Understanding the Target Red Card Perks and How They can Benefit You

Consumers have a ton of options when looking for new payment options. As with any financial decision, it’s best to weigh all options. Keep reading for Target Red Card perks.

In today’s world, the value of cash is almost zero. No, I don’t mean that cash can’t buy you things or doesn’t have monetary value, but in today’s society, almost no one has it. Yes, there are a few older folks around that still always have $500 to $1,000 on them, but most are like me. If someone tried to steal my wallet, they would be disappointed. If I have more than $20 on me, that is a miracle.

Why carry cash when everywhere takes a credit card? Not only can you get points for your purchases, but you also have way less risk. Think of it this way: if you have $250 in your wallet or purse and leave it at a store, that money is as good as gone. If you lose your wallet or purse with a credit card in it, not only can you cancel the card, but most credit card companies also have strong fraud protection and you will be made whole.

Credit cards certainly have their downsides, with the biggest concern being the interest that can rack up if you only make minimum payments. While credit cards can be a huge convenience, they can lead to bad habits. Always remember to only buy what you can afford to pay off at the end of the month.

I apologize for the credit card usage rant above, but when talking about something that can be destructive, I always want to cover the downside. Now that we have that out of the way, today I want to really cover the Target Red Card perks, and how the store credit card can be a benefit to you.

If your house is anything like mine, I feel like Target is one of the places where my card is swiped the most. Not only do they offer home goods and grocery items, the quality of the clothing is very good, which makes Target a legit “one-stop-shop”.

As a husband and the one who puts the budget together, I often joke about how much I dislike Target. My wife often finds “deals” she can’t resist. So, if you’re going to be spending money there (like me), you might as well consider their store card. Below are some of the Target Red Card perks, but I will also cover some of the negatives as well.

Target Red Card Cons:

Can Only Redeem at Target: For me, I really struggle with store cards because you can only use them at that location. Yes, there are some perks at that specific store, but sometimes the hassle of so many cards and so many different payments isn’t worth it to me.

Trust me, I get that some folks are extreme deal seekers and will sign up for every store card to save 10 or 15 percent, but I don’t personally see the value in that. Remember, every time you sign up for a credit card (store card or not), your credit is still being hit and brought down if you aren’t careful.

I don’t want to exaggerate and act like opening one or two store cards is going to kill your credit, but it is something that you want to monitor. Store cards have much lower limits and won’t allow unnecessary spending, which is great, but it can negatively affect your credit just like opening a standard credit card.

High-Interest Rates: This holds true for almost any credit or store card, but interest rates are through the roof. For the Target Red Card, the APR is 22.9% which means you will quickly lose any benefit of the card if you carry any amount of a balance from month to month.

I feel like this can’t be overstated, but please only get a credit card or store card if you plan to pay the full balance each month.

Requires a High Credit Score: I would argue that this could be considered a pro or a con, but if you are after the Target Red Card perks, you will have to have a good to excellent credit rating (690-850). I don’t want to act like just anyone can get a standard credit card, but the requirements are lower.

If you are someone that is working to repair your credit or had a past experience that has recently lowered your credit, you may have more trouble qualifying for the Target Red Card even though the spending limit would be much lower.

Remember, when doing your own evaluation of Target Red Card perks, find what’s valuable to you, and don’t necessarily worry about my thoughts. This is just my opinion and if you understand the card completely, do what works for you.

I have a very close friend who has at least four different store credit cards and is as financially responsible as any human in the world. He utilizes them for their perks, and pays them off each month, and it hasn’t affected his credit at all. He is a deal seeker, and when he can save a certain amount at a store he spends a lot of money at, he is going to take advantage of it.

Target Red Card Pros:

Instant Discounts: Perhaps the biggest Target Red Card perk (at least at first sight) is the five percent instant savings. The best part about this discount is there is no waiting period, the cash register is instantly rolled back when you go to check out.

Keep in mind that some items don’t receive a discount. Prescriptions, optical, gift cards, alcohol, and most warranties are not included. I don’t think anyone reading this will be surprised by this list, but it is something to keep in mind.

Although Target groceries are slightly more expensive than your standard grocery store (just my opinion), you can justify more and more purchases at Target with the discount from the Target Red Card Perks. While I am all about savings, I have also learned a lot about convenience after having children. Sometimes I’m willing to pay slightly more to avoid taking them into a second store. The five percent instant savings are just another way to keep shoppers buying everything in one stop.

You can make the argument that a hotel chain, airline, or clothing brand may have a stronger reward program, but typically you will never see a program on a standard credit card with an instant “rollback” at the cash register. You typically have to pay the bill, and then wait for a few credit card cycles before you see any type of reward.

Free Two-Day Shipping: Another Target Red Card Perk is the free, two-day shipping option no matter the sale amount. This is a limited perk because most items already ship free when your online basket is over $35, but this certainly brings a bigger convenience.

Now when you order online from Target, you have to be more calculated to make sure you need more than one item to justify the online order to make sure you get free shipping. I know the Target online cart in my house always has a few items in it, but orders don’t occur until the free shipping kicks in.

How does that help Target? Well, now they are on the same playing field as Amazon. One of the great things about Prime is the free shipping no matter what (for qualified items). That means if I need something that costs 99 cents, I can go online and order it. That convenience leads me to Amazon over Target quite often. With the Target Red Card, you now have a competing offer for items you always order online. Obviously, it is more efficient for Target to ship more items in one package, but this is an easy give and a huge convenience.

Increased Return Window: When checking out the Target Red Card, one thing that stuck out to me is the 30-day extension on your return window. I know what you may be thinking, “why isn’t 90 days enough to return something?”

I would have typically agreed with you, but now with children, I see the advantage. When it comes to Christmas or Birthday gifts (not just for kids), my family is often buying far in advance. It might be because of a good deal, or just trying to spread out some of the cost throughout the year vs. one month.

One thing that bit us this last Christmas was returning items. There were two examples of things we got that we were unable to return because it was just outside the window. One item was a duplicate gift, and one item was too small. If I had the extra 30-days of an exchange window, I would have been able to return in both scenarios.

Again, when evaluating Target Red Card perks, this is something small, but still, something that you should consider when deciding if this store card works for you.

Red Card Exclusives: As expected, when you become a member of the Target Red Card, there are also a few exclusive offers that you must consider. This is standard for most cards, but obviously, this one is tailored to Target purchases.

The first Target Red Card perk is a card that has zero fees. So not only are you getting a discount on every transaction and free shipping, but there is also no dollar amount (fee) you must hurdle to justify the card. In today’s world, most of the major credit cards have a fee of at least $75 per year. Now, what you get in return for that usually hurdles the cost, but still one less thing you must worry about.

The second (and kind of third) exclusive offer to Red Card members is a yearly 10 percent discount coupon. On the day of your membership anniversary, you will receive the coupon to use on one transaction. That means if you are planning a big purchase, you can plan accordingly and get additional savings.

At times, Red Card members will also get exclusive pricing on closeout items. What that means is the “first look” at items that may be going on sale in certain areas. That doesn’t guarantee it will be available to you as a shopper but does give you the first look.

With all that being said, what is the push point if a store card like the Target Red Card makes sense? In my opinion, having a store card can be very beneficial at times, but they certainly have their limitations.

Getting a discount directly at the register is a huge perk for the Red Card, but only being able to use it at Target locations is a huge inconvenience. If Target is a store where you already have a large number of purchases, it may make total sense for you and your family.

The one item you must remember is what opening/applying for this card can do to your credit. If you are planning on applying for any type of loan, you will want to be cautious because having too many cards can damage your credit (in the short run).

I mentioned above that I’m not a huge fan of store cards, but as you can see, the Target Red Card perks may be intriguing to some. When doing your own homework on the card, I would challenge you to look at a few other options as well.

While a standard credit card could be intimidating with much higher limits, the rewards programs and perks can be strong, and you can use the card anywhere where credit is accepted. These credit card programs will often partner with your favorite airline, hotel, or clothing brand and can pass along rewards. Another popular program is a cashback card with a percent based on what you spend.

Remember, a store card will likely provide a higher discount at that particular store and will have a lower spending limit to help keep you balanced but is limited to that store where you can use it.

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