“Need anything from Target?”
Who am I kidding? You always need something from Target. At least, the store does a good job at making you feel like you do. And next time you’re there, try walking out with only whatever it is you went for in the first place. Good luck with that.
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.
- Target REDcard
- Target Circle
- Rakuten (formerly Ebates)
- Citi Bonus Cash
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Best credit card to use for cash back at Target
- How to stack these deals to get the most cash back at Target
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, extended returns (30 extra days), and an additional savings on items you get delivered when you use Target subscriptions are some of the other perks REDcard holders can enjoy. You can even use your REDcard to save at any in-store Starbucks.
Exclusions do apply. You won’t get the discount on prescriptions, over-the-counter items in the pharmacy, clinic services, Target Optical eye exams, or Target gift cards, to name a few. If you opt for the REDcard credit card, you can expect a relatively high APR. However, there’ no annual fee.
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. Now, Target’s new(ish) loyalty program is launching nationwide on Oct. 6, 2019. If you use Cartwheel (a coupon-like app that can save you 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.
Ibotta is an app that allows you to earn cash back on everyday purchases — both in-store and online — and Target is just one of the many stores where you can use it to save. And it doesn’t take much more than snapping a photo.
To earn cash back at Target with Ibotta, download the Ibotta app, add the offers you plan on buying, and shop as usual. When you’re finished, just take a photo of your receipt and earn cash back. Alternatively, you can connect your Target account directly to Ibotta and avoid having to scan receipts altogether. To save this way, add your Target items to your Ibotta shopping list beforehand, and when you check out at Target, make sure to scan your Target app. Ibotta will automatically process your savings.
Depending on the item, your cashback amount from Ibotta will vary, but it can range from 10 cents to a few dollars — even up to $5 back. When you use Ibotta for offers at Target.com, you’ll earn 1% cash back (exclusions apply).
When you’re ready, you can withdraw your Ibotta earnings through gift cards, PayPal, or Venmo.
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.
Rakuten (formerly Ebates)
Rakuten offers shoppers cash back, coupons, and shopping rewards at major retailers like Sam's Club, 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 the Rakuten website, 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.
As of Sep. 30, 2019, Rakuten is offering 1% cash back on Target purchases.
Paribus, 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, shop online at Target as you normally would. Paribus tracks the confirmation email in your inbox after your purchase (it tracks any purchases made in the past 30 days) and then monitors Target 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 automatic, 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.
Citi Bonus Cash
As a Citi cash rewards cardmember, you’ll have access to Citi’s Bonus Cash Center. This is a shopping portal that allows you to earn bonus cash back at over 400 online stores — and Target is one of them.
When you use the Citi Bonus Cash Center to shop online at Target.com, you’ll earn up to an additional 1% cash back. To do so, you’ll need to sign in to your Citi account online, navigate to Target.com through the Citi shopping portal, and then use your Citi credit card to make your purchase. The cash back will be posted to your Citi credit card account.
Only Citi cards with cash rewards are eligible for the Bonus Cash Center. Currently, the Citi Double Cash Card is the only cash rewards card available to new applicants. With this card, you can earn up to 2% cash back on every purchase, not to mention a 0% intro APR (annual percentage rate) for 18 months.
Pair the Double Cash Card and the Bonus Cash Center, and you’re looking at 3% cash back for your online Target purchases.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards cardholders can shop through the Chase shopping portal to earn 1X bonus points at Target. For your purchase to qualify for 1X points, you must go directly to Target.com from the Chase shopping portal and complete your purchase in the same session.
When you’re ready to pay, you’ll need to use a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. So with the bonus from shopping through the Chase portal, you'll essentially earn 2.5% cash back.
You’ll receive an email when you get your points, but the exact timing depends on Target’s specific policies. Also, Chase advises against combining coupons or discount codes, so stacking with another cashback tool might not work.
You’ll also find there are a lot of exclusions that apply, so you’ll want to confirm your purchase is eligible beforehand. Per the Chase shopping portal website, ineligible items include grocery items, baby care, pets, electronics, automotive accessories, hardware, toys, movies, music, video games, and more. Given all that, this may not be the simplest of ways to get cash back for your Target run but could be useful for specific purchases.
TopCashback is another free online cashback platform similar to Rakuten that claims to offer the “highest cashback guaranteed.” To earn cash back for your online shopping trip, search for Target on the TopCashback site, click through to Target.com, and shop as usual.
You can get up to 2.25% of your purchase back when you shop with TopCashback at Target.com, as well as other special deals and coupons. When you’re ready to cash out, head to the Payouts page of your account and select your preferred payout method. You should receive your cash back within seven days.
Best credit card 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 can include any purchase 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 you won’t be automatically enrolled.
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|
|Earns you 5% from October to December 2019||Earns you|
|Cashback portal or platform||Ibotta||Ibotta|
|Earns you 10 cents per item to 10% on your purchase amount||Earns you 10 cents per item to 10% on your purchase amount|
|Additional cash back||Target Circle||
|Earns you 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||Stacking strategy No. 4||Stacking strategy No. 5|
|Payment method||Discover it Cash Back Card||Discover it Cash Back Card||Target REDcard||Citi Double Cash Card||Chase Freedom Unlimited|
|Earns you 5% from October to December 2019||Earns you 5% from October to December 2019||Earns you||Earns you up to 2% cash back||Earns you 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases|
|Cashback portal or platform||TopCashback||Rakuten||Ibotta||Citi Bonus Cash Center||Chase Ultimate Rewards (Shop through Chase)|
|Earns you 2.25%||Earns you 1%||Earns you 1%||Earns you 1%||Earns you 1%|
|Additional cash back||Target Circle||Target Circle||Paribus||Paribus||Paribus|
|Earns you 1%, plus any additional coupon savings with Target Circle offers||Earns you 1%, plus any additional coupon savings with Target Circle offers||Depends on difference after price change||Depends on difference after price change||Depends on difference after price change|
|Additional cash back||Paribus||Paribus||
|Depends on difference after price change||Depends on difference after price change||
|Your minimum potential cash back||8.25%||7%||6%||3%||2.5%|
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.
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