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So yesterday was the day of the infamous “memo” instructing Target stores to no longer allow credit card loads of the American Express Target Redcard (i.e. #Redbird).  Frequent Miler, among others, had the information (as usual for this kind of stuff).  I of course had JUST gotten my Redbird a few weeks ago, late to the party as usual, so I was doubly bummed.  Triply bummed because I had just signed up for a new credit card churn and had been counting on my 2 Redbirds to help me meet the minimum spending on it.  I don’t have the cards yet, so I couldn’t even get one last hurrah in.

Heading to Target this morning

My plan was to just head to Target first thing in the morning and pretend like nothing had happened.  Memo?  What memo?

I got there right as the store opened at 8 a.m. EDT.  I actually didn’t realized that was the store opening time – I just figured they’d be open but I was literally the first person in the store.  I stopped at the check lane and asked the cashier to load money on to the card.  She said they’d have to do it at Guest Services.  While in my mind I thought “whatever….”, since I know they do them at the check lanes as well, I just followed her along.

Credit card load… take 1

I gave her my #Redbird and asked to load $500 on it.  She said nothing and just went through the regular loading process.  I swiped my American Express Every Day card

We then got the message that is probably going to be famous….

$0 able to be loaded for this tender type

We tried a couple of different times – she was very nice about it.

Credit card load… take 2

Next try – I had a Chase Ink card.  In case there was something wrong with American Express cards (due to the relationship that they have with Target / Redcard.

Same message – “$0 able to be loaded for this tender type”

Debit / gift card loads?

I had a couple of $200 Vanilla Visa gift cards in my pocket that I got from the Office Depot / Office Max free money extravaganza that they’re having this week, so I thought I would try those.

I asked to try another card, this time a debit card, for $200.  She had no problem with it, so I swiped them, and they came up with the PIN selection screen – I entered my PIN and it worked.  I only had 2 Vanilla Visas but they both worked with no problem.

Applying some science

Frequent Miler had another great post today where he talked about his plans for today in trying to figure out what was and was not allowed.

Specifically, he asked

  1. Is the credit card ban in effect in all Target stores?
  2. Is the new policy hard coded into the register or left to the cashier to enforce?
  3. The memo specifically said that no 3rd party credit cards would be accepted.  How about 1st party credit cards?  Will they work?  What are they?  Target cards?  Amex cards?  If Amex cards work, will they earn rewards?
  4. Can debit cards be used as payment?
  5. Can Visa/MasterCard gift cards be used for payment?  If so, which ones?

I am an engineer by trade, so this kind of “scientific” approach appeals to me.  In the hopes of adding more data points, here were my answers:

  1. Cincinnati – no credit cards were allowed
  2. Hard coded
  3. I tried an American Express Every Day and Chase Ink – both did not work
  4. n/a
  5. I used a $200 Vanilla Visa (twice) and it worked both times

(UPDATE: I compiled a list of the experiences that people have had trying to load the Target Red Card / Redbird with various types of payment)

Stay tuned as this is a breaking topic!  Feel free to share your experiences in the comments

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