This New Target Self-Checkout Rule Could Be a Game-Changer

Self-checkout just became way faster.

sign and logo of Target store in Buffalo
Updated July 18, 2024
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Target is making some changes to its checkout processes — and the new upgrades may save you a lot of time. 

Soon, the retailer will limit all self-checkout terminals to 10 items or fewer. This initiative was piloted last fall at 200 stores, but the retailer is now rolling out the program in nearly 2,000 stores nationwide. The change comes after stores with express self-checkout consistently reported moving twice as fast as stores without it. 

Target also plans to add more traditional check-out lanes staffed by team members in all stores, meaning more hands on deck to help customers purchase their items. In addition, store leaders will be able to open more lanes staffed by team members and set self-checkout hours based on their store's needs, hopefully a much more efficient checkout experience.

Keep reading to learn eight key things Target’s employees know about how you can keep more cash in your wallet on your next Target run.

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Target's credit card is worth it for frequent shoppers

Bruno/Adobe man online shopping on laptop with a red credit card

You’re just as sick of fending off credit card offers at checkout as employees are of offering them to you. But if you’ve been turning down Target's credit card offers, it could be worth taking a second look.

It gives you a 5% discount on most Target purchases and an extra 30 days for returns. This might even be better than earning cash back on many other cards.

Don’t feel like getting another credit card? You can sign up for Target's debit card instead. You’ll still save 5% on most purchases, qualify for free shipping, and can create sub-accounts for younger family members who are learning how to manage money.

Get gift cards for your old tech

Proxima Studio/Adobe shopping trolley with paper boxes

Trying to get some older electronics off your hands? The electronics departments at certain Target locations will give you a Target gift card in exchange for electronic devices like cell phones, speakers, video games and consoles, and tablets.

Just ask the Target employees in your store’s electronics section if their store participates in tech trade-in to start getting a quote on any old devices. You’ll receive an electronic Target gift card within seven days.

Items are marked down by department weekly

mandritoiu/Adobe shelves with cosmetics in a Target store

Target moves products to clearance on a weekly schedule that breaks sales down by department. The actual markdown schedule tends to differ between stores, so you’ll want to ask your store manager for location-specific information.

For the most part, though, Target’s markdowns follow a similar weekly schedule:

  • Items in the electronics, kids’ clothing, and accessories departments are marked down on Mondays
  • Items in the women’s clothing and grocery departments are marked down on Tuesdays
  • Items in the health, beauty, and men’s clothing sections are marked down on Wednesdays
  • Items in the decor, toys, and sporting goods departments are marked down on Thursdays
  • Items in the cosmetics and jewelry departments are marked down on Fridays

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Get a price match on-sale items within 14 days

Tada Images/Adobe checkout lanes in a Super Target store

It’s always frustrating when you buy something at the listed price only to have it go on sale the next day. Target gets that frustration — and it does something about it too. 

Just bring in your purchase and receipt within 14 days of your visit and Target will reimburse you the difference between the sale price and purchase price. You can keep a lot more money in your bank account doing this.

Prices can vary between locations

MelissaMN/Adobe self-checkout station machine at a Target store

If you have the time (and live near more than one Target), it could be worth comparing pricing between several nearby Targets to make sure you get the best deal.

Every once in a while, a product will cost less at one store than at another, even if both stores are within the same general area.

For the most part, Target does standardize its prices, especially for big-ticket items like TVs and computers. It’s always worth trying to find the best deal — but don’t be too surprised if most of your purchases cost the same regardless of the store.

Some items cost less online

OntheRun Photo/Adobe Target app open on a smartphone

Again, while this isn’t always the case, some things actually cost less on Target’s website than they do in stores. 

If you’re wondering if you could get a better deal online, feel free to check out the item you’re after on the app. 

You can also get a break on shipping costs by sending the product directly to your local Target instead of to your home.

Combine your coupons

Andrey Popov/Adobe man's hand holding cell phone with coupon on the screen

Whether you have Target-specific coupons, manufacturer’s coupons, or even coupons from other stores, there’s a fair chance Target will accept whichever coupons you present. 

The iffiest coupon choice here is to present one offered by a competitor, but Target’s price matching could still help you get the best deal. 

Unless your coupon says it can’t be combined with other offers, Target will usually let you shop with more than one at once.

Target invested $300 million in its workforce

Sundry Photography/Adobe Target delivery truck driving on the freeway

In 2022, Target vowed to pass an additional $300 million on to its employees. One way it did so was by raising the starting wage for some positions to $24 an hour. 

Target has always led the pack in paying its employees better than many competitors. In 2017, for instance, it became the first retailer to pay employees a minimum of $15 an hour.

Of course, whether Target is a better or worse retail giant to work for than others depends on who you ask. But when you’re shopping at Target, it’s good to know the retailer pledged to pass some of its profits down to the employees who make your Target experience possible.

Bottom line

Sundry Photography/Adobe Target shopping carts

With Target's new express self-checkout lanes, customers can expect a much more efficient checkout process and quickly move in and out of the store. However, self-checkout has been a hot-button issue recently; other retailers like Walmart have faced criticism for faulty self-checkout systems. As long as the rollout goes smoothly, Target will not have to worry, and customers will enjoy saving time at the grocery store.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.