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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[…] I have not done this as there are no Target’s that sell this card in my area, but there are many posts on those who have done it successfully using their credit cards to buy gift cards that load their […]

[…] Frequent Miler’s Complete Guide to Redbird if you need more […]


I’ve seen reports online of both scenarios, some Target stores telling people no more loading at Target even with cash and some other Target stores still allowing cash loading.

Personally, I never loaded it with cash and have no need to do so (except a couple of times when I was testing things last year) so don’t have any data points of my own.


I have target GC at my grocery so I’m 6% off purchasing that way and use redbird exclusively for billpay. Free ship and the other beneifts kick in with any amount spent so i just put the difference <$1 on the redbird when purchasing online. Just don't do much shopping at Target or .com anymore. Too much Amazon!


Went to load cash at target today and was told it was no longer an option. Store mgr said he no longer had the option on the register to load anything on redbird. Will see on 1st if the website still allows debit load.

Debit loads online have never changed since Redbird launched two years ago.

Individual Target stores are a different story. They sometimes knowingly make their own restrictive policies. Often times though they’re just confused or ignorant about it, more so since Target got rid of debit/VGC loads a little over a year ago.

Whether as a matter of policy or ignorance, once a Target supervisor or manager tells the cashier “no we don’t do that anymore” that is the end of it.


Definitely, just getting harder and harder to use the card without direct deposit.


I use mine every time I shop at Target or I’ve linked it with the debit card of my main checking account and I don’t even load Prepaid REDcard in advance… when I use Redbird, it draws funds right away from my debit card (therefore checking account). So it’s as if I was using my debit card, but with the 5% discount & other Prepaid REDcard benefits like Chip-and-Pin and Amex purchase protection.


Well automated loads still working for me this month but i guess my local store has called it quits on Redbirds because “it’s been discontinued.”


I was intitally posting tho to get feedback as to whether as of October 15, 2016 any one else’s Target disallow cash loads. last year in Oct was “Cash is the only tender guests can use”, since Oct for me this year no cash either.


Is the Redbird dead?
I was hoping to grab this – to get 5% discounts at Target…without taking a hit on credit…

Please let me know…Thank you in advance for your inputs.


It is still alive & good for the 5% off Target and the other such standard benefits. I still use mine as such. It’s dead for manufactured spending, i.e. you can no longer load it at Target with credit cards or gift cards.

[…] Complete guide to REDbird: The Target … – Herein lies everything you every wanted to know about REDbird: The Target Prepaid REDcard. Learn how to earn points and miles for free. The trick that no… […]


Hoping someone here can help. I had a bunch of One Vanilla cards left over when Redbird died that I’ve slowly been liquidating. Yesterday I attempted to purchase a MO at Meijer and the CSR received an error…customer must select a different form of payment. I completed the transaction with a different card, but now both cards have had their money deducted. I only received 1 MO.

It seems the error is on the card end, and not with the merchant since the store was able to show me their transaction log with no evidence that they received the money. I called the 1-800 # on the back of the card and they show the transaction as completed. I was hoping the money would just re-appear on the card, but it’s now been 24 hours. They card issuer has sent me a dispute form to complete.

My question: is completing the dispute form the way to go, or would calling the card issuer again be the way to go? It seems I have no further recourse with the merchant. Has anyone had this issue and had success after filing a dispute though the card? Thanks.


At least with the Amex GCs a pending charge like that would take 8 full days to drop off. Maybe the same thing is going on with your cards.


Thanks Ken. Unfortunately the transaction is not pending, but it’s showing up as completed. The card issuer said the same thing when I called.

I did some searching and it seems this is a known issue with OV cards when they’re double swiped at the POS and selected as debit. This is what happened to me as the CSR thought the transaction didn’t go through the first time I swiped. At least one other person had success by filing a dispute with Incomm. I’m going to try that route. Still curious if anyone else has been successful in resolving this issue and what your approach was.


just received a different letter from target with the following language


Stanley Miller, Account ending in 4025

American Express Serve

Hello Stanley,

We want to let you know about some changes to the terms and conditions of your American Express Serve® Account:

• Funding & Transfers
As of October 28, you will not be able to link a new bank account to your Serve Account to add money. However, you will still be able to transfer money out of your Serve Account to a bank account.

If you currently have a linked bank account, nothing will change – you’ll still be able to add money from that account.

You can continue to easily add money through Direct Deposit, Debit Card, American Express Credit and Cash Reloads at thousands of locations.

• Early Direct Deposit
Now you can get access to your money up to two days faster* with Direct Deposit. You can automatically add all or part of your paycheck, government benefits and federal tax refunds to your American Express Serve Account.

You can also review these changes in the Consumer User Agreement here.


The American Express Serve Team

Notice the inclusion of “american express credit”, does that mean you can load with amex credit cards???

Racerboy80 (Bill)

Yes, you can add an American Express card to your Serve account online and load $1000 per month, however you can only earn rewards on Amex cards that are issued by other banks.

See FM’s post on the topic here:
FM Serve Post!


I just received an email for RedBird which says that debit loads are still possible. I canceled both Redcards we had since they died at Targets:

You can continue to easily add money through Direct Deposit, Debit Card, and Cash Reloads at any U.S. Target store.1

Greg The Frequent Miler

I believe that it means that you can continue to do online debit loads. Please see this post:


Yeah, I don’t see Redbird rising from the ashes anytime soon. Wishful thinking, but I opened Serve accounts for both of us already. I don’t mind Walmart, at least they don’t play 20 questions like the nosy Target workers always do.


Sorry to break the bad news, but at least knowing for sure is better than the stress of uncertainty: As of October 13, 2015 Redbird is officially dead. Yes there is a Target memo and yes I saw it.

Go to and click on Blog to read the details (you can also click on my handle here to get to my site).

I’m not including the link to my post here simply because I know that posts with links require approval before they appear; I wanted to get the news out to end the Redbird MS-agony so to speak.


I ran into the same issues mentioned above. Oct 9th, loading redcard worked fine, no issues. I’ve gone to 3 different targets since and I’m now unable to load. I called customer service on the back of the card and they informed me that if a Target store has upgraded their system to the chip enabled technology, the old Redcards with the magnetic strip won’t work. I asked if this was permanent or temporary and was told that they plan to re-issue new Redcards with chip enabled technology which will allow you to load the card in person again.

As of now, I believe it will be hit or miss at target locations depending on system upgrades and then its a waiting game until new cards are sent.

Anyone else have a similar conversation with customer service?


Ryan, Target has made it publicly known in the last couple of months that they intend to upgrade/replace their debit and credit REDcards to emv chip cards, they will be MasterCards. I had then asked Target and Amex abut when they might do the same with Redbird (prepaid REDcard), Amex was the one responding with an answer saying they didn’t know if and when that would happen for Redbird.

Did you speak with Target or Amex (Redbird) cust service and did you clarify it was about the prepaid REDcard?

I tried to call Target customer relations today about the news, you had no idea how many times I would specify I was referring to the prepaid REDcard which is different than debit and credit and it is a type of an account they have in cooperation with Amex, they kept asking me if my account was debit or credit REDcard. One the second rep finally understood (or so I thought) the line got disconnected; I didn’t bother calling back.


The number I called was Prepaid redcard customer service. They asked several times if I was referring to another account and I continued to say “no, this is a prepaid redcard.” I was told that the prepaid cards will be upgraded as well but the person had no idea of a time frame. Interestingly enough, I also received an email from prepaid redcard that I needed to activate my card even though I already have an active card. I wonder if new cards may be coming sooner rather than later….


Despite the Customer Service representatives best efforts, the system denied my ability to reload my Target Prepaid REDcard which loaded just fine last week. Dang it… Now I suppose that I will have to switch back to Serve and Walmart… until they pull the plug on that too.

In the meantime, I HIGHLY recommend to all to REGISTER your Visa/MasterCard Gift Cards with the cards’ company’s website. This spring I kept putting off liquidating a Visa Gift Card and during this time someone guessed my cards numbers and was trying to buy stuff online. They registered the card in their name and everything. Registering the GC gives more security because its unlikely that someone can guess the card numbers and also your name or zip code.


Redbird does seem to be dead indeed. I wrote an article at (you can find it there on the Blog tab) pondering whether this is a temporary halt or not, I also put a picture of the error there. I got the picture with permission from one of the Target stores in which I attempted to load with a bank debit card.

I sure hope I’m wrong though and that Redbird lives on. Regardless, I’m grateful that it lasted this long.

Greg The Frequent Miler

All: in-store REDbird debit loads have not been working today. We don’t yet know if this is a permanent change or a temporary glitch.


I can confirm–I wasn’t able to load today either (at a store in Ohio)