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- Bye, Bluebird: My Experience Getting the Serve Card
- Atlantic Terminal Target no longer accepts credit cards for REDbird reloads
From the I-knew-if-was-too-good-to-be-true files…
Well, consider this a data point if anything.
Tonight, I decided I was done messing with the REDbird card in New York City. It’s just too hard. The closest Target to me is the one at Atlantic Terminal, and they no longer accept credit cards for reloads – only cash and debit cards – which makes this product useless to me.
I’ve heard the one in Harlem is still accepting credit cards, but from my vantage point in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, it might as well be on the other side of the moon. I will go far for points and miles – but not that far.
At about 6 hours round-trip (yes, I am serious. New York City is huge and the MTA is a nightmare), I have to weigh my opportunity costs as well as my time. And while loading $5,000 per month is obviously more than $1,000 per month, at least I can run my Serve reloads from the app on my phone while I’m still lying in bed.
Time required: seconds. Opportunity cost: slight delay on coffee in the morning.
My REDbird story
I grabbed the card when I went down to REDbird Land for the Christmas holiday. At the store in Southaven, Mississippi, I grabbed a temp card and loaded that baby up with $500 with no issue.
Then, back in NYC, I did one last reload and spend cycle on the Serve card. Afterward, I closed the Serve account and opened a permanent REDbird account. So I floated the $500 for a few weeks while I did all that and waited for the new card.
Afterward, I headed to the Target at Atlantic Terminal and loaded up at the register – again, with zero issue. I was so happy that it worked; I’ve always been mistrusting of that particular location for some reason (maybe it’s because it’s the busiest Target in North America and always crazy busy), but I thought I would get in at least a few months of loading up the REDbird card.
But nope. I got in just one reload before they killed it.
The next time I went back, the cashier at the register took one look and sent me to Guest Services. Bad sign. Guest Services told me what I didn’t want to hear: “Cash or debit only.”
Which leads me to tonight.
I cut up the REDbird card, closed the account online, and then headed to serve.com to see if Amex would let me have another Serve card so soon after closing the other account.
Well, instant confirmation that a new Serve card is on the way. So now, back to Serve I go. Oh, and it seems like the Serve website got a little “refresh” – looking great!
The state of the game
I’m equal parts disappointed and relieved. Disappointed about losing the opportunity for points but relieved I don’t have to deal with that particular Target location any more. It’s such a $#!+ show.
Why is NYC so bad for manufactured spend? Even today while grabbing a couple of PayPal My Cash cards, I got a dick manager at a CVS who told me he wouldn’t do it (just like Vanilla Reloads. I’m telling you, the PayPal cards are just like Vanilla Reloads), but the other 90% of the time, it’s been fine.
In a way, I am waiting for that little gravy train to stop running too. But I’ll take it while the getting is good. I’ve already met the spend on my new Chase IHG Select Rewards Visa, earned some Club Carlson points, some Arrival Plus miles, etc. And the RadPad/PayPal debit card combo has been a boon – I love it.
Turning back to REDbird and Serve… I guess I will have to settle with Serve for as long as I live in NYC. It’s so weird to me that I can load up with a credit card with no issue in rural Mississippi, but the Target in the biggest city in the United States wants cash from me. It’s 2015. Take my freaking card.
Hated to do it, but my little REDbird stopped flying.
I do want to keep earning points with a prepaid product, and Serve is the next best thing. After weighing time and opportunity cost, it is back to Serve I go.
Serve is a great option if you aren’t near a Target, if you can’t get to one 2 days per month (or even just 1), or if you just don’t want to deal with the risk of Target not taking your credit card.
It sucks because I was actually going to start grabbing a few items here and there AKA shopping at Target more regularly. After all, I was already in there – captive audience – and with the 5% discount, yeah, I might’ve grabbed a little of this and a little of that.I was also keen to use the bill pay function to pay my bills each month. But nope, sorry Target – the no credit card reload is a deal breaker.
I’d be curious to know if there’s anyone who has the option to have and reload REDbird but opts for Serve anyway – be it for convenience, reliability, or other factors? If New York City is any indication, will the Target credit card reloads will come to a halt any time soon?
Furthermore, and this is more of a big picture question, how worth is manufactured spend any more? Is the risk still worth the reward?
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