Updated Jul 17, 2020 | Published Oct 31, 2018 • 14 min read
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The Target REDcard credit and debit cards offer 5% discounts at Target and Target.com, plus perks like free shipping and an extended return period, to create two compelling retail card offers.
Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.
The information related to Discover it® Cash Back, Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, Walmart Rewards Mastercard®, and My Best Buy® Visa® have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.
Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
We give both of the Target cards 4 out of 5 Stars, which is better than most retail store cards. They get high marks for their discounts and benefits, without any major downsides.
Why We Like Them
5% automatic discount at Target
Free two-day shipping on eligible items from Target.com, with free standard shipping for everything else
30 extra days to make returns on eligible items
Exclusive offers and early access deals
10% off coupon every year on your anniversary
No annual fees
Why They Could Be Better
They can only be used at Target, and at retailers within Target stores
Some purchases are excluded from the 5% discount
Some purchases are excluded from the extended return benefit
The first is a regular credit card, which you can use to make purchases that you’ll pay for later on. The second is a debit card which connects to your checking account, and purchases are paid for by withdrawing directly from your account (just like a check).
We usually don’t recommend store cards, because they tend to have poor customer support and low credit limits, and there are often better general-use reward credit cards available. But if you consistently spend a lot of money at Target, one of these cards could be the best choice for you. Store cards are also easier to qualify for than most other cards, so if you have poor or limited credit they could be a good option to try.
The Target REDcard Credit Card and Debit Card are surprisingly valuable when it comes to store cards, without making you jump through hoops to access the discount or benefits. But you still may prefer other cards for Target shopping, and if you want to shop anywhere else you can’t use these cards. Take a look at some alternative card picks below.
Keep reading to learn more about the Target REDcards, and find out if you should apply for one today.
There’s reportedly a Mastercard version of the Target REDcard Credit Card, known as the Target REDcard Mastercard. Some people report being upgraded to the Mastercard after using the card for some time. The Mastercard version can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, though it reportedly only earns rewards at Target.
Insider Advice: How to Get the Most Out of Your Card
Save money at Target: Use your REDcard to get an automatic 5% discount when shopping at Target, Target.com, or Starbucks stores located within Targets. Keep in mind that certain purchases won’t get the discount.
Sit back and relax with free delivery: You’ll get free two-day shipping on eligible items from Target.com, with free standard shipping for everything else.
Take time to decide with extended returns: You’ll get 30 extra days to make returns, which should give you plenty of time to decide if you want to keep your purchases or not.
Look forward to your cardmember anniversary: Sign up for Target marketing emails to get a 10% off coupon by email on your account anniversary.
Use a PIN instead of signing for purchases: You’ll need to enter a PIN when making purchases instead of signing. You’ll be asked to create a PIN when you activate the card, and can reset it online or by calling customer support.
Expect targeted marketing: Target will use your purchase data with these cards to improve its customer profile of you, so don’t be surprised to see some uncannily accurate ads.
Build up your credit:Store cards are usually easier to qualify for than other reward cards, so you can use the REDcard Credit Card to improve your credit scores by using it responsibly and always paying on time (the debit card can’t be used to build credit).
Where Can I Use the Target REDcards?
The Target REDcard credit and debit cards can only be used at Target and Target.com.
The cards can be used at restaurants and services located within Target stores as well, but these purchases will usually not qualify for the 5% discount. The exception is Starbucks cafes in Target stores, which do qualify for the discount. See the list below for a full description of purchases that do not qualify.
There are also two other Target cards, but they’re both discontinued for new applicants. There’s the Target Mastercard, which can be used anywhere Mastercard credit cards are accepted. And then there’s the Target Prepaid REDcard from American Express, which could only be used at Target.
How Can I Make a Target REDcard Payment?
There are several ways to make payments to your REDcard credit card:
We recommend making online payments because it’s usually the quickest and easiest method.
Just sign in to your online account here, go to the “Payment Information” tab, and then select “Schedule a Payment.” You’ll be guided to select either a connected checking or savings account to provide the funds.
Payments can be scheduled up to 30 days in advance.
Credit card payments can be made at Target stores at the Guest Services counter. You’ll need to provide your card or a billing statement so the associate can look up your account.
If you need to go the old fashioned route, payments can be mailed by sending in the stub at the bottom of your billing statement. If you can’t send in the stub you can include your account number instead.
What’s the Difference Between the Target REDcard Credit Card and Debit Card?
There is only one difference between the REDcard Credit Card and the REDCard debit card: one is a credit card, while the other is a debit card.
The credit card works just like any other credit card — you make purchases with it, and then pay off the balance later on. You’ll have a certain credit limit that you can make purchases up to, before the card needs to be paid off. As a credit card, this account will show up on your credit reports and affect your credit scores.
You can pay off your purchases over time with the credit card, but we strongly advise against doing this because you’ll accrue interest at a very high rate. This will negate all the savings you get with these cards, so be sure to avoid carrying a balance from month to month. Instead, always pay your full statement balance when you get your bill to avoid interest.
The debit card, on the other hand, will connect to your personal checking account, and it will draw money directly from that account to pay for purchases. This account will not show up on your credit reports, and it will have no effect on your credit scores. You can’t use the debit card to improve your credit.
When you apply for the credit card, your credit reports will be hit with a hard inquiry to check your creditworthiness. The debit card does not require a credit check to apply. You must be 18 to apply for the credit card, but you only need to be 16 to apply for the debit card.
Both cards provide a 5% discount at Target, and they each have all the benefits listed below.
The Target REDCard credit and debit cards each offer the same 5% discount for eligible purchases from Target and Target.com. Starbucks stores located within Targets are included as well, but other restaurants and certain Target purchases will not qualify for the discount.
Although Target gift cards and prepaid cards are not eligible for the discount, you will get 5% off for many other store and specialty gift cards.
The 5% off will usually be added to any other savings you get, such as subscription deals or discounts through the Cartwheel coupon program.
Take note that the 5% off is provided immediately when making the purchase, rather than being awarded as cash back rewards like you’d get with a cash back credit card. So you don’t have to worry about redeeming anything, you’ll just automatically get the discount as you shop.
You may also receive an introductory bonus offer when you apply for this card, like $25 off a future purchase of $100 or more. These promotional offers are not always available, and you may find different offers online and in store.
Which Purchases Qualify for 5% Off?
You’ll get 5% off on all purchases from Target, Target.com, and Starbucks cafes located within Target stores, with the exception of the purchases below.
The 5% discount does not apply to the following purchases and services:
Previous purchases made before getting the card
Prescriptions, over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter, and clinic services at Target
Target Optical™ eye exams (Target Optical products, such as glasses and contact lenses, do receive the 5% discount)
Certain restaurant merchants in Target stores, such as D’Amico & Sons Italian Kitchen and Pret A Manger
Shipt membership fees
Gift wrap and shipping and handling charges on Target.com purchases
Wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by a mobile carrier
Target gift cards and prepaid cards, and Stockpile, Gift of College, and lottery gift cards
Target credit account payments, Target Debit Card cash back and cash advances on the Target Mastercard
Where otherwise prohibited by law
You’ll get the same set of extra benefits with each card, which could help frequent Target shoppers save quite a bit of money through free shipping and sales.
Free Two-Day Shipping
Get free two-day shipping on eligible purchases from Target.com. The order cutoff time is usually 12 p.m. local time in the destination to which you’re shipping.
Thousands of items are eligible for two-day shipping, but not all. Free standard shipping will be provided for any items that don’t qualify for two-day shipping.
30-Day Extended Returns
Cardholders will get 30 extra days to make returns on purchases made with a REDcard. Most Target items have a return window of 90 days, so this would extend that to 120 days. But keep in mind that some items, like electronics, may have different return policies.
This return extension will not apply to:
Target Optical purchases
Any items designated non-returnable
Anniversary Bonus Savings
Sign up for Target marketing emails to receive a 10% off coupon for Target purchases by email on your account anniversary. If you don’t sign up for marketing emails, you won’t get these coupons.
Early Access Offers
REDcard users will receive occasional early access offers to Target events, promotions, and sales. These offers may be based on your previous purchases and location.
For example, a current early access offer is a selection of holiday-themed merchandise from the Hearth & Hand with Magnolia brand.
Cardholders will get opportunities for exclusive deals and discounts, only available when purchasing with a REDcard. Quantities are sometimes limited, and each REDcard user will usually be able to purchase a limited number of each item.
A couple of example offers are a 2-pack of JoJo Siwa Bow hair clips, and an Incredibles 2 bundle that includes a pre-order of Incredibles 2 along with a limited edition Jack-Jack action doll.
Load in the Target Mobile Wallet
You can add your REDcard credit or debit card to the Target mobile app, where you can use it for Target purchases. This is also an easy way to find early access and exclusive REDcard offers.
The Target REDcard credit and debit cards each use Chip-and-PIN technology for better security. That means you’ll need to enter a PIN to make purchases at Target, rather than providing your signature (unless you’re using a mobile wallet).
You’ll be asked to create a PIN after activating your card. If you ever lose your PIN and need to reset it, you can do so through your online account or by calling the number on the back of your card.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
Target REDcard™ Credit Card
Target REDcard™ Debit Card
Not Applicable - Debit Card
Not Applicable - Debit Card
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
Target REDcard™ Credit Card
Target REDcard™ Debit Card
Returned Payment Fee
Target REDcard™ Credit Card
Up to $40
Up to $29
Target REDcard™ Debit Card
Up to $40
This section shows the real differences between these cards.
As you can see, the credit card is pretty limited — you’ll be able to make purchases from Target, but that’s it. You can’t use it for balance transfers or cash advances.
The debit card only has two categories to consider: the annual fee (which is $0) and the returned payment fee, which can be applied if your checking account doesn’t have enough funds to cover a purchase.
What is the Credit Limit?
Your credit limit for the Target REDcard Credit Card will be determined based on your creditworthiness, including credit scores and income. Don’t expect a very high limit, because store cards are known for providing relatively low credit lines.
These cards are pretty simple and easy to understand. Since there’s no annual fee, think about the four main features these cards offer:
5% off at Target and Target.com
Free two-day or standard shipping at Target.com
30 extra days for returns
Exclusive discounts and early access offers
Do these perks sound great to you? Would they make your life a bit easier, and save you some cash over time?
If so, next ask yourself if you’d rather have the credit card or the debit card. The credit card will let you pay over time, but you’ll get hit with the very high APR if you revolve your balance from month to month. We recommend always paying off your full statement balance on time every month, so you can avoid interest and forget all about the APR.
The credit card will also affect your credit, so keep that in mind. This means that it can help you improve your credit scores, when you use it responsibly, but it also means that it can hurt your credit if you use it irresponsibly.
The debit card won’t affect your credit at all, for good or for ill. So if you’d rather not worry about paying off another credit card or you can’t get approved, you can go with the debit card and have the money taken directly from your checking account.
The REDcards are some of the better store cards available, with a solid discount and decent, easy-to-use perks. But you may want some general-use credit cards instead of (or in addition to) a REDcard, or maybe a different store-branded card. Check out some of those alternative cards below.
Alternatives to the Target REDCard Credit Card and Debit Card
One of the Target REDcards could be a perfect fit if you do a lot of shopping at Target. But if you tend to shop at a variety of stores, or you’re thinking of switching your brand loyalty from Target to a different retailer, you should consider some other cards as well — either in addition to or instead of a Target REDcard.
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) is the best flat-rate cash back card available, making it excellent for all those purchases that aren’t covered by bonus categories on other credit cards. If you do a variety of shopping and need a card to earn rewards anywhere, this is the card for you.
While the REDcards provide Target-related benefits, the Double Cash provides a decent selection of general benefits, along with a few other perks.
2% cash back for every purchase you make
1% back when you make a purchase
1% back when you pay for that purchase
This is a very simple rewards program, providing 2% back for every purchase no matter where you are.
The REDcards provide a better discount at Target, but only at Target. A good strategy could be to combine one of the REDcards with this card; you can use the REDcard whenever you shop at Target, and the Double Cash everywhere else. Or, if you rarely shop at Target, you may prefer to just use the Double Cash.
Personal Concierge Service: Call 1-800-508-8930 to speak with your own personal assistant, for help with all kinds of non-emergency tasks.
Citi Private Pass: Get preferred access and presale tickets to select events and experiences, including music, sports, dining, and theater.
Free FICO Credit Score: Keep tabs on your FICO Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report.
Quick Customer Service: Call customer support and say “representative” to be connected with a human rep more quickly than usual.
Account Protections: Including Identity Theft Solutions and Fraud Protection.
Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable).
Annual fee: $0
Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
Rather than providing a set reward for certain purchases, the Discover it® Cash Back (Review) offers rotating cash back categories that change every three months. It could be a good alternative or addition to a REDcard if you’ll spend in the quarterly categories.
You’ll earn 5% back at a wide variety of retailers (on up to $1,500 per quarter with activation required), including Target itself, every year (just as much as the Target REDcards, but not limited to Target).
Discover cards don’t offer much when it comes to benefits, although they do have a few — most of the value comes from the rewards with this card. You’ll get more cost-saving perks with the Target card, but those are all limited to Target.
5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter, in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below, activation required)
1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
Cashback Match: Earn double the cash back in your first year of card use, awarded at the end of the year
The calendar for 2020 is:
January – March
Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
April – June
Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft, Wholesale Clubs
July – September
October – December
Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
Discover will double the rewards you earn in the first year with the card, and that means you’ll get a cash back equivalent of 10% in the bonus categories, and 2% everywhere else. Those are excellent rates, with 10% being a very high rate when it comes to reward credit cards.
Those 5% categories are limited to the first $1,500 spent each quarter, so you can earn a maximum of $75 cash back per quarter at that rate. When earning at the 10% rate in your first year you can earn $150 per quarter.
Target offers a vast selection of merchandise, and you can get many of the same products from the retailers included in the Discover it’s categories (like grocery stores, Amazon.com, and Walmart.com). So, even when Target purchases aren’t earning you 5% back, you could use the Discover it instead of a REDcard to get the same 5% rate on many of the same purchases.
You could always use these cards in combination, too. Use a Target REDcard whenever you’re shopping at Target, obviously. And then use the Discover it for the retailers included in the current 5% category.
But remember that you get double cash back during the first year with the Discover it, so be sure to maximize your rewards by using the Discover card over the REDcard when the Target cash back option is in effect.
Free FICO Credit Scorecard: Check your FICO Score 8 for free whenever you’d like, based on your TransUnion credit report, with tips for improving your credit scores.
Cash at Checkout: Get cash back immediately by charging an additional amount over your purchases when shopping at participating locations. This will be counted as part of the purchase, rather than as an expensive cash advance.
Fraud Protection: Discover will proactively monitor your account for fraud, and alert you if any unauthorized activity is detected.
Social Security Number Alerts: Discover will alert you if it finds your SSN being used on any thousands of risky websites.
Refer a Friend: Refer your friends to get Discover cards and you’ll get a $50 statement credit bonus for each approval (they can get a $50 statement credit bonus too). You can refer up to ten friends per year.
Freeze It: Instantly freeze and unfreeze your account to prevent unauthorized purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $0
The information related to Discover it® Cash Back has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
Maybe you want the Target REDcard Credit Card because you’re trying to build up your credit — since store cards are relatively easy to qualify for, the REDcard might be attractive for this purpose. But there are other no-fee rewards cards that you may qualify for as well, like the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review).
Despite the name, you don’t need to be a student to apply for this card — it’s open to anyone.
You won’t earn much cash back with this card, just 1.25% at the most. This is much less than the 5% off you’ll get with the REDcards, although the Journey Student can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted so it gives you more spending power.
The Journey Student comes with some standard benefits, which aren’t too bad for a card designed for average credit.
Although you won’t get anything like the REDcard benefits, such as free two-day shipping or extra discounts, you will have some general shopping and travel protections that apply to eligible purchases from any store. And you’ll also get easy access to a higher credit line, a handy benefit on cards made for average credit, especially compared to the low credit lines usually given with store cards.
1% cash back on all purchases
Pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back
Even if you don’t have the best credit, you may qualify for both the Journey Student and a Target REDcard Credit Card. That would let you get 5% off at Target, and up to 1.25% cash back everywhere else. Or, if you can’t qualify, you may need to go with the REDcard Debit Card.
Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
Capital One CreditWise: Monitor your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report. You can also check data from your TransUnion report for free, a rare feature. This service is available to everyone, cardholder or not.
Extended Warranty: Eligible manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less can be doubled, up to an additional year.
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Provides coverage against damage and theft of eligible rental vehicles, as long as the rental company’s insurance is declined.
Travel and Emergency Assistance: Call for help finding local emergency services, like medical and legal referrals.
Travel Accident Insurance: Up to $100,000 in coverage against accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing when traveling by common carrier.
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 26.99% (Variable)
No foreign transaction fee
Annual fee: $0
The information related to Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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