I'll be honest, I didn't get a REDcard until last year. It's pretty embarrassing when I think about the money we could have been saving (hello diapers), just because I tuned out the cashier's little speech each time I reached the checkout. I thought the REDcard only came in credit card form, and we are a family on a cash-or-debit-only kinda budget. I was wrong though, and I think if you're putting off the REDcard, you may want to take a second look at the ways it can save you big, and what you need to know before you sign up!

The basics

The REDcard is actually two different cards: a debit card and a credit card. You can choose which REDcard you want to apply for—or apply for both.

Debit Card details:

  • Linked to your checking account (same as a bank debit card)
  • No annual fee
  • Has a PIN of your choice for extra security
  • Includes cash withdrawal privileges of up to $40 (at Target stores only)
  • Online account management
  • You must be age 16 or older to apply and have an address in the U.S.A. or Canada
  • You must have a checking account based in the U.S.A.
  • Easy to apply for—you can even apply online!

Visa Credit Card details:

  • Charge card privileges for Target and Target.com purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Online account management and payment options
  • You must be age 18 or older to apply and have an address in the U.S.A. or Canada
  • Easy to apply for—you can even apply online!

REDcard perks

The REDCard is designed to help Target lovers save even more…and keep coming back.

  • Save 5% every time you use it
  • Free shipping (with no minimum purchase amount) on all Target.com purchases
  • You get 30 extra days for making your returns
  • Stackable savings when you use the card for shopping and pharmacy (5% savings for each adds up to 10% savings).
  • Target will donate 1% of the amount of your purchases in-store and online at Target.com to your child's school (or your favorite school if you don't have kids).

Your REDcard may not be a credit card, but it can trip you up.

Let's get this one out there first…you don’t have to get the credit card. If you get the bank card, money will come straight out of your checking, just like a debit card. Target does have a credit card, so make sure you get the correct one (they will ask for a voided check to sign up for a debit card). Here's the thing though, the money doesn't come out instantly. I've found it tends to be withdrawn from my account on Tuesdays and Fridays (it might vary from bank to bank). It does not put the money on a “hold” either, so you need to make sure you write that amount down and count it as spent! The card carries hefty fees for insufficient funds. Some states show a charge as much as $40 if your checking can’t cover the cost when it’s withdrawn. Again, the days when the money is withdrawn have not shown to be consistent, so the best thing is to keep a written record—like a checkbook ledger—if you're concerned it will overdraft.

You have a limited timeline if you lose your REDcard or have it stolen.

According to the Target website, if you happen to misplace your REDcard, you need to make sure you call right away. You only have a four-day window to report your stolen or lost card before you’ll be liable for the damages. If you report it in that four-day window, you’ll only be liable for up to $50 of the charges if they're made. Reporting outside that window means you can be liable for up to $500. Ouch! The REDcard is also not a typical debit card in that you can’t use it at an ATM…but you can get cash back at Target with it.

Although there are a few quirks with this particular debit card, the savings are well worth it if you’re diligent in keeping track of your card and your purchases. My REDcard has saved our family over $100 so far this year. It's well worth the little bit of work to save quite a bit and also garner free shipping from the site.

This is a guest post by Grace from Medford, OR.

 

 

How to Save the Most with Target's REDcard