Complete guide to REDbird: The Target Prepaid REDcard

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”

The Target Prepaid REDcard is a reloadable American Express card, very similar to Bluebird and Serve.  In fact, it is so similar to Bluebird, that we’ve taken to calling it REDbird.  REDbird can be reloaded for free at any Target store and can be used as a credit card anywhere American Express is accepted.  At Target, the card offers an automatic 5% discount on all purchases, and free shipping for online orders.  And, it offers free bill pay.  In addition to all of its great checking-account-alternative features, REDbird offers great opportunities for earning points & miles.

For an overview of REDbird, please see: REDbird: The Target Prepaid REDcard.  Also, if you’re curious about how REDbird stacks up to its similar brethren, please see: The complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, Serve, and SoftServe.

The Basics

  • REDbird temporary cards are not available online. To get one, you have to visit one of the few stores that carry them, or get someone else to do so for you.  One option is to buy one from a re-seller such as NoonRadar (
  • Once you get your temporary card, you must register it online in order to get a permanent card.  Each person can have only one REDbird, Bluebird, or Serve card.
  • Once you have the permanent card, you need to add money to it.  The way to earn credit card rewards while adding money to REDbird is as follows: 1) find a way to buy Visa or MasterCard debit gift cards with a credit card (see: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards); 2) At Target, reload REDbird and pay by debit card (using the gift cards).  Details for reloading REDbird can be found here.
  • Once you have money on REDbird, you can unload that money easily by using REDbird’s no-fee bill pay feature.  You can use REDbird to pay bills that can’t normally be paid by credit card.  Use it to pay your rent, mortgage, or even your credit card bill!

REDbird: Target Prepaid REDcard

Questions answered

And now, without further ado, here is everything you’ll ever want to know about REDbird, in the form of Questions and Answers…

Getting the temporary card…

How do I get REDbird?

Go to a participating Target store and buy a temporary card.

Can I order one online?

You can’t order one online from Target or Amex, but some re-sellers do make them available online. One re-seller that has received many positive reviews and has contributed productively to the comments in this blog is NoonRadar (

How do I find a participating Target store?

Check the map here.  Also call your local Target store and ask if they carry the Prepaid REDcard.  Make sure to stress the “prepaid” part.

Activation failed but my credit card was charged. What should I do?

Call Amex here: 800 438 6468 (open from 8AM to 6PM MST).

What is the process for buying the temporary card?

Hand temporary card to cashier; tell them how much you want to load ($1 to $500); hand them your drivers license; key in your phone number, SSN, and birthdate; and pay.  Full details here.

Is it safe to give this info to Target considering the recent data breaches?

I have no idea, but it’s worth the risk to me.

How do I know if I got the right card?

Make sure it says “Prepaid REDcard” on the package.  Don’t signup without a temporary card or you’ll end up with the Target Debit REDcard or the Credit REDcard (those are different).

REDbird: Target Prepaid REDcard

How much does the temporary card cost?

Either $0 or $5 depending upon which Target store you go to.

Can I buy the temporary card if I have a Bluebird or Serve card?

Yes, you can buy it, but you can’t register it online until you close your Bluebird or Serve card.

Can I buy the temporary card for others?

Yes. Use your own info to buy the card. The recipient of the card can put in their own info when they register the card online.  Read this: How to buy REDbird for others, and how to use them at non participating stores.

Can I buy more than one temporary card?

Yes, but the Target registers will limit you to one per day. It is possible to get around that limit by entering the eventual recipient’s SSN instead of your own.

Can you buy one for me?


Can a friend to buy one for me?

Yes.  Tell them to read this: How to buy REDbird for others, and how to use them at non participating stores.

Can I reload the temporary card?

Yes, but not until you’ve registered it online.  Once you register the card online, you can load up to $1500 on the card (inclusive of the initial load).

How do I get money off the temporary card?

Once the card is activated, it can be used only as a credit card.  Once you register it online, you can then withdraw cash at Allpoint ATMs.

Is REDbird the same as the American Express for Target card?


What will happen to my American Express for Target card if I get REDbird?

It will have a new friend in your wallet.

Can I convert my American Express for Target card to REDbird?


Can I convert my debit or credit REDcard to REDbird?


Can I sign up my kid for his/her own REDbird account?

Are they 18 or older?  If so, yes.  If not, you can only setup a subaccount for them.  The subaccount has no particular use for earning miles.

Registering the temporary card online…

I already registered the card at Target. Do I have to register online too?


Can I register online if I have an open Bluebird or Serve card?


Can I register online if I have an open Amex for Target card?


Can I register online if I have an open Debit or Credit REDcard?


Can I register online with my own credentials even though someone else bought the card for me?


Can I register online with my relative’s credentials even though I used my own when I bought the card?

Yes (as long as your relative says it is OK with them).

What do I do if Amex asks me to send in proof of ID and other documents?

Send them in.

Can I register online with a fake SSN?

No (I tried it)

Can I register online with an ITIN or EIN?


Registration failed. What should I do?

You can try calling the number on the package or use the temporary card to buy a new temporary card and try registering the new one.

After registering online, how long does it take to get the permanent card?

About a week or two.

After registering online, what can I do with the card until the permanent card shows up?

You can load more money to the card at Target, up to $1500 inclusive of the initial load.  You can also use it as a credit card or withdraw cash at an Allpoint ATM.

Should I max out my Bluebird or Serve card early in the month before cancelling and registering REDbird?


Reloading at Target…

Can I reload at a Target store that doesn’t sell REDbird?

Yes (as long as the store is in the United States)

Does Target have an automated kiosk that can be used for reloading?


What forms of payment can I use to reload REDbird?

Debit card, or cash.  Credit cards were accepted until May 6, 2015.  Valid debit cards include most forms of Visa and MasterCard gift cards. For more info, see: Beginner’s guide to buying & liquidating Visa & Mastercard gift cards

Can I reload my Bluebird or Serve card at Target?


How do I earn credit card rewards?

Find a place to buy Visa or MasterCard gift cards with a low fee and where they will allow you to pay with a credit card (to earn rewards).  Then, use those gift cards as debit cards to reload REDbird.  See also: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards.

Can I reload other people’s REDbird cards?

Yes.  Most Target stores allow it, but there are a few stores here and there that check to make sure that you are the owner of the card.  Avoid those stores, if possible.

What are the reload limits?

$1,000 per cashier swipe; $2,500 per day; and $5,000 per month.

Are monthly limits based on calendar months or rolling 30 days?


My reload failed. What’s the deal?

Probably one of these: 1) Your REDcard has not been registered successfully online; or 2) You’ve reached your reload limit.

Can I pay for the reload with an Amex gift card?


Can I pay for the reload with a Visa or MasterCard gift card?

Yes.  Make sure to indicate that the form of payment is “debit”.  NOTE: Some cashiers may be trained to not allow gift cards for payment.  This varies by cashier and by store.

Can I pay for the reload with a Target gift card?


Is there a fee for the reload?


They tried to charge me $3. What’s the deal?

The system thought it was reloading the Amex for Target card.  Ask the cashier to cancel and try again.

Can I reload a subaccount card at Target?


Should I reload odd amounts so as not to raise a flag with my credit card company?

If it makes you feel better, go for it.  Personally, I wouldn’t bother.

Reloading online…

Can I reload REDbird online with a credit card?


Can I reload REDbird online with a Visa or MasterCard gift card?


I successfully loaded a Visa gift card online as a debit card, so you are wrong.

Am not.  You got lucky. Don’t try it again or Amex will get angry. You won’t like them when they’re angry.

Is there any way to reload online and get points, miles, or cash back?

Maybe. If you find good options besides the trusty Suntrust Dellta debit card, please let me know.

Using REDbird…

What do I have to do to get a 5% discount at Target?

Simply pay with REDbird and the discount will happen automatically.

Will I get 5% off gift cards?

Yes, for some merchant gift cards (Disney gift cards, for example).  You will not get a discount for Visa, MasterCard, or Amex gift cards.

Can I reload one REDbird with another and get 5% off?


Does REDbird offer a checkbook so that we can write our own checks?


How do I use REDbird to pay ______ who only takes checks?

Log in, select “bill pay”, add _______ as a biller, and pay them. They’ll get a check in the mail.

Can I bill pay myself?

Yes, but you might as well just link your bank account and withdraw funds to it.

Can I bill pay the credit card that I used to buy gift cards?


Isn’t that dangerous?

I don’t think so.

Can I move money from REDbird to my bank?

Yes.  Link a bank account and go for it.

  1. Log into your accont
  2. On the drop-down menu, click “Settings”
  3. Click “Withdraw Funds”

Won’t my account get shut down if I load REDbird and unload to my bank?

Anything can happen, but I haven’t heard of any shutdowns with Bluebird or Serve due to this, so I believe that REDbird is safe too.

Can I use REDbird as a debit card to buy money orders, pay taxes, etc?


Can I withdraw money from an ATM?

Yes, but only Allpoint ATMs.

Can I send money from REDbird to Bluebird or to Serve?

Yes.  All three types of accounts can send money to each other.

Fees & Limits

How much does bill pay cost?


How much do ATM withdrawals cost?


How much do reloads cost?


There must be fees. What are they?

The only fee is when buying a temporary card — some stores charge $5.  There are literally no other fees. None. Nada. Zero. $0.

What are the limits for ________?

You can find all fees and limits here:


Does applying for REDcard lead to a hard credit inquiry?


Can REDcard be enrolled in Amex Sync promos like Bluebird and Serve?


How about Small Business Saturday?


Read more about REDbird:


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