REDbird technical issues


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 awesome.  In addition to offering free shipping and 5% off all Target purchases, it allows free credit card reloads at Target and free bill pay (see “REDcard changes everything”).  So, yes, it is awesome, but only if you manage to get a working permanent card.


Unfortunately, REDbird has been plagued with technical issues from the start.  Here are some issues people have been dealing with:

Failed activation

In order to get REDbird, you have to first buy a temporary card at a participating Target store (to find participating stores, please see: “How to find REDbird”).  Unfortunately, many people have encountered errors at the register when trying to buy these cards.  Worse, many have bought cards that were somehow improperly activated.  For some reason this issue seems to be particularly prevalent in North Carolina, but there have been scattered reports of this issue in many places.

If this happens to you, you can call the REDcard resolution center for help:

(800) 438-6468

Failed registration

Once you buy a REDbird temporary card, you still need to register it online in order to get a permanent card (this is despite the fact that they’ve already taken all of your personal information in-store).  Often, online registration fails.  Here are some of the reasons I’m aware of (I’m sure there are others):

  1. You have an open Amex Bluebird or Serve account.  REDbird runs on the same platform as Bluebird and Serve.  As such, each person is allowed only one.  So, be sure to close your other account first!  See: How to cancel Bluebird online.
  2. Your identity is in question.   If Amex doesn’t believe that you are who you say you are (which can happen if you input an address that is different than one found in public records), you’ll have to submit proof of identity and other documents to open your account.
  3. You have an application pending review.  If an earlier attempt to register the card failed and you opened a case with their tech support team, then future attempts to register the card will fail.
  4. I’m sure there are many other issues.  Please help me to catalog these by commenting below.

Here’s my story.  After buying a temporary card for myself, I wanted to test whether it was really necessary to close my Serve card.  So, I tried registering while my Serve card was still open.  Unsurprisingly, I received an error message telling me that I had an open Serve account.  I then closed my Serve account online (go to Profile and scroll to the bottom to find the option to close your account).  When I tried again I was then told that I had an open Bluebird account!  So, I called the number on the back of the card and filed a support issue.  Then I remembered that after closing my old Bluebird account a while ago to get my Serve card, I was still able to log into that old account.  So, I logged in to my closed Bluebird account and really closed it by following the steps here: How to cancel Bluebird online.  I then tried to register REDbird again.  This time, I was told no, sorry, you have an “application pending review”.  Swell.


Since that happened, I’ve called support many times.  Each time I was told that there are known issues with registration and that they are working on it.  Last Sunday I was told that it would definitely be fixed within 24 hours (it wasn’t).  Then, Wednesday I was told it would definitely be fixed by Thursday night and so I should try registering again on Friday.  I tried.  No luck.  Same error message.

It will get better

Both Bluebird and Serve experienced similar growing pains when they were new and when significant new features were added.  I’m sure that Amex will get REDcard flying relatively smoothly soon.  And, I’m sure that part of the reason Target hasn’t rolled this out nationwide yet was to iron out many of these wrinkles first.

Two out of three ain’t bad

To be clear, not everyone experiences problems with REDbird.  I’ve registered cards for both my wife and my niece so far without any problems at all.  The fact that I’m still struggling with my own card is unfortunate, but unsurprising.

Read more about REDbird:


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