amex makes it official: REDbird loads via cash or debit only. And, questions clarified.


Note: As of 10/13/15 the Target REDcard (REDbird) can only be loaded with cash in-store at Target. Gift cards and/or debit cards no longer work to load REDcard. For more info, see: Here is the REDbird memo, “Cash is the only tender guests can use”

UPDATE 6/12/2015 2:11 PM: Added Targeted Prepaid REDcard memo to post and changed post title

In early May, Target stores received memos declaring that it would no longer be possible for people to pay for Target Prepaid REDcard (AKA REDbird) reloads with credit cards.  This was big (and disappointing, but not unexpected) news at the time.  Somewhat lost in the hubbub was the fact that those same changes applied to the older Amex for Target prepaid card.  I reported my experience with that card at the bottom of this post: REDbird PM (post memo) Answers.


Now, while Amex has remained silent about REDbird Amex has sent emails to both REDbird and Amex for Target cardholders to let them know about the changes.  Here is the email I received for Amex for Target:

We wanted to let you know that you will no longer be able to load your American Express® Target Card at Target stores with a Target GiftCard or a non-Target branded credit card. You can continue to load your card with cash or debit at Target stores.

You can also add money to your American Express® Target Card online through direct deposit or transfer from your linked debit or bank account.

For more information on American Express® Target Card, click here.

And, the REDbird email was almost identical:

We wanted to let you know that you will no longer be able to load your Target Prepaid REDCard® by American Express at Target stores with a Target GiftCard or a non-Target branded credit card. You can continue to load your card with cash or debit at Target stores.

You can also add money to your Target Prepaid REDcard® by American Express online through direct deposit or transfer from your linked debit or bank account.

For more information about your Target Prepaid REDcard® by American Express, click here.

While nothing in the above email comes as a surprise (except for the fact that the “click here” link on the Amex for Target email takes you to the REDcard page), I find the email interesting for two reasons:

1. In-store debit loads are official

As I’ve written about before, a few Target stores have made up their own rules about what options people have for reloading REDbird and Amex for Target.  This email makes it clear that debit loads are allowed.  I hope that this information will help to make debit loads available at all Target stores.  That said, the memo says nothing about debit gift cards. I’m sure that some stores will continue to disallow those.  Fortunately, debit gift cards still work at most (but not all) Target stores.

2. We now know what Target means by “third party credit cards”

The infamous memo (found here) that banned credit card loads said, in part:

…third party credit cards will not be accepted for reloading prepaid cards

In a follow up post, I asked:

  1. The memo specifically said that no 3rd party credit cards would be accepted.  How about 1st party credit cards?  Will they work?  What are they?  Target cards?  Amex cards?  If Amex cards work, will they earn rewards?

Then, I tested various options and reported back.  I wrote:

No “1st party” credit cards work either

I, and others, have tried paying with Target branded credit cards and/or prepaid cards, Amex credit cards, Amex prepaid cards (e.g. Amex for Target), and Amex gift cards. No luck.

I don’t have a Target branded credit card.  I personally tested with a Target branded prepaid card and found that it didn’t work for reloading REDbird.  The new email I received makes it clear what 3rd party credit cards is supposed to mean. They changed the language to:

a non-Target branded credit card

The implication here is that a Target branded credit card should work to reload REDbird and Amex for Target.  That said, I’m not sure why anyone would care.  As far as I know, Target branded credit cards do not earn rewards.

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Just tried to load a 500 vanilla and a 200 meta and both came back as a gift card being used on thier end so the system said no(hard coded) I just used the exact same type of cards 3 days ago. Anyone else?


Here’s a new one – at least to me. I manage my daughters Redbird. Opened it a few days ago and she has a negative balance to the tune of $3800 and some change. Can you even GO into the red with a Redcard? We didn’t – so they’re looking for help from the tech guys. No question – just kind of wondering if anyone else has faced this?


The only time I went into a negative balance was once briefly on Feb 25th when Redbird was having technical issues about loads not working and the load at Target got reversed; it briefly showed as + $500 (example, don’t remember exact amount) on the transactions, I then used Redbird to buy something at Target on the same transaction as the credit card load, then the load reversed, posting as -$500 and took the balance to the negative.

I’m guessing it could be something different in your situation but do take a look at the recent transactions shown on the Redbird acct online and do some manual math to see if one/some particular transaction(s) are the culprit.


I have not been able to login 2 out of 3 of my accounts. Anyone else is having that problem ? “The username and password combination isn’t right. As a reminder, the password rules are: at least 8 characters, at least 1 number, at least 1 uppercase, at least 1 lowercase, no symbols.” Same message after a password reset. Called CS and was told it will be fixed by Wed.


Rufus, it could be this known recent issue REDcard is working on:


I went to Target this afternoon and was denied after they asked to see my card. They said we do not accept gift cards to load Redcard. I went to another Target and was able to load two VGC. I’m sure pretty soon they will all be asking to see our cards. Shame.


I hear you Eric. It is beconing increasingly ridiculous dealing with VGC at Target. I wonder if we should openly discuss the ‘Giftcards’ term with them ehen they ask since GiftCardMall documentation expliciy says something re these Visas being a Debut card for all purposes and I strongly believe Target rules don’t allow Target giftcards… But there us no mention about others


I can see how we might go from “this miles/points game is profitable” to “I am entitled to my miles/points damn it, I shall protest if you don’t give them to me like clockwork”. However, I can pretty much guarantee you that you won’t benefit anything from protesting or complaining to Target management or trying to convince them into changing their policy and let you do what you want to do, because…[fill in your argument/links/terms here].

How do I know this? I was visiting over 15 Target stores a week (often the same store several times/week) during the credit card days of Redbird, activating temporary Redbird cards to sell online. Plus the usual times for loading my three Redbirds. I’ve dealt with all sorts of people at Target and for the most part it was smooth sailing, but here and there some local stores made restrictive policies. Nothing that I tried to change that worked, neither trying to persuade them nor complain to them, including a complain to corporate Target.

I only complained a couple of times when I lost my cool throughout the several months of doing this regularly and even then I knew rationally that it wouldn’t help my case; it was an emotional reaction both times. Complaining actually had the opposite effect, made it more difficult at those stores, especially one store with two cashiers telling me at different times explicitly things like “I would do it otherwise but in this case it would get me in trouble with my manager”.

Having said that, if you want to complain to Target or Amex, feel free to, I don’t think you will kill Redbird or anything, I just think it won’t have any positive outcomes for you, besides frustrating you some more after realizing that more time and nerves spent on te issue resulted in no positive outcomes.

P.S. I also believe these restrictions are in place to prevent fraud, not MS, but this later part is more of an educated guess, plus a few readings/reports here and there.


Hi noonradar, I didn’t mean to complain in that sense at all or that I would be entitled to, I was just trying to portray my frustration in terms of the hurdles I’ve been experiencing so far at Target, but I agree 100% with you. Apologies if I was misunderstood. My real complaint would be why Gift ardMall is advertising a product and you get it tagged with a big word Gift while this is not shown in the actual design of the card which you actually pay for. Re Target my rant was more about my feeling the employees don’t understand well the policy wording which may actually refer to ‘Target gift cards’ and not just ‘any giftcard’. I may be wrong but the email I got from Amex the other day which is being discussed by Shawn in this very same post does not mention anything about ‘third(second 🙂 party giftcards’ (??)


just a quick nite to apologize for the typos in my last msg… I’m writing thus as I came out if Target in the parking lot from the cramped screen if my phone….


Just came out of Target in South BayArea of California. In the last few days trying to reload my RedCard with GiftcardMall duckie $500’s VGC had bad experiences: at many registers the cashiers don’t have a clue of how to do it. Also found out a few young people knew hoe to but only 1 out of ten could do a $1000 ‘split tender’. Otherwuse its a hassle to have to do several swipes/trips to different regusters while calling for attention (they do notice you as they ask each other how to do it….). The worst that happened one day is I was told ‘they do that at customer services’. Actually no! You should be able to do it at the register! But just left as dis not want to call attention….

Today it was the worst. I went straight to Customer Service desk and the young girl there asked me what kind of Visa was that and which bank issued it! I said Metabank. She asked ‘what bank is that?’ I had to say ‘US bank’. Technically is true since it is a bank ‘in the US’ (although not USBank!). Then she said we don’t allow gift cards. I had a hard time covering the damned ‘Gift’ logo on the card while showing the duckie VGC and telling her ‘See,,, it has my name on it….’ The hell I suffered to load it. Then she asked how much and just told her $500 (didn’t want to risk her not knowing about the split tender as 90% of them don’t know….. After she cooled I told her, actually I want to do another one, and swapped duckie with a sister card without her noticing the magic while covering the word Gift at all times…… Crap! Not worth the hassle….. Why the hell GiftCard Mall is selling something NOT as advertised in the forst place? (I mean when you buy them there us no reference whatsoever to the logo in their image…. I was aboutto call them the first time I got the VGC and tell them I was going to dispute the order for sending something different to what I bought!)

Anyway, just wanted to let people know for what is worth…. This adds to the comication of those fos not deploying Redcard in CA and making Target workers even more puzzled as it is not common here…

I qondsr if the wirst happens if I should be sble to discuss opey in the store that this is a Debit card no matter it has any word on it! As the rules don’t say anything about Non-Target giftcards. After all these are Debit!


I loaded a bunch of Staples VGC in May and had no problems. I’ll return next week and will report new results as I still have leftover Staples VGC to try. Next challenge is to find a source that will sell me VGC with AMEX GC!


Try CVS. I am able to buy it there.


Will try to load with a pin go and let you know the result

[…] Amex makes it official: REDbird loads via cash or debit only. And, questions clarified – American Express finally sent out an email clarifying what can be used to load REDbird. Thankfully, it just solidified what has already been true for a month and no new changes seem to have been implemented. […]


Not sure how widely known this is, but might help clarify things for some people (others, not so much). From the Redcard FAQ:

“Debit Cards — add money from your debit card at the register or by linking it to your Prepaid REDcard account online. Please note: Gift cards cannot be used to add money.”…ng-add-money-1


Sincerely, on what evidence do you make this judgement?

I’ve personally had so many in-store “no VGC load” encounters, that I’ve come to accept it as Target Corp. Policy.

I now keep things very discrete.


I have been loading with PIN Based GC’s for a while after CC load stopped. Hope to see it still works.Will load today and confirm it.I have few of visa/MC GC’s to load.


Awaiting the news, doctor.


I could run to Walmart and buy a $25 Visa Gift Card and test it out within 10 minutes, but…. I’m lazy. Please report the your findings.


I could load the Mastercard GC without any issues to my RedCard Yesterday in the evening. I did not have any system related issues.


@Seth and Sid, since yesterday (late?) evening the Redbird network seems to be down; this has happened a few times, hopefully it will be back up and running soon.


I tried to load it at around 4PM today and the system is still offline.


When people report that the Redbird network is up and running again, I will update this post of mine (bottom of it):


Thanks hope it’s working again soon


Update: As of June 12th @ 5:50 PM EST, Redbird network is up and running again, people report loading successfully with pin-based gift cards.


Way to go REDcard, sending an email breaking the news about something that happened over a month ago. Next, an email stating that there will be no more snow for Winter of 2014.

I already got a couple of anxious emails from people who got the Redbird from me, asking what does this mean and whether Redbird still works with pin-based gift cards. Yes, pin-based gift cards do work still and the email means nothing to us who have been loading Redbird as such for the past month.

For the two people who have been living under an MS rock and get to visit these blogs just now: Hey, guess what, no more credit cards for Redbird!


This is exactly my thought. Seems to me this was an “official release” of what we already knew a month ago.


Anyone having success loading with pin enabled gift cards? I encountered the same issue as Seth when trying to load my card.


I just loaded my card 3 days in a row (6/13-6/15), $500 each day, with a PIN-enabled gift card with no issues


What about using a non-Target branded prepaid Visa gift/debit card?