Don't Want a Target Debit or Credit Card? You Can Still Save Money This Way

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  • The Target RedCard offers benefits for debit and credit card holders.
  • If you don't want the RedCard, you can still reap savings on your Target purchases through a different loyalty program.

You can save big time at Target without a branded debit or credit card.

If you shop at Target frequently, you may be a fan of the big-box giant's massive selection and reasonable prices. And chances are, you've been known to make an extra purchase or two in the course of a Target outing.

Target offers customers an easy way to save money on their purchases: signing up for the Target RedCard. The Target RedCard comes in two forms -- a credit card and a debit card. Both cards allow you to save 5% on your Target purchases (though there are some exceptions, such as pharmacy purchases).

But what if you don't want a Target RedCard? Maybe you're worried about applying for a credit card because you don't want a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you're about to apply for a large loan, like a mortgage, then it's actually a good idea to hold off on applying for new credit cards until you get approved.

And maybe you don't want the debit card version of the Target RedCard because it will be linked to your checking account and you're worried about fraud -- or overspending. Both are valid concerns.

The good news is that if you're not looking to get a Target RedCard, you can still save money on your Target purchases. All you need to do is sign up for the store's loyalty program.

It pays to join Target Circle

Target Circle is Target's loyalty program, and you can join whether you have a Target RedCard or not. The upside of Target Circle is getting to earn 1% back on your purchases. That's cash back you can redeem and use for future Target purchases.

As a Target Circle member, you'll also get 5% off of a single purchase for your birthday. Plus, you can rack up points through Target Circle whether you do your shopping in stores or online.

Joining Target Circle also means you'll be notified of special deals and offers. On the one hand, that could mean a little more of a crowded inbox. But on the other hand, you might save money during the year by virtue of being informed of various discounts.

A program worth signing up for

Signing up for Target Circle takes minutes, and there's really no downside. There's no cost to sign up, and you're not obligated to make purchases.

That said, Target Circle rewards will expire if you don't earn or redeem any for one year. So that's something you'll want to pay attention to. But seeing as how those rewards are being granted for your regular Target purchases, there's really no risk involved.

In fact, one strategy you may want to employ is to simply use your Target Circle rewards every time you make a purchase rather than saving them up. The great thing about this program is that you don't have to meet a certain threshold to redeem rewards. If you have $1 in rewards racked up, you can shave $1 off of your next purchase. And if you shop at Target a lot, those small savings can easily add up.

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