Published on May 12th, 2014 | by William Charles31
American Express For Target: Manufacture Credit Card Spend
It’s Monday which means it’s time for another Manufactured Monday’s post where we describe a new way to manufacture credit card spend (MS). If you’re not familiar with MS we suggest reading our introductory guide first. As always, if you decide to use this method: start slowly, always have an alternative exit plan, don’t spend more than you can afford to lose/have tied up for months.
Today we’re going to be looking at the AmEx for Target (AFT) reloadable card. This is a prepaid card that can be reloaded with any credit card (American Express, MasterCard or Visa), you can then use the card as a regular credit card or do an ATM withdrawal.
Finding The Card
This card must be purchased in person at a Target store. Unfortunately not all Target stores stock this reloadable card. You can click here to find a list of participating stores. Once you’ve found a store near you that stocks this card you’ll need to find the card itself. A lot of people have reported that it’s difficult to find this card. Here are some common places they are kept:
- With the rest of the gift cards
- Between registers in the end cap displays, often above the candy
- Near the service desk/customer returns area
Make sure the card says “American Express For Target” on it, it’s also a good idea to look out for words such as “reloadable”.
Purchasing The Card
Once you’ve found the card you’ll need to take it to the register. Make sure you have your drivers license with you. You’re then required to answer a bunch of personal questions such as:
- Full name
- E-mail address
- Phone number
Make sure you answer these questions correctly, if they are answered incorrectly then you won’t receive your permanent card which can be reloaded. Your details should match the details found on your drivers license exactly (e.g st & street are different) You can then do your initial funding, up to a limit of $500. It’s possible to use multiple credit cards in a single transaction which is good news if you want to unload a bunch of prepaid cards. You can have a total of two cards per SSN. You can only purchase one every twenty four hours. Your permanent card should arrive within ten business days of purchasing the temporary card.
Funding Your Card
You have to go into a Target store to load funds onto your card. You can use American Express, Visa or a Mastercard credit card to fund your cards after you’ve received the permanent version. You can also use prepaid/gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) to fund your AmEx for target card. A lot of cashiers don’t have experience reloading these cards so you might have to guide them through the process, even though it’s ridiculously simple.
- Ask them to swipe your AmEx for target card
- It should then prompt them through the process, they’ll have to input the amount you want to load (e.g $1,000)
State the amount you want to reload and then swipe your gift card and input the PIN. The card reader is customer facing and the cashier will likely not notice.
It’s possible to use multiple credit cards/gift cards per transaction, meaning theoretically you can use this to unload a bunch of $50 cards. To do this ask to load a certain amount (we suggest always loading the maximum of $1,000 to avoid too many fees) and then state you want to do a split payment. Split payments will be done automatically if your gift card doesn’t have enough funds on it to cover the full amount. You can then drain one gift card, use another and so on. There is a limit of 7 card swipes. In practice a lot of cashiers are uncomfortable doing this and will often call their manager over to get approval. You are allowed to use these cards, but keep in mind it might take a lot longer to load due to them being unsure of the rules.
There is a load limit of $1,000 per 24 hours and you pay a fee of $3 per load, regardless of how many cards you use.
It used to be possible to use them back in 2012, but this is no longer the case.
Unloading Your Card
Via ATM Withdrawals
This card can be used with an ATM to get cash out. You can withdraw a maximum of $400 per card per day. The first ATM withdrawal per month (based on the first of the month, not rolling) is free, you then pay $3 per ATM withdrawal. You also have to pay any ATM owner fees. When withdrawing money it’ll ask you for “Checking”, “Savings” or “Credit Card”, make sure you select “Checking” otherwise the transaction will be rejected.
Via Credit Card Purchases
You can also use this card as a regular credit card. This might not make sense at first glance (why wouldn’t you just use one of your actual credit cards?). But makes more sense when you look at an example. Let’s say I have an upcoming purchase of $2,000 at a store that doesn’t have any bonus categories. At most I’m going to get 2.22% cash back by using the Barclay Arrival card.
What I could do instead is purchase Visa (or AmEx or MasterCard) gift cards from a store that gives me a better rate (e.g the Blue Cash Preferred which gives 6% on grocery store purchases) then add those gift cards to my AmEx for target card and use that for the purchase instead.
If I used the Arrival I’d get $22 back, if I used the Blue Cash Preferred I’d get $60 back. I’d need to pay the $3 AmEx for target loading and any fees associated with purchasing the gift cards but these would be less than the $35 in profit I’d be making by doing this.
- Can unload via an ATM, the maximum is $400 per card per day
- Everybody can have a limit of 2 cards, you can only purchase one every twenty-four hour period
- Maximum initial load of $500
- Maximum load of $1,000 per card in a 24 hour period
- Maximum load of $5,000 for both cards per 28 day rolling period
- Limit of 7 card swipes per transaction
- You can load until a balance of $2,500 per 28 day period
- Can only withdraw money within the United States
- $3 activation fee
- You pay a load fee of $3
- First ATM withdrawal per calendar month is free. Each additional ATM fee is $3. You will also need to pay any ATM owner fees as well.
- No other fees, no monthly or annual fees
- Use ATMs that have no fees to withdraw cash, click here for a full list.
- Use ATMS with a low fee if a no fee alternative is not available, click here for a full list.
- Always load the maximum amount of $1,000 to avoid too many load fees ($3 per load)
How I Use This Method
This method is best suited for reaching minimum spend requirements due to the fees, it’s not very scale-able considering you can only load $5,000 per 28 day period. It’s also good for unloading gift cards if you have a lot of them from rebate programs or were able to pick them up on a credit card which earned at high rate due to a bonused category.
Do Target/AmEx do a hard pull when you purchase this card?
No, no credit check is done when you purchase this card.
When I load this card with a credit card, will it be treated as a cash advance?
We don’t know of any banks who code it as a cash advance (it should just show up as a regular Target purchase). As always, we recommend setting your cash advance limit to $0 before engaging in any manufactured spending activities.
Can I use the Target red card to get 5% cash back when I fund this account?
No, you will not earn any money by using the Target red card on these transactions.
Can I purchase a Target for AmEx card and then reload it at a Target store that doesn’t sell them?
Yes, all Target’s are capable of reloading Target for AmEx cards.
Can I use target for AmEx to load funds onto bluebird or serve?
No you cannot do this, although I’m not sure why you’d want to in the first place.
What category is Target coded as?
Target is generally coded as a discount store (much like WalMart). Find out which MCC code your local Target has.
Do I need to be worried about shut down?
At the moment it doesn’t look like this is an issue, people have been doing load & unload without any natural spend and haven’t been shutdown. As always it’s a good idea to take precautions to prevent future shutdowns.
The terms & conditions state I can only unload $200 by ATM is this true?
No, you can unload $400 at a time.
If you load your AFT card with gift cards, do you need to register the gift cards first?
No, they just need a pin set (usually the last four digits of the card by default).