99.999% of the time – if a cashier asks you if want to open their store's credit card, you should say no.
They're usually a bad deal.
And normally we don't get excited about retailer cards because they aren't great deals. They may give you 10% off your purchase or a gift card, but the terms are fairly pedestrian.
But today we're going to take a look at one massive retailer's card – Target's REDcard – because almost everyone has shopped at a Target before and the REDcard offers something many other cards don't.
When you see the benefits provided by the Target REDcard, you might be shopping there even more… just don't bring your kids to The One Spot if you don't want to leave with a few bonus gifts. 🙂
About the Target REDcard
The Target REDcard comes in two “flavors,” debit cards and credit cards.
As is often the case with retail cards, they're issued by a partnering bank. In this case, it's TD Bank USA and issued under the Mastercard label. The cards are limited to use within the Target organization, but they offer generous benefits in that direction.
The Target REDcard Debit Card
The Target REDcard Debit Card is linked to your existing checking account, which is at least somewhat surprising, given that it's issued by TD Bank. Nonetheless, you can link it to any US-based bank checking account, which gives you complete control over the card spending limit.
As is the case with all debit cards, you avoid the interest rates that come with credit cards. This is especially important with store-issued credit cards because they generally have very high interest rates. The Target REDcard Debit Card has no fees, other than any that might be charged by your own bank for use of the card, and you even have the option of withdrawing up to $40 in cash at checkout.
Not only does it offer you most of the benefits of the Target REDcard Credit Card, but you can also obtain the card without a credit check. If you have an existing checking account with your bank, you're already qualified.
The main disadvantage of the Target REDcard Debit Card is that, unlike a bank issued debit card, it cannot be used outside Target. You'll have to maintain the current debit card you have attached to your checking account for outside spending.
The Target REDcard Debit Card can be used mainly to take advantage of the benefits offered through the card when you shop with Target.
The Target REDcard Credit Card
The Target REDcard Credit Card comes with all the features and perks of the debit card but is a line of credit. The annual percentage rate for purchases is 25.15%, and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. The card has no annual fee, but there is a late charge of up to $39.
But for all other practical purposes, the credit and debit cards are similar.
Target REDcard Features and Benefits
5% off everyday. The biggest benefit of the Target REDcard is 5% off most Target and Target.com purchases. When you check out, the 5% discount is automatically deducted and there is no limit to this discount. You don't have to redeem rewards or get cash back, it's a 5% discount right off the top.
Unfortunately, it's not 5% off everything – it doesn't apply to prescriptions or over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter, use of a Target clinic, Target Optical eye exams (though it does apply to optical products, including glasses and contact lenses), gift cards, prepaid cards, Stockpile, Gift of College and lottery gift cards; certain Target restaurant merchants (like Pret A Manger or D'Amico & Sons Italian Kitchen), gift wrap and shipping and handling charges on Target.com purchases, and wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by a mobile carrier.
But that still leaves the merchandise in the entire store, and if you're a regular Target shopper, it can provide substantial savings.
15% off on baby essentials. Make your purchases using the debit or credit card, and you can get a total of 15% off on select diapers, wipes, and formula. To be eligible, you must click the “subscribe to save 5%” checkbox to receive the subscription savings. The benefit applies only to online purchases, and not in-store.
REDcard Extended Returns. You'll get an extra 30 days to return purchases beyond the standard return policy for each item purchased. For example, if an item has a 30-day return attached to it, you'll get 60 days when you make the purchase using the credit or debit card.
REDcard Free Shipping at Target.com. The offer applies on any items shipped using standard shipping. (Shipping fees will apply if you use an upgraded shipping method.) Shipping is good in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
You also qualify for free two-day shipping on thousands of eligible items. Eligibility varies by market and is determined by the location of the item and the destination ZIP Code.
Early Access. As a cardholder, you'll be offered early access to select products and promotions. These promotions are offered throughout the year and will vary from year-to-year.
Exclusive Extras. These include special items, gifts and offers. It also comes with an anniversary offer, providing you with exclusive extras on the anniversary date of opening your card.
Starbucks Discount. The 5% discount applies to purchases made at Starbucks locations available in Target stores.
Cartwheel. You can save between 5% and 50% off the price of hundreds of items when you pay using the Target mobile app. It's available at the App Store for iOS devices, 10.0 or later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It's also available for Android devices (5.0 and up) at Google Play. You just scan your barcode at checkout to take advantage of available savings.
Eligible Specialty Gift Cards. You can purchase specialty gift cards for popular merchants, such as Google play, the App Store and iTunes, Starbucks, Disney, Southwest Airlines, and many other merchants. The cards can be purchased at a 5% discount when you use your Target REDcard.
Applying for the Target REDcard
All you need to qualify for the Target REDcard Debit Card is an existing US-based bank checking account. Other than that, you need to be at least 16 years old and have a US address. You also need to supply your Social Security number, a valid driver's license or another identifying document, as well as your checking account and bank routing numbers. Your checking account will be verified before the card is issued.
For the Target REDcard Credit Card, you must be at least 18 years old as well as have a US address, Social Security number, and driver's license or other government-issued identification. But you'll also need to supply income and employment information, which will be verified.
Target REDcard Pros and Cons
- Earn 5% savings on most purchases made at Target stores or online at Target.com.
- Up to 15% discount on select baby items.
- Free shipping when you make purchases through Target.com
- No credit qualification is required for the debit card.
- The credit card has no annual fee.
- The 5% discount program has a long list of exceptions, including prescriptions, eye exams, and use of in-store clinics.
- REDcard can only be used for purchases through the Target organization. This isn't an issue with the credit card, but it's a major limitation with the debit card.
- The debit card – like all debit cards – can't be used to build credit.
Is the Target REDcard Worth It?
If you are a frequent Target shopper, the Target REDcard is worth it. It offers 5% off almost everything you buy with 15% off baby items and free shipping. You can quickly calculate how fast those discounts add up and considering the cards have no annual fee, the only cost is the hassle of managing another card in your wallet.
If you carry a balance, the credit card version may not be a great option because of its high-interest rate. The debit card version is better because you get all the perks without the interest, but it does mean you are paying directly with your checking account balance. One nice benefit of the debit card is that you already qualify and don't have to worry about being rejected for the card.
The biggest drawback is that you can't use it elsewhere, only at Target and Target.com.
If you'd like more information, or you'd like to apply for either the debit or credit card, visit the Target REDcard website.