The Target Prepaid REDcard


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?

Over the weekend, Target quietly rolled out a new American Express product that is strikingly similar to both Bluebird and Serve: The Prepaid REDcard.  This card opens a new option for up to $72,000 worth of manufactured spend per year.  I broke the news about the card here.  In this post I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about this card so far, and why you might care.

Target Prepaid REDcard

It’s the other REDcard

One confusing aspect about this new product is that it has the same name as the existing Target REDcard credit card and the Target REDcard debit card.

Target Prepaid REDcard

All three cards share similar benefits:

  • Save 5% off Target and purchases.  There are a few exceptions to this benefit such as gift cards and prescriptions.
  • Free shipping from
  • 30 extra days for returns.
  • Use REDcard to help a school.  Enroll for free in Take Charge of Education and Target will donate 1% of your REDcard purchases at Target to the eligible K-12 school of your choice. It turns out that this feature is only for debit and credit REDcards.

Target Prepaid REDcard

Bluebird, Serve, or REDcard: Pick only one

The new Prepaid REDcard runs on the same technical platform as other Amex prepaid products: Bluebird and Serve.  Each person is allowed to have only one of the three products.  Here’s a rough guide as to which I think is best for different people:

Serve: For most people, this is currently the best choice since it allows up to $1K per month of online credit card loads in addition to all of the load options available to Bluebird users.  See: Earn miles automatically, with Serve.

Target PrePaid REDcard: Best for those who shop at Target often, or at least prefer shopping at Target over Walmart.  May be a better option than Serve for those who want a prepaid card with no foreign transaction fees.

Bluebird: Best for those who value the ability to write their own checks from the prepaid account.  May also be a better option than Serve for those who want a prepaid card with no foreign transaction fees.

How to get a Prepaid REDcard

If you want a Prepaid REDcard, you’ll have to go to Target.  Not just any Target will do, though, since it hasn’t yet rolled out to all Target stores.  You can find participating stores here.  At participating Target stores, you’ll find big REDcard displays at most checkout registers.  You can pickup a temporary REDcard there.

The temporary card has no purchase fee and can be loaded up to $500.  You can pay for the initial purchase with a credit card.  Be prepared to have the cashier scan your driver’s license, and for you to enter in your SSN and phone number before you get out the door with the temporary card.  Once you get home, you can register for the permanent reloadable version of the card (as long as you don’t have an active Bluebird or Serve account).

Loading REDcard

The permanent version of the Prepaid REDcard can be loaded multiple ways, but only two are of interest to the points & miles crowd:

Online debit load: Just like Bluebird and Serve, you may link a debit card to your account and load up to $200 per day and up to $1000 per month.  You may not use gift cards for these loads, so this feature is best for those with a debit card that earns rewards such as the Suntrust Delta debit card.  Unfortunately, that card is no longer publicly available.  Another option is to search for reloadable debit cards that can be reloaded with credit cards.  Even then, though, there is no guarantee that Amex will allow those to be used for this purpose.

In store, “Cash” funding: Amex calls this cash funding, but it really means “load at Target”.  Amex allows loads up to $2500 per day and up to $5000 per month in-store (although Target may impose further restrictions).  Target’s registers ultimately determine which funding sources can be used.  At this time I believe that Target will allow debit cards, but not credit cards for this purpose.  And, my guess is I have confirmed that gift cards with PINs will work.  Target accepts credit cards, debit cards, and cash for in-store loads.

Given that gift cards with PINs work for reloading the REDcard, it is possible to buy up to $5000 worth of Visa or MasterCard gift cards each month with rewards earning credit cards (see “Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards”) and then load those gift cards to the REDcard at Target.

Given that credit cards work for reloading the REDcard, you can easily use your credit card to reload the REDcard at Target and earn credit card rewards.  Credit cards do not charge cash advance fees for this.

Using REDcard

The Prepaid REDcard can be used as credit card anywhere that Amex is accepted.  If your goal is to manufacture spend (to increase credit card rewards),  a good use is to withdraw money at fee free ATMs* (in-store ATMs at Target, and Allpoint Network ATMs).  And, an even better option is to use the card’s bill pay function to pay bills that can’t usually be paid by credit card (e.g. mortgage, rent, credit card bills, etc.).  You can also transfer money directly to your bank account from the settings menu (just like Bluebird and Serve).

“*Card not usable at ATMs in Target stores in Kansas City, MO.” Weird.  I know.

Card Fees


Questions and answers

Q: Can we load REDcard with Visa/MasterCard gift cards at Target?


Q: Can we load REDcard with credit cards at Target?

It is possible that Target has plans to change the register to not allow credit cards, but I don’t think that’s the case.  During my early botched credit card experiment, the cashier was surprised that the credit card didn’t work (it turned out that there was a fraud alert on my card).  She said that she remembered from training that loading with a credit card was one of the key benefits of the card.  She even mentioned that people should be able to earn miles with their cards!

Q: Can we load REDcard with Target gift cards at Target?

No.  When loading, the register displays a large message saying that gift cards cannot be used to pay for this transaction.

Q: What are the card’s load limits?

When reloading the card at Target, the following limits are in place:

  • $1000 maximum reload per transaction
  • $2500 maximum reloads per day
  • $5000 maximum reloads per month

When reloading the card online with a debit card, the following limits apply:

  • $200 maximum per day
  • $1000 maximum per month

You cannot use gift cards for online debit loads.

Q: Do these charges count as cash advances?

While we don’t yet have absolute proof of this, I’m confident in saying “no”.  The charges I’ve done so far fully appear to be purchases. And, previous experience with the similar Amex for Target card has shown that credit cards are safe to use for register reloads at Target.

Q: Can we reload REDcard at a Target store that doesn’t sell REDcard?

YES.  I’ve done so, and the website explicitly says: “You can add cash to your Target Prepaid REDcard® Account for free at all Target locations in the US.”  Note that when they say “load cash” they’re really referring to loading the card at the register. It doesn’t matter to Amex how you pay for that load.

Q: Can we get REDcard online?

No. The only way to get REDcard is to find a participating Target store and buy a temporary card there.

Q: Can someone else buy a REDcard for you?

I’ll give this one a tentative “yes”.  When you buy a Prepaid REDcard at Target, you have to give them your drivers license info, your SSN, birthdate, and more.  Then, you have to register the card online in order to get a permanent card.  In the process of registering online, you do need a bit of info about the original buyer (birthdate, for example), to get past the first screen, but then you can change the details on the following screens.  I did this for my wife.  I bought the card at Target and used my own driver’s license, SSN, etc.  But, when I got home, I registered the card to my wife.  I can’t promise this will work for everyone, but it worked for me.

Why does this matter?  Not many stores yet sell this new card and you can’t get one online.  You can find participating stores here.  If you have a relative or good friend who lives near a participating Target, you might be able to get them to buy the card for you.  Then, you should be able to register it in your own name online.

Q: Can we buy a temporary REDcard while we still have a Bluebird or Serve account?


Q: Can we register our temporary REDcard online while we still have a Bluebird or Serve account?

No.  You will have to cancel your Bluebird or Serve account first.  Here’s how: How to cancel Bluebird online.

Q: Can we reload Serve at Target?

Not yet.
My guess is that they’ll eventually make it possible to reload Serve at Target, but for now you cannot.  Bluebird is affiliated with Walmart so it will never be loadable at their rival Target.

Q: Can REDcard be enrolled in Amex Sync promos like Serve?

No.  I tried and the system said “Unfortunately, the Card you entered is not eligible.”

Questions not yet answered

Is the Target Amex card going away? 

My guess is that they’ll stop selling these old prepaid cards at Target or may have already stopped, but that they’ll let us continue using the cards we already have.

Read more about REDbird:


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Is there anyway that I can get/use RedBird if my area doesn’t have it? Can I order it online and still reload it at a location that doesn’t sell it?






Sorry, meant pay initial purchase with a credit card!


Hey, can you still pay for the initial purchase of the card or is that gone now too?


I actually don’t understand why someone would need this? You mention it in another post for hitting spending minimums (which I have a REALLY hard time given pro-travel/anti-consumerism lifestyle). How does using this system help?


The visa/mc gift cards that target sells won’t work on a redbird reload, I tried several times.


Is the load $5000 per calendar month? Or per your RedCard billing cycle?


I have a simple question. Can I order check for my rent with Redbird? I should put landlord’s name on the payee and have the check mailed to me? Is there a limit to order check such as how much I can put on a check and how many checks I can order per month? Thnak you!


It appears that reloading online with a SunTrust Delta debit card will not get you SkyMiles. I have done $200 reloads though the Redbird website five days each month for two months now, and no miles for any of those loads have posted to my Delta account (and I am now past the posting date for both months). So I read the terms and conditions for the SunTrust Delta Debit Card and, lo and behold, “payments for stored value cards . . . do not qualify.” If anyone has had success with this; pray tell how.


Howard: I have been loading my Serve card with Delta Skymiles ST debit card for about a year and I have been getting miles. I also recently did a test where I loaded my serve card at WM and it earned miles too. I am really not sure why you are not getting miles posted? It could be that American Express is posting the charges as cash advance type which is causing your ST debit card to not qualify these purchases.


Interesting. You have done it successfully with Serve, and View From the Wing apparently does it successfully with Bluebird. I wonder if Target codes the debit card transactions differently from WalMart so that SunTrust tags the Target ones as “payments for stored value cards” but the WM ones as normal purchases.


Ah, so you did get miles for online SunTrust card loads through November — just not from December forward? If so, then at least I know it is not something I have done wrong and could likely remedy.


I have the RedCard and have put about $4,000 onto my Amex Gold Business Card using this method. I just noticed that there has been a “charging suspension” on my account and when I called to free this up, they told me that I needed to speak to their “review” team. I’m sure this is in regards to these target purchases. Has anyone gone through this? What kind of questions should I be prepared to answer? Any guidance would be helpful….


I have 3 of the Amex Gold Businesses and completed all my minimum spending at Target and haven’t gotten any suspension or problems, under what time frame did you do the $4,000 load and what were the amounts like?

I split them up strangely like so ($912.59, $890.35, $697.06 = $2,500 total)

Perhaps you kept doing even amounts ($1,000, $1,000, $500, $1,000, $1,000, etc.)?


Does RedBird has send money feature like Bluebird so you can transfer money to other having BB.


I live in Atlanta, GA where there is no participating target and I want to get Red Bird card. I know some stores in Birmingham, AL does, so I could drive to Birmingham (~3 hrs RT) and get myself a Red Bird card. I can then register the temporary card online and wait for the permanent card to come in the mail. However, can I then take the permanent card to any Target stores in GA for a reload using my CC? Appreciate your advise.


Tried to load with Amex gift card at Target today, declined!!! First time I try Amex gift cards , from what i read here Amex gift cards worked for you, was there any recent changes?


I closed my BB account several days ago (I think the 19th?) and I still cannot open Serve, so I assume it would be the same for RedBird. It keeps telling me that I have the BB account open. I called customer service for Serve a couple times, and they told me the systems haven’t updated and that it will take 30 days. I can have someone get a RedBird card for me, but I worry that I won’t be able to register/load it anyway. I thought that people were able to register for the new account pretty much right away – what’s up here???


There is not participating target near me. Has anyone tried to get a temporary card in another’s name and then switch it? Can that person then get another card for themselves after it was switched. Want to ask a relative to get for me.


Yes, they could. After you register the 1st card online, the temporary card is deactivated. Your relative can get another temporary RedCard for you, activate at his/her local Target store by loading $1 and have you register online again for another family member of yours. The buyer can purchase multiple temporary RedCards on different days (1 card per day) using the same SSN. It’s the permanent RedCard holder is subject to one RedCard per each SSN and one AMEX prepaid card product, e.g. BlueBird, Serve, RedCard, per person.

Jon Jovi

I haven’t received my permanent card yet as I just bought it from Ebay. I was wondering if anyone know if Venmo recognizes this as a debit or credit card? I pay my landlord through Venmo.


does the bank charge wire transfers fees when transfering from prepaid card to checking?


Greg, can I use amex gift cards to load Target Red Card at Target customer service desk?


I did it right at the register


I meant Red Bird!! Can i load it at register?