If you shop regularly at Target, then you’ve been pitched their “REDcard” that gives you 5% off all your purchases at Target stores and Target.com. However, you may be hesitant to sign up for yet another credit card with limited usefulness. I certainly wouldn’t waste a precious hard credit check on one, those are worth $300-$500 a pop. Or perhaps you just don’t like credit cards in general.
A better option for regular shoppers is the lesser-known Target Debit REDcard. It draws money directly from your existing bank account, you don’t have to open up a new Target bank account or line of credit. You simply provide a voided paper check and apply either in-store or via mail-in application (no online application option). They do still require SSN and reserve the right to check consumer reporting agencies, but according to online reports they don’t perform a credit check on any of the three major credit bureaus.
Update: A reader reports that Target checks with ID Analytics, another lesser-known consumer reporting agency. This won’t affect your 3 main credit scores, but it may come into play if another retailer or lender wishes to check your IDA report.
You get the same 5% off (discount taken at register) and other perks like free shipping online. You can even use Target as a free ATM and make a withdrawal at checkout. If you spend an average of $150 a month at Target, 5% off is $90 a year.