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Jun 05, 2021
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Target Circle, the retailer's free loyalty program that has hundreds of discounts a day ranging from 5% to 50%, and the RedCard, which offers 5% off purchases every day even on Apple products, Disney gift cards and the annual Black Friday pilgrimage.

While not everybody has room in their wallet for another credit or debit card, most should have room on their phone for the Target app, which is the easiest way to rack up the savings with Circle. (For those without a smartphone, it's still possible to take advantage of some offers by registering with a phone number or by printing a barcode from your computer.)

Target also offers a big incentive for customers without a RedCard to join and participate in Circle – the ability to earn 1% back on most purchases.

Joining the 'inner' Target Circle
You might already be a member of Circle and not know it. If you have an existing Target.com, former Cartwheel account or RedCard credit or debit card, you were automatically enrolled in Target Circle. Shoppers also can join by making a Target.com account or by giving their phone numbers in a Target store.

Download the app at Target.com or directly at the Apple or Google Play app stores. Either create a Target.com account or log in with an existing account.

How does Target Circle work
Think of it as a two-tier loyalty program. There’s the free program open to all, and then there are savings that require a Target RedCard credit or debit card.

  • Easy savings, no work required : If you don't have a RedCard, you can earn 1% in rewards on nearly every single purchase in-store and online that can be redeemed on a future purchase. The short list of exclusions includes alcohol beverage purchases, prescriptions and over-the-counter items located behind the pharmacy counter, Start earning by scanning a barcode in the app, a printable barcode printed from the website or entering your mobile phone number (once it is registered with your account).
  • Savings for RedCard holders : Now, if you do have RedCard, you save 5% off purchases made with the Target credit or debit cards, but you do not get the 1% back in rewards. Target says to earn 1%, you can't use a RedCard for any portion of the purchase. I mean, 5% is more than 1%, so you come out ahead anyway, just don’t forget to pay your bill. (I put all of my credit cards and most of my bills on automatic pilot by using auto-bill pay.)
  • More savings: Each week, Target promotes a few Target Circle offers in its weekly store ad. But don't rely solely on the ad to guide you to the savings because there are hundreds of additional offers on the app.
  • Bonuses: Every so often, there's the chance to earn an occasional bonus, which vary by member. In February, for instance, I earned $20 in rewards after making three purchases of $80 or more – even though I used my RedCard.
  • Earning rewards: If you are a Target Circle member but don't have a RedCard, you can start accruing earnings by scanning the Wallet barcode in the Target app or use your phone number at checkout in stores, or log in to their Target.com account when shopping online. Don't worry if you forget to do this at the time; you can also scan your receipt in the app or enter it on Target.com within seven days.
  • Redeeming rewards: To redeem the 1% and any bonus rewards, scan the Wallet barcode in the Target app, give your phone number or log into your account when shopping online. Note that you can't redeem earnings on some items including, adult beverage purchases, dairy product purchases, prescriptions, Same Day Delivery purchases and gift cards.
  • Expiring rewards: As long as you remain active and keep participating in Circle, Target says your earnings will not expire. However, if you don't keep using the program after earning, your rewards will expire in a year. So if you're on the forgetful side, best to use them ASAP.

  • Birthday Reward: If you include your birth date in your Target account, on your birthday you’ll get 5% off a storewide purchase discount to use on a future purchase. The discount is valid for 30 days; and for members with a RedCard, the reward is stackable with the RedCard discount, Target tells me. As with most of the deals, be sure to check the exclusions.
  • Giving back: By using Circle, you earn "Community Giving Program votes" with every transaction, regardless of payment type. You then have a say in where Target directs its charitable giving. Cast votes for organizations through the app or website. Target says members have directed nearly $7 million to more than 2,500 local and national nonprofit organizations since Circle started.

    Saving with Circle Offers
    Using the Target app is the easiest way to find and redeem Circle offers, but it's also possible to add the offers to your wallet at Target.com/circle.
  • Each day, there are hundreds of Circle offers ranging from 5% to 50% off in categories such as groceries, clothes, furniture, baby products, health, seasonal and more. Everyone can add up to 75 offers on their Circle account whether they are a newbie or super saver. This was previously 50 offers.
  • Search or browse for deals by categories or scan item bar codes with the app. The app also curates personalized offers based on past purchases. Offers can be sorted by newest, highest discount, trending deals or by expiring.
  • Save offers to your wallet by clicking the plus sign. To delete offers, click on the green check mark.
  • Many Circle offers can be redeemed on purchases using Target Drive Up and in-store pickup, and some are available to ship as well. Be sure to confirm any restrictions on the offers. For instance, if you are buying seven of the same item, the offer might work only on the first four, depending on the fine print.
  • Alcohol savings: There are some digital rebates for alcohol, but check the fine print as they are not available in all states and are in-store only. These can be found in the “Alcohol Beverages” Circle category and are single-use offers.
  • In-store only: There are some manufacturer coupons and alcohol rebates on Circle that can be redeemed only in stores. The coupons are usually marked as MFR single-use coupon.
  • At checkout: Scanning the main Wallet barcode combines Circle offers, other coupons and you can choose to select payment options.
  • Payment options: If you’re paying with a RedCard or gift card loaded to your account, confirm the right RedCard – you can have multiple store cards in an account – has a green box around it and that the wallet background is red. Same with gift cards. Make sure there are green boxes around them.
  • Don't Do This: A screenshot of your own barcode or someone else's won't work, so log in on the app or bring the physical printout from Target.com.
  • Always check the receipt: Check your receipt before leaving the store to make sure offers were applied. If they weren’t, you should go to guest services.
  • Early Access to Sales: Target offered Circle members early access to its Black Friday weekly sales in 2020 and past years. In 2020, you had to be a Circle member to take advantage of one of Target's best sales of the year – the annual 10% gift card sale.
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