Recently, I was at Target for my weekly shopping expedition, and I had one of those wonderful cashiers who was very understanding of my couponing endeavors. While I was smiling over my savings, she asked if I was a REDcard member. My first response was, “No thanks, I don’t need a credit card.” She smiled and said, “No, it’s not a credit card, it’s a rewards card that functions as a debit card.” I was skeptical, but she was so kind and friendly that I continued to listen to her sales pitch. Fifteen minutes later, I was signed up!

All I had to do was answer a few questions on the credit card machine — my name, address, the last four digits of my social security number — and I gave her a blank check to run through the register to connect to my checking account. Then I selected a password for the account, and I was done. She provided me with a receipt that had a temporary code to scan until I received my card in the mail.  I used it that very day and received five percent off my balance!

Remember, this is a debit card — it is linked to your bank account, and works just like the debit card issued by your bank. There is no line of credit, and it does not affect your credit history. As with any debit purchase, remember to keep track of what you spend in your check register.

So why should you consider a Target REDcard? Here are 6 reasons:

1. 5% back on every purchase

You get five percent off your total purchase when you use your REDcard, even online! Just swipe the card and enter your pin code. I love using my manufacturer and Target coupons at checkout and watching my total quickly decrease. Adding another five percent savings on top of my already low balance is amazing! Remember, this is a debit card and will come directly from your checking account, so make sure you have the funds in your checking account to cover your purchases.

2. Free shipping at

Every time I shop and use my REDcard, I get free shipping. And the best thing is, there’s no minimum purchase. Plus, I get an extra 30 days to do a return! How awesome is that? And don’t forget–on top of the free shipping, I’ve already received five percent off of my online purchase by using my Target REDcard!

3. Get cash back at checkout

Instead of going to an ATM to get cash, just use your REDcard to get up to $40 cash back when you check out! It’s a much safer option than going to an ATM, anyway. Again, remember to make sure there is enough money in your checking account to cover your expenditures.

4. Manage your REDcard account online and on your phone

I love anything that saves me time and money. Tracking my REDcard account on my iPhone saves me time! Being able to check my REDcard transactions – whether online or via my phone — makes my life easier.

5. Donate money to your child’s school

Target allows REDcard holders to donate up to one percent of REDcard purchases to your school of choice, whether it is your child’s school or a neighborhood school. With school funding at an all-time low, this is an excellent way to contribute to the education of kids in your neighborhood from kindergarten through the 12th grade! Just visit the Target website and click on the REDcard at the top to get started.

6. Target tracks suspicious account activity

I guard my finances rigorously and frequently check my accounts to make sure no unauthorized purchases are present. Target will call you if they detect any suspicious activity associated with your REDcard account. Identity Theft is prevalent, and Target is on board with protecting their customers’ information.


Target has become one of my most favorite places to shop since the store allows stacking of store and manufacturer coupons, a five-cent credit for each reusable bag you use, and five percent back and free shipping from their website with my REDcard. Why not get yourself a REDcard and take advantage of the savings?

This is a guest post by Tammy from St. Pauls, NC
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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48 thoughts on “6 Reasons to Use the Target REDcard Debit Card”

  1. Leslie says:

    Thank you for this post, I had to do a vigorous search on google to find something that can better explain the REDcard for me. It may be a year later since you have posted this, but Im glad its here. Stay Blessed!

  2. Amy Walton says:

    YES! it is amazing! I love it. :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree with this, although the sites I use (Cardpool and Plastic Jungle) have just started making their Target gift cards more than 5%. I think they are finally at 6% now. For the longest time, it was only 2-3%.

  4. lindavue says:

    I work at Target and a red card can be either a Credit or Debit card. And yes, the debit is associated with you’re checking account, that’s what I like about it and that’s what I would perferred. Save 5% every time and even more when you’re using coupons (:

  5. iFloyd says:

    The RedCard takes 5% off of your post-coupon total, correct? I just recently got a RedCard, and realized one way to think of its benefit is that it sort of pays your tax. My state sales tax is 6%, so it’s almost like I’m only paying 1% tax! Plus, the RedCard takes a percentage off of items you don’t even pay tax on (right?).

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, you are correct on both counts. It is post-coupons and you save even if you didn’t pay tax on the item (like food or medicine)

  6. MeMe Gray says:

    I’ll be signing up tomorrow. Always thought it was a credit card.

  7. Gettie says:

    Another AWESOME tip: When returning items purchased with your RedCard you don’t need a receipt. Just show your card and they’ll be able to find the transaction… LOVE that, cause I have a hard time holding on to my receipts.

  8. Glad to hear so many of you are happy with your REDcards!

  9. hdwilkes says:

    I can’t even imagine how it is legal for Target to do this. I for one don’t want anyone but my bank knowing about my finances and having access to my accounts. No way that I’m signing up for the REDcard! With so much identity theft out there….. I’ll pay the extra and have the peace of mind.

  10. AJ says:

    I absolutely LOVE my RedCard! It’s 100% worth it!

  11. Tracy says:

    I worked as a cashier for Target for a little over a year. Getting people to understand what the Red card actually IS was difficult. They heard Red card and automatically thought it was a credit card and most people wouldn’t listen when I tried to explain. The crappy thing is that part of an employee’s review is how many Red cards they can get signed up. Love shopping at Target, hated working there.

    • Michelle says:

      Yup, I completely understand. We are always pushing for RedCards for sales. Target tries to gain more loyal shoppers which is they offer the RedCard (credit or debit) for the additional 5% off. I know it’s difficult asking every guest for a RedCard when most shoppers ignore you, get upset, or who choose to be sarcastic. Sadly, we are only doing our jobs because in the end we can get bad reviews, thus, get corrective actions or write ups. OTHER than that, Target is a great place to shop and save.

  12. MissKristin says:

    The Target debit card is great =) 5% off plus my 10% employee discount plus coupons…it’s so awesome watching my total keep dropping=) If you can get past the annoyance of it taking a few extra days to go through your bank account it’s totally worth it. AND you can use it at the Starbucks in Target too, i love my coffee=)

  13. n00bcouponer says:

    We also have their credit redcard and don’t pay any interest. Saving extra 5 % combined with stacked coupons is great and no hassles for returns w/o receipt.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I love my Redcard, but I’ve never used it for cash back at checkout. I’m worried about bank fees. Does anyone know if Key Bank charges a fee for that?

    • Kelly says:

      It just adds the amount cash you want to your total bill!

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you! I wasn’t sure if Key considered it an “outside ATM” or something! I know sometimes they’ll charge a couple bucks if you use a different bank’s ATM…

  15. wow, I wish someone would have easily said it was a linked debit card a million years ago. How much money could I have saved?? TONS!!! thanks will be bringing my check book next time

  16. origmpb says:

    Also hassle free returns on purchases made with the REDcard! No receipt necessary!

  17. jason says:

    the only thing i don’t like about the red card is that i now have to choose:

    red card linked to my checking account for 5% discount…


    using my regular debit card linked to my checking account and my shopkick account to earn kicks.

    5% or kicks, 5% or kicks… ahhhh!

    • Elizabeth Davis says:

      I linked my target card to shopkick, works just the same!

      • jason says:

        Is your card the target debit card or the target credit card? Shopkick requires you to use a credit card for the purchase (or use a debit card as credit) and you can’t do that with the target debit card (requires a pin).

        I’ll try it again though. Maybe they have changed policies since I last checked.

        • fleurdelizzie says:

          Let me know what works! I use shopkick too and was thinking about getting a Target CC

    • Michelle says:

      Another possibility is getting a Target Credit Card and then pay off your purchase (in full) with you debit card that is linked to your shopkick account.

  18. Cheryl says:

    I LOVE my REDcard! I saved over $300 last year using my REDcard to purchase groceries. That’s like 2 weeks of groceries for free!!

  19. Waterproof Penguin says:

    When the Target just opened up in my area several years back, they weren’t offering the RedCard yet. I shopped for awhile and then I noticed that when they started promoting the RedCard credit card with 5% back, everything that I used to buy went up by at least 5%. I was a bit angry and felt like I HAD to get the card just to get the prices that I was used to paying just the month before. I got over it though and just consider it like having to use a loyalty card at other stores to get the discounts. You do have to adjust your thinking though that this is “saving” you money, when it really is just giving you what should be the fair price anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      I find the best prices at Target on the items I consistently buy, particularly with the ability to combine a manufacturer’s coupon with a Target store coupon. I do shop other places as well, but since getting the RedCard debit and understanding their coupon policy, I find their prices tend to be around 30% lower than traditional grocery stores.

      • Waterproof Penguin says:

        Absolutely agree. I like shopping at Target again since discovering they allow stacking. Now, most items I get there are with stacked coupons.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Agreed. Target redcard is totally worth signing up. Save over $20.00 a month plus the free shipping online is great!

  21. zoozoonana says:

    the only bad thing about the Redcard is that the transaction does go as a debit and not a credit (as you can do with most bank cards) My bank charges a fee when using debit card for any transaction so the savings isn’t always worth the 5% You may want to check with your bank policies before signing up

    • Anonymous says:

      if my bank charged me for debit transactions, i would be finding a new bank. anyway you can change ?, even a credit union should have better fees than that.

      • zoozoonana says:

        You are absolutely correct in your comment above, but so was mine. I am just suggesting people double check with there bank. Thank you for your concern over my banking choices

  22. Nora-Lee Rodriguez says:

    I’ve had their credit card for almost 7 years now, and I’ve always loved it but when they started the free shipping no minimum about a year ago, I was hooked. We do have the credit card and not the debit card and I do not pay any interest. I use it as a grocery budget, so when I get to my set limit for the month I just don’t use it anymore and pay always in full. It helps those days when you need groceries and get paid in a couple of days and I can use it anywhere, even if I don’t get to target. Totally worth having this card. Especially since you should NEVER buy online with a debit card, if someone steals your information, they are taking money directly from your bank account. If you use a credit card, the bank will reimburse you, even if there is interest. The bank will also reimburse you on your debit card, but the process takes a few days, in the meantime you are out of whatever money crooks decide to spend. My husband works for a major bank and sees this every day.

  23. shubbard8 says:

    The FREE shipping you get is worth getting the card alone! The 5% really adds up too!

  24. Lwallace13 says:

    I totally dislike target. I applied for the red card about 3 months ago and they denied it. ”Reason why? I do not know. The only reason on the plain letter I received from them, said that they could not do it at that time. Isn’t a debit card? then I supposed that if you have money in your bank account it should not be that difficult. I am so frustrated with target :(

    • Margaret Smith says:

      Hmmm….I think I would give Corporate a call on that one!

    • Emma says:

      While they might not give you a reason why they denied you, they do tell you if they used either Transunion, Experian or Equifax to determine your “credit worthiness”. There’s a ref # on the letter and I think you have something like 30-90 days to get the credit report they pulled to see the reason why they may have denied you. But like the other poster said it would hurt to call the credit department to see if they could reconsider you.

      • Emma says:

        I mean it wouldn’t hurt to call them so they can reconsider you. Also the credit report they used is free to you but only for the stated time on the letter from target.

        • Lwallace13 says:

          Thank you!

          • Sha Wri says:

            Another reason could be if your DL address and bank address don’t match. My bank address went to my PO Box and my DL has my street address. It could also be as simple as the cashier keyed something incorrectly. So, it could be several very innocent reasons.

            • Lwallace13 says:

              The address is the same on both, but you may be right. It could be a mistake. Thank you!

  25. SouthernCali says:

    I just got my Red Card in the mail. Love it! I also have the Target credit card but don’t want to pay interest so when the cashier offered the debit card I signed up. Not sure how Target makes any money off this new card but I get 5% off of every purchase :)

    • My sister used to work at Target and the RED card uses their own bank so they don’t have to pay fees to process it like they do with other cards. One thing that I don’t like is that the funds don’t come out of my account right away, it usually takes a couple of days.

      • Anonymous says:

        I have the same issue. At first I was a little annoyed by it, but after a decade of half-hearted, sloppy, and incomplete checkbook maintenance I have once again started balancing my checkbook on a regular basis because of the Target debit card. It has not only saved me money over the last year, but driven me to start keeping a better handle on my own finances and paying more attention to what I spend, when I spend it and how much I have left.