Posted by Chuck on October 6, 2014
Manufactured Spending

Published on October 6th, 2014 | by Chuck

22

The New 7% Target Red Card, and More on the Amex RedCard

The big news recently was the new  Bluebird alternative, the Amex Target RedCard, which just rolled out. See American Express Launches Prepaid Target REDcard Similar To Serve/Bluebird.

I’d like to discuss a completely different use of this new RedCard, which is how I’ll be using it. I’d also like to add a few thoughts about the potential of this new product.

The 7% Off Card for Target Shopping

As we know, Target offers a RedCard which gives 5% off most purchases at Target. I’m not referring to the new Amex Target RedCard, I’m referring to an old card which all of you are probably familiar with. I shop in Target often and I prefer it to Walmart for a number of reasons, and I love getting 5% off all my shopping. I buy groceries, pharmaceuticals, personal hygiene items – just about all daily-use items.

Until now, it’s never been possible to get credit card points on top of the 5% discount; since you’re using the Target RedCard – whether the credit version or the debit version – you only get the 5% discount, nothing more.

All that just changed with the launch of the Amex RedCard.

First, a few facts:

  • the temporary Amex RedCard can be purchased with a credit card (link).
  • the temporary card can be purchased even by those who have a Bluebird/Serve card; it’s just the permanent version which will be denied to those who have Bluebird/Serve.
  • the temporary card does get 5% off at Target – it’s explicit in the FAQ’s.

So what I’ll be doing is going every couple months and purchasing a temporary Amex RedCard, loading it with a few hundred dollars (going through the hassle of entering my SSN and driver’s license each time), and paying for it with a credit card.

Essentially, it’s a way of purchasing a Target gift card at a 5% discount, and paying with a credit card. Since I value credit card points at about 2%, I’m calling it the 7% off card, but you can plug in whatever number you want according to your evaluations. [EDIT: And it could be as much as a 10% card if you have a Visa or Mastercard which gives 5% back at supermarkets, see here and here]

Other Thoughts

In conclusion, I want to be clear that it’s not that I don’t think the Amex RedCard (“RedBird” as someone wanted to call it) isn’t big news for using it as a permanent card. I think it’s huge news. I can see myself switching to the permanent RedCard sometime in the future, though not now.

See, I predict that within a year or two, Serve will no longer be able to be loaded online with a credit card. Once that happens, the Amex RedCard becomes a very promising alternative to Serve, because:

  • I shop there anyway
  • much less lines than Walmart (at least in my area)
  • more pleasant, nicer environment
  • in my experience, GiftCardMall Visa gift cards default as debit cards
  • hopefully Vanilla will also default as a debit card (though there’s already one FlyerTalk data-point indicating that it defaults as a credit card)
  • Target POS is known to “eat-up” the balance of gift cards. If I’m not mistaken, this works even when the gift card is processed as a debit card. So will that mean that we’ll be able to tell the cashier “$1000”, and then get the 5 $200 gift cards “eaten up”, without having to train the cashier how to do it, like we need to do in Walmart?
  • Target POS allows at least 7 cards to be used in one transaction (and I believe the true number is higher). Will we be able to drain 7-in-1, trumping the 3-card limit for loading Bluebird/Serve in Walmart?

The reason why I’m not convinced that I’ll change to Amex RedCard in the future is because I haven’t seen anywhere that the RedCard is eligible for Amex Offers, which I find very valuable. However, I did notice that the entire Amex RedCard website is a sub-domain of serve.com (contrast that to bluebird.com). So I do see the possibility that it will be able to get Amex Offers like Serve can, at least some time in the future.

One other note: it’s been mentioned the possibility that Serve will become loadable in Target sometime in the future. If that happens, then of course there would be no reason to switch from Serve to RedCard, since we’d be able to choose Target or Walmart with Serve, making it the best of all worlds.

In any event, even if I do switch sometime in the future to the permanent RedCard, I’ll still be buying temporary RedCards in order to get 5% plus credit card points, as mentioned before.



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Kyle
Kyle

Why limit yourself to 7% off? Most Targets code as grocery for Visa/MC. If you’re on WF promo that’s 10%. I’ll personally probably use Sallie Mae even though limit is $250/month at 5%.

scott
scott

Why do you prefer Serve over Bluebird?

Arielle Bianchimano
Arielle Bianchimano

If you already have a Target Red Credit card, you already have the ability to double dip. Target credit cards can be paid through Evolve as well as in store with debit gift cards.

HokiE36
HokiE36

“Target will provide you with 5% off purchases paid for with your Prepaid REDcard at Target stores in the U.S. and Target.com, except on prescriptions, Target gift cards and prepaid cards, Target Clinic® services, Target Optical® eye exams, and where prohibited by law. 5% discount applies to eligible purchases minus any other discounts and the value of any promotional Target gift cards received in the transaction. See program rules in Target store or Target.com/prepaidredcard for details. Target reserves the right to discontinue or alter the terms of the program at any time.”
^^^^^^^^——->”except on prescriptions, Target gift cards and prepaid cards”

Hello Chuck, when you talking about 5% back, did you mean you buy other store GC, rather than Target GC and prepaid cards (I guess VISA/Mastercard/AMEX prepaid GC)? I don’t shop at Target much, but I somehow remember, when you buy a Target GC, the RedCard wouldn’t give me 5% off. I can’t be sure that is due to the cashier, or the register though.

Scott - but not the Scott above
Scott - but not the Scott above

The double dip made possible by paying your RedCard store card via debit (Evolve or in-store) is lucrative enough that you should never be using this disposible card technique.

Both routes earn the 5% Target discount, but you are only getting 2% of additional value vs. up to 5% you can get with a properly purchased giftcard.

Furthermore, with your approach you are always pre-paying, in increments where you need to predict how much you plan to spend at Target, vs. paying up to almost 2 months after the fact in just the exact increment you already spent at Target.

TimmyD
TimmyD

Can you do anything with the temporary cards without registering them? It sounds like you were just planning to spend them as an Amex card at Target. I guess we can’t use them at an ATM without registering them, since we don’t have a PIN. Same deal with Bill Pay or any other feature.

Travel4me
Travel4me

Could you refer me to info on how to train Walmart cashier to use more than one debit card per transaction ?
Thanks.

Lee
Lee

Can I get redcard with my info & register online to someone else?

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