A new rule was reported in many forums and blogs on May 5th, and it’s implemented on May 6th in all U.S. Target stores. It’s hard-corded. The POS system won’t allow credit cards as a payment for Redbird reloads.
Before this new rule, several Target stores in my neighborhood already had their own rules. For examples, “Cash or Debit Only” “No Credit Cards” “No Prepaid Cards (gift cards)”, etc. However, there are many other Target stores in my neighborhood. So, I didn’t have much trouble reloading Redbird until yesterday. Loading with credit cards was the main benefit of Redbird for me (and I suppose, for the most cardholders, too.) I mostly used AmexGCs for reloads. It was really easy to reload $1000 without worrying about a decline by a bank. You didn’t have to deal with fraud alert as long as a GC has enough balance on it. Now, the benefit is gone, and this new rule is hard-corded and nation-wide. There is no way to get around it.
Current Accepted Payment Methods
Target accepts Cash or Debit for reload. Reportedly, the system allows PIN-enabled gift cards. But I think some stores don’t accept gift cards because of store-specific rules. And I don’t think split payment works anymore. When I asked split payment, transactions of each card were treated as credit. (see details here) So, from now on, you will need to make separate transactions with each gift card.
What is the best now? Redbird or Bluebird or Serve
The main benefit of Redbird is gone. I’m going to close Redbird and open Bluebird or Serve. I’m still thinking which one to open, but I’m sure I will close Redbird. The new rule makes Redbird inferior to Bluebird and Serve for the following reasons.
Too Mush Hassle for reloads
You can’t use AmexGC anymore. For MS, the only option is to use PIN-enabled gift cards. I will use many $200 VGCs from BBY. 25 reloads ($200×25=$5000) every month are too many hassles. Besides, most local Target stores allow to reload at guest service only. Regular cashiers are not allowed, or simply they don’t know about Redbird. Each store has only one guest service. This means I have to go and ask the same clerk for multiple reloads. It’s not comfortable. Bluebird and Serve can be loaded by a kiosk at Walmart. You need to separate transactions with each gift cards, but it’s not a big deal because what you deal with is a machine. Even if a kiosk is out of order, regular cashiers know how to load.
5% REDcard discount isn’t that great
5% instant discount sounds nice, but you can get more discount by purchasing TargetGCs from gift card resellers. It’s not difficult to find 5% or even 6% discounted GCs. If you buy those GCs with reward credit cards, an overall discount would be more than 5%. In case discounted TargetGCs are all sold out, keep in mind that Staples sells e-codes online. If you have Chase ink business credit card, you will earn 5x bonus reward on the purchase. So, 5% discount is not exclusive, and even more discount would be possible.
Recently, Bluebird has been able to be connected Amex Offer via Twitter, Facebook, etc. And Serve has been also able to do it quite a while. Only Redbird can’t. Maybe in the future, but I don’t want to wait for something uncertain and miss good Amex Offers.
I used to have Serve. I closed it for opening Redbird. From my experience, you can apply a new one right after closing the existing one. In order to close the account, you need to unload the card completely, by bill pays or withdrawing to linked bank account, which takes 3 to 5 business days. For this month, I have already done $1000 online reload, but in-store reload is only $1400 so far. I will load as much as possible in this week and unload completely next week. Then I will close Redbird and open Bluebird or Serve. There have been some minor changes to these cards since I got Redbird. So, I will need to review all benefits of both cards to decide which card is better for me.