I love to save money. I get a little high at the checkout counter after I’ve bought tons of stuff for practically nothing. Okay, so it’s not practically nothing, but you get my drift. One of my favorite ways to save money is to use my Target REDcard (the store’s charge card) and take advantage of the 5% off my entire purchase. With coupons and sales, that can be significant. Last year, I conducted an unofficial experiment to see how much I could save using my REDcard. I love this card. I advocate for this card. It’s a great option if you don’t want to use a credit or debit card. It’s also a great way to provide hackers with all your personal information and sell it to anyone who’ll pay for it.
Target’s problems with security during the holiday shopping season have their guests (I’d rather be called a customer, at least then I’d know I was always right) complaining loudly. I have one friend who had their bank account wiped out because of this. The bank covered the money and they lost nothing except time and good faith. I don’t know if this affect’s their decision to return to Target or not, but it has influenced mine.
Like thousands of others, I shopped at Target during the holidays. I have kept an eye on my account, and made sure to pay it off as soon as I could. I’ve shopped in Target since then, but I’ve been a cash only customer since then. I am currently debating whether or not to cancel my REDcard account. It shouldn’t be a difficult decision, but it is. Financial experts insist that no reward is worth the risk; Dave Ramsey certainly would prefer it if I unequivocally stated I had cancelled the card and ran it through a garbage disposal, but I can’t. Credit cards come with lots of rewards these days. It’s hard to find one that doesn’t. It’s how the stores (and the credit card companies) make serious bank. The REDcard, for example, offers 5% off an entire purchase, will link to your school district to provide donations, and has a pharmacy program. With coupons, sales, and special offers, the savings are significant.
What else is significant? The risk of 110 million people getting hacked because Target can’t ensure proper security. As a sign of good faith, customers will not be responsible for unauthorized charges, and offers one year free credit monitoring through Experian. Target sent a blast email with this offer to customers. We soon found out that scammers were sending similar emails to obtain personal information.
So what do I do? Do I cancel the card? Do I cancel every card? Do I switch to a cash only policy? Developing credit is an important part of demonstrating financial responsibility. A FICO score is how moneylenders determine how much of a liability risk you are. A good FICO score gets you a good interest rate on loans. Credit cards do play a part in this process. Dave Ramsey is a smart man. Yes, I will cancel the card. Sorry, Target, but you need the 5% more than I do to hire a decent security firm. No, I will not cancel every card. I will have one, use it only for emergencies, and pay it off immediately. Yes, I will be switching to a cash only policy. Doing so helps me decide if what I’m buying is something I want or something I need, and whether I’d rather spend that money on something that will be fulfilling, instead of instantly gratifying. I also get out of the national retailers and into the local small businesses in my community, where I’d rather put my cash anyway.