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Target Circle: How It Works and How to Use It In-Store and Online

Target is the type of store where you can lose track of time. It’s even easier to spend hours shopping when you have access to hundreds of money-saving deals with the Target Circle Rewards program.

Target Circle is a free loyalty program that offers 1% cash back on eligible purchases, exclusive deals, bonuses, and a 5% discount as a birthday gift. You can use Target Circle offers online and in-store by entering your phone number or scanning a barcode at checkout. Target Circle earnings expire if not redeemed for a year.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Target Circle, including how to sign up and use Target Circle offers online and in stores!

What Is Target Circle and Is It Free?

Target Circle is a free rewards program for customers who sign up. Target Circle benefits include 1% cash back on all eligible purchases, exclusive access to hundreds of discounts, a special birthday gift, and votes for where Target’s donations are given. Target Circle combines the deals from Target Cartwheel with new perks.

If you are one of many loyal Target customers, you need to sign up for Target Circle.

Target Circle is entirely free and gives you access to many ways to save money while shopping at Target.

One of Target Circle’s benefits is 1% cash back. Whenever you buy an eligible item, you earn 1% in rewards that are added to your account.

You can then apply these rewards on your next shopping trip to help pay for your purchase.

You can also spend a few minutes before you shop to view Target Circle offers. These are discounts that are only available for Target Circle members.

You will need to save the offers you want to use, so make sure you browse the deals before you start shopping.

The Target Circle offers typically range from 5-50% off a variety of items.

You will also earn a 5% birthday discount if you are a Target Circle member. This discount will appear in your account on your birthday or at least close to that day.

You have 30 days to use the birthday discount, and the 5% discount is applicable to all eligible items in a single purchase or transaction.

Lastly, Target Circle members have the gift of deciding where Target sends its donations.

Every three months, Target selects local nonprofits whom they plan to give money. The organizations you see vary based on where you live and shop.

You earn a vote for every purchase you make, and then you get to vote for the organization that should receive a donation.

Target then distributes its funding based on the distribution of the votes.

Anyone previously enrolled in the Target Cartwheel program was automatically integrated into Target Circle when it launched.

Target Cartwheel was a discount program, but it has been combined with new benefits to create Target Circle.

How to Sign Up for Target Circle

You can sign up for Target Circle online, on the Target app, or in person when visiting a Target store. After creating a Target account, you can sign up for Target Circle. If you want to sign up in person, you can enter your phone number using the keypad at checkout. Then, you will need to complete your registration online at home.

Signing up for Target Circle online is easy. Start at the Target website and click “Create Account” in the menu that pops up after clicking “Sign in.”

Then, follow the prompts to enter your information. You will only need to provide your name, email address, and password.

You can also enter a phone number to connect your account to your purchases in-store.

When you create a new Target account on the website, you are not immediately enrolled in Target Circle. Instead, you have an option to “Join for Free” or skip this step.

Since Target Circle is completely free, you should join the program here instead of figuring out how to enroll later.

The Target app is easy-to-use as well. When you download and open the app for the first time, you will be prompted to create an account. Do this to sign up for Target Circle.

If you already have an account and want to sign up for a new one, you can sign out of the app to see the “Create account” option again.

You can also sign up for Target Circle when shopping in-store. To do this, simply enter your phone number in the keypad or on the self-checkout screen before you complete your purchase.

A Target Circle account connected to your phone number will be created. You then need to complete the registration process online when you get home.

How to Use Target Circle Offers In-Store

There are three steps to using Target Circle offers in-store. First, save the offers you want to use to your account. Then, shop at Target and make sure you purchase eligible items. Finally, enter your phone number or scan your unique barcode at checkout to apply the offers.

Using Target Circle in-store is a seamless process, as long as you remember to save the offers ahead of time.

You can view the Target Circle offers on the website or app and save up to 75 of them to your account. Any offer saved will be applied at checkout if you buy an eligible item.

Some people like to add offers as they shop. If you pick up something you didn’t initially plan to buy, this is a great option.

To see if an item has an active Target Circle offer, you can search for the item in the Target app.

You can also tap the Scanner button (on the right end of the search bar) and scan the item’s barcode. This will immediately pull up the item and show any relevant deals.

Once you have finished shopping and made it to checkout, you can link the purchase to your Target Circle account.

To do this, enter your phone number at the register if you have already added your phone number to your account information online.

You can also scan your unique barcode in the Target app. You can find the barcode by clicking “Show my barcode” in the Wallet section.

After your account is linked, the saved Target Circle offers will be applied to your purchase, and you’ll earn 1% cash back.

Dedicated Target shoppers may visit the store more than once a day. So if you plan to use the same Target Circle offer more than once a day, make sure it is a multi-use offer.

However, some Target Circle deals are only available for one-time use. Even the multi-use offers will be limited to six times a day, as you can only scan your barcode or enter your phone number with six purchases in a day.

How to Use Target Circle Offers Online

Target Circle offers are automatically applied to online orders as long as you are signed into your Target account. You can browse and save Target Circle offers when shopping on the Target app or the website. Add the items to your cart and save the corresponding offer. Then, all eligible saved Target Circle offers will be applied at checkout.

Not only can you shop online, but you can also save money online. There are endless digital coupons that Target Circle offers to program members.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to use Target Circle offers with the Target app:

  1. Sign in to your account on the Target app. If you don’t already have one, you can sign up for an account on the app as well.
  2. From the main Discover page, scroll down and select “Target Circle offers” to view the deals available.
  3. Scroll through the deals and add the ones you want by hitting the “+” sign on the right. You can also filter the deals by category to help narrow your search.
  4. Once you have finished shopping online, you can go to your cart. Make sure you see that all your saved offers have been applied correctly.
  5. Click “Check out” to add a payment method and review your order.

Shopping online helps you avoid missing a deal on a product. If you look at the product details of an item eligible for a Target Circle offer, you will see a message showing the offer.

Then, you can add it right there as you are also adding the item to your cart.

However, keep in mind that there is a 75 offer limit. If you have reached the limit and need to manage your offers, you can do this under the Target Circle section of your account on the website.

Additionally, Target Circle offers will disappear on their own when they expire. Each Target Circle offer has its expiration date visible on the app or the website.

What Are Target Circle Earnings?

Target Circle earnings are rewards you earn by shopping at Target as a program member. You earn 1% cash back from all eligible purchases. However, you do not receive Target Circle rewards for purchases made with the RedCard since you already get a 5% discount. Target Circle members can also earn a Target Circle Bonus.

Although 1% is a small percentage, you will be surprised by how it adds up over time.

If you aren’t already signed up, you should enroll in Target Circle now to start earning this free cash back.

After your first purchase with Target Circle, you will see credit added to your account. However, Target Circle earnings can only be used toward future purchases.

The Target Circle earnings you get with each purchase are calculated after the discounts and promotions are applied. Taxes and other fees are not included in the total from which you earn 1% back.

Your earnings may be lower than expected if you buy alcohol. This is because all alcoholic drinks are excluded from Target Circle earnings.

Additionally, you will not get any Target Circle earnings when ordering through Shipt or another third-party service.

You can view the Target Circle Terms & Conditions to find out which items are excluded from the earnings.

The Target Circle bonus is another feature of the program that customers love. From time to time, you will see an offer to earn a Target Circle bonus, among other offers.

This bonus is personalized, so only you can earn it. The Target Circle bonus typically offers extra cash or a gift card after you meet the listed criteria.

Check your Target app or the website from time to time to see if you are eligible to earn a bonus.

However, make sure you pay attention to the start and end dates of the Target Circle bonus offers since they often expire quickly.

How to Check and Redeem Target Circle Earnings Rewards Balance

To check your Target Circle rewards balance, go to the Target Circle section under the Account tab on the Target app or the website. To redeem your Target Circle earnings, toggle on the “Use Earnings” option online. Then, enter your phone number or scan your barcode at checkout to connect the purchase with your Target Circle account.

Both the Target app and website are user-friendly. You can check your Target Circle earnings on the app by looking at the “Wallet” tab or in the Target Circle section from the “My Target” tab.

Make sure to wait at least 30 minutes after your last purchase so that the earnings are updated.

There are four ways to redeem your Target Circle rewards. The steps you will follow will depend on how you are shopping.

The easiest way to redeem your Target Circle earnings when shopping in-store requires the Target app.

First, you will need to toggle on the option to use your earnings towards your next purchase on the Target app.

Then, you can scan the barcode to link the purchase to your account when checking out. You can also enter your phone number at checkout if that is easier.

The second way to redeem Target Circle rewards when shopping in-store is by using the Target website.

Instead of using the Target app to enable the use of your earnings, you can also turn on this option on the Target website.

This will work on your phone if you don’t have the app or can do so at home before your Target excursion.

If you don’t have a mobile phone or prefer not to use it, you can still redeem your Target Circle earnings.

On the Target website, you will see a “Redeem” button under the Target Circle section when signed in.

Click this to open a pop-up with the option to print your barcode. Make sure to enable the use of your earnings while you’re on the website. Then, you can scan the barcode at checkout as you normally would.

Finally, you can redeem Target Circle rewards with any online purchase. You only need to tick a box at checkout to indicate you want to use the earnings towards the purchase.

Just make sure you are signed in to your account when shopping!

Do Target Circle Earnings Expire?

Target Circle earnings expire if you have not redeemed or earned any rewards for one year. You can check the expiration date for your earnings on the Target app or the website. In addition, the Target Circle birthday reward that is given once a year expires after 30 days.

Target is lenient with their expiration dates for Circle rewards. But if you periodically shop at Target using your Target Circle account, you will prevent any rewards from expiring.

However, you can’t wait longer than one year between your shopping trips. Therefore, most people like to use their rewards at least once a year to save on their purchases.

All Target Circle members who have entered their birthday into their account information receive a birthday gift every year. The Target Circle birthday gift is a 5% discount on one purchase.

Unlike other earnings and bonuses, the Target Circle birthday reward expires after 30 days, so make sure to use it before it disappears.

Why Are My Target Circle Earnings Not Showing Up?

Target Circle earnings may not show up until 30 minutes after the transaction. If your earnings still do not show up after 30 mins, check that you are signed in correctly. In addition, there are exclusions in the Target Circle policy that may have prevented you from earning rewards.

After realizing your Target Circle earnings aren’t showing up, the first thing you should do is confirm that you are signed in.

Whether you are using the Target app or the website, you may have accidentally been signed out.

Also, remember that Target Circle earnings can take up to 30 minutes to show up in your account when you are signed in.

You should also think back to when you made your purchase. If you used a RedCard to pay for the transaction, you would not be eligible for the Target Circle 1% earnings.

In addition, there are types of products that do not earn the 1% rewards, so make sure you purchase eligible products.

Ineligible items for Target Circle earnings include alcoholic beverages, prescriptions, and gift cards.

It’s also possible that you forgot to link your purchase to your account by entering your phone number or scanning your barcode.

In that case, you can still earn 1% rewards by scanning your receipt after the purchase.

To do this, click the scanner button on the search bar, which is found on the main Discover page of the Target app.

You can scan a receipt up to 7 days after the purchase to earn Target Circle rewards.

If you don’t have the Target app, you can also enter your receipt number online from your Account page.

Click “Missed purchase” and type in your receipt information to receive your Target Circle earnings.

You can contact Target Circle Customer Service if you still have questions about your missing Target Circle earnings.

The easiest way to reach Target Circle Customer Service is by calling their phone number, 1-800-204-7704.

You can also submit a Contact Us form online, though it may take longer to get a response using this method.

Can I Use Target Circle if I Have a Target RedCard?

You can use Target Circle to earn additional rewards and discounts, even with a RedCard. If you pay with a Target RedCard, you will not get the 1% rewards since the RedCard already gives you a 5% discount. However, you can still save discounts to your account and earn the Target Circle bonuses.

One of the main perks to Target Circle is the large variety of coupons to which you get access.

Anyone with a Target RedCard can still take advantage of these deals by saving them to their account. The personalized Target Circle bonuses are also available for RedCard holders.

Target Circle also sends all its members a birthday gift, including those with a RedCard.

In addition, RedCard holders still receive votes for each shopping trip to help determine where Target’s community donations go.

The only difference for Target Circle members with a RedCard is that the 5% discount overrides the 1% cash back rewards from Target Circle.

If you pay with a RedCard, you will not earn the 1% cash back. However, if you don’t use your RedCard, you can earn the 1% rewards since you are paying with a different method.

If you have a RedCard, you should still be enrolled in Target Circle. Otherwise, you are missing out on many great benefits!

Is Target Circle Worth It?

Target Circle is worth it because it is completely free to join. You only need to provide basic information like your email to sign up and start earning 1% cash back on your purchases and other discounts. Target Circle helps you save money with every in-store and online purchase.

There really isn’t a downside to Target Circle. If you are comfortable providing your name and email, you can sign up for the program.

It helps to add your phone number, but this is not necessary if you do not feel comfortable giving this information.

Some loyalty programs send too many emails to their members to the extent that it feels like spam. However, Target Circle is not like this.  

Instead, you shouldn’t be automatically added to their mailing list just by signing up for Target Circle.

If you accidentally sign up for Target’s marketing emails, you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

You also cannot lose or waste money in any way because the program is completely free.

In fact, you are missing out on multiple ways to save money if you are not already a Target Circle member!


Target continues to gain popularity as the go-to store with just about everything you could possibly need. And the Target Circle program makes shopping even more enticing by offering great discounts and rewards that anyone can get for free!

If you’re interested in finding out more tips about shopping at Target, check out the related articles below.

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About the Author

Alex Burgess is a registered dietitian and content creator with over two years of experience. She loves sharing nutrition information and has a passion for studying gut health.

During her free time, she enjoys hiking with friends, cooking a new recipe for her family, or watching her dog frolic at the dog park.

Updated on November 12, 2022