Published on May 6th, 2015 | by Chuck38
REDbird: What’s Left?
Credit Cards No More
As we know, REDbird stopped allowing credit card loads today. This was heavily reported yesterday on many blogs, based on a memo which was circulating in Target stores saying that as of May 6, 2015 credit cards loads would no longer be allowed.
Today, many people tried loading REDbird with a credit card and the system won’t allow it. It’s hard-coded not to allow credit card loads. All credit card, including Amex cards, are being reported as getting declined by the Target register. “$0 able to be loaded for this tender type”. This makes Amex gift cards much harder to deal with as well.
The only credit card that still remains questionable is the Target credit card (issued by TD bank) which may possibly still work. This doesn’t matter, however, since the card does not get any type of rewards for the purchase. Though the card receives a 5% discount on Target purchases, prepaid load don’t get the discount. Similarly, the purchase of Visa/Mastercard/Amex gift cards and the purchase of Target gift cards do not get 5% off by paying with a REDcard in my experience. (Third-party gift cards, however, do get the discount as we reported here.)
It’s possible that the temporary REDbird cards can still be purchased with a credit card, much the way Visa gift cards can be purchased at Target with a credit card.
Numerous reports are already out from today indicating that Visa gift cards with a PIN work fine at Target since they are processed as debit cards. Even Vanilla Visa cards which don’t work well at Walmart are working just fine at Target. Additionally, I’m fairly confident that PIN-based Mastercard gift cards will work without a hitch. (Remember that this week and next Vanilla Visa cards can be purchased highly discounted at Office Depot.)
We have not seen any reports yet of Target employees making problems with using Visa gift cards as debit cards, most will just follow what the register will allow. Note, however, that there are a few Target stores who were not allowing temporary cards – cards with no name on them – to be used even when they were allowing credit card loads. For now, those stores will probably still not allow the use of temporary prepaid cards to be used with a PIN as a debit card and they may continue requiring a card with a name.
All prepaid debit cards with PINs appear to be working at Target. Some cards take time to activate so don’t assume it’s not working if you’re within the first 24 hours.
[Note that Staples Rebate cards state that they don’t have a PIN and as such won’t work as a debit card in Target or anywhere else. Since it’s a rebate card, they are probably exempt from the legal obligations of supplying a PIN. One report mentions trying the Staples Rebate card by using the last 4-digits as the PIN and it didn’t work.]
As we know, the Target register is able to automatically drain prepaid cards so that you don’t need to tell the cashier to split it up for you. Just swipe your card and the system will ‘eat up’ whatever is left in the card and prompt you to pay the balance with another card.
In my previous experiments, the Target system does not auto-drain prepaid cards when processing them as debit. This means that when loading REDbird with multiple prepaid cards, you’ll have to load each card as a separate transaction. Alternatively, the cashier can manually split the total purchase amount between the multiple cards.
This has been confirmed today by a Flyertalk member. He notes that you can swipe your prepaid card without telling the cashier anything. When the system asks you if you want to put it all on the card, hit ‘No’. Then tell the cashier how much you want on the card ($500/$200/whatever). The cashier will type in the amount and lower the total amount owed. You can then swipe the second card.
Amex for Target
Another part of the bad news coming out of Target now is that Amex for Target cards were being reported as swept together with the new rule and won’t be able to be loaded with a credit card. This is in spite of the fact that Target is not taking a complete loss on the credit card processing fees due to the $3 load fee that comes with each load.
FrequentMiler reported yesterday that the memo specifically included AFT in the new rule and there are already a few reports coming out today which seem to confirm this (1, 2, 3). We’ll update this when we get more positive confirmation, but I’m convinced that AFT is the collateral damage of REDbird and can no longer be loaded with a credit card.
AFT, in particular, is basically dead now since it would be very hard to justify the fees and hassle of loading/unloading AFT just to liquidate gift cards. Until now it’s use was for racking up credit card spend which was often worth the time and money spent on the AFT loads/unloads.
I’m not throwing mine away since you never know when you’ll be in a pinch and need an additional unloading venue. It’s always worth having a backup.
RIP Amex for Target.