REDbird PM (post memo) Answers


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”

The Target Prepaid REDcard, also known as REDbird, has been an amazingly awesome tool for manufacturing spend.  For the past 6 months, we have been able to load the card in-store and pay with a credit card, for free.  Then, we could withdraw the cash for free or pay bills for free (including paying the credit card bill that was used to load REDbird).  Along the way we would earn credit card rewards, meet minimum spend requirements for new signup bonuses, etc.  It was a very rewarding card.

Then came the memo.

Yesterday, news broke about a memo that was sent to Target stores stating that credit cards would no longer be accepted for prepaid card reloads as of 5/6/2015.  See: Confirmed: REDbird credit card loads will not be allowed as of May 6, 2015.  I, and many others, rushed out to load our REDcards — most likely for the last time via credit card.  But then we wondered what the next day would bring…

REDbird PM Answers


This morning, I posed a number of questions about the new policy:

  1. Is the credit card ban in effect in all Target stores?
  2. Is the new policy hard coded into the register or left to the cashier to enforce?
  3. 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?
  4. Can debit cards be used as payment?
  5. Can Visa/MasterCard gift cards be used for payment?  If so, which ones?


Answers to the above questions have flooded in (thanks everyone!).  And, of course, I headed out to Target myself with a huge stack of credit cards, gift cards, prepaid cards, etc.  So, here are the answers:

1. Credit cards are no longer accepted

The ban appears to be in effect in all Target stores.

2. The credit card ban is hardcoded into the registers

At most stores, friendly cashiers are more than willing to try letting us paying with credit cards, but it simply doesn’t work.

3. 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.

4. Yes, debit cards can be used as payment

I tried a few different prepaid debit cards and all worked flawlessly.

5. Yes, the register allows Visa and MasterCard gift cards for payment (as debit cards)

As long as the cashier enters “debit” as the form of payment, it works.  I’ve personally tried Vanilla Visa gift cards, Metabank Visa gift cards, and US Bank MasterCard gift cards.  There have been no reports of gift cards not working.

Please tell the cashier that you want to load with a “debit card”. There is no reason to mention “gift card” as that will only confuse the cashier.

Note 1: Some cashiers may ask to check your ID against your form of payment.  If that happens you may be out of luck with that cashier (since your gift card probably doesn’t have your name on it).  If that happens, try another cashier or another store, or change your legal name to “Gift Card Recipient”.

Note 2: It is likely that some stores / cashiers will not allow gift cards for payment.  Please don’t make a big deal about it.  If this happens, move along to another cashier or to another store.

Bonus Answers

The following extra bonus answers are free!

1. No, you can’t use an Amex gift card to pay for a reload

I know this was answered above, but it deserves special mention.

2. Yes, you can pay with multiple debit cards (or debit gift cards – MasterCard or Visa) in one transaction

The register won’t do this automatically.  You’ll have to ask the cashier to split tender.  For example:

I would like to load $1000 [hand card to cashier]

I am going to pay with two debit cards, please split tender to make the first payment $500 [pay with first debit card]

Thank you.  I’ll pay the remaining $500 with my second card [pay with second card]

Thanks! [Now go into Target store to buy stuff and pay with your REDcard to get 5% off]

I’m not aware of any limits to how many times you can split tender within one transaction.  I’ve only done as many as 4 at once, but I expect more are possible (let me know if I’m incorrect!).

3. Amex for Target is now almost useless

I tried loading it with a credit card.  No luck.  I tried using it to load REDbird first as a credit card and then as a debit card (yes, I knew that wouldn’t work, but figured it couldn’t hurt to try).  No luck.  The only remaining use I can imagine for the Amex for Target card is if you’re stuck with a bunch of Vanilla Visa gift cards that don’t work at Walmart and you don’t have a REDbird card.

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[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]


Target appears to have completed another POS update. The clerk now has to hit K8 for “extras” then “card reload”. The rest of the transaction takes place on the customer pin pad. Downside: if you have multiple gcs to load on your RedCard, it will now require multiple transactions

[…] 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. […]

[…] as debit cards at Walmart for transactions $50 and above, but continue to work elsewhere including to load REDbird.  More information and many useful resources can be found in FlyerTalk’s Manufactred Spending […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]


Anyone know if the Office Depot Visa reward card work to do a reload on the “Redbird”?


Just went to my local Target to load Redbird with a Simon Malls gift card. The kid behind the counter told me he could not load it for me because I’m a frequent user — but then he said that they have been notified not to take debit cards at all. He said that credit card companies are taking issue with Target over this.

[…] One by one, most free and easy options for increasing credit card spend have fallen by the wayside.  The US Mint used to sell dollar coins with no fees or shipping charges, and they let you use a credit card to pay.  That incredible deal ended in 2011.  Amazon used to allow $1000 of free credit card spend per month through its Amazon Payments system.  They ended that option in October of last year.  Amex used to allow $1000 of free credit card loads per month to its Serve prepaid product.  In April, they began restricting these loads to Amex cards only (but… there are still good uses for this feature!).  And, Target used to allow in-store credit card loads to REDbird (the Target Prepaid REDcard).  That option ended on May 6th. […]


For those who have a Discover card, they offer something called “Cash Over” which is basically a free cash advance when you make a point-of-sale purchase (as little as a penny). No APR, no penalties, as it all counts as one transaction. Unfortunately it’s limited to $120 per 24 hour period. But if you’re willing to make a few trips, it can pay off. Just take the FREE cash advance over to Target and load your Redbird. And with Wal-Mart’s lenient return polices, just pick up a $5 tshirt and keep returning it each time you go to load-up: essentially making these load-ups fee-free. In my case I’ll be using the Discover Miles card which offers 3% for the first year.


discover cash over does not give cash backs.

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]

[…] longer accepts credit cards for in-store REDbird reloads. For more information, please see “REDbird Post Memo Answers“, and “REDbird grounded. Now […]


All these people calling target asking question is what is killing every deal. or killed them all already (sad)


Simon Mall just became a lot more attractive…..I’ll die trying to load 150 100 VGC at Target………and the next real quest shall be if I can find a local spot selling VGC that will accept AMEX GC for payment……there were places I have done this but it has been a while as Target easiness has made me lazy……….


Just loaded Metabank $200 Visa with no issues……..despite the slowdown in being able to load there is ZERO possibility I would ever step in a Walmart to do ANY transaction………Target I’m still your boy…………


Wonder what I should do with few redbirds i have and manage? Some are family member’s but I used them to load my card.

If I can still do Visa gift card loads like it is reported, I would keep one.

Should I cancel couple of them and sign up for Serve or Bluebird again? Is walmart still allowing visa gift cards load and up to $2k a day? Serve now only allows Amex issued card load only right? And you earn your rewards? Or get the Bluebird? BB or Serve? I had them before but changed to RB.


Bill Robson

Just turned down loading Visa & MC GC’s (debit w/PIN) at Target. Called Redcard and was told only bank debit cards OK as of the 6th


Why would you call?

[…] From Frequent Miler: […]

Joe S

Confirmed in Eau Claire, WI. Redcard dead. When I tried and failed the cashier left the $500 amount on the screen then I loaded 5 x $100 VGC at a time until it went down to $0. Not sure if this would be a new easier way to do multiple loads. Still entered pin for each one as normal (last 4 numbers of CC). She still hit a button in between each individual $100 load.


Dear Greg. I have some trouble by using buxx to redbird. Its not working. Are you still using buxx? Any luck?


Neither. I think i got a wrong buxx. So, how to get a US beaux?


Unfortunately, online link to register for USbuxx have been closed since Feb 2014.

those with USbuxx cards can still add more teens to their accounts up three although some say they added up to five with success.

Redbird Down

Don’t forget the Freedom 5% at BB&B. $75 money maker this quarter, if OD/OM are not in your area.


BB&B sells pin enabled Visa/MC gift cards??? I thought they only sold store gift cards? If they do sell the Visa/MC gift cards that we can use to load RedBird, then this is awesome news to take advantage of the Freedom card


Actually using freedom to buy $200 vgc this quarter will get slightly more than using Ink at Staples, with an extra 10% of every $1 you spend, 20.7 UR pts for each $200 vgc you buy in this case. Well, not quite different unless you buy a huge amount, but there’s a $1,500 limit, so….


Still not clear to me if I can: 1) buy any of these debit cards at CVS or 2) buy any of these debit cards at Target. For example, there is a lot of discussion about using the variable VGC vs a fixed value GC. Also buying AMEX gift cards and using them to do the initial purchase of the debit card before unloading to RB.


generally you cannot buy variable load cards with a credit card, except for paypal cards and simon mall gcs, and amex gcs purchased online. there are also exceptions for reloadit cards but it’s very ymmv. that’s why people buy the fixed value gc even though they’re more expensive. right now everyone is hopping on the office depot discounted visa gc’s because it’s a moneymaker.


If you have WAG, check the promo on their vanilla visa GCs. if you buy 2 of the variable, you get $5 WAG gc free. WAG policy is not hardcoded for cash for these GCs but you may still encounter managers who will say cash only or will refuse to sell you two $500s. YMMV.

But if you can score some of these, they loaded flawlessly to RB yesterday. See WAG ad for details.


My local Staples store sits next door to my local Target.

Can I walk into Staples, buy the Visa GC, then walk next door to Target and load them onto the Redbird?

Anyone happen to know the fees that Staples charges for their Visa GC?


$6.95 for $200 and $5.95 on $100…….but why would you want to buy them at Staples this week when Office Depot is rebating you at the cash register?


I’m having trouble adjusting my screen to enlarge the fine print. Can you see an upper limit on how many of these (number or total dollar value I guess) we can buy per visit?


1 transaction ($40 off $600) per customer. some stores enforce, some stores don’t.


Staples sells only $200 Visa GC with a hefty $6.95 in fees. Yes, you can buy GC at Staples and then load them onto Redbird with any random 4 digit pin. I have done it many times and it still works. Hope this helps.


I was able to load my last $1500 tonight without any issues… so its not completely dead!


May I ask which state?


I loaded with an Amex and Chase credit card in FL


I live in FL. I will try tomorrow and see. I doubt it will work, but it’s worth a shot.


I am sure you mean with a Debit Card… I asked my friends in 22 different states and they all couldn’t do any CC load. So I am sure its nationwide.


Thanks for always being our pack leader…………if we’re going to be shot down it is certainly more fun with you as our leader………although dead is dead…….but we shouldn’t worry about the pain….the first bullet kills you and then the rest of the bullets just make your body flop around……….Yes I do have a video of this right in front of the Target Customer Service counter…………but they still love me………..




The correct name for this event is “Red Dawn” (stealing this from Muerl on Travel Codex forum).


Any good suggesstions for unloading $16,000 in Amex Gift Cards?

Matt S NYC

See if you can buy Visa or Mastercard Gift Cards at a pharmacy or grocery store. Then load them as debit cards to Redbird.


lol i’m in the same boat as you 🙁 well not quite as much as you…but more like a few thousand. i’ll probably be converting them into VGC during this OD sale as much as possible. i’m trying to avoid walmart/kate.


I am new to this and trying to get on the miles wagon. I just recently received my target redbird so I’m pretty disappointed with this. Can you please give an updated blog on how to manufacture spending and what exactly is out there. I have read a couple of things out there but I am not sure what information is old and what is relevant. I would greatly appreciate it!!!

Matt S NYC

G – Redbird still works, you just need to do more work now. It has to be loaded with a debit card. You can buy visa or mastercard gift cards with a credit card (usually with ~$5 fee.$500) at many pharmacies and grocery stores. You can then load the gift cards to redbird as you would have with a credit card. Redbird was good, but paying ~1% to manufacture spend is just dandy as well. For instance, if you used a 2% CB card, you’d be making a 1% profit. If you did this solely for cashback (as opposed to for more lucrative signup bonuses) you’d still be making an extra $50/month. There are ways to enhance your return with additional steps, but this is still a viable option.


FYI, Not all prepaid debit cards load. As of this afternoon, 5/6, in MN, I was unable to load Redbird with any cards, credit or debit. Hopefully this was MN only and something will be changed to allow debit cards (mainly USBank Visabuxx) to work. Screen basically said it wouldn’t allow any loads to my Redbird. Oh well, will see how this plays out, but Redbird is effectively dead for me if this holds… although I don’t understand why introduce a product and effectively kill it all in 6 months, unless Target is not at all satisfied with this product (they did dump Target Canada after very short trial period at massive costs). Doesn’t seem well thought out if true. Target shareholders are going to be hurting from this too then.


I loaded my USBuxx tonight just fine in MI. It worked just like a cc load except the pin pad appeared rather than the signature screen.


Same here. I was able to load my RB with my NWBuxx without any problems. I’m in VA


Loaded 3 debit cards in MN tonight.


Great Post Gregg, you covered almost every question, I have 1 question.

With Credit Cards cashiers used to ask to show card to enter last 4 digits, with Debit is it still followed? Do they still have to last 4 digits of card every time Gift card is swiped during split tender? If not, then the cashier won’t see card you are using. I am curious about this.


They don’t need the last 4 digits anymore. It’s nice because this removes about 2 seconds per card (but the whole split tender thing and using GCs as debit instead of credit adds more time). But before I always put the card face up on the table or read the last 4 digits out loud to them. They really don’t care, they just need to type it in. 🙂 Every store I’ve been to is so used to us MSers they don’t even blink when you pull out 4+ redbirds and a stack of $100 VGCs lol.


I even keep the AGC/VGCs wrapped in the original Office Depot receipt I bought them on. I figure if they ever ask where I get them from, I can just show them I bought them from OD with credit cards. But I’ve never had a CSR that really cared where I got gift cards from.

[…] Frequent Miler – Redbird PM (Post-memo) answers […]

Robert F

I have the redbird (and I get the message that things have changed) but I’ve never purchased gift/debit cards, so I’m just trying to understand some of the advice in this post. Why is it desirable to split tender? That is, why not just request 2 X $500 loads?

Also, it would be interesting to see a post about the economics of your June Redbird debit card scheme, e.g.: “A” card is purchased at “B” store for “C”% surcharge, but this yields $”D” rebate if you use “E” website while holding the rubber chicken in your left hand and rubbing your stomach counterclockwise with your right hand…


If you have 10 $100 GCs, it’s faster and consumes less paper to request one $1000 load using 10 split-tenders, than to swipe the Redbird 10 times and load $100 in each transaction, which takes time and spits out a long receipt.


This makes the Club Carlson card even less valuable. I was contemplating keeping it for the free night with $10,000 spend assuming I could easily manufacture the spend with my redbird. Now that that is no longer possible, I’m seriously thinking of not renewing my club carlson card.


Greg, I was with you, BikerGuy, and Drew last October at the Chicago Seminars when you predicted that this would last six months. Nice prediction.


So you buy AMEX gift cards with cc, then buy One Vanilla cards at CVS with the AGC, then use the VGC to load Redbird. Is that the only way, or are there other options that you’ve tried? Presumably the fees are the $50/month per 5k for the VGC, and the back and forth between the two stores. Can you buy any gift card at Target with the AGC that you could then turn around and use right away for Redbird?


I don’t see AFT as being completely useless. It was always my last play for the month if I had the time since the return is lower. But with Fidelity Amex (2%) + AGC portal (~2%) – VGC cost (1%) – AFT fees (1.3%), you can still make a profit. 2+2-1-1.3 = 1.7%. It’s just very tedious and most won’t bother with the extra work. But I’m sure some people do as much work for less return.


Could you clarify on the limit? I thought Debit load is $200 per day with $1000 per month. So if it it’s Visa Gift Card and the cashier selects “debit” when loading, which daily and monthly limit does the transaction go by?



The debut limit you are referring to is the online load of debit cards through the website.

The in store load for debit is $2500 per day and $5000 per month.

Patty S

Great post! Exactly what we all needed to know!


Change your legal name to “Gift Card Recipient” – LMAO


Good stuff! What prepaid debit cards did you use (that were loaded with cc)?


Anyone try loading the redcard with Target gift cards?


You cannot load the RedCard with Target gift cards. This has always been disallowed.


i was shocked yo learn the news about death of RB yesterday, i did manage loading Target GC to RB, i guess because cashier was clueless. I live in LA.


I really think that the bigger long term story here is that this change basically kills A4T. No, REdBird is no longer the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it’s still pretty much on a par with BB or Serve as far as usefulness goes (in some ways better, some worse). Whereas, I find it hard to think of a reason to use A4T, except perhaps for $400/month of free ATM withdrawals.


i guess this means target too will lose huge net profit from amex for target and gc fees from amex not a wise cooperate decsion :/


Regarding AFT, it’s also useful if you have soooo many other plays going on that result in soooo much cash being dispensed from an ATM and don’t want alllll that cash showing up in your bank accounts.


I don’t get it…. I always liquidate A4T by pulling cash out of an ATM. Do you just use it for regular non-bonused spend?


Sorry, I meant RB. This just means I can now ramp up my other plays even more because I’ll just use all that extra cash to load at a register in Target.


Why would you waste RB loads with cash? Are your other plays so valuable that you need to obfuscate sources of cash?


Pre-Memo the other plays were not as valuable but were still a tool being used to a limited degree. Since it’s not as simple as loading a RB with a CC anymore, my other plays have certainly become more valuable. And correct, RB will help obfuscate the sources of cash.


So concise, thoughtful, and helpful, thanks!!

Miles per Day

I used 8 AGC’s last night to load 1K, so I’m pretty sure the debit side will work with at least that many as well.


I did split across 5 gift cards before the change. So don’t know if it still works


I have successfully split the tender across 5 cards (load $1000 with $200 giftcards)


Did you load the 5 gift cards as debit or credit (which would apply if loading prior to today)?


do you actually have to ask the cashier to split the tender? or can you just swipe the card and the register automatically drains the full amount of the gift card and then asks for next payment?


thank you


Thank you for your legwork and detailed post, as always!

[…] Appears confirmed:…-memo-answers/ […]