Can’t register REDbird? Do this…


Note: As of October 13, 2015, 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”

As of May 6, 2015, Target no longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now what?

My wife’s REDbird registered without a problem.  Same for my niece.  My REDbird, though, was another story.  Every time I tried to register the card, I received an error.  Every time I called support I was told it would be fixed within a day or two.  The whole thing was maddening until I figured out a simple solution…

Target Prepaid REDcard REDbird


The Target Prepaid REDcard (AKA REDbird) is an American Express prepaid reloadable card similar to Bluebird and Serve.  In fact, it is so similar to those products that Amex allows each person to have only one.  For details about REDbird, please see “REDcard changes everything.”  For more about the three similar Amex products, please see “The complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, Serve, and SoftServe.”

One thing that is unique to REDbird, is that it has three stages of existence (see “The REDbird Life-cycle [Infographic].”  When you buy the card at Target, assuming all goes well, it is now activated, but unregistered.  In this state, it can only be used like a credit card and cannot be reloaded.  Once you register the card online, it is now registered, but still temporary.  In this state, you can load up to $1500 at Target (inclusive of the original load amount) and can withdraw cash at Allpoint ATMs.  Once the permanent card arrives at your address and you activate it online, it is now permanent and registered.  Now, you can reload the card up to $5,000 per month, use it to pay bills, etc.

This is all great, except that many people have had trouble activating their temporary cards at Target, and/or registering the cards online.  I documented some of these issues here: REDbird technical issues.

Dealing with failed activation

Technically, you’re supposed to be able to activate the REDcard, in store, with as little as 1 cent on the card.  In reality, it seems that activations fail when less than $1 is loaded to the temporary card.

Additionally, for some reason stores in North Carolina have been unable to properly register cards to-date.

If you paid for a card that didn’t register (and your credit card was actually charged), I don’t have shortcut for you, but there is a useful number to call: (800) 438-6468.  Hopefully they can help get you sorted out.

Dealing with failed registration

If, like me, your card activated fine, but you’re unable to register the card online you can try calling the number on the back of the card and sending in documentation, and waiting and waiting.  Or, you can do this (assuming you have ready access to a Target store with REDbird cards):

  1. Go to Target.
  2. Buy a new temporary REDbird card.
  3. Pay with the REDbird card that refuses to register online.

I had been struggling for weeks to register my card until realizing this simple work-around.  I had no trouble paying for the initial load of a new REDbird with an existing temporary un-registered REDbird.  In this way, I effectively transferred the balance from my broken REDbird to a new one.  And, best of all, the new one registered without complaint!  I’ve already loaded it to the maximum $1500 allowed and I’m eagerly waiting for the permanent card to arrive (hopefully early this week so that I can max out the full $5K per month of loads allowed).

I realize that this work around isn’t particularly helpful for those who don’t live near a participating Target store, but for those who do, maybe it will save you some frustration.

Read more about REDbird:


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I’m trying to register a Redbird with my mom’s name and social (with her permission) however I keep getting an error that I already have a Serve account. I do have a Serve account but my mom does not. Initially the phone number, email and address I attempted to register with were mine (and the same as the ones on my Serve). I attempted to register again after changing the phone number and then the email but still get the same message. I haven’t tried also changing the address, but I’m worried since I first tried to register with my info it’s forever linked to this Redbird number and I will keep getting the same message about the Serve account. Any experience with this? I do not live near a participating Target so cannot re-buy.


I had this experience. While I didnt have a Serve card I do know that I attempted to apply for one at one point. Regardless even if you dont have one, you just call the Redbird number and they will look up whats going on. They “turned off” my so called Serve account and told me to try applying online in 30 – 40 minutes. That worked! I will say that I had to use a different email address than a deactivated Bluebird account I used to have before to get it to work.


Registered the temp card it says it will send an email and to click on the confirmation email to activate. I have resent this email half a dozen times and do not get any email spam folder/in box folder nada. What do I do? Thanks


Had 2 serve cards. Bill paid down to zero. Canceled one with phone call and the other via web. Registered prepaidredcard within minutes no problem to same email address.


Sorry if this had been asked. Do you know if there are any credit cards that exist where there would be a category bonus for loading to redcard?

Thanks, and keep up the good work.


I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I used my IHG CC to load the RedBird and noticed that the CC recognized target (my target, at least) as a grocery store so I received double points for that transaction. So, if you have a CC that gives you double points on groceries, give it a try!

Let me mention that I also have used my Amex SPG to load the RedBird and that transaction went through as purchase (not cash advance as some may fear).

Although Amex recognized my target as discount store. So different CCs use different codes for the same store. (One recognized it as a grocery store, the other as a discount store).

Mark the Shark

Just to confirm, can you load the RedCard with an AMEX credit card (not just Visa and MC) without incurring cash advance charges or since the RedCard is issued by AMEX, this will be an issue?


@Jared, New Berlin. They had plenty

@FM I was able to register both of the cards today that came with that receipt.

What is the max per day for ATM withdrawals when using the temporary card? I was able to withdraw $400 but I was denied when I tried a second withdraw of $340 and $320.

TIA (Sorry for posting twice but it didn’t go where it was supposed to.)



Thanks for the update! I was thinking of heading over the border to a Target in the MKE area sometime this week, out of curiosity, which one did you have luck at?



Can you load the RedCard with One Vanilla Visa cards?


@Jared, New Berlin. They had plenty

@FM I was able to register both of the cards today that came with that receipt.

What is the max per day for ATM withdrawals when using the temporary card? I was able to withdraw $400 but I was denied when I tried a second withdraw of $340 and $320.



Bought 3 over the weekend. One was bought with my driver’s license a second time and a ‘temp ssn’ and ‘temp birthday’ until i could register it at home for my daughter. Activated no problem.

Incredibly nice at Target. Worked first swipe (even though I had to coach the Target customer service center individuals on how to do it). 3-4 of them gathered round to see how to do it and learn how because they hadn’t been trained yet. I had failed in the quick check out line and so went to the customer service center. After that, I went and loaded my 3 remaining OV cards at walmart onto my remaining serve cards. 10 swipes to load 3 cards. As soon as I get the 1000 for this month, those two are canceled and I am dusting my shoes off on Serve and never looking back. Prepaid redcard all the way.


@Jared I live in Illinois too and was able to purchase these in Wisconsin.


I purchased 4 of these yesterday in Wisconsin. The first two I purchased printed off a small a receipt that says the following.

We’re Sorry! This transaction can’t go through right now. Please try again later or check the package to contact the Card Issuer. Receipt ID#XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, TM#****XXXX

When I called the number on the card, it says that I have a $20 balance which is what I loaded to the card.

Is this an issue or am I OK since the card has a balance.



Another question: I recently switched from BB to Serve. My Serve card didn’t arrive yet. I will travel overseas for 2 months so can’t go to Target. Should I switch to RB now or after coming back? I fear some rules might change after couple of months.


Can Redbird card be loaded with Target giftcards? Have you tried it?


No, you may not load it with Target GCs.


Anyone try loading 2 cards in one transaction for $1000 each ($2000 total)?


How much can you cash out per day from ATM?