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Target Corporation


Debit Card Scam

Complaint Rating:  84 % with 57 votes
84% 57
Contact information:
Jacksonville, North Carolina
United States
I have shopped for years at this Target store as it is one of the limited choices we have in Jacksonville, NC. I have experienced bad service and attitude from a lot of the employees and overcharges at the register but this last experience really takes the cake. I had recently received a letter from Target stating that my Target card qualified me for 5% discount on all purchases made with my card. However when I went to use the card it was now closed due to inactivity. I decided to go ahead and get another card and went with the Target Red Debit card since I usually like to use cash. The cashier told me it was just like using a check or my own debit card and that the funds would just be transferred from my bank account. That sounded pretty good as I debit anyway and now I would get a 5% discount. I proceeded to make a $200 purchase that first day and when I received the debit card in the mail a week later, I went to the store and made another purchase for almost $200 again. The cashier at that time helped me locate a piggy bank that my son had been looking for so I proceeded back into the store to purchase it. That made my second transaction of the day. I went home but my daughter requested pain medication so I went back to the Target and got a basket of goods totaling about $40. Upon trying to use the debit card I was declined which totally threw me. I tried to ask the cashier what could be the problem since I had just used it but she smirked at me, shrugged her shoulders, and said there was nothing she could do to help me figure out what happened. I asked if the service desk would be able to help but she just shrugged her shoulders again and said I could try. The customers behind me were staring, the cashier was still smirking, and I was getting worried that my card and bank account had been tampered with. I quickly paid with my regular debit card which went through with no problem at all and rushed home to call the Target Debit card 1-888 number. I waited on hold for a while, explained my situation, and quickly got transferred to another division. I again waited a while and was finally greeted by an Indian lady who kept repeating the transactions I had completed during the day and that I had too many transactions and I had to wait a few days until the transactions cleared the system. What?! Who ever heard of a debit card that would only work twice every few days? When I asked her for details about how many transactions were allowed per how many days, she claimed that there was no way of knowing. I pointed out that the debit card was basically worthless than if I couldn't depend on using it and that I would never have signed up for a Target Debit card if I had known that it wasn't usable and that there would be not discount available. She said there was no way to know any details in order to clarify use of the card and when I asked to speak to someone who would know the details of the Target Red card, she said there was nobody who knew. I was flabbergasted! I asked her if she truly meant that Target offered a card without disclosing details to its consumers and she again reiterated that there was no way to know what kind of system the Target store had and that it would be dependant on several factors whether I would be able to use the Target Debit card on any given day but she didn't know what those factors are. I asked her if there was anybody at all I could speak with that could help me unravel the mysteries and she referred me to the 1-888 number I originally called. I pointed out that I had called that number and they transferred me to her since they said they couldn't help me but she kept saying I had to talk to them again. I asked her to transfer me back which she said she could but after waiting a while she said she couldn't transfer me at all and she hurriedly put me on hold listening to music before I could say anything. When I realized that she had left me hanging, I hung up and went through the whole rigamarole of the Target phone line and ended up with another Target associate finally. She cheerily explained that Target didn't "know" me and that they would limit my transactions until they did. When I asked her the time frame they would need to get to "know" me she said she didn't know and that I would have to use some other form of payment. I pointed out that the purpose of getting the card was to receive the 5% discount which their denials effectivedly canceled and she shrugged that off as unimportant. I pointed out that I had needlessly endured public humiliation due to their unpublished policies and she shrugged that off too. I finally pointed out that it seemed like a case of "bait and switch" since Target advertised a 5% discount if you used their Red Card but then they had these hidden policies that prevented you from using the card or receiving the discount you had bargained for. Instead you made purchases thinking you were getting the discount only to be denied the discount and instead receive a heaping dose of humiliation and condescending attitude from the cashier. She shrugged me off again but did throw me a bone by saying she would bring that issue up at her leadership meeting...hm, thanks for the help? I wrote to the Target customer service help email and received a message from another cheery Target associate who told me I needed to call this number, yep, you guessed it, the 1-888 number that I had been dealing with already! Um, thanks for the help again? I think that Target has been reduced to a scamming store if they are reduced to tricking customers with false advertised discounts and then brushing them off when they ask for help or clarification of policies. I am writing a letter to corporate officials and if I don't receive any response then I will definitely take my shopping elsewhere and advise others to do the same.
Complaint comments Comments (27) Complaint country United States Complaint category Department Stores


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 8th of Nov, 2010 by    0 Votes
There truly is no way for a cashier to tell you why your card is getting declined. That is your personal information and they don't have access to it. And the process of having limited transactions with a new card is quite common, especially if your credit isn't spectacular. However, they should have disclosed all of this with you.
 4th of Jan, 2011 by    0 Votes
same thing happened to me I am lookng into a class action law suit against Target
 16th of Feb, 2011 by    -1 Votes
This is about Targer and the harrassment. I was harassed. I made a payment over the phone, still taget phoned me 4 to 6 times a day without acknowledging my information. I sent them copies of my bank statement. I faxed and they continued to harass me, constant calling that I stopped answering my phone.
Then My Phuong one of the employer, she might in the dispute.She asked me to send her the copy of the payment and she gave me her fax number and email address. I faxed and emailed. Then a week after she phoned me and asked me if I know of anyone by the name of... which I said NO. That payment went to the account, She credited my payment. It was because of someone like her that can make a company successful. Target should check their employer and the harassment. Thank you
 19th of Feb, 2011 by    0 Votes
I experienced the same thing as Wilke10. I live close to a Target so I'm there at least a couple times a week. I didn't want a target credit card but when I heard about the debit card and 5% discount I thought it was a great idea. After I got it in the mail I used it a couple times and it worked. The 3rd time I tried to use it the card was denied. What??? I knew there was money in my checking account. The register printed out a slip of paper for me telling me to contact CERTEGY. I called. The first time I tried I waited on hold for 10 minutes and then hung up. Then, I tried at 7am on a Saturday morning and got through quickly. The guy I talked to (who must also work the Spanish-speaking line because he was hard to understand) told me that Target has set a limit on my card and I can't go above that. I said, "How could there be a limit if it's tied directly to my checking?" You'd think it would only be denied if funds weren't available. When I asked him what the limit was he said he didn't have access to that information and told me to call the number on the back of my card. At this point I thought things were getting fishy because the only reason to limit someone with good credit and a reliable bank account would be to limit the amount of discount they're willing to give out. Well, I called the 800 number on the back of the card and talked to a woman who sounded like she was in India told me the same thing. She was reading from a script and it was almost funny how whenever I asked her a question the response was the same. She said she does not have access to account limits and said they vary by location. She suggested I keep my purchases below $100. I kept insisting that if there is a limit on the card that SOMEBODY must have access to that limit and told her that knowing that would help me manage my purchases. She wasn't buying it. Just kept reading from the script over and over. She suggested I call CERTEGY. I haven't used the card since.
 15th of Apr, 2011 by    0 Votes
I had gotten a Target Red Debit card and had used it 6-7 times. When I tried to use it to purchase $300 worth or diapers, bed linens, and items to redecorate the bathroom my card was declined.
When I called the 800 number provided I was told I was over my "limit". When I informed him there was no specific limit mentioned in my user agreement and that the account my debit card was linked to had plenty of money in it, the representative said there was a "limit" of about $100 dollars on my account.
When I was transferred to a second representative, she informed me that although my account was several months old, Target still needed more time to establish a "history".
I asked how long would be enough time and what my "limit" would be even though it would a debit purchase, she had no idea. I asked her why I would want to use a card never knowing ahead of time whether or not I would be declined, and she had no answer. I told her to cancel my account.
 18th of Apr, 2011 by    0 Votes
It makes complete sense. The card does not take out money the same way your bank card does. It is a step removed, so if someone makes several purchases in a small period especially large purchases they are going to put a temp hold on the card to make sure the payments go through.

The worst thing that is going to happen from this is you don't get the 5% off. It could definitely be considered a inconvenience if you are ONLY shopping at Target to get the 5% off but honestly I think yall are all getting yourselves worked up over something that is not that big of a deal. Yea, it may have been a little embarrassing to get your card denied but get over it and go to Wal-Mart if you are that upset. I can not really believe that someone mentioned a class action law suit. Sue sue sue! Its the answer for every slight inconvenience in life!
 10th of May, 2011 by    +1 Votes
I'm in agreement with Cat1031.

Try getting a new credit card and making the same series of transactions within a short period of time. Until you've established your spending patterns with a credit card company (or debit card company, in this case), they are going to be very wary of how they authorize transactions. While this is potentially inconvenient for you, it would be a whole lot more inconvenient if the credit company didn't bother and your card HAD been stolen.

Consider that most people who practice credit fraud/use stolen cards will authorize numerous small transactions to test that the PIN they're using for the card works. These transactions are usually between $2-$50 range so as not to arouse suspicion if the card were to be declined due to a bad pin.

As far as the "public embarrassment" you suffered, I find myself with little sympathy for you. If you aren't by this point in time aware of how new credit/debit cards work with those companies, you essentially subjected yourself to that embarrassment through your own ignorance of basic workings of the consumer finance industry. That you expected everyone you spoke to--from the cashier level to the higher ups--to be able to elaborate to you the exact inner workings of this company is a bit on the excessive side. When you called the service number, I can understand your frustration. But to expect even store-level management to have an insight into the specifics of your debit card, or to even have the ability to influence corporate-level policy regarding those cards, is just another case of a pissed-off customer asking too much of someone without the power to do it.

As far as calling this debit card a scam, I'm not totally sure that you're using the word "scam" correctly. You received your 5% off on transactions used with the card and you will receive the same benefit in the future when you establish yourself with the company. I have a hard time believing you didn't just experience this, not get the answer you wanted, and then decided to vent to the internet. Have you tried using your debit card in an even, thoughtful manner so as to establish this history, or did you just write off this entire process as a lost cause because of your "public embarassment."

To wit: I was declined today on a second transaction within 20 mins in the store. The first one was a small transaction with cash back, and after realizing I had forgotten an item, I purchased that, only to realize I needed more cash back. I proceeded with the transaction but was declined. When I ran the transaction through again without cash, it was approved without issue. Perhaps I should call Target and demand to speak to the store manager in a huff, or perhaps I could realize that I rarely get cash back from that card and, as such, two transactions in a short time frame may have looked suspiciously like fraud. Interesting how these things work.
 25th of Jul, 2011 by    -2 Votes
There is a lot of nastiness in some of the responses above. I have to mention I just found this site after a similar experience today. Basically, I agree to an extent that "the worst that will happen to you" is you'll miss out on the 5%. When I pushed and spoke with a supervisor this afternoon, they explained that based on an agreement with each bank, there exists a limit on the number of transactions any given Target Debit card holder can make.

Also, it is untrue that this in about "getting to know" your spending habits. I've spent $3, 000 in the past 5 months at Target using this card. Today I was approved for a transaction for $80, and minutes later denied approval for a $60 transaction that was done separately to ensure I would receive a separate receipt for my classroom purchases that are deducted from my income taxes come tax time. The embarrassment sucks. Agreed. My primary complaint, however, is that Target advertises this card as being "just exactly like your bank debit card, accept that you also receive 5% off!" The actual situation is that the charges are treated as electronic checks. I was told this today by Target's debit card department. To advertise the debit card as a "debit card" rather than as a quicker means to make an electronic check is misleading. Considering that this is happening indifferent Targets in different parts of the country indicates that the company has used this tactic to encourage customers to sign up for a debit with them. That's misleading, plain and simple. It's bad business. In a day and age of questionable banking techniques by companies, this is pretty poor means of advertising their product.

Their documentation for the red debit card states that there may be a limit on the number of transactions a customer may make, but this information is not available in the document, nor from Target's debit card department. They state the limit exists, but that it is between them and the individual banks. My bank is unclear what that limit is, since the card is issued through Target's end. So, there appears to be no way of knowing how many transactions are possible. They told me it ranges from 3-8. Again, it's bad business.
 5th of Aug, 2011 by    0 Votes
I was scammed 2 purchases made under $50 end up costing me $192 checking fees bottom line info that leaving out NOT A DEBIT CARD, it ACH transaction if believe that ppl can't manage their money take good look at your card...it border line fraud why aren't they being upfront with their consumers that ACH process as someone said before we live in now world means in shopping getting something taken out of their account immediately is allot more appealing than waiting a 3-5 business days as check process. Hidden agenda is they want to believe that a debit card directly linked to your account here thing they don't have access to your checking account as if you were using own debit card from your bank! Yes I learned it the hard way still month later got a call today asking me to pay the checks that day I used my card not aware that sliding the card would be used as check process or would never sign up for the card!!! As military wife or anyone their attitude is they don't care hmm when all outrage of America starts pouring in sure they will care all they need to do solve the situation is simply have customer pay the amounts owed and then credit their checking accounts the fees they were charged can't really blame someone upset on something not aware of it when signing up for the card...problem is that would take effort that something Target not will going the distance I hate hate hate hate Walmart guess whom their next customer will be till they find time to deal with the issues w/card I have with them also reporting to Soldier's Act along with Better Business Bureau people that complain about these issues are warning other consumers hmm believe or not there are people left in this world that honestly care about strangers so before make negative comment about someone else problem's make damm sure know their story before place label on them that don't know how to manage their accounts that day I used the card there was $1, 000 sitting in my other bank accounts. Semper Fi Jessica
 8th of Aug, 2011 by    0 Votes
I did talk to Target customer relations this morning. She agreed there are allot of misleading information being passed on this card, going pass it along to executive level even it doesn't happen she took time to listen. My point in writing this was to send message out to people don't have this card yet if they are thinking about beware of hidden policy that is all! Last time I checked spending under $50 in retail store not consider fraud behavior not everyone thinks in criminal aspect in life. Your right guess live in more traditional world where companies use to care about their customers, go distance lesson learned! Your attitude all of us being unaware of their new procedures/policies, if don't get money back it fine I worked out something with my bank they aware of the situation have many complaint in regards to this card~apparantly to some people we are just bunch of people out here seeking some kind of attention really I barely complain only reason I took such a passion on voicing up on this subject actually care about others though I might not know them ever there is no hidden agenda just simple voice getting heard on something that can be fixed by Target if they care enough about their customers? Change happens all time, one thing that should never come across to a customer is they simple are not important that is their new direction of business I agree someone above wrote bad business just like their sister company Mervyn's can close their doors or be bought out by their competitors. I was Mervyn's supplier, it sad when they closed their doors more shocking some other store came to town or cities called Khol's thought they would never take their business I was wrong not always right it ok at end day I was heard by someone at Target today 7 people later & weeks apart so no longer going dispute this issue wish all people that had bad experience like myself keep trying with Target might get heard Christmas around the corner till they inform their customers better on their new policy changes that effect the consumer side of the house will be taking my holiday shopping to other places:O) I know someone will have negative response to this comment it all good everyone doesn't need to agree, little respect be nice again best luck to people got hit hard by this card.
 13th of Oct, 2011 by    0 Votes
Target store & credit card uses scam collectors, such as Patenaude & Felix law firm. They will go to the sheriff, use any means to collect. Beware/ They are the most ruthless and unforgiving. There lawyers will use the most reckless and ruthless tactics. Surprised why people shop there.
 16th of Apr, 2012 by    0 Votes
I agree that Target is misleading consumers about it's debit card. I was denied at checkout, suffered the humiliation, only to find out I didn't have enough check writing history at Target. WHO writes checks anymore? Meanwhile, had they reviewed my credit score (over 800) and overall check writing history, they would have had no excuse to deny me. Bottom line, Target doesn't want consumers to "save" 5% on all transactions. They are hoping that you'll apply for a credit card instead and pay the minimum balance (carry revolving debt) so that they can make more money and force consumers to go further into debt.
 18th of Dec, 2012 by    +1 Votes
Its technically a check card not a debit card. Transactions take 3 days to actually post to your account so they put a reasonable limit on things to ensure you actually have the money. Otherwise a scammer could easily get a card and buy tons of crap and never pay for it.
 11th of Mar, 2013 by    0 Votes
So you admit you got a new card and made a bunch of big purchases on it right away, and you don't understand why that looks suspicious?

And jastar, nothing is stopping you from taking the credit card and paying it off every month, right? I do it. Never once carried a balance over, and never once paid a nickel in interest. I get 5% off on all my purchases. What they want is irrelevant, you ARE free to save the 5% using the credit card--you CHOOSE not to. If your credit score is over 800 you will have no trouble getting a Target Credit card, or even a Target Visa.
 29th of Apr, 2013 by    +1 Votes
Stay away from this card!! It is NOT a debt card!! We used ours 3 times total, but noticed 2 charges of $29 in our bank account later. When we called the 800 number, they explained that those were overdraft charges for lack of funds. The charges they said that didn't clear were two completely separate charges that we never made!! The 3 charges we did make had already cleared in our bank account. I don't know if someone got ahold of our number and used it or what...I have Never been so upset!! We thought we'd save a little money by using this 'debit' card, but now it's ended up costing us over $100 in overdraft fees on charges we never made!!! We are going to fight this until we get our money back!! Card is cut up, and I will be warning every one I see. DON'T FALL FOR THIS CRAP!!
 1st of May, 2013 by    0 Votes
I was also talked into the debit card, and then after four purchases, it stopped working. I got my permanent card the next day and when I went to authorize it, it said it was closed due to returned checks from me. I called and even spoke to the local store manager and they were not sure what was going on and admitted that it should not have been an issue since it was a debit card. When I finally found the right person, after checking and noticing my bank never deducted the funds, target told me my $70 jumped to $200 due to returned check fees, since I had signed up with a closed account. I flat out refused to pay the fees. Eventually she read my account number and said the wrong number. Then removed the fees and said it was Target's fault not mine. Then she said that sometimes the machine misreads the account numbers. Really? So, then she kept pushing that since they now had my correct account info, and even removed the fees since it was their mistake, if I'd like to activate my card. I told her no way, and it was not worth the hassle. She kept asking me and pushing the 5%.

I am speaking with the manager again and filing a complaint with the corporate office. I had done nothing wrong and they treated horribly, then wanted me to trust them. She was unable to assure me that I would not have trouble again. It really isn't worth the 5%.
 11th of May, 2013 by    0 Votes
Same thing happened to me. I was able to use it a couple weeks after I received it and then called in on the phone. Immediately, they told me that the card I was calling about hadn't been activated yet and has to be done manually over the phone with a real person after 10 days of electronically activating it.

When I tried to use it, everyone was clueless why it was being declined, but speaking with another team member who had experienced this before told me they had to activate it twice.. And that's just it. It needs to be activated twice. The debit card is still relatively new and more people opt for the credit card instead so they are unfamiliar with this problem. I happen to work at target and I had the opportunity to speak with other Team Members about it during the day, and it seems that is just it. It has to be activated twice.

There is still no mention of "spending limits" and "hidden fees" that other folks in this thread posted about. It was a five minute phonecall for me to activate it a second time. The woman on the phone very professionally explained to me that after 10 days of opening the card, you have to call in and speak with a person over the phone to activate it. I still think it's incredibly inconvenient and don't see the purpose in doing this unless they had an issue with customers committing fraudulent purchases and identity theft.

Either way, the problem was resolved for me. And at any point they have me work in the front lanes, I will make mention of it if someone is interested in opening the debit card versus the credit card.
 15th of May, 2013 by    0 Votes
Very positive and very true. The Target Red Debit card is a scam to steal unearned fees from Target customers. The collections agency was rude to me and hung up on me when I tried to tell them all I wanted to do was cancel the Red Card, after they scam me for fees after I the purchase at the register was cleared after I entered my pin. They said I should check the Agreement that was sent, but that I feel is also part of the scam. Previous Target customer never, ever, again and if you know anyone tell them they are certainly to be next.
 23rd of May, 2013 by    0 Votes
Make sure you close the account. Send a letter by CMRRR and instruct them to close the account. Keep the signed card for life! They might come back and claim you never closed it and it has who know maintenance fees, etc.
 15th of Sep, 2013 by    0 Votes
I think, also, it is quite normal to limit daily transactions when you first receive a debit card. You spent over $400 in the course of a single day, and most banks would also decline those transactions if your card is brand new. This is to prevent fraud of lost or stolen cards. Relax and go back the next day. The card is a great moneysaver and helps in tight times if you run short on bank funds. To sue the company for this minor hassle, that is in place to protect you is ludicroud.

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