How to Activate a Prepaid Visa

by Lindsey Thompson ; Updated July 27, 2017
Activating your card can be quite simple.

With a Visa prepaid card, you can load money onto the card and use it at any merchant that accepts Visa. Visa does not sell prepaid cards directly to the consumer. Rather, it partners with more than 40 card providers to offer the cards. You can sign up for a prepaid Visa online through each provider’s website, listed on the Visa prepaid card website.

Purchase and Load

When you purchase your prepaid card, either online or in person, you load it with money using another bank account, credit card or cash. If your card runs lows on funds, you can reload it again and again, either online or at the store or bank where you purchased it. Some cards also let you set up direct deposit so that a paycheck or other monthly income goes directly to your card. Depending on the provider, your prepaid Visa card may come with fees. The Walmart MoneyCard Basic prepaid Visa, for example, has a $3 monthly fee and no loading fees, as of 2015. You can load most cards when you purchase them, but a few require you to activate the card first before loading money.

Visit the Provider’s Website

When you purchase a prepaid Visa, you’ll receive materials that explain how the card works and the website to visit to activate the card. You can also find the provider’s website on the back of the card. From the provider’s website, enter the card number. You might also have to provide an email address, date of birth or other information. The U.S. Bank Contour Visa, for example, requires the card number, three-digit security code, last four digits of your Social Security number, date of birth, and zip code.

Call Customer Service

If you do not have Internet access or would rather activate over the phone, call the customer service number listed on the back of the card. You can also find the customer service number in the materials you receive when you purchased the card or on the provider’s website.

Gift Cards

Visa gift cards are another form of a prepaid card. They have a certain amount of money already loaded onto them and you can use them wherever Visa is accepted. Unlike prepaid cards, Visa gift cards typically cannot be reloaded with more money. Visa does not offer the gift cards directly, but uses third-party banks to provide them to consumers. To activate a gift card, check the back of the card for that provider’s customer service number or website. For most cards, you’ll need the card number and the three-digit code on the back to activate it. For example, to activate the Visa Birthday Gift Card from, visit the website and enter your card number and three digits on the back.

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About the Author

Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb,, and Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

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