The REDbird Life-cycle [Infographic]


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?

REDbird, the new Target Prepaid REDcard, is a terrific new alternative to Bluebird and Serve.  Like Bluebird and Serve, REDbird is a prepaid reloadable card and is a reasonable fee-free checking account alternative.  In addition to no-fees, it offers 5% off all Target purchases and fee free shipping from  Best of all, it allows free credit debit card reloads at Target and free bill pay (see “REDcard changes everything”).

REDbird is different, at different times

One unusual feature of REDbird is that it works a bit differently depending upon which stage of its life cycle its in.  When you first buy it, the card is little more than a gift card.  Once you register it online, it gets additional capabilities.  And, once you receive your permanent card in the mail, it can do even more.  To help explain this, I teamed up with Travel Is Free to develop a fun infographic, shown below.


Note that the ability to load REDbird with credit cards is an almost too good to be true benefit since it makes it incredibly easy to earn credit card rewards for free.  So, no one will be surprised if Target someday takes away that capability.  We don’t know if that will happen within weeks or years, but it is likely to happen someday.  UPDATE: It happened.  See: REDbird grounded. Now what?

See more cool stuff

If you enjoyed this infographic and want to see more, see Travel is Free’s InfoGraphics page.

Read more about REDbird:


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[…] out Frequent Miler’s post on REDbird (and the InfoGraphic version), or his Complete Guide to Bluebird, Redcard and […]


I have been loading my RedCard here in TEXAS without any issues.
The main issue I have had : my cards thinking this transaction is fraudulent. I have since fixed the issue – call up your card company and request the fraud alert to be raised to $1001. Trust me it works on Barclay, Chase, Discover, Citi and American Express – I have tried them all and haven’t had any issues yet.

Another thing is most fraud alerts are sent via e-mail/text/phone call or instant notification thru their dedicated apps on your phone. If you get one you can approve it and then swipe again without fail.

Happy rewards hunting everyone! I am currently getting 40k points a month! 2 RedCards using the Barclay Arrival Plus (2 points per $).
If you have any questions feel free to ask.


Sorry about this misinfo above, I have 2 cards and get 20k a month not 40k.


A friend picked me up a temporary Redbird card and mailed it to me. Before registering online for a permanent card, do I understand correctly that I first need to go to a local Target store and load the temporary card?


When your friend picked up your card for you, they should have loaded the card with at least $5 at the register per the instructions lined out by Frequentmiler.

As long as that person didn’t just “pocket” the card and walk out with it without actually going through the steps at the register, you shouldn’t have to do anything special with it now at Target in order to register it correctly online.

I’ve gotten cards for both my wife and myself and registering online is a breeze and totally unrelated to loading in-store, with the exception of the initial activation that should happen when the card is first obtained from the original Target (that would be “when your friend picked the card up for you”).


Wow, Jeff, thanks for the quick reply. He’s travelling right now, so I’ll have to wait to hear back from him as to whether he activated it at the store…I am beginning to think he did not, since the card is still in the paper jacket and my guess is that they’d need to remove that to activate it. (sorry, newbie here). Thanks again.


No problem, happy to help 🙂

Even though I guess there’s no real “value” to the card if you don’t load anything to it, I would still think it would be kind of awkward for your friend to just walk out of the store with it.

Fortunately for you, being still in the jacket isn’t really an indication of whether or not your friend activated it. Mine sat here by my computer in the jacket (after I activated it in Oklahoma) for 6 weeks while I settled up and closed out my Bluebird account. They don’t have to pull it out to activate, so hopefully you’re good.

One thing I WILL tell you – even though Targets are *all* supposed to be “trained” on reloading, my experience has been that Target employees range from wildly incompetent to the occasional “no problem”. I’ve also had one encounter with a very crabby employee who tried to tell me it was “against the rules” to load funds to a Target card (and he was at the Customer Service Desk!). So…be prepared to deal with misinformation and just be patient while they figure it out. And if you get a crabby jerk to deal with, don’t burn our thriving forest down to take down one bad tree…just go to another Target and remember that poor person has to see himself in the mirror every morning 🙂


How do I liquidate the money on the card? (other than paying bills and buyin stuff at Target)?


Does Redbird come with a routing and account number?


A Friend sent me a PrePaid Redcard in the mail. It was NOT activated in the Target store. There is NO money on it either. She simply paid $5 for the Card and that was it.

Can I ACTIVATE it at my Target which does NOT sell the Prepaid Card yet? Since she paid for it??

Or do I have to wait until my Target store carries it?

Waiting for your kind reply, Kim


Does the $1000 with the temp card (post initial load) count towards the monthly $5000 limit when you start using the permanent card?


I successfully loaded a visa gc (about $167). Then I read on ft that your account will be closed by the first or second time for doing that.I was surprised since debit is accepted, but thought twice before trying again. Any experiment results on this issue?


Yeah, FT must be referring to online. I’ll head to the store. I’m pretty sure this was what you said in a previous post, but for GC, this is another up to 1k/mo in addition to $5k cc load, right? Thanks!


When you say that you can pay credit cards bills using your red cards, or utilities, which you wouldn’t be normally allowed to pay with credit cards, what do you enter for routing number and account number? Those are the questions asked when I want to pay my CCs or utilities.



someone posted on FT (with only one post in their history…) that REDBIRD goes no can do cc Dec 1

just sayin


Great,thanks. I’m going to drive to Maryland tomorrow to get one.


Must you close your BB account before purchasing a red card at Target? Or does it have to be closed before you register it online?


Bought a card this weekend in MD. Chase annoyingly rejected my 500 load as fraud. So loaded a small amount with my bank card. Had no trouble registering it online.

Went to load 1000 with credit card today in NYC (where red cards not sold), total failure. No CC rejection from Chase this time and the computer had me sign, but then failed.


We can withdraw cash for free? So after loading the redcard with $5000 every month with a credit card for free, I can withdraw it all in cash for free?


So I went to the Target near me in northern NJ. This target is listed as having the RedBird target card. I went there and the rep at customer service said they don’t have that card yet and it hasn’t come to NJ??? I don’t understand why the place is listed but this person claimed that the card is not at their store. What should I do? Call their customer service?


cards not available in NJ


No Redbirds, have flown into Florida, but we do have wild green parrots. So what is the prediction for how long it will take for a Redbird to turn into a Deadbird?


I’m thinking three-five months if it stays in limited release. 1-2 months or less from full roll-out.

Eventually someone in compliance (AML/Fraud) is going to get uncomfortable with the risk.


The Redcard is not available in Florida yet.
Can I have a friend pick 1 up for me and send it?
If so, will the Target’s in Fl have access to it?
Will it work here?


yeah. NC seems to be failing at Redbird. I have a temp card from a store in MA and tried to load it here in Raleigh and it fails at the first step after swiping by popping up a screen about returning the item. Frustrating.


Be careful with making long trips to pick up this card. I happened to be in Greensboro, NC today which includes several Target stores in the test market. I went to two different stores that had the cards in stock, but neither store was able to activate it. The lady at the register at the second store said they haven’t been able to load them in the two weeks that they’ve had them. I don’t live near Greensboro, so I’ll have to wait until another time when I’m in the area to try again. Just a warning that I wouldn’t make a long trip to get the card unless at a minimum calling the store first to make sure they are loading properly.


How do you load the temporary card with $1500 online from your CC as the infographic suggestS?


My wallmart just started limiting reloads to Bluebird to $500.00 per day unless you fill out these new forms they received. Now it is to much work for loading bb.


Anyone know if you could load with Target gift cards?


You can’t load with gift cards. Or, at least, both when buying the temp card and when reloading the first thing the register brought up was a notification that you Can’t Use a Target Gift Card.

Raghu Narayanan

Question on bonus categories. I shop frequently at CVS. Is there someplace I can buy CVS gift cards at 5X (I have Ink + and Amex eeryday preferred) I currently use Amex SPG . But would like to explore possibilities of getting 5X at CVS



I want my serve account to be closed, but there is a payment pending that haven’t posted yet to my credit card account. So do I have to wait until the payment post, or is it okay now to officially close the account in order to register for Redbird?


Has anybody confirmed that I will be able to load in “Non-Redcard Targets”? Specifically I live in Kansas and OKC is the closest option for me to obtain the elusive Redcard. I feel like I can make this happen, but am concerned that after all that time and effort I may end up standing in front of a Target employee with a perplexed look on her face saying “our machines can’t do that” (followed by a Manager pretending to know more than they do saying “the only way to reload this card is to go back to one of the Targets in OKC”).

All that is to say, has there been confirmation that any Target can load the Redcard once the permanent card is obtained?


I’ve seen reports that they can be loaded at any Target even those that don’t sell them. I haven’t tested it myself yet, though.


On my way to pick up dinner, I stopped at a Target that isn’t yet selling the prepaid. I can confirm that you can load there (if you can find someone who knows how to do it.)

I used the card to buy my small purchase to make sure it was working. Then I tried to load the card. The cashier tried but couldn’t figure out how to do it. She offered to call a manager, but I didn’t want to hold up the line.

So, I went over to the guest services. The lady there tried to load $500 but it failed.

Turns out it was a fraud alert on the card. So I fixed that and then when to guest services and this time was successful!

So, now I know that I can load the prepaid (temporary, but registered) at any Target.


“. . .but it is likely to happen someday.” Does this post hasten that day? Seems like Target or Amex is likely to read your post.


::shakes magic 8-ball: All signs point to yes lol.

It has reached critical mass … nearing what happened when GCs no longer got swagbucks or rebates, etc…

So, once amex and target have cleaned out the lines in those states, I fully expect that loophole to be fixed/closed.


I thought I had to wait to do anything until I got my permanent card. I have my registered temporary card – based on the inforgraphic it looks like I can load $1,500 by CC in store? Is that per day up to the normal monthly limit ($5M)?