Posted by Chuck on October 14, 2015
Manufactured Spending

Published on October 14th, 2015 | by Chuck

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Death of REDbird: Current Best Options & To-Do Checklist

REDbird is Dead

The speculation that Target no longer allows in-store debit card loads for REDbird has now been confirmed. FrequentMiler got a picture of the Target memo indicating the change (bolding mine):

Tender Accepted Select Reloadable Prepaid Cards

Effective Oct 13 cash is the only tender guests can use to reload select prepaid cards (listed below) in store.

Key Details

  • Prepaid cards falling under this restriction include: REDcard, American Express for Target, Green Dot MasterCard, Green Dot Visa, NetSpend Visa and MyVanilla Visa
  • POS will prompt if a payment type cannot be used.
  • If applicable, credit or debit cards can be used to pay the card fee.

Cashier Direction

  • Follow POS prompts. If POS displays a message that the tender can only be used for a certain amount or not at all, ask the guest for another form of payment.
  • If the guest inquires about the tender restriction, advise: “Target has made the decision to only allow cash reloads for this card. This decision aligns with other retailers who also only accept cash for reloadable prepaid cards.”

Which Prepaid Card is Best?

Now that REDbird is no longer a tool for manufacturing spend, most of us will want to switch over the Serve or Bluebird which can be loaded with PIN-based debit cards at Walmart.

We previously introduced the One VIP Serve and explained why it’s the superior version of Serve, see Six Different Flavor of Serve and How to Remain Fee-Free. For some Bluebird will be better since it has no monthly fee at all.

Here’s the best option available…

  • OneVIP Serve – For many people, this will be the best option. It does have a $1 monthly fee, but the fee is waivable with $500 loaded per month. We’ve confirmed that even online credit card loads have been working to waive this fee, despite the fact that the terms are a little vague on this.
  • Bluebird – If you don’t plan on loading at Family Dollar and you don’t plan on doing online credit card loads (for example, if you are managing a card in someone else’s name and you don’t have any credit cards in their name), choose Bluebird instead of Serve. This card has no monthly fee at all and free reloads at Walmart.
  • GreenServe – If you live in NY, TX, or VT, get GreenServe or OneVIP Serve. People in these states don’t have a monthly fee and would do better taking Serve over Bluebird for the added ability to load at Family Dollar and to do online credit card loads.

To-Do Checklist

  • Empty REDbird account. The optimal way to do this is by sending the money over to a Serve/Bluebird account, e.g. a friend’s account. The transfer is instant and you are then assured that no money is tied up in the REDbird system. Alternatively, you can initiate a bill payment or an ACH withdrawal which will take a few days to process and then close the account.
  • Notate the exact Profile details in you REDbird account. FrequentMiler recommends opening the new account with exact profile details of the old one, especially the same email address. This worked for me as well. Mark down the email, phone, and address of the REDbird account or take a screenshot of it. These can be found by going to Settings>Profile.
  • (Optional) Download the statements from REDbird. Download all the statements in your REDbird account for future reference. They do allow you to login for 90 days after the account is closed, but you won’t be able to do so if you use the same email address for the new Serve account since that email will then be associated only with the new account (HT: Milestomemories).
  • Close REDbird account. Amex makes it very easy to close the REDbird account online. Go to Settings>Profile>Close Account (at the bottom of the page).
  • Open the new Serve or Bluebird account. Whichever option you choose, you can open it immediately after closing out the REDbird account; just use the same profile details, as noted above. You’ll choose a password, PIN, and security answer as part of the account opening.
  • Add four subaccounts. Once you receive the card and activate it, you can then add up to 4 subaccounts. The big advantage of Serve and Bluebird over REDbird was always that they can be used for Amex Offers which many find very lucrative. Hopefully, you’ll have friends or family members you can add. You don’t need their SSN, but you do need a name, DOB, address, phone, and email address. The email and the phone number need to be unique – you can’t have two Serve/Bluebird accounts or subaccounts with the same email.
  • Sync the 5 cards to Twitter. You can add Amex Offers to your Serve accounts and subaccounts, but you’ll have to login to each one separately to do so. Far easier is to take the time once to sync the five cards with Twitter and you can then automate adding the offers to all the cards or you can add it easily to all cards at once via Tweetdeck.
  • (Optional) Open new REDcard debit card. If you do ordinary shopping at Target, the prepaid REDcard was useful to get 5% off on all Target purchases. If you don’t already have a Target REDcard consider signing up for one. You can opt for the credit card version which will come with a hard credit inquiry. Or choose the debit card version which is only a soft pull. (There is a Chex inquiry for the debit version.)



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Kent C
Kent C

Guess they’ll be hiring more folks at the WM Money Centers once they see the lines next week.

JB
JB

The line’s already huge while the cashiers are sitting on their hands (can’t load @ registers at my WMT anymore) and they don’t care about it…

Jonathan
Jonathan

It depends on which state you lives. No redbirds at Georgia and most of other states so it will not cause huge serve/bluebird conversion if there is some. I got my redbird when I was on vacation 400 miles away from Atlanta.

Dan
Dan

is it possible to load Serve card at CVS?

Fafa123
Fafa123

Yes but cash only.

Jim
Jim

Thanks for the great write-up!

From what I’ve read, you can reload BB and Serve with cashiers at any Walmart, even if it doesn’t have a Money Center or Kate. Is that the case?

Gil
Gil

Yes

JB
JB

depends! In our WMT you can’t – only @ MC

Jim
Jim

Thanks. I’ll give it a shot, but with low expectations.

MilesCollector
MilesCollector

All good things come to an end. Some end early and some last long. You need to be prepared to deal with it. I wanted to mention that you can still get OLD flavor of Serve by going to CVS and looking for the OLD serve card on the rack which should say FREE on the back. This temporary card will have the #s starting with 375171. If you register for Serve using this temporary card, then your $1 monthly fee is waived and you get FREE loads just like old serve. I signed up two family members in Aug using the temporary cards and got the serve card with the old terms. Has been working very well since then. The added benefit now I have is AmEX offers which did not exists on the old serve card.

I have 3 RBs that I manage. So, I will be switching two of these and keeping one open to get the 5% discount at target in buying GCs including Ebay GCs. So, there is some potential use of RBs beyond just loading with debit card.

AKA
AKA

Are you referring to the serve-soft card still being available a CVS ?

Jay
Jay

@MilesCollector, are you saying the old Serve if found at a CVS qualifies for AMEX Offers?

Logan
Logan

Quick question about the Serve sub accounts. If I am managing my families primary serve accounts, 5 in total, can the 4 sub accounts of each primary account be the 4 other members of my family? So that each person has their own primary account and they also have 4 other sub accounts?

jay
jay

Does serve’s subaccount load is counted towards main serve limit? I think so but not sure.

JB
JB

AFAIK sub-accounts can’t load anything – they can only spend

Matt
Matt

I’m surprised to see that you’re advising to keep email and profile details the same when migrating from RB to Serve. I read in a number of other blogs that the email you use to sign up for Serve needs to be different than the one you used for Redbird. You’re sure it has to be the same? I have no problem doing either one, just want to make sure I have the right info!

Bummed
Bummed

@Chuck Do you know if Redbird can be auto-reloaded online ($200 per day up to $1K/mo) using prepaid NWV as debit? I believe the answer is no because NW doesn’t pass along some crucial info to Amex in order to process the reload, but I could be wrong. Better than nothing if we can.

Jeremiah
Jeremiah

No, you can’t use any Buxx cards to load Amex prepaid (Serve/RB) online.

KP
KP

Any experience with paypal biz debit being used for onevip online loads? I had my PP Biz DC linked to my redbird a/c – closed that last week and got the OneVIP Serve in the mail today. Activated the serve card, but I am unable to link the paypal biz debit to the profile.

M
M

same problem here. anyone has any thoughts or solution to this?

Tony M
Tony M

Thanks for the posting. I’m sure many new Serve/BB accounts are being created right now. The Money Centers will certainly feel the change.

From reading this there doesn’t seem to be any benefit with opening Sub Accounts other than those Sub Accounts are only able to spend. For MS purposes alone there isn’t any need to create Sub Accounts, correct?

Octavio
Octavio

You are correct – Subs cannot add money or pay bills, so you will not get additional loading capabilities. But, they can be invaluable when taking advantage of Amex offers as they’ll get distinct CC numbers that can be enrolled independently. A $25 off $250 Best Buy offer becomes $125 of $1250!

Jason
Jason

With RB out, is there still a viable liquidation route for Vanilla VGCs?

Octavio
Octavio

Family Dollar with an Amex Serve. For most people, the OneVIP version is the best available option.

LWT
LWT

Just make sure you’re the first person to load at FD each day. That problem makes FD really unappealing.

Eric
Eric

Which problem are you referring to?

LWT
LWT

The $1,000 store limit problem Octavio described below. System becomes glitchy and funds disappear at times. Best way to avoid that is to make sure you’re the first person to load.

Benson Chambers
Benson Chambers

Which of these works best for unloading Vanilla Visa’s? Luckily got into RedBird back when it first started so all I have known is practically unrestricted card loans but I am having trouble figuring out which prepaid card is best to load with vanilla visas.

Octavio
Octavio

As Chuck stated in the article, if you live in TX, NY, or VT, you should get the Green Serve – you’ll get free loads @ CVS, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, Walmart and 7-Eleven. If you live in any other state, then the OneVIP is the best option b/c of the waiveable monthly fee and free reloads. The OneVIP does not seem to have free reloads @ Dollar General or Rite Aid, but you still have 4 retailers to choose from. Both Walmart and Family Dollar will allow debit card loads, but Walmart is finicky about Vanilla Gift Cards. I’ve been able to use Vanilla cards @ Walmart using the $49.99 trick, but this only works if the store has the older POS. The newer POS will decline the transaction no matter the amount.

This is where Family Dollar will be your friend; loads with Vanilla gifts cards will go through. Bear in mind that there are reports of FD having “store limits” of $1000 per day across all load transactions or something along those lines and other glitch behaviors. Personally, I’ve never ran into any problems @ FD, but I keep my loads to a maximum of $500 per store per day and I never do multiple loads at the same store the same day.

Eric
Eric

Are you guys saying that I can create 4 sub accounts for my Serve with my same information (name, DOB, etc.) for each as long as I use the dot trick for Gmail? Is this something that Amex would get upset about or are they fine with it? Each card will have a different credit card # with my name on it?

Octavio
Octavio

I personally felt uneasy using my name to create all 4 subs, I did create *one* sub using my information and have 2 cards with my name but different numbers. I also became a sub of my wife’s account and vice versa. You could always create subs for different family members with no problems, but the main benefit of having all under your name is that you can confidently show your card to the merchant when redeeming offers for your sub users. I did not find anything under the T&Cs or the section (7) Prohibited Use specifically stating that you could not be your own sub.

Eric
Eric

Yeah, the only way I would do this is if I could use my name for each sub. There’s no benefit except for Amex Sync offers. Since most Amex Sync offers are in store I would need my name on it to make the purchases. When you say you felt “uneasy” did you mean that you think it’s wrong to do it or you are worried Amex will shut you down? If it’s not against the TOS I don’t see an issue. Did you have to use a different phone # or a different email address will suffice?

Octavio
Octavio

Different email is a must, however you don’t necessarily need a different number. When you register the number, it asks if it’s a Mobile, Work, Home, Other. I registered a number and said it was a “Mobile” number…when I tried to register the same number as a mobile on another sub, it told me that it was already registered. However, when I changed the “type,” to “home” phone, it worked fine. So I have the same phone number on 2 different subs – one as a mobile and one as a home phone. I have not tested a third account to know if choosing “work” will let me add it or if I perhaps can continue using “home” an indefinite number of times.

About being “uneasy” it was just my personal feelings – don’t think it’s a violation of terms and conditions; I just did not feel comfortable having 4 subs being me 🙂

Eric
Eric

If I decide to do the sub accounts do you think I should do one at a time? How far apart should I sign up?

Octavio
Octavio

I opened my subs 1 at a time, but that was primarily b/c I was locating family members to add and would create a new one after receiving a card. Don’t think there would be a problem with you opening more than 1 at a time.

Octavio
Octavio

Don’t mention it, Chuck! I’ve gotten really good info from this site, just paying it forward.

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Payal
Payal

I closed my redbird and have bluebird now. any specific instructions on how to load money at WM in my bluebird account? it is done at cashier counter or customer service counter?

can both GC bought from gc.com and amex debit cards from staples be loaded To BB at WM?

ALSO ANY maximum loading limited per day/per month?

Octavio
Octavio

Probably should have gone with Serve since Bluebird limits you to only Walmart. At any rate, you should be able to load your card with a cashier, at the customer service counter or using the kiosk. Just hand your card to the cashier, tell them how much you want to load, confirm the amount on the POS screen and slide whatever card your are going to use for the load. As with anything, YMMV…some cashiers are overzealous and will ask to see your card (the one you’ll be paying with) to make sure it has your name, others might send you to the customer service counter, etc. I’ve only ran into a couple of those problems and the best thing is move on and try someone else.

You cannot use Amex prepaid cards of any kind to load bluebird b/c the POS will never read it as a debit card. No idea about gift cards from gc as I’ve never bought them myself.

The Bluebird website answers your last question: $2,500 per day with the caveat of Up to $1,999.99 per day at Walmart registers/$5,000 per month.

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