Debit Loads to REDbird are Failing: Details of What Is Happening & Is This Just a Glitch or the End?

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target redcard gift card load failure

Debit Loads to REDbird Not Working

Update: REDbird is dead. I have seen a memo stating Target’s new cash only policy. To help, I have posted a detailed resource describing a path forward including, how to liquidate cards, switch to Bluebird/Serve and more. I highly recommend giving it a read.

Flyertalk and Reddit are blowing up this morning with reports that Target has updated their system to no longer allow loads from Prepaid debit cards to Target’s REDcard. While we don’t have a lot of real information, here is what we know:

  • Gift card and debit card loads are failing nationwide.
  • Some people are reporting an update was recently done to the system, although I haven’t seen confirmation of this.
Here are some of the reports from Flyertalk:

Now lets look at some of the reports coming from the field today of failed loads.

Chener said:

I hope this is only a false alarm but I stopped by two Targets this morning and received the dreaded “Able to load $0.00 with this payment type” message from the CSR screen.

Tried both Metabank and Vanilla GCs and both failed.

hisboyelroy said:

Just to prevent the onslaught of posts about it being OK in the last few days, I will tell you that I’m one of the ones with an issue this morning, and I successfully loaded $2500 last night on a different Redbird (at a different Target).

Enuratique said:

Also got the K3 Cannot load $0 for this payment type error this morning. I should have thought to try a $1 load from a “real” debit card while I was there. This is in the NoVA region. Software was not updated (still had credit/debit option). Loaded successfully at same store as of Friday 10/09.

Reasons for Hope

Before you get too discouraged, I actually think there is some reason for hope. What remains to be seen is if this is an actual block on gift/debit cards or perhaps just a glitch or error in the system. At least one person on Reddit has reported that their personal debit card also failed to load REDbird.

I just tried my personal debit card and got the same error.

Also, a commenter on Flyertalk mentioned that store management wasn’t made aware of any policy changes.

Supervisor at one of my go to TGs says no changes reported to store management, but nevertheless it seems to be hard coded at both of my SoCal TGs.

My Take

While I have no inside knowledge of what is going on, I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that Amex & Target would end all debit card loads. Since there are reports of normal debit cards not working, I tend to think this is a systemwide glitch and not a policy change. Of course, time will tell, but I wouldn’t freak out just yet.

If you go to the Flyertalk or Reddit links you may see that people have already declared that REDbird is dead. While change is constant in this hobby, I don’t think there is a need to jump to such conclusions until we get further confirmation. I’ll update this post with more information as this develops. Hopefully by the end of the day we will know more.

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. If you want to read it, I put together my educated guesses/speculations (ramblings that is) about why I think Redbird is dead; pros and cons of possible reasons for it being dead or not, along with a picture of the error you get as of Oct 12th:

    If you read the entire article you’ll see the irony about me just commenting now about it.

    Needless to say, I sure do hope that I’m wrong about reading the events of the day. We can all benefit from that, from me being wrong about this and Redbird continuing to live on.

  2. NYC data point: tried to load a $100 Staples MasterCard gift card (picked up from the Staples $20 rebate sale from a few days ago, did $200 + $100) at the Target in Atlantic Terminal Mall in Brooklyn at about 6:30p tonight (10/12). Did not work. Cashier let me try multiple times. Fingers crossed it’s just a glitch 🙁

  3. Whew! I’m glad I just unloaded 5k of VGC’s to it in the last few days. My last 2500 was just two days ago. I suppose I’ll keep an eye on it and try a regular debit load next month for a buck or two and then a small single VGC so I can easily unload it if debit card loads are indeed dead.

    Lesson to be learned: Don’t buy too many VGC’s at once in case it all comes crashing down. I’m only 6 months in to the points game but this is a sobering reminder not to get carried away. I’m currently 20k or so a month, but will scale back with recent new Walmart ATM’s and this current issue.

    Good luck to us all!

  4. not working at Target in Kailua (Hawaii); no explanation given as CSR was “not sure why it’s not working”. There was no mention of a corporate memo or directive coming down.

  5. I called the Redbird customer service number and asked what was going on. The CSR stated that effective immediately, debit reloads will not be allowed in store (cash only). They will allow debit cards to be linked to the online account (but as noted previously, these can’t be VGCs). He stated that they’ve gotten a lot of problems with fraud. This is apparently the end. 🙁

    • I seriously hope the rep is wrong. Thats terrible. Damn scammers! Damn fraudsters! I could totally see the scum jack VGC funds and load their stolen RedBird credential cards to go shopping freely.

        • Well you can be sure BlueBird will be next to die when they see the tsunami flood of people switching over to WalMart. But thats gonna equate to ultra over exposure and death of that program too. Since its both via AMEX, I am sure it may come to that. Will see. TBD.

          But you know what? This will kill off the unskilled. Survival of the fittest. Imagine a world with no RedBird or BlueBird or Serve. Pretty interesting. That will mean, I can actually eat the food at the Centurion Lounge and actually sit down in an open seat. Maybe even score upgrades more frequently.

          • LOL. Think it will thin the herd? The masses will move from bluebird to money orders and it will die as well. I love the reading about how people who MS think they have some great skill or talent. Newsflash, a 10 year old can buy and unload giftcards. There is no special skill involved, besides telling small lies to cashiers. A commendable skill right?

            I will miss the deals when they are gone and the points they help accrue. However let’s quit pretending ms is anything more skimming inefficencies and using things different from their intended purpose for personal benefit.

          • True enough although Metabank would have to make adjustments to their ATMs which they may already be doing if the Vegas reports are correct.

  6. I went to load 2 $200 master cards @
    Target yesterday and both cards would not load, it came back with error ‘invalid pin’. I called to change the pins and they still would not load.

  7. Just now: was unable to load at Target in Tucson arizona with vanilla visa gc, us bank visa gc, or Bank of America regular bank debit card. Tried each kind 2 times each and same error each time.

  8. I went to three different Targets last night (west of Chicago) and all of them gave me different kinds of trouble. That’s when I sensed something’s coming.

    Store 1 (my usual) CS asked what kind of debit card I was using(they’d never asked before), and if they had my name on it (they didn’t). I was able to load three $500 before aborting voluntarily.

    Store 2 CS guy loaded the first $500 no prob, but was intercepted by his apparent supervisor who yelled at me, basically declaring that their store will now only allow one swipe per person per day. Also told me that her “AP Manager” sent her that memo.

    Store 3 system had some glitches and it took several tries to be able to load two $500 GCs.

    Sure hope it’s only a systemwide glitch, but there may be a memo coming from higher up.

  9. Tried two different Targets in upstate NY without success. Same error messages as above. Deny any updates to the system, yet I loaded 1k 2 days ago without issues (and screens were different: Debit or Credit screen missing)

  10. Also not sure if its something new, but to me, the feature allows you to add debit card seems appeared under target red card and available as option to add , unless I am missing something here, but wasn’t this unavailable to begin with

  11. I have had that happen a few times at Targets where I load. I have found that sometimes it is because the cashier did something wrong in the process. Also, my serve and blue bird accounts get “locked” sometimes, seemingly randomly (I haven’t found a pattern of behavior that predicts their denial at the Walmart cash register). When I call in to Amex, they say there is nothing wrong with the card, and the cards are able to be loaded a few days later when I try again. I think these hiccups are just God test of our resolve and our passion for affordable travel. Push through and keep trying.

  12. Wow, I hope this is just a glitch. I dont have any more debit cards currently, but had no problem at all loading yesterday (Sunday) morning at a Target in Santa Clara, CA. Less than three minutes in and out, to load four separate $500 debit cards.

  13. I am on vacation. I had 2 experiences last week at 2 Target stores in Arizona. The 1st store told me they received direction on a conference call from superiors to no longer allow debit card reloads to prepaid REDcard when a personal name doesn’t appear on the debit card. They wouldn’t allow me to load the REDcard with the debit gift card which lacked a personal name. The 2nd Target store as I have experienced in the recent past in 2 different states was not able to load the REDcard at the registers. The load will only work at the customer service desk. When I went to the customer service desk at this 2nd Target this past week the girl was not familiar with the prepaid REDcard and called a supervisor to learn how to process my card load. She still didn’t know how to get the load to work until after playing with the system she finally figured out how to get the load completed. She had to scan an item like she was going to charge me for it and then back out the transaction and then the system allowed her to process my gift card load to the REDcard. This 2nd Target store with some difficulty was very happy to help load my REDcard with the debit gift card without a personal name on the debit gift card. I hope this experience helps.

  14. Didnt BlueBird have some problems a couple weeks ago as well? I know that’s back and working, so it could just be a system wide glitch(i’m hoping)

    • Yeah there were problems with all loads then I believe. For now, it seems that cash loads are working, so either Target blocked all debit cards or there is a glitch. We should know soon I imagine.

      • I hope this is another AMEX $200 Airline Reimbursement scenario.

        Although everyone knew this wouldnt last long anyway. What a shame. It wasted a lot of time, but was a very dependable liquidation option.

        Would be crazy is Target/Amex is testing new software functionality to decline GC loads and only allow real bank debit cards. Should be possible with software upgrade.

        If nothing else, sounds like Target is reiterating and reemphasizing manual review of NO GC POLICY. Gonna have to get GC with names on them!


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