As the cards were readily available in Cleveland but not on the coasts, I gave away a number of REDcards (among other prizes) at last November’s DansDeals seminar in Brooklyn.
For 8 months I was able to load $5,000 per month from a credit card to each of the REDcards under my control.
In May I broke the news that Target would no longer accept credit card funding for REDcard. That stung, but it wasn’t a death knell. After all, you can still generate miles on the cheap by cycling money through gift cards and REDcard. I subsequently wrote why I was sticking with REDcard for the time being.
Alas the time has come.
As of yesterday Target’s registers stopped accepting debit card funding for REDcard, which effectively kills the value proposition for manufactured spending as it eliminated the ability to load gift cards onto REDcard. My local store confirmed to me that they had received a memo today stating that only cash can be used for REDcard loading from now on.
Luckily there’s still Serve and Bluebird and WalMart’s point of sale system isn’t programmed like Target’s to reject debit card funding. While individual WalMart stores and cashiers may not accept gift cards, it’s still not hard (especially as you gravitate away from NYC) to load gift cards at WalMart onto Serve or Bluebird. Plus WalMart ATMs can also load gift cards onto those cards.
Unfortunately I can’t get back my Serve with Softcard product. The lucky folks that kept that card are still able to load $1,500 per month for free from their Mastercards and Visa cards all from the comfort of their own homes.
Back in 2012 I called I called Bluebird the next dollar coin burn. After switching to Serve, Serve with Softcard, and REDcard in the interim it’s time to start working backwards.
It’s not hard to switch. I just drained the funds out of my REDcard account and used the remaining balance to pay off a credit card bill.
Then I clicked on profile and scrolled down to close account and let them know exactly why I was closing my account.
I immediately got email confirmation that my account was closed.
After that I applied for an AMEX Serve card and was approved instantly.
The One VIP Serve card has a $1 monthly fee, but it’s waived if you load it with $500 that month from any source. It’s also waived if you live in NY, TX, or VT regardless of funding. Serve can be loaded with $2,500 per day and $5,000 per month from debit cards in WalMart and there’s no reason to advertise that you’re using a gift card instead of a debit card. Serve can also be loaded with a gift card in Family Dollar, though some people have had technical difficulties loading cards there.
You can also load Serve with $200 per day and up to $1,000 per month online with an AMEX. You don’t get points for those online AMEX loads on AMEX issued cards, but they do count to get the signup bonus when trying to meet a spending threshold. And it also counts towards waiving the monthly fee if I fail to load funds that month at WalMart for any reason. If you use AMEX cards issued by other banks you should be able to get the points for those online loads. You can also load from a real debit card online, but loading from a gift card online will get your account frozen.
Serve also comes with AMEX offers and you can create 4 free subaccounts that also qualify for AMEX offers.
You can also get a Bluebird card with no monthly fee, though it can’t be loaded online with AMEX and can’t be loaded at Family Dollar.
We all knew that credit card loading at Target wouldn’t last long, though I’m a bit surprised debit card loading didn’t last longer. After all, debit loading is cheaper for Target and it got me into their stores multiple times per month, which was presumably their goal. Here’s hoping Serve and Bluebird hold out, as the low hanging manufactured spend fruit have been drying up of late…