I’ve been driving around all day, unloading the last of my Amex gift cards and finally got around to checking my email. Reader Brian sent me a link to a post stating that starting tomorrow, Target will no longer allow Redbirds loads with a credit card. Apparently there’s been a lot of fraud (as there always is with prepaid cards) and Target has circulated a memo, stating that today would be the last day credit cards would be accepted for Redbird loads. If you haven’t hit your $5,000 maximum for the month, you still have a few hours left to knock out another $2,500 per card.
While I realized this wouldn’t last very long, I’m surprised it’s happening so suddenly. A few days ago, I was at the Target store in Davis, CA where a cashier checked with a manager about whether Amex gift cards were an acceptable payment form for Redbird loads. The manager replied that it was ok, but “our policy on that will change soon.” It makes sense for them to put a stop to gift card loads, but if they stop credit card loads, how will the Target Prepaid REDcard be any different from the RED debit card, which is linked to a checking account? Especially if cash or debit becomes the only acceptable loading method. We might still be able to use Visa gift cards if debit loads are allowed, but they might eventually put a stop to that just like Walmart did.
I’m hoping this change is regional. After all, when CVS implemented a cash-only policy for Vanilla Reloads, lots of folks were able to buy them with a credit card in select regions. While my local Rite Aid hard-coded their registers not to accept credit cards for Vanilla Reload purchases, people out in Michigan didn’t have this problem. Hopefully this is yet another regional policy change or at least one that will be implemented (very) slowly nationally. It may still be bad news for Bay Area residents, as Brian tells me the Target store in Alameda has already hard coded their registers to reject credit card payments for Redbird loads.
If Target does implement this new policy, I hope at the very least it won’t apply to Amex for Target cards (which, incidentally, have been disappearing from Bay Area stores lately). If the new policy is implemented and it does apply to all prepaid cards, then it may be time to switch back to Bluebird and deal with the mess that are Visa gift card loads. I’ll personally throw in the towel before I ever step into another Walmart store again, in which case it may be time to find more creative ways to earn miles in the future.
Have you heard anything about this change to Target Prepaid REDcards (aka Redbird)?
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