Published on December 18, 2012, by

For years Target offered a run-of-the-mill store credit card that gave you a discount on your first purchase after signup. Yawn. I’d stopped paying attention since store credit cards are almost always a bad deal for consumers, so it took me a while to notice when they made the deal a lot sweeter. They still offer the high-interest Target credit card (not recommended), but you can also opt for a debit version that just pulls money from your checking account.

Why bother? Because both versions of the card give you 5% off on nearly everything at Target from then on. I’m a big Target shopper and this has saved me a bundle since I signed up. All you have to do is sign up for the Target REDcard, choose the debit option, and give them your bank account details. You’ll be issued a debit version of the REDcard with its own PIN to use at the store like any other bank card, but unlike credit cards there are no fees and no bills — just that sweet 5% discount. I’d recommend it to even casual Target shoppers.

One more thing: Once you’ve signed up for a REDcard be sure to register your card number at Target’s Take Charge of Education site. You’ll be prompted to choose a favorite K-12 school, and from then on Target will give an additional 1% of all your purchases to that school. Our family’s mid-size elementary school brings in more than $1,000 a year via this program, so it’s definitely worth the time to sign up.