Use Your Gift Card
Giving the perfect gift is easy with Visa Gift Cards
The Visa Gift card is a prepaid card that is welcome everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. The Visa Gift card is issued by a bank pursuant to terms and conditions determined by the bank and that create a contract between the cardholder and the bank. The bank that issues the Visa Gift card is referred to as the card issuer. Visa Gift cards are loaded with a set amount of funds on the card and can be used for multiple purchases for as long as value remains on the card. Additional funds cannot be added later. The issuer will provide you with those terms and conditions and you should review them carefully and contact the issuer with any questions regarding those terms and conditions.
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How to activate your card
- Follow the activation instructions provided by the issuer with your card. Many Visa Gift cards are activated automatically upon purchase and may be used immediately. However, some must be activated by the recipient before they can be used.
- Sign in the designated area on the back before making your first purchase. Your signature will help prevent the card from being used by someone else.
Know your balance
- It is important that you know the remaining balance on your gift card before you make a purchase to avoid declines. Many merchants will not be able to provide that information.
- You can determine the balance at any time by following the issuer's instructions on the back of the card. Most issuers offer web site access or a toll-free number.
- When you make a purchase, record the amount and make a note of your new balance.
IMPORTANT: If your purchase amount that is more than the balance on your card, your transaction may be declined. See the next section for more details.
When the purchase amount is greater than your balance
- To make a purchase for an amount greater than the balance on your card, you will need to use a second form of payment—credit or debit card, cash or check—to cover the difference.
- When you are ready to make your purchase, tell the cashier in advance the amount you would like applied to your Visa Gift card. The balance will then need to be paid with the second payment method.
How to use your card
- Using your Visa Gift card for a purchase is similar to using a credit card. When you are ready to pay, give the card to the cashier and ask to sign the purchase receipt.
- If asked, swipe the card through the keypad, push the "credit" button and sign the receipt. Note: Most Visa Gift cards do not come with a PIN, therefore, you should not push "debit". This will cause your transaction to be declined.
- Each time your card is used for a purchase, that amount is automatically deducted from your balance.
- The Visa Gift card is 'non-reloadable', so additional money cannot be added to the balance of the card. The card does not offer a line of credit like a credit card. The initial value available for use is determined by the person who purchased the card.
- If your gift card states "Valid only in the United States" on the front, the issuer has issued a Domestic Use Only card. Although you will not be able to use your Visa Gift card outside of the United States, it's welcome at any location within the United States where Visa debit cards are accepted.
Online or phone purchases
- To make an online or phone purchase, you will need to register your card.
- To register, either call the issuer, or visit their website. This information should have been supplied to you by the issuer when you received the card. It may also be printed on the back of the card.
- When you make an online or phone purchase, the name, address, and phone number you use will need to be exactly the same as the information you provided when registering your card in order to avoid declines
- You can verify or update your information by visiting the card issuer's Web site, or by contacting them using the toll-free number provided in your card materials.
There are certain payment situations that may require special or additional steps to use your Visa Gift card:
When paying at the pump, simply insert your card and follow the instructions. If the transaction is not completed, you may need to go inside and pay the attendant prior to pumping.
When using your Visa Gift card at a merchant where a tip may be included (such as a restaurant), the merchant or issuer may decide to authorize your transaction for an additional 20% above your total bill. Of course, the actual tip amount is at your discretion.
Hotels and Car Rental Companies
Some car rental companies and hotels may require a credit card to make a reservation. At check-in, these merchants may put a "hold" on the estimated amount of your reservation, making those funds unavailable for purchase for a period of time. You can avoid a 'hold' being placed on your gift card by checking in with a Visa Credit card, and using your Visa Gift card for final payment.
- If you decide to return an item that was purchased with your Visa Gift card, you may be asked to present the card to process that return. Be sure to keep your Visa Gift card—even after the balance is depleted—in case you need to return any purchased items.
- If the store policy is to credit the card used the value will be credited back to the card within three to seven days of the return.
Lost or stolen gift card
- Keep a record of your card number and the issuer contact information in a safe place, separate from the card. You will need this information to cancel or replace your card.
- If your card is lost or stolen, immediately contact the issuer that issued the card by calling the toll-free number shown on the back of the card.
- Refer to the materials that came with your card to determine the Lost and Stolen Card policies of the issuer that issued your card.
- To ensure only authorized use of your Visa Gift card, always sign the back of the card.
Giving the Visa Gift card
- When you give the Visa Gift card, provide the recipient with all the materials you received with the card at the time of purchase. These materials should include the issuer's terms and conditions for use.
- If you are giving the card to a young person who has little card-use experience, you may wish to review the materials with the recipient or their parent.
- Purchase a Visa Gift card