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Target RED Card Review: Get 5% Cash Back On All Target Purchases

Target RED Card Review: Get 5% Cash Back On All Target Purchases
Amy Baum Dec 5, 2018
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Store credit cards are a great financial tool if you use them wisely. They usually come with excellent perks like discounts, free shipping, and exclusive offers. I have credit cards for three of my favorite stores, and one of them is Target. The Target RED Card is definitely the best money saver of the bunch.

Target offers debit and credit RED Cards, and they both come with excellent benefits. In this review, I’ll describe the savings and perks for the Target RED Card. I’ll also include any fees and other factors to consider. Read on to learn if this store credit card is a good frugal pick for you.

Target RED Card Pros And Cons

Before I go into detail, I want to highlight the main pros and cons of the Target RED Card. These lists include factors for both the debit and credit card. I’ve compiled my list based on Target RED Card facts, consumer reviews, my own personal experience, and more. Here are some things to consider:


  • You get instant 5% savings on most items.
  • You get instant 10% to 15% savings on item subscriptions.
  • You can easily combine the cards with coupons, clearance, and more.
  • WalletHub reviews give Target RED Card a solid 3.9 out of 5-star rating.
  • The Target app allows you to easily make purchases with your RED Card.
  • The RED Card can be used at in-store Starbucks, food courts, and more.
  • The RED Card website and Target app are convenient for making payments, seeing your card balance, and more.
  • The Target RED Card debit card allows you to get the perks above without worrying about credit.


  • The Target RED Card credit card has a high annual percentage rate of 24.65%.
  • The Target RED Card credit card charges high late fees if you do not make your payments on time.
  • Consumer Affairs reviews give the RED Card a low 1.1 out of 5-star rating.
  • You may start out with a low credit limit; this is a common statement found in user reviews.

Overall, there are noteworthy pros and cons. Most of the cons can be looked past if you use your card responsibility. You can avoid the high APR by paying off your balance on time. The same is true for the late fees. I started out with a low credit limit, but it was doubled within about six months of responsible RED Card use.

As you can see, there are many financial perks to using the RED Card. You automatically save 5% on almost any item you buy. This may not seem like much, but the money I save adds up very quickly. It’s also great that you can combine the card discount with clearance items. I certainly take advantage of the high subscription discount, which I’ll explain further below.

If you can use a credit card wisely, the Target RED Card credit card may be a good fit for you. And if you’d rather play it safe, you can always opt for the Target RED Card debit card instead.

Target RED Card Credit Card

The Target RED Card Credit Card is like many store credit cards. You can use it to make in-store or online Target purchases with zero cash down. Over time, you pay off your purchases online. Your RED Card will have a credit limit. Some people report starting at $300, and this was accurate for. If you have excellent credit, you may start with a credit line of $800 or more.

You will receive a monthly bill for your RED Card credit card purchases. The minimum payment per month is $27. You can easily make all of your payments online. For your convenience, you can also receive paperless statements. That means all of your payment reminders, statements, and payment history are online.

The RED Card credit card has a fairly high annual percentage rate of 24.65%. This isn’t unusual for a store credit card, but it’s still a high APR in general. You can avoid paying interest by quickly paying off your purchases. $27 is only the minimum monthly payment, you can pay more or even pay off an entire purchase.

Target RED Card holders are charged fees if payments are made late. If you make one late payment, your fee will be $27. Any subsequent late payments have a fee up to $38. Fortunately, it’s easy to remember to make on-time payments. Target send automatic e-mail reminders. I also add reminders to my calendar to avoid these fees.

Lastly, there is a returned payment fee of $27. This fee occurs if your payment method doesn’t work. For example, say you paid with a bank account without enough funds in it. Or perhaps you wrote incorrect information for a digital check. If the payment fails, you’ll be charged a fee of $27.

Again, all of these fees are quite easy to avoid. Responsible spending and timely payments are the biggest factors to remember. And making on-time payments can lead to an increase in your credit line. This means that you have more Target store credit to use on your shopping trips.

Target RED Card Debit Card

The Target RED Card debit card is a new option for Target shoppers. You get the excellent frugal perks that come with the credit card. However, your card is simply linked to your bank account. This means that you make purchases with money you currently have.

You don’t get the opportunity to pay for purchases over time, but this is essentially the only downside. All of the discounts and rewards are still available to you. You can even withdraw up to $40 in cash when you check out in Target stores. Again, this option is a good fit if you’re not ready to use a credit card.

How To Apply For Target RED Card

Applying for the Target RED Card is easy no matter which method you choose. I’ve highlighted the steps below. To get started:

  1. Visit the Target RED Card debit card or credit card application. If you’re still not sure which one you want, visit the link above to go to the main application page.
  2. Start by providing your personal information. This includes your name, phone number, and e-mail address.
  3. Provide your security information on the next page. You’ll be asked to verify your identity for safety reason.
  4. List your full home address on the next page. This is where your RED Card will be mailed when your application is approved.
  5. Provide financial information on the next page. This asks about your income from your job and other sources.
  6. Review all of the information and submit your application. Double check to make sure everything you’ve listed is accurate. Click the Submit button when you’re finished.

You’ll only have to wait a minute or two for your application to be approved or denied. If it is approved, you’ll see how much your line of credit is. If it is denied, you’ll be sent information via mail about why it was denied.

The entire process only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. The exact information you’ll be asked for may vary depending on if you apply for the credit card or debit card. But overall, the application is quick and easy.

Target RED Card Free Shipping

When you place online orders using any Target RED Card, you receive free shipping on your orders. Thousands of items for Target RED Card purchases qualify for free two-day shipping. If you decide to choose a faster shipping method, you’ll have to pay for it.

When you click on an item, you’ll see if it’s eligible for free two-day shipping. Look on the right-hand side of a product page for this information. If it doesn’t qualify for two-day shipping, you’ll see the estimated delivery date. In my experience, these estimates are very accurate.

Orders over $35 placed without a RED Card come with a $5.99 shipping fee. If you place just one online Target order per month, you save $71.88 per year. This great savings deal really adds up during holiday seasons, too.

Target RED Card 5% Discount

The 5% discount is undoubtedly one of the most popular Target RED Card perks. It doesn’t seem like a huge discount, but it’s another one that really adds up over time.

For example, local and state sales tax are over 9.5% where I live. So the 5% discount essentially cuts the tax payment in half. Here are some additional perks to this discount:

  • The exclusive RED Card discount applies to nearly any Target purchase in-store or online.
  • Clearance and sale items always receive the 5% discount, too.
  • The discount can be combined with Target Cartwheel coupons, which offers savings of 5% to 50% on in-store Target purchases.
  • You can also use manufacturer coupons and any other coupons while still receiving the 5% discount.
  • The discount even applies to specialty gift cards for travel, restaurants, movie tickets and more.
  • As you’ll see below, this discount boosts subscription discounts. That means you save 10% to 15% on online subscriptions through Target.

These features are what make the RED Card my favorite store credit card. Cartwheel coupons are available to anyone through the Target app. Combining those digital coupons with the RED Card discount has saved me hundreds of dollars every year. It allows me to get the lowest possible prices on clearance items, too.

Target RED Card 5% Discount Exclusions

There are only a few exclusions that apply to the RED Card 5% discount. However, I think they’re worth knowing ahead of time. You can not use this discount on:

  • Prescriptions at CVS locations inside of Target.
  • Any over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter – this includes things like cough and cold medication, sinus medication, and similar items.
  • Any CVS clinic services offered in-store at Target.
  • Eye exams performed at Target Optical™.
  • Any Target gift cards, prepaid cards, Stockpile cards, Gift of College gift cards.
  • Certain restaurant in various Target stores – two examples include D’Amico & Sons Italian Kitchen and Pret A Manger.
  • Target RED Card credit account payments.
  • Target RED Card Debit Card cash back.
  • Gift wrap charges and additional shipping and handling charges on online Target purchases.
  • Wireless protection programs and warranties and deposits that are required by mobile carriers who offer services through Target.

Lastly, you can not apply your 5% discount to any prior Target purchases. Some states may have additional laws and restrictions, but the list above pretty much covers it all. I’ve never come across an item that my discount didn’t apply to.

Target RED Card 10% Subscription Discount offers a 5% discount to all customers who sign up for subscriptions. Subscriptions are products that are automatically shipped to your home at regular intervals. Thousands of Target items are eligible for a subscription. Your RED Card is automatically charged prior to each delivery.

RED Card holders get an additional 5% discount on top of the regular one. This means that you save 10% on any subscription. For example, let’s say you subscribe to get Ultra Downy® April Fresh™ Liquid Fabric Conditioner delivered every four weeks. Here’s how much you’ll save:

  • This product is usually $9.99 every four weeks or about $119.88 per year.
  • A subscription means you pay $9.49 every four weeks or $113.88 per year.
  • Your RED Card discount means you pay $8.99 every four weeks or $107.88 per year.

For just one subscription item, you’ll save $12 per year. And you can get subscriptions for several thousand items in every category imaginable – grocery, personal care, household, food and beverage, pet care, beauty, and more. You can easily save hundreds of dollars per year depending on the subscriptions you choose.

Target RED Card 15% Subscription Discount

As a mom to two young boys, I love the RED Card discount on baby essentials. RED Card users save a total of 15% on diapers, wipes, and formula that are eligible for a subscription. You just have to make sure you use your RED Card credit or debit card as your form of payment.

The breakdown for the subscription discount is a bit different than the 10% discount described above. You get the standard RED Card 5% discount applied after an 11% savings. This adds up to at least 15% total savings. Only RED Card holders are eligible for this exclusive 11% savings. The typical 5% subscription discount isn’t factored in.

This all sounds a bit confusing, but it’s fairly simple. You can browse baby items using the online search feature. Any items that are eligible say “15% off RED Card subscription on select items” in red text. There are hundreds of name brand and Target brand baby items this applies to. Here’s an example based on one of my previous Target subscriptions:

  • Up&Up™ Diapers Giant Pack Size 1 is regularly $21.99 for 176 diapers.
  • Up&Up™ is Target’s store brand, so the diapers are already very affordable at about 12.5 cents per diaper.
  • If you subscribe for a monthly delivery, you pay about $263.88 per year.
  • With the total 15% discount, you get the same box of Up&Up™ diapers for $18.69.
  • That means you end up paying only 10.6 cents per diaper.
  • If you subscribe for a monthly delivery, you pay about $224.28 per year.

With the 15% RED Card discount, you save about $39.60 per year on that single subscription. And the average price per diaper is 20.0 cents, so you pay nearly 50% less than that.

I also use this discount for wipes, but it applies to so many baby items. You can save money on formula, training pants, rash ointment, laundry detergent, and more. It even applies to major brand names, so saving hundreds of dollars annually is realistic.

Target RED Card Extended Returns

The return policy for Target RED Card holders is a truly valuable perk. In addition to an item’s standard return policy, you get an additional 30 days to return items. This applies to both in-store and online Target purchases. The only items excluded from the policy are Target Mobile purchases, items with fixed return dates, and non-returnable items.

Non-returnable items typically include clearance items and opened health or beauty items. Target’s full return policy for each product category can be found on their website. Overall, this RED Card perk applies to many common purchases.

Other Target RED Card Special Offers And Discounts

There are a few other special offers and discounts solely available for Target RED Card holders. They typically fall into one of two categories – Early Access Offers or Exclusive Extras. These unique deals change frequently, so listing specific examples is difficult. But here is a general overview of each category:

  • Early Access Offers – As a card holder, you are offered early access to select products and promotions. The early access offers you receive may differ from other card holders. Offers are commonly based on previous purchases, your location, and other demographic information. You’ll receive plenty of details about any early access offers when you receive them via mail or e-mail.
  • Exclusive Extras – As a card holder, you get access to special items, gifts and offers called exclusive extras. Again, the exclusive extras you’re eligible for are based on various criteria. One example is the RED Card anniversary offer, where you’ll get a special item or discount. And again, you’ll always get details about Exclusive Extras via mail or e-mail.

More Credit Card Info For Frugal Shoppers

The Target RED Card is one of many money-saving credit cards. We’ve covered some other options in Frugal For Less reviews. We also discuss the best ways to use credit cards. This information can help you avoid debt, improve your credit, and more. I recommend reading:

Start with these posts and use our search feature to find more. You’ll be surprised to learn just how beneficial credit cards can be for frugal living.

Amy Baum


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