The Target Red Card Decision

Target red debit card

Lately I’ve been thinking about getting the Target Red debit card. (Note that this post is strictly about the debit card. Target also offers a credit card which offers similar benefits to the debit card, but also acts like a credit card in that you are charged interest on unpaid balances.) I became interested in this card especially after we terminated our membership to the local warehouse club. I was curious to see if the main perk, a 5% discount on purchases at Target, would enable us to save more money, but without having to pay to shop somewhere.

Since I never do anything financial without doing a lot of research, I spent some time looking into the pros and cons of this debit card

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15 Responses to The Target Red Card Decision

  1. I have the Red Card debit edition and it has been great. While there are cons, we shop there so much that it good to get the automatic 5%. I like the targeted coupons because I will actually use them. I have yet to see an increase in junk mail, so that was not a concern of mine. I think it is a good way to save on regular purchases.

  2. Kristin says:

    No thank you. My security is worth the 5% (and more)

  3. Sharon says:

    Thanks so much for this information. You’ve saved me a bunch of time. I agree, I think I’ll wait too.

  4. jim says:

    Wow! REALLY???? They track your purchases AND have your SSN?

    OMG – SERIOUSLY! You guys have GOT to read a frickin history book. Can anyone say “nazi”, aka multi-national corporation? For God’s sake – or at least the sake of your children DO NOT DO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    5% discount at the expense of the yours and your childrens’ freedom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    God help this country. Our younger generation appears to be a bunch of frickin uneducated, self-absorbed MORONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At least read the diary of Anne Frank! For your childrens’ sake!

  5. jim says:

    Kristen,
    Good for you – YOU at least have some common sense. These MORONS that would give up their freedom/security – and that of their babes are absolute and complete IDIOTS who obviously haven’t read one word of history! MORONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. BuckyBadger says:

    I’m going to assume that this is a joke.

    If you don’t want a Target Red Card, don’t buy one, but I seriously doubt that Target is planning a socialist movement.

    No need to insult people by comparing it to one of the greatest human atrocities in history.

  7. jay says:

    Good exercise!
    Cannot imagine 5% being worth the loss of privacy, risk of overdraft, and increase in nuisance mail.
    I’d opt for buying LESS. Once you’ve reduced your consumerism, that 5% will seem insignificant.
    Decide what you NEED, not what you want.
    Get your clothes, school, household goods, even electronics, through second hand sources; use homemade alternatives for snacks, cleaning and pet supplies; limit those cosmetics, OTC “meds”. What’s left?? Not much.

    Target has a “better” corporate culture than Walmart -maybe- but really????

    Refuse, reduce, reuse….

  8. Debbie M says:

    I am not getting any additional junk mail. But I am not getting targeted coupons either. Well, I do sometimes get a coupon or two at the register, but that was true before.

    I suspect that as time goes on and more and more people become comfortable with the idea, that discount will get reduced. That’s what happened with I-bonds (even before everyone else’s interest rates were plummeting) and online high-interest savings accounts. So I jumped on the Red Card almost right away and have not regretted it.

    Jim, you’ll be happy to know that I have no children; I am destroying only my own life.

  9. Alexandria says:

    Actually we have found the Target Red Card to be useful. We use credit option due to concern of debit card issues. (Just pay it off every month – then there are no fees or interest).

    This is the only “retail” credit card I had ever bothered with, but we find it useful because we spend about $100/month there on groceries and cat food and cat litter (on items which are already lower priced at Target than anywhere else). Otherwise I agree with the others. We’d never use a purely retail credit card – there just wouldn’t be enough benefit to make it worthwhile. I only find it useful with the groceries.

    *When* they lower the discount (it’s been about 2 years?, and at some point they will lower it), we will probably drop the card. It’s a PITA to carry another credit card like that. We also change our grocery habits fairly often – stores are always changing prices. So, we aren’t long-term committed to thethe Target Red Card.

  10. Jo says:

    Jennifer, you failed to mention that on the Target website, you can print a number of Target (store-specific)coupons as well as manufacturer coupons. That allows one to stack them for additional savings, on top of the 5%. I’ve done this and saved a significant amount during one shopping trip.

    The other way to save is if visiting their optical store. The savings using sales and Red Card can save you a number of dollars. As far as I’m concerned, stacking coupons with sales and using the Target Red Card (credit or debit)can far outweigh the cons. Making sure there are funds for the debit Red Card or paying off the credit Red Card each month makes it worth while.

  11. Jo says:

    I need to reply to Jim’s comment. He’s got a point, you know. There are so many different ways our information is tracked besides that of credit card companies. I don’t know what the big whoop-ti-do is all about.

    I’ve been a Target Red Card (credit)holder for almost 10 years without any issues. During that entire time it’s remained at 5% for savings. What I truly like about this is that it keeps me at Target for shopping, so that’s where my spending occurs, and I only have a limit of $500. This doesn’t apply if you have their Target Visa Credit card which allows you to shop elsewhere.

    It’s all a matter of perspective, I suppose. ;-)

  12. Gailete says:

    I haven’t been in a Target store in probably 6-7 years, so I certainly wouldn’t be signing up for any card with them. When in the 3-4 times I have ever been in their stores, I thought that their prices were higher than Wal-Mart’s for the same type/kind of goods. Obviously not worth it to me.

    I do have a CVS card. They know our prescription history anyway and I certainly don’t give them my SSN. That card benefits us a lot, only because we have to take so much medicine! Other than that, I would hate to be carrying around all the different loyalty cards that are available.

  13. Allen says:

    All these people are freaking out over giving them your ssn. The government requires it. Everton thinks the gov is out to get them but the truth is that if they can’t see how money moves from one place to another how are they supposed to prevent anti money laundering? Look at the big picture. Target obviously may not be the place that those activities are happening but it’s a blank law under the patriot act. If you aren’t doing anything wrong then what do you have to worry about? This isn’t Orville’s 1984. You just don’t like it? Well I don’t like like a lot of things but its the way it is.

  14. YuNo says:

    Just got my Target debit card. My understanding is that they don’t have access to your checking account per se, not in the sense that they can mess with it. It’s more similar to having PayPal linked to your bank account. They can only get from your account the amount you pay through them.

    I didn’t have to give my entire SSN, just the last four digits. Since it does involve using funds from my bank account, I think that is a fair bit of info for them to ask for, and again, they don’t request the full number.

    If Target wants to keep track of, and let other companies know, how much toothpaste, vitamins, and Coca-Cola I purchase, I don’t care. I buy the stuff out in the open in a public store, so don’t really see it as that much of an invasion of privacy.

  15. Mike says:

    I tried to open one last night (debit) and they wanted my full SSN… No thanks.

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