If you're a regular shopper at Target, you may already know about the Target Circle and Target RedCard membership programs. You may be curious or wonder how much they can actually save you on your daily essentials at the mega-retailer.
We've put together this handy page to help our readers get clued up on these two options, show how they differ, and also how they stack up against rival membership programs like Amazon Prime, Walmart Plus, and My Best Buy memberships.
As a brief overview, both are free to all customers at Target and offer either cashback or discounts. They are, however, markedly different in their eligibility as the RedCard, in particular, will either require you to open a line of credit or link your membership with an existing debit account. The Circle membership, by contrast, only requires an online sign-up and is, therefore, a more readily accessible option.
Target Circle: sign-up to get cashback and exclusive deals
If you're interested, you can head straight to Target to sign up for the Target Circle reward program for no cost. Not only will you get 1% credit back for every purchase, but the Target Circle program automatically gives you exclusive access to a wide range of exclusive deals as well as the option to sign on for the more advanced Target RedCard membership. You can also access the exclusive Target Circle deals via the official Target App, which is free to download.
Target Circle: what you need to know
- Free to join
- 1% credit back on purchases
- Exclusive deals
- Early access Black Friday deals
- Extended free trials for Apple services
Target Circle is a free-to-join reward scheme that's almost a no-brainer if you're a regular shopper at the retailer. It arguably lacks the pizzazz of rival offerings from Amazon, but it's a great option if you're simply looking for some additional savings on your purchases.
Its main selling point is the 1% credit that you'll earn back on every online and in-store purchase. Members buying online will automatically get the credit assigned to their Target account, whereas those in-store will either need to upload a barcode on their receipt or enter their phone number at the self-service checkout.
In addition to buy-back credit, Target Circle members also have a few more worthwhile perks. For example, once every year Target will gift Circle members a one-off 5% discount for their Birthday and you'll also get access to a few handy extras from Target's partners - in this case extended free trials for Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and iCloud+. Being a member also entitles you to occasional community votes where you can decide which charities and non-profits the retailer supports each year.
As with other rival retail membership programs, Target Circle gets you exclusive access to deals that you otherwise wouldn't be able to score without a membership. Last year, for example, the retailer ran a Target Circle Week in early October that gave all members exclusive access to a wide range of discounts on toys, household essentials, media, groceries, and many other categories with up to 40% off.
There are a number of ways to access Target Circle exclusive deals. Firstly, you can head on over the the Target Circle offers page on the Target website. Alternatively, you can download the official Target app for free and browse the offers directly on your mobile device of choice.
Target RedCard: what you need to know
- Free to join
- Requires a credit line or connected account
- 5% discounts at Target and partners
- Free 2-day shipping on most orders
- Additional 30-day return window
The Target RedCard membership is more involved than the Circle membership and requires you to either open a line of credit or connect an existing debit account. The benefits, however, are much greater overall - and it's still free, unlike equivalent programs like Amazon Prime or Walmart Plus.
The biggest benefit, aside from perhaps the free 2-day shipping that's available on most orders, is that Target will give you a flat 5% discount site-wide. Unlike the 1% cashback from the Target Circle program, this one is an upfront saving - and it's also eligible for use at the in-store Starbucks for all you coffee lovers.
Between the credit and debit options, both will entitle you to the vast majority of Target RedCard perks. The credit card does have a few extra, like 1% cashback on third-party transactions and up to 3% off dining and gas purchases, but you'll obviously be liable to incur extra fees for late payments, as with all credit services.
Target Circle vs Amazon Prime
- Savings via cashback
- Fewer perks
- Savings on Prime Day
- Vast array of perks
While both Target Circle and Amazon Prime offer ways for customers to save a little extra at each retailer, they are, in fact, really different services that offer different approaches.
Amazon Prime, for example, is a much more inclusive service. At its inception, it didn't offer much more than free next-day delivery, but it's subsequently grown over the years to offer exclusive discounts and a massive range of streaming perks baked right into a single subscription. A couple of highlights here include Prime Video, Amazon Music, Prime Reading, and Prime Gaming, all of which offer a good amount of free content to check out each month.
Target Circle, by comparison, is a much more stripped-down affair. You won't get the free streaming perks, with the exception of a few extended free trials for Apple services. You will, however, get cashback credit on all purchases and all-year-round discounts on everyday household essentials.
Of course, the real selling point for Target Circle is that you don't need to pay for it. Unlike Amazon Prime, which has received price hikes over the past few years, Target's membership program remains completely free.
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Alex is deals editor at TechRadar. With over three years of experience on-site and eight years working in e-commerce, Alex has made it his personal mission to share all his favorite tips, bargains, and deals with our readers here at TechRadar. At work, he specializes in computing, phones, and covering huge sales events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. Outside of work, you'll find him indulging his keen love of photography and PC gaming, or down at the local climbing gym hanging off boulders far too difficult for his abilities. His editorial bylines also include contributions to T3 and GamesRadar.