Target: REDcard Debit Card (5% off purchases, FREE shipping, easy returns)

by Kate from Frugal Living NW on March 19, 2012

I’m interested in looking into the Target REDcard debit card. I think there are some great advantages to the card and at this point I can only see one potential drawback. But, that is where you, the reader, can help me decide if this is a good deal.

The Pros:

:: 5% discount on every purchase

:: Debit card (BIG plus, I’m not opening a credit card!)

:: Target returns made easier. Target returns are a huge hassle with cash if you have lost your receipt. This would make it easier to return (as it would if you used your regular debit card)

:: 1% of all purchases goes to your school of choice.

:: FREE shipping at + 5% off your purchase.

The Cons:

:: It’s not cash. As many of you, we use the cash envelope system for all of our purchases. This would require some discipline to make sure I take money out of the envelope and either store it for next month or deposit it into our checking account right away. Has anyone come up with a good system for this?

:: It typically takes 1-3 days for purchases to post to your checking account.

My family spends about $20 a week at Target. That’s a rough estimate. I’m sure there are other weeks I get suckered into buying some cute hoodie along with my other purchases.  Who can resist a 5% discount on a cute hoodie?!?

Should I take the plunge? Does anyone already have the Target REDcard Debit card? Share your thoughts.

This post may contain affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information.

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Ivy July 31, 2013 at 10:16 pm

I love my redcard. I signed up for the debit option when I got a job at target so I could use the 5% savings on top of my 10% discount. The first thing I did was go online and find a new mattress since the one I had was an unconformable little twin. I was able to get a memory foam mattress for about $200, which would have cost me $255 if I didn’t have the redcard. at first it bothered me that the transactions took 2 or 3 days to go through, but since I write all my purchases down anyways it wasn’t really a big deal.


tk July 21, 2013 at 7:48 am

I use my target debit every time I shop at Target. I know that a few people have stated they don’t like the fact that it takes a few days to hit your bank account? Well, I actually like that fact, it has saved me few times when I was in a pinch and needed a few items before my pay check went through. fyi:Nordstrom debit card is the same way too:).


TANIA July 5, 2013 at 5:04 pm



Abby December 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I have the Red card debit and I live it. You do have to be responsible with your checking account because it does take a couple days to post. The 5% can be a great savings over a year and as some have said with coupons and the additional 5% with pharmacy refills you can save even more. This is one way to get a card that saves you money without another credit card.
No downside that I have seen with my card.


Kathryn November 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I have used the target debit card for online purchaces.. The only thing I don’t like is that it takes a LONG time for them to take it out of my cheking account! I purchased some stuff on Nove 15 and Nov 22 and it still has not come out of my account yet. I have a feeling they wait until the item has been delivered? I don’t like that.. I want it to come out instantly so I don’t have to buget around those purchases.


Samiah Zabel November 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

Seems like I’m the only one here who’s going to say this, but I opened the target RED debit card, and I hate it. It takes 1-3 days to post a charge, and 3-5 to post a credit. As a college student, who doesn’t know what my Professor will ask us to buy or when I might need some starbucks to pull an alnighter, I cannot afford to have my money in limbo like that. Especially when I know that my debit card gives me the money back instantly.

There’s another problem that I have too: due to the card, customers don’t even bother checking prices anymore. It used to be Target’s draw that they had awesome prices for awesome quality goods, so it’s sad when I see stores like Ulta, carrying the same products for 5-8 bucks cheaper. Sure you may save $15 dollars a year at target, but you’d save that in one trip for beauty supplies and shampoo at Ulta, and other stores I’m sure.

Obviously people think they are getting something for nothing, that’s the appeal, and it’s advertised as being catch free, in fact the managers will tell you it’s just to take customers from Walmart, but I think it causes people to blindly spend more money than they should… At the end of the day this is a capitalistic nation, nothing is for free. But this is just an observation, take it for what it’s worth to you.


Traci March 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I love mine–signed up for the REDcard debit card to buy my iPad. At the time it was the ONLY way to get a discount easily on an iPad and I was happy to have it! I’ve had no problems with it.


Jessica March 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

I signed up for it last spring and love the additional savings. We moved from Oregon to Kansas last fall and have changed banks. Now I miss it because its not attached to my new bank account (really need to fix that!) and I kick myself every time I’m there for not taking care of it. It used to take 3 days to debit from our US Bank account, but like another comment, I’m diligent with receipts, so I write it down almost immediately. I too have found it makes returns easier and employees friendlier. And I think I get more catalina/Target coupons back upon checkout.


cara March 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

I have the target debit card and I love it! So excited for the free shipping!


Sherry March 21, 2012 at 5:32 am

I do not have a Target REDcard but if I were looking at it, I’d make sure it was affiliated with a major network (Visa, Mastercard, etc). Otherwise you do not have the fraud protection and limited fraud liability that you would with a major network card. Also, many financial institutions are waiving their account fees if you use their debit card a prescribed number of times. If use of the REDcard means you no longer meet the minimum requirements of your financial institution, you’d want to make sure your 5% cashback is greater than what your account fee would be.


Heidi March 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I would just like to add that if your Target has a Starbucks in it you can get 5% back on your coffees too, when you use your Red debit card! I have no complaints with my card!!!


Dave June 7, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Thanks, I wanted to know that for sure, but can’t find it on their website. It’s unfortunate you don’t get the stars using the Target card vs the Starbucks cards. At least no way I can think of.


Tanya March 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Love my redcard! I only have the debit card and I especially love to use it for groceries. An extra 5% is welcome! I live in Seattle and we have to pay almost 10% tax on everything (besides most groceries). It is nice to get a little break from that, too.


Stephanie March 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

What about having multiple debit cards? Can you attach both Nordstrom and Target or other companies?


Roanna March 20, 2012 at 7:31 am

I have no idea if anyone will read this but I almost got the card but read the thick pamphlet that comes with it to let you know what you’re getting into and you have no choice to opt out of any of the stipulations of the card. They sell nearly ALL your information, things you would probably not want out there. Ask for a pamphlet next time you are there. They make the card so good you’ll use it for a reason. They are getting more money selling your info.


susie March 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm

You can check out what information is shared here (and the one thing you can call and opt out of, if you choose):

I hate to tell you this – but most credit card companies have the same sharing standards. Your information is floating around lots of places you probably wouldn’t enjoy it floating around. Unless you opt to not have a credit card at all (which – power to you! not trying to knock it), your best bet is to just really monitor your accounts and unsubscribe when you can.


Rose March 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Returns using the card are as difficult as paying cash and getting more difficult. After an hour wait on a Target phone to get authorization on a return (seems their policy changed without any notification) I was told I was a loyal customer for three years and they thanked me, then refused to refund my purchase. So much for being loyal. I now pay cash at Target only IF I have to shop there. I’d rather spend my money elsewhere and I am finding the same prices at stores that have better refund policies. It’s all about CUSTOMER SERVICE which Target has discounted tremendously.


Liz March 19, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Any store credit card is good ONLY at that particular store..when you fill out an application for one, it also zaps your credit score, as in, it reduces your score. I have never applied for one because of it. The bad outweighs the good in my opinion.


Beth March 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Not all banks take the Target Red Card. I know for sure that US Bank in Washington state and Wells Fargo don’t take the Target Red Card. So don’t be disappointed if you try to sign up and it won’t let you.


Heather July 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

Wells fargo does except the target debit card.


Janet March 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I have the Target credit card. Every time I use it, I walk directly over to Customer Service and pay the charge in full. That way, every time I get the bill the balance is zero!


Michelle October 31, 2013 at 10:37 pm

So when you pay it off, do you pay in cash or with a debit card from the bank?


Kate from Frugal Living NW November 1, 2013 at 8:11 am

It’s a debit card so it automatically withdraws from my checking account at the time of purchase.


karrie k March 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I love my red card. Shipping is free & makes returns easy if you lose your receipts……or have so many you can’t find the right one like me.


Lisa March 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm

I resisted so long – thought it was another credit card offer. When it actually sunk in that it was a debit card & attached to my reg. checking acct., I just couldn’t pass up the 5% savings. I have it & I totally LOVE the savings!


Emily March 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I have been debating signing up. I don’t like the idea of stores being connected to my checking account. It feels risky. But I think I’ve been convinced that it’s a good deal. The easy returns and free shipping are winning me over.


Nancy March 19, 2012 at 4:32 pm

We have the Target credit card, have it for a long time. We always pay the balance in full each month, since its mostly for groceries and the like. Love getting the extra 5% off, helps make the choice of where I buy things if comes to places having the same price. Love the idea of free shipping online, since their shipping costs are high. I think its a good idea, go for it!!


dawn March 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I have used my Red Debit card for a long time now and I love it. As far as I can see the only draw back is the cash option. I never worry about losing my receipts because I can just give them my Red card and they can find it.


Tim March 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm

We have a Red Card Debit – it is very annoying how long it takes to hit the bank (Chase especially) some times. However, when I can score an extra 5% off my wife’s new Nook Tablet? Win all around. If you fill 5 prescriptions at their pharmacy on that rewards program, they’ll send you a coupon for another 5% off in a single day of shopping, so on those occasions I’ve gotten almost 10% off (the second 5% comes off the reduced total, so it’s not technically 10% of the original total).

For those wondering, getting one means a new (additional) debit card with it’s own PIN for use at Target only and in no way interferes with any existing debit cards from your bank or elsewhere. It’s effectively an electronic check as far as your bank is concerned.


Chelsea March 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I would like to know if you get a red card, can you still use your original bank debit for other stores etc?


Krista March 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Absolutely! The Target Red Card does NOT replace your regular debit card….its just like having another debit card that you only use at Target.


Misti March 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Red Card! I already spend money at Target on a weekly basis, so why not save more? They give you the 5% plus I get a ton more coupons using it. The returns are super easy and I no longer have to keep a receipt (I still do for price matching, etc) but its great if I happen to forget.
It took me a month or so to do some research and I could not come up with any cons…. well now I shop there more so maybe that is one. :)


Rita March 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I LOVE my Target debit. We saved soooo much during the holidays on shipping alone. Plus if you have a big purchase such as clearance furniture online you dont have to pay shipping which is really nice because we all know shipping costs can hurt at times! Also, you are more likely to get the extra coupon books Target sends out. :)


Ariel March 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I have it and love saving money without needing to open a credit card. I would suggest checking with your bank first to make sure you have unlimited debit transactions; I’ve had an account that limited the numbed of debits per month before.


april March 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm

If you’re going to spend the money there anyway, why not?
I think you should pull cash from your envelope (say $60/mo) and deposit it into your account strictly for the debit purchases. Once you hit your max amount, you’re done for the month. If you find it too taxing to keep track, then you can always cancel it. No harm no foul :)


Dianna March 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I have the card and I like it too. My husband on the other hand gets frustrated by the length of time it takes to show up on our account. But, the 5% off is great. I know nothing about the mobile site. I ONLY use it at the store. If you prefer using cash for your purchases I would leave that $20 in the account instead of pulling it out. That way you’re planning how much you are spending there as if it were cash in an envelope. Saving 5% is better than paying cash in my book. That’s my 2 cents. :)


AnnMarie March 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I have the debit card and love it. The discount even works when you buy electronics! I have mine attached to a specific debit card that I use for my budgeted shopping expenses. I also have that attached to so that I can keep track of my expenses/categories.


Sara B March 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I love my Target Debit card. It takes the funds directly out of your checking account in 1-2 days. I haven’t found any drawbacks yet and I’ve used it since December!


Raquella March 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

We opened a Target debit card when my husband worked for Target because that was the only way we could use his discount. Now that he no longer works there, I still use it for bigger purchases and at (so I can get free shipping with no min purchase. I love that!). For smaller trips, I use my cash. But it is nice to have it when I want to use it.


stephanie March 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Does it debit from a specified checking acct? You don’t have a new acct. set up right? I have never understood this?


Sam March 19, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I set it up so it comes out of my regular checking account.


Tracy March 20, 2012 at 7:54 am

You need a blank check and ID to open the Debit Card. Whatever check you use is the account the card is attached too.


Otto March 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Have you asked about paying by check at Target? I was too busy yesterday trying to make sure that my cashier was scanning my Revlon tools correctly to pay much attention to his advertising spiel, but he told me something about earning a discount off each purchase similar to their Red Card if you pay with check. A new policy maybe? Very interesting if Target is finding that they come out ahead financially with customer use of checks instead of plastic.


Tracy March 20, 2012 at 7:53 am

He was talking about opening a Target Debit Card. You need a blank check and ID to open the Debit Card. They use the bank routing and transit and account number at the bottom of the check to attach the Debit Card to that checking account so you can control what account you want the card attached too. I’ve had my Target Debit for about three years and have never had any trouble using it or returning items. For me, it’s awesome. Don’t forget that if you use the Target pharmacy you also get extra rewards. My Nurse Practioner LOVES their pharmacy.


Sam March 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I have the card and I LOVE it! I have always shopped at Target, but more-so since I’ve been following your website for the great deals, especially the stackable coupon ones! I have 3 kids and it has saved me a lot of money so far. The only drawback I have is that, at least for me, it takes a few days before the debit is actually deducted from my account. I am still glad I did it and recommend it to anyone who regularly shops at Target!!! :)


Alison March 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I have a Target debit card and love it! It’s so nice to be able to get a discount at a place I love to shop. The only thing I don’t like is that sometimes it takes a day or two longer to show up in my bank account. I’ve used my debit card on online purchases so unless their policy has changed I think you can.


Annette March 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Target debit card. I do a lot of my normal shopping there for food, household items, clothing, gifts, etc. 5% really does add up! It’s great for things like Christmas shopping when I planned to buy a lot of things there anyway. I also love that I get free shipping all the time from their website. I’ve been able to take advantage of the deals when they have coupon codes out and pair it with some clearance items to pay just a few dollars for great items with free shipping.

The only drawback for me is that it doesn’t come immediately out of my checking account like my bank’s debit card does. It takes a couple days. But I’m really organized with tracking my receipts and budgeted spending that it’s not an issue for me. But for someone who is used to cash it could be a little harder to adjust to.


Lisa March 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm

So with thew debit card does it offer free shipping on any online purchase? I will definitely be signing up if that’s the case!


Lori March 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Yes, you do get free shipping with the REDcard debit or credit.


Ashley March 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I’ve had mine since last year and love saving the extra 5%. Like others have said, the only drawback for me is that it takes 1-3 days or so for it to come out of your checking account so you have to remember to write it down in your checkbook register. I have also been hassled a little bit from certain stores when returning something I bought and wanting cash back. They said the only way to get the refund is it going back onto your RedCard or a Target gift card. I actually called and talked to someone at corporate and they said there is nothing that states that you cannot get cash back for a return if you used your RedCard because it is just a debit card. All in all though, I think it is worth it since we shop with them a lot.


Heidi March 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm

I never have had a problem with returns in fact my Target asks me if I want my account credited or cash back. I’ve returned several items. Hope you have better luck in the future.

P.S. I got my debit card for the free shipping but have discovered that the 5% really adds up even with my low totals from using coupons. I’ve already saved over $12 this year!


Heidi March 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Oh, and I got a coupon today for a free Target “easy mac” just for using my red card. Anyone else get coupon perks for using theirs?


Howard March 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I practically never shopped at our nearby Target until I started reading posts on this website. Now I go at least once a week for bargains. I signed up for the credit card Saturday–they gave me a temp card with a $3000 credit limit. So far most of my purchases have come to $1 or less thanks to stacked cpns, so I may not use the card very often.


Ann March 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I have the credit card (we pay the balance every month) and love it! I buy some of my groceries there and love getting 5% off meat and produce. The free shipping is handy for buying presents for others.


Nichole Kytlica March 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I love the REDcard debit, it’s convenient, easy to use and there are no hidden fees,strings attached since it is not a credit card!!


Tiffani March 19, 2012 at 2:16 pm

How do you sign up?


Krista March 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Just tell your cashier that you’d like to sign up….they will LOVE you! (It is recorded how many Red Cards each cashier signs up….they get prizes, etc. for getting the most or whatever little contest they have going on at the moment.)


Jayne Simonson October 14, 2013 at 10:26 am

It’s not just the “little contests” for the cashiers: their annual raises (and sometimes continued employment) depend on their pushing these cards. The debit card is a great deal; the credit card, not so much.


k March 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Need to bring in a voided check.


Tammy March 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm

We have the card and love it. I’m the Fundraising Coordinator for the Booster Club at our local high school. Budgets are shrinking every year and schools are getting less and less funding support. The need for organizations/parent groups to fund-raise has become vital! A lot of people aren’t in a position to make donations but this is a great way to support the schools without it costing you any extra. It’s a win/win!


Dee March 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I didn’t know Target offered this but love it with Nordstrom’s because like you said, you don’t have to open a credit card but you still get all the rewards. I will definitely be signing up for this. As April said above, leave the cash in your checking account and track purchases with your receipts or a running tally in your envelope.


Dorothy March 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I love my card. I use it when I buy diapers that way I always save. :)


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