Target Cashback Secrets, REDcard, and More 2021

You might not be able to stop yourself from spending too much time in Target, but there are things you can do to keep more money in your pocket each time you shop.
Last updated May 13, 2021 | By Matt Miczulski
How to Get Cash Back When You Shop at Target

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If it feels like there’s a mystical force getting you to spend more time and money in Target, you might not be going crazy. There’s a name for this phenomenon. This is called the “Target Effect” and is very real. According to Dr. Kevin Chapman, a Kentucky-based psychologist, Target’s marketing department has done a top-notch job at designing Target stores to make customers happier — and happiness makes us shop more.

While the Target Effect might make your cart a little more full than you intended, there’s nothing preventing you from figuring out how to save money where you can. Target already makes doing that pretty easy (maybe that’s one of the ways it draws you in?), but there are even more money-saving tools that can make your Target run more economical on your wallet. 

Spanning from Target coupons to loyalty programs and cashback apps, if you shop at Target on the regular, you’re not going to want to miss out on any of the money-saving strategies we outline below.

In this article

Target REDcard

As any avid Target-shopper will know, the Target REDcard is a no-brainer when it comes to saving money at Target. Receive 5% off your purchases at Target (in store and online) when you use the REDcard, which is available in both a debit and credit card.

REDcard holders also get early access to special products and promotions, as well as other exclusive extras. Free two-day shipping and extended returns (30 extra days) are some of the other perks REDcard holders can enjoy. If you opt for the REDcard credit card, you can expect a relatively high APR. However, there’s no annual fee to worry about — and it offers some very generous cash back on your Target shopping trips.

Get a Target REDcard

... Or read our Target REDcard review

Rakuten (formerly Ebates)

Rakuten offers shoppers cash back, coupons, and shopping rewards at major retailers like Macy's, Best Buy, Kohl's, Target, Apple, and Amazon. You can use Rakuten for online shopping or on your phone through the app, which also comes with app-exclusive offers and extra cash back.

Did I mention earning cash back with Rakuten is a breeze? Rakuten has a “Cash Back Button” browser extension that helps you find cash back on qualifying purchases, applying coupons automatically at checkout so you don’t miss out on the best deals.

Alternatively, you can start on Rakuten.com, search for Target offers through the site, shop as usual, and earn cash back on your purchase. Rakuten also offers a rotating selection of “Double Cash Back” stores, so you can earn twice the savings.

When you’re ready to cash out your Rakuten earnings, you’ll get paid either by PayPal or check.

You can maximize your cashback earnings at Target by using your Rakuten Cash Back Visa credit card for qualifying purchases. With this card, you can earn 3% cash back on qualifying Rakuten purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

As of Jan. 29, 2021, Rakuten is offering 1% cash back on Target purchases.

Start earning cash back with Rakuten

... Or read our Rakuten review

Rakuten Benefits

  • Get a $10 bonus gift card when you spend at least $25 at a participating store
  • Earn cash back for shopping at your favorite stores
  • A quick and painless way to save money on your usual shopping trips

Target Circle

Target Circle, originally dubbed Target Red, is a free Target loyalty program first launched in March 2018 that was only made available in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to start. Nearly a year after its launch, Target expanded access to its beta loyalty program to five additional cities, and its new(ish) loyalty program launched nationwide on Oct. 6, 2019. If you are looking for Cartwheel (a coupon-like app that can help you save money at Target), it will be integrated into Target Circle and known as Target Circle offers.

With Target Circle, shoppers will be able to earn 1% cash back on both in-store purchases and online shopping at Target.com, which can be spent on a future Target run. In addition to the 1% back, shoppers will also get a birthday discount of 5%, surprise savings and perks, access to special sales, and the ability to cast votes to help direct Target’s charitable donations. If you currently have a Target REDcard, you can still join Target Circle to receive the benefits of voting and services, but you’ll continue to save 5% when you pay with your REDcard instead of earning 1%.

Also, if you forget to scan your Target app before checking out, no worries — you can enter your receipt later on the dashboard to get credit and earnings for your purchase.

Protip: Some of the cashback tools I’m showing you can be used at the same time — or “stacked” — and I’ll talk about that toward the end of this article once you’ve learned all the ways get cash back at Target.

Paribus

Paribus,1 a Capital One service, is a free price-tracking tool that monitors prices at over 25 of the largest online retailers with price-adjustment policies — including Target. You can think of this as a passive money-saving tool for your next online Target run.

Once you sign up for Paribus, shop online at Target as you normally would. Paribus tracks the confirmation email in your inbox after your purchase and then monitors the Target website for price changes. If an eligible item you bought drops in price, Paribus submits a price adjustment claim to Target on your behalf to get you a refund. While the process is pretty simple, there are occasions where you might have to take over to complete your refund.  

You keep 100% of your savings, and refunds are usually deposited back to you in your original form of payment.

Start saving with Paribus

... Or read our Paribus review

Paribus Benefits

  • Get refunds when prices drop
  • Paribus monitors what you buy online and helps you secure a refund if the price drops later
  • No monitoring prices yourself, no hassle!

Capital One Shopping

Imagine how much money you might save at Target.com if you could apply coupon and promo codes from across the web instantly at checkout. Enter Capital One Shopping.2 It's an easy-to-get browser extension that can help you save money at Target.com in two ways.

When you're ready to check out at Target.com, Capital One Shopping's helpful pop-up automatically searches for and applies the best available coupon codes from across tens of thousands of retail websites. In addition to making it easy to find coupon codes, you can also earn Capital One Shopping Credits when you make eligible purchases, and your credits can be redeemed for gift cards. So while you technically won't earn cash back with this handy browser extension, it might help you keep some money in your pocket for future Target runs.

Capital One Shopping is currently available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. Simply search for it in your browser's add-ons to get started.

Start saving with Capital One Shopping

... Or read our Capital One Shopping review

Capital One Shopping Benefits

  • Capital One Shopping searches thousands of merchants to see if you're getting a great deal
  • Don't miss out on a better price
  • Search and apply coupon codes automatically
  • Custom price drop alerts for products you've viewed or purchased

Fetch

Fetch is a shopping app that allows you to earn rewards that can be redeemed for gift cards to popular retailers. And, you guessed it: Target is one of those popular retailers. The best part is that you can earn Fetch Rewards by shopping at most of your favorite local stores, not just by making eligible Target purchases. 

To get started, you simply download the Fetch App for your Apple or Android device and then shop as you normally would. After your shopping trip, upload a copy of your receipt to the Fetch app, and you'll earn Fetch rewards for each eligible purchase you made. Point values for qualifying purchases typically range from 250 to 3,000, and you usually need a minimum of 3,000 points to redeem your rewards for a gift card.

While you don't earn cash back directly with Fetch, if you use it frequently and redeem your rewards for Target gift cards, it might help you significantly offset your costs the next time you're feeling the pull of the Target Effect.

Download Fetch now

... Or read our Fetch review

Fetch Rewards Benefits

  • Free and easy to use
  • Calculates points in real time
  • Enter the code BUZZ to earn a $2 (2,000 points) sign-up bonus

Best credit cards to use for cash back at Target

Target purchases are often excluded from credit card rewards and bonus categories, but here’s a credit card that rewards you for your Target runs:

The Discover it Cash Back Credit Card offers cardmembers a rotating calendar of bonus categories where you can earn 5% on all purchases that fall within the category. You can earn 5% cash back on rotating categories (up to quarterly maximum).

Those rotating categories often include purchases at major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon. Eligible purchases could include purchases made in-store or online at Target.com. If you want to capitalize on these deals, make sure you log into the Discover website and activate the bonus category, as it won’t be activated automatically.

If you prefer a card that offers flat-rate cashback rewards and doesn't require you to activate bonus categories, the Citi Double Cash Card could be a good choice for your Target spending. With this card, you earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. While the cashback rate may be lower than what you'd get with the Discover it Cash Back, you won't have to worry about tracking or activating bonus categories.  

Earn Cash Back Twice

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee

How to stack these deals to get the most cash back at Target

Saving at Target is relatively easy to do, considering the number of things you can utilize during your shopping trip. Not only that, many of these Target-saving tools can work in conjunction with one another to maximize your savings — whether you’re shopping online or in-person. Here’s how to stack your payment method with these other cashback portals and offers to maximize your money back at Target.

How to get the most cash back at Target when you shop in-store

Stacking strategy No. 1 Stacking strategy No. 2
Payment method Discover it Cash Back Card Target REDcard
Earn 5% from October to December 2021 Receive 5% off your purchases at Target (in store and online)
Cashback portal or platform

Additional cash back

Fetch Fetch
Savings depends on how many eligible purchases you make Savings depends on how many eligible purchases you make
Cashback portal or platform

Additional cash back
Target Circle
Earn 1%, plus any additional coupon savings with Target Circle offers
Your minimum potential cash back Over 6% Over 5%

How to get the most cash back at Target when you shop online

Stacking strategy No. 1 Stacking strategy No. 2 Stacking strategy No. 3    
Payment method Discover it Cash Back Card Target REDcard Citi Double Cash Card
Earn 5% from October to December 2021 Receive 5% off your purchases at Target (in store and online) Earn up to 2% cash back
Cashback portal or platform

Additional cash back

Rakuten Rakuten Rakuten
Earn 1% Earn 1% Earn 1%
Cashback
portal or platform


Additional cash back

Target Circle Paribus Target Circle
Earn 1%, plus any additional coupon savings with Target Circle offers Depends on difference after price change Earn 1%, plus any additional coupon savings with Target Circle offers

Cashback
portal or platform


Additional cash back

Paribus Paribus
Depends on difference after price change Depends on difference after price change
Your minimum potential cash back Over 7% Over 6% Over 4%

The bottom line

These are just five of the different methods you can stack to earn cash back at Target. Try out these various ways to save — or use these as inspiration to invent your own cashback stack. it's a great start when you want to practice how to manage your money. Find the combination that rewards you the most, and the next time you feel the Target Effect, you’ll be able to walk out with a little more cash in your pocket.

Rakuten Benefits

  • Get a $10 bonus gift card when you spend at least $25 at a participating store
  • Earn cash back for shopping at your favorite stores
  • A quick and painless way to save money on your usual shopping trips

Author Details

Matt Miczulski Matt Miczulski is a personal finance writer specializing in financial news, budget travel, banking, and debt. His interest in personal finance took off after eliminating $30,000 in debt in just over a year, and his goal is to help others learn how to get ahead with better money management strategies. A lover of history, Matt hopes to use his passion for storytelling to shine a new light on how people think about money. His work has also been featured on MoneyDoneRight and Recruiter.com.