Making the Most of the Target Circle Credit Card

With 5% off everything you buy at Target, both in stores and online, plus free shipping for purchases, this card can save you big money.
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Written by Ellen Cannon
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Edited by Kenley Young
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The Target Circle card can refer to three different things: It can be a store credit card. It can be a store debit card. And if you’re invited, it can be a Mastercard that you can use wherever Mastercards are accepted.

Whichever version you have, you get the same money-saving perks: 5% off everything you buy at Target or and free shipping at

Beyond using it for everyday items commonly associated with Target — like clothing, housewares and health and beauty products — here's how you can get the most value from your Target card.

Buy your groceries at Target

Target Circle™ Credit Card
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When you do your regular grocery shopping at Target, that 5% off can add up to big savings. The average annual amount spent on food at home in 2022 was $5,703, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey. With the Target card's 5% discount, that family would save $285.15 annually. Now we’re talking.

A credit card that comes close to that discount is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which earns 6% cash back on the first $6,000 in U.S. supermarket spending each year and then 1% cash back. Terms apply (see rates and fees). At the spending level mentioned above, your total cash back for a year’s worth of supermarket spending would amount to $278.58. However, this card charges a fee, currently: $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. The Target card has no annual fee, regardless of which version you carry.

Buy specialty gift cards at Target

Whether you’re shopping for a birthday, wedding or holiday, you can use your Target card to earn 5% off on specialty gift cards for travel, restaurants, movie tickets and more.

(Note: Gift cards you buy for use at Target itself won't qualify for this offer.)

You could also consider purchasing specialty gift cards from Target for your own use, especially for everyday items or services you can't get directly from Target. For example, buy a gift card to DoorDash, Hulu, Shipt or Home Depot through Target. Get a 5% discount on the purchase of the gift card, and then use the card at that retailer.

In effect, you're using the Target card discount to save money at retailers other than Target.

Shop online at

The upside of shopping online is the convenience; the downside is the cost of shipping added to the price. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime — for $119 a year — your Amazon purchases ship for free.

But if you have the Target card, you get free shipping on most items you buy at, with no annual membership cost required.

Use Target's app, coupons and more

You can find additional discounts on specific items by using the Target app whether you're shopping in person or online. Create your shopping list in the app and explore potential discounts for the items you’re buying. When you check out at the register, the app produces a bar code on your phone that the cashier scans to give you your discount. The app also allows you to find savings as you shop by scanning items' bar codes to see whether a discount is available.

At, you can check out "Deals" on the homepage to see clearance items, the weekly ad and other offers. Plus, you can use your 5% card discount in addition to most of these offers to get more value.

Pay your balance in full

Like many store credit cards, the REDCard credit card has a higher interest rate than most bank cards. The ongoing APR is 29.95% Variable, as of November 2020. In the third quarter of 2022, the average credit card rate for accounts assessed interest was 22.77%, according to the Federal Reserve.

Even a 5% discount on purchases won't make up for incurring an interest rate that high. So to make the most of your Target card, pay your balance in full each month.

If you don’t trust yourself to pay it off, consider getting the Target debit card. You get all the same benefits as the credit card, but the purchases come directly out of your checking account.

The Target Circle™ Credit Card is one of NerdWallet’s best store credit cards, so if you’re a frequent Target shopper, it's a must-have.

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page.

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