Why the New REDcard Beats Bluebird & Serve!

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Update:   You can no longer load Target Prepaid REDcard with debit cards or gift cards. Update:   You can NO longer load your Target Prepaid REDcard directly with a credit card

I’ve written that there will always be different ways to earn miles and points.  And there’s now another prepaid card for folks to try.

Via Frequent Miler, Target and American Express introduced a prepaid card called Target Prepaid REDcard.  It functions much like as Bluebird and Serve, but it’s got an extra feature that lets you earn easy (and free) miles and points!

You can load REDCard directly with a credit card at Target, up to $5,000 per month!

Why The New REDcard Beats Bluebird Serve
Target Prepaid REDcard – Similar to Bluebird and Serve, but You Can Load It Directly With a Miles-and-Points Earning Credit Card!

The Target REDcard is not available in all areas.  But from Frequent Miler’s reports, it could really help folks with meeting minimum spending requirements and earning extra miles and points paying bills you can’t normally pay with a credit card.

That’s because there’s NO extra step of having to buy a gift card 1st (and pay gift card purchase fees), then load it to the card like Bluebird and Serve.  You can add funds DIRECTLY from your credit card!

What’s Target Prepaid REDcard?

Link:   Target Prepaid REDcard

The Target Prepaid REDcard is an American Express prepaid debit card, much like Bluebird or Serve.

It’s got a lot of the same features, including:

  • Adding money (via loading at the register at Target stores, linking your bank account, or linking your debit card)
  • Withdrawing money from ATMs (free at Target and Allpoint Network ATMs)
  • Direct deposit
  • Online bill pay
  • Sub-accounts (for example, your kids or your sitter)
  • NO monthly fees
Note:   Unlike Bluebird, Target REDcard does NOT have paper checks.  But you can pay anyone (businesses or individuals) using online bill pay. Note:   Unlike Serve, you can NOT use a credit card to add money online.  But you can use a debit (not gift) card for online loads.  And for cash register loads, you can use several different payment methods!  Including loading from your credit card!

The Target Prepaid REDcard has some extra perks that you don’t get with Bluebird and Serve, including:

  • 5% off all purchases at Target and Target.com (except prescriptions, gift cards, prepaid cards, clinic services, and eye exams)
  • Free shipping when you use your card at Target.com
  • An extra 30 days to return purchases to Target or Target.com
Why The New REDcard Beats Bluebird Serve
REDcard Has Extra Features Not Found With Bluebird or Serve, Like Free Shipping, Discounts on Store and Online Purchases, and 30 Extra Days for Returns

So if you live near a Target or shop there frequently, this could be a very good card for you!

How Do You Get One?

Link:   List of Participating Target Stores

You can only get a Target Prepaid REDcard if you do NOT have a Bluebird or Serve account.  So you’ll have to cancel your Bluebird or Serve account if you want to get a REDcard.

Currently, the REDcard is only available in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Not all Target stores in these states have the REDcard.  Check the store locator for exact locations.  Eventually, the card should be available in all Target stores, but it seems like they’re launching it slowly.

Note:   If you don’t live in 1 of the included states, there are still ways to get a REDcard!

You can purchase a temporary card at a participating Target store (up to a $500 initial load, and yes you can use a credit card!) then register it online.  But be sure to cancel your Bluebird or Serve account before you register.

Why The New REDcard Beats Bluebird Serve
You’ll Have to Buy a Temporary Card at a Participating Target, Then Register It Online

Once your card is registered, you can reload it at ANY Target store.  And both Frequent Miler and folks on FlyerTalk report that you CAN use a credit card to reload REDcard at Target!

But use caution here.  That’s because the official terms of the REDcard do NOT specifically say you can use a credit card to load it at the register.  They just say “cash reloads.”

Why The New REDcard Beats Bluebird Serve
No More Gift Card Fees! Add Money to REDcard at Target Directly With Your Credit Card

I don’t know for sure if this is a temporary glitch or a permanent feature of the REDcard.  Serve and Bluebird have similar language in their FAQs, but we know you can use gift cards to load those cards even though it’s not specifically stated.

Loading $5,000 a month directly with a credit card is THE most compelling feature of the REDcard.  It means no more fussing with gift cards, which usually charge a ~$3 to ~$7 fee.

Should You Get a Target Prepaid REDcard?

Maybe.

If you live near a Target, spend money there frequently, and don’t mind giving up a Bluebird or Serve account, then the REDcard might be a great deal for you!

The monthly loading limits are similar to Serve and Bluebird, but remember you can NOT use a credit card to load REDcard online, like Serve.

You can read the FAQs for information about limits and fees, but here’s a summary of REDcard’s loading limits:

  • Direct deposit:  $100,000 per year
  • “Cash” (loading at Target register, currently includes credit card loads):  $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month
  • Checking or savings account:  $2,000 per month
  • Debit card:  $200 per day and $1,000 per month
  • Request & receive money transactions:  $10,000 per month
  • Send money transactions:  $2,500 per month
  • Pay bills:  $15,000 per month ($5,000 per month for unregistered payees, like individuals)
  • ATM withdrawals:  $750 per day and $2,000 per month
  • Retail or online purchases:  $15,000 per month

Being able to load REDcard directly at Target with a credit card is huge!  You can load up to $5,000 a month ($2,500 maximum per day) using a credit card that earns miles and points.  Then use REDcard to withdraw cash or pay bills that can’t normally be paid with a credit card, like mortgage, rent, or student loans.

Why The New REDcard Beats Bluebird Serve
Instead of Paying Your Mortgage or Loans With Cash, Load REDcard With a Credit Card Then Use Their Bill Pay Feature

The loading limits for Serve are higher ($5,000 per month at the register, plus $1,000 a month online credit card loads, or $1,500 if you have the soon-to-be-phased-out Softcard) but you can’t use a credit card for register loads!

Some folks might prefer Serve’s higher limits, but I’m excited about REDcard and not having to worry about buying gift cards anymore!

Emily’s just cancelled her Bluebird account and we’re waiting for her new REDcard in the mail, so I’ll report back once we’ve received it with more details!

Bottom Line

American Express and Target have introduced the Target REDcard, which has most of the same features as Serve and Bluebird, plus some extra perks!

With the Target REDcard, you can add money (with a credit card) at a Target cash register, direct deposit, online bill pay, transfer money, withdraw cash for free at certain ATMs, and more.

Plus, you’ll get a 5% discount and an extra 30 days for returns when you use the card for purchases at Target or Target.com.

You can NOT have a REDcard if you have a Serve or Bluebird account.  So you have to choose which of the 3 you prefer!

Emily and I are waiting for her new REDcard to arrive in the mail.  I’ll update after we’ve experimented with it!

Have you switched to REDcard?  Please let me know about your experiences in the comments!

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