Confirmed: REDcard likes Vanilla and more


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?

We finally have a few answers about REDcard!  REDcard is a new product that is so similar to Bluebird that some are calling it Redbird.  For details about what has gone before and what this REDcard/Redbird thing is, please see:

Earlier this week, I bought a temporary Target Prepaid REDcard and registered it in my wife’s name.  Since then, I’ve been dying to get the permanent card to start experimenting with it.  Yesterday, my wife received an email saying that her permanent card was on its way!


I thought I would have to wait for the card to arrive to answer some basic questions.  Can REDcard be loaded by credit card?  Assuming not, can it be loaded with Visa and MasterCard gift cards with PINs?  What about those Vanilla gift cards that have become difficult to use at Walmart?  Will those work at Target?

My wife’s card didn’t arrive today, but she did get an email reminding her to register the permanent card when it arrives.  Interestingly, the email also said:

Please note, until you activate your Personalized Card, you will only be able to use your Available Balance and re-load your Account with up to a maximum of $1,500.

Wait a minute…. that means we can reload the temporary card before receiving the permanent card!  I quickly read through the T&C documentation that came with the temporary card and found that once the temporary card is registered it can be used at MoneyPass ATMs to withdraw money, and it can be loaded up to $1,500.  Time for a quick experiment!

I ran out to Target with the temporary REDcard and a pocket full of gift cards and assorted debit cards.  Out of curiosity, I first tried withdrawing cash from the ATM.  It worked.  Then I went to a register to reload the card…

Starting small, I asked to load $500 to the card.  I tried to pay with my credit card, but the transaction was denied (note: it turns out that there was a fraud alert on my credit card, so this part was just a botched experiment). I then tried swiping a One Vanilla gift card that I had bought at my local three letter drugstore. The card reader immediately recognized it as a debit card.  I made up a PIN and the transaction processed without further ado.  Success!

Next, I tried loading $1000.  The cashier couldn’t get it to go through at all.  We kept trying lower amounts until the register finally accepted $500 as a valid load amount.  My guess is that the temporary card was limited to $1500 in loads altogether and since I had started the card with $500 originally and had just loaded another $500, I had only $500 available yet to load.  At this point, that’s just my best guess of why I was limited to $500.  Anyway, this time I swiped a Visa gift card I had bought at my local mall, and after I input the last 4 digits on the card, the transaction went through.

Some questions answered, many remain

The question of whether gift cards with PINs will work has been answered.  Yes, the cards I tried worked and they worked well.  The question of whether Vanilla gift cards work has also been answered affirmatively.

Questions still to answer include:

  • Will credit cards work to reload Redbird?  Surprisingly, the register didn’t stop me from trying to use a credit card for payment. The transaction was stopped by my credit card company due to suspicious activity.  I wish I had thought to check that because I could have called to clear it up and done a proper test!  I’m actually beginning to think that there’s a decent chance that credit cards will work!
  • How large of a load can we do?  The card allows up to $2500 in load per day and up to $5000 per month.  That said, Target may only allow $500 at a time; $1000 at a time; etc.  Note: The website claims that Target will allow up to $1500 at a time: “You can add cash to your Target Prepaid REDcard® Account for free at all Target locations in the US. Add up to $1,500-just give your cash and Card to the cashier and your money will be added immediately.
  • Will Target drain each debit card automatically?  Assuming we can do a large single load at the register, do we have to ask the cashier to split tender in order to pay with multiple gift cards or will the register handle that automatically?  With credit card loads of the old Amex for Target card, the register handled it automatically.  One would ask to load $1000 and then swipe one card after another, draining each one along the way.  I expect that the same would be true with Redbird.

Anxious to keep experimenting, I picked up a second temporary REDcard today and tried to register it to my name after closing my Serve account.  Unfortunately, there was a technical problem and I had to call and open a case.  So, it may be a while before I can do any tests with that card.  Fortunately, my wife’s permanent card is on its way.  As soon as it arrives I’ll activate it and rush out to Target.  I’ll let you know what I find!

Has anyone else tried reloading REDcard yet?  What did you find?

Read more about REDbird:


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