Posted by Chuck on May 7, 2015
Manufactured Spending

Published on May 7th, 2015 | by Chuck


Buy $400 Visa Gift Cards at Target

We’re all trying to figure out how to go forward now that REDbird can’t be loaded with a credit card directly. Naturally, we’ll turn to buying Visa/Mastercard gift cards with a credit card and using those to load Bluebird/Serve/REDbird. Here’s a little tip that may help some.

A while back we reported that $400 Visa gift cards were being spotted at Target for a cost of $406. At the time, we wrote this wasn’t too interesting because:

  • It’s only a $400 denomination. For the same $6 fee, you can buy a $500 Visa gift card at your local supermarket.
  • The cards are issued by Bancorp. Vanilla Visa gift cards issued by Bancorp are known to have problems functioning as PIN-based debit cards in Walmart.
  • Use REDbird. If you have a convenient Target nearby, chances are that you have a REDbird card or an Amex for Target card, and you’re able to run enough Target spend that way.

Under the new circumstances, the game has changed considerably. Now, buying Visa gift cards at Target sounds like an awesome way to meet minimum spend requirements. You can buy the Visa card in Target, pay with a credit card, and then use it to load your REDbird. While Bancorp/Vanilla cards don’t work well at Walmart, they’ve been working fine at Target.

It’s still cheaper to buy a $500 card in the supermarket, but the other two factors we mentioned don’t apply anymore. And since you’ll be doing the loading in Target, many may prefer to just pay a little more and buy the $400 card in Target so as to save themselves a trip to the supermarket. Target is often coded as a supermarket with Visa and Mastercard so you can use this option for maximizing a credit card which has grocery as a bonus category.

Another small benefit of buying gift cards from Target versus your local supermarket is that your credit card issuers are already used to Target charges so they won’t give you fraud alerts. 🙂

You may also be able to find other types of prepaid cards in Target, such as GreenDot or MyVanillaDebit, though I haven’t seen those in the Target stores I’ve been to.

Note that prepaid cards purchased at Target won’t earn 5% with the Target REDcard. They also can’t be purchased with a Target gift card; the system won’t allow it.

Also note that while Target is fully stocked with prepaid cards, these particular $400-denomination cards are less ubiquitous. It may not be worth making a trip to Target relying on finding these cards, but give a quick look when your shopping in Target anyway. The Visa gift cards are usually found near the checkout.

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I just hope I don’t see a noobie trying to rip open the package after they just bought gift card try to have it loaded right away. Let’s hope they use a little discretion and make a trip to the car to release the packaging.

Exactly. I made the same comment over on FM. DoC is one of my favorite blogs, but IMO these GCs shouldn’t be advertised.

IMO these gift card SHOULD be advertised as what not to do. It’s flaunting a loophole in their policy of not wanting to pay credit card fees on redbird loads. they will now pay credit card fees on gc loads and then pay (albeit lower) debit card fees on redbird loads and not get any of the usual benefits that they get for selling the prepaid cards (some profit share on the interchange fees from the issuing bank?)

Sorry, this seems like a terrible idea and a great way to get the debit card load option shut down as well. To save a trip to a drugstore or grocery store? Normally I like your blog and find it informative, but advocating this type of buy and liquidate at the same place is the kind of thing that leads to faster shutdowns. If UFB never saw a grocery store money order, it would not be so obvious what people were doing. This game is all about obscurity because you know that while what we are doing isn’t always specifically prohibited, it’s not in the company’s best interest. Letting a company see the whole cycle really alerts them to how it works and what they can do to shut it down effectively and would be aptly described as “poking the bear”


As if MS wasn’t suspicious enough. I love Target’s simplicity esp. in contrast to it’s cousin Blue, which was how I felt after waiting forever in line. Target employees certainly talk especially when you purchase $1k+, which isn’t too much. You’re way better off taking some risk off the table by using another establishment for the purchase. Besides there are many options out there that are roughly a flat 1% load if not better that can be used.

But by all means pay for the “convenience” of added suspicion.

I bought some Bancorp Vanillas yesterday at Office Depot and then went to load them onto Redcard, and they wouldn’t load (ten minutes after purchase of the card). I’m going to try again today, because it’s possible that I tried too soon and the cards hadn’t actually activated yet, but I have read where others have also had similar issues using cards right after purchase.

I bought six Bancorp Vanillas yesterday at office depot. Today I deposited them at Target.

Grand National?

Do any portals pay out on giftcards at Target?

So redbird is still allowing to load with VISA gift cards? Can anyone please confirm that?

Yes. Take a look of tested gift cards, as reported on various blogs:

I am not aware of any pin-based gift cards that were tested and didn’t load (save for cards that need 30 mins or so to activate, like some Vanillas)

Shouldn’t you warn people not to open the package and load VGC in front of the cashier in case some simple-minded ruin the game?

This seems a really dumb idea at several levels.
1). Purchasing and liquidating at the same place and in close succession seems ripe to get loss prevention folks worked up and kill either the purchasing and/or liquidation side of the equation.

2). You are paying more for gift cards for a marginal time savings.

3). Newbies are going to do stupid stuff like buy the VCG and then try to liquidate at the same cashier and get pissed when this is deemed suspicious. Or cashiers will noticed the obvious VCG use and then start checking all debit cards.

This whole idea just seems dumb when there are plenty of other locations to get slightly cheaper VCGs that work just fine.

I think it’s also a bad idea for the reason I mentioned above. Newly purchased cards may not really be ready for use for an hour or so. The cards that I had declined yesterday 10 minutes after purchase loaded just fine today. Lots of places sell Visa and MC gift cards. Buying and loading at the same place isn’t good policy for those who don’t want to get shut down.

Does it earn 5%? Obviously, no. So, other than convenience, why are people even purchasing these cards?

Newbs tend to be lazy, and if I see some clown ripping apart a GC in store to load a RB we’re going to have words.

The Targets near me will NOT let me load my redcard with visa gift cards due to checking ID. They will only accept methods of payment with a name printed on it that matches my ID. If anyone knows of a way to buy personalized Visa gift cards with credit card, it would be a huge help. Thanks!

I believe will let you buy personalized VGCs, but at a cost of $8 per $500, incl shipping.

Thanks David! That should work. I just need to meet my minimum spending reqs on new cards. Thanks again.

How to unload these $400 GCs? I tried it once, but it didn’t work with Serve.

I went to Target a DAY after buying a VVGC with 500 on it. But, when I went to load the card for $500, it asked for my pin, to which I just entered “0000” (since it says that you can create your own pin on first use) but I was declined 3 times in a row. To make matters worse, the CS asked to see my card, and I just left saying, “it’s ok, I gotta go to my bank and change my code, becuase I forgot it” SO angry. Why did it NOT work?
Did everything correct. Is it possible that the Pin must need different numbers or something of the sort. I pray they did not already recode their machines not to accept this. Anyone, please help if you know what the deal is.

I loaded 5+ VGCs yesterday and they all worked fine. What card was it, and where did you buy it?

[…] $400 Visa gift cards for $406 at Target and split it between 4 separate registered Amex cards. Total profit per registered Amex card […]

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