Where Can I Use My Visa Gift Debit Card?

by Ann Deiterich ; Updated July 27, 2017

The Visa debit gift card is a convenient way to shop. It is widely accepted and can be used in lieu of cash. In fact there are very few places that do not accept the card. It’s also important to understand how to use the card and fees incurred.

Shop Anywhere

The Visa debit gift card can be used at any location accepting Visa debit cards. It can be used in stores, gas stations, restaurants, doctor’s offices and online sites… nearly everywhere. There are literally millions of merchants worldwide who will accept the Visa debit card. The only locations that will not accept the card are online gambling sites, PayPal, money wire transfer services (like Western Union), and adult websites. It cannot be used for recurring bill payment.

ATM Use

Only Visa gift cards bearing the Cirrus and/or Interlink logos on the card can be used for ATM transactions. If your card has those logos, you can use it at any Cirrus/Interlink ATM and withdraw a maximum of $150 per day or the full balance of the card whichever is less. These cards do require Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and you will receive yours upon card activation/registration. You can also request cash back from merchants displaying those logos; however, the fee for this transaction is $3.25. Additionally, there is a $.35 fee for all signature-based transactions and a $.50 fee for all PIN-based transactions.

Card Activation

You must activate the card prior to use. To do this, check the website at Giftcards.com (see Resources) or call the toll-free number on the back of the card. You must provide the 16-digit card number shown on the front and the three-digit Card Verification Number on the back of the card. Finally, you must enter the activation code. This number should be provided to you by the person or company that gave you the card. You cannot activate the card without this number, and for security reasons, neither the website nor phone operators will provide it.

PINs and Security

Unlike the Visa ATM cards, Visa debit gift cards do not have Personal Identification Numbers. If you are prompted for a PIN at checkout when using the Visa debit gift card, the merchant has incorrectly entered the type of card. Request that he run the card as a credit card thus eliminating the PIN request. If the card is lost or stolen, call and provide as much detailed information as possible. Any unused funds can be transferred to a new card and issued to you. There is a $5 fee for this service.

Fees and Expiration

The Visa debit gift card carries a $2.50-per-month fee. However, that fee is waived for the first six months. If you opt to close the account and have remaining funds returned, the fee is $7. Using the card internationally incurs a 3 percent charge and $2 flat fee. The card expires 24 months after its purchase date, and any remaining balance can be transferred to a new card upon expiration (if the balance is greater than $25) or refunded to the card holder as a check upon written request. As fees are incurred, it’s wise to use the entire balance prior to expiration.

Checking the Balance

Know your balance before using the card to avoid being declined. The store merchant cannot provide that information to you. You can find out your card’s balance by calling the toll-free number on the card or by visiting Giftcards.com (see Resources). Your card might be declined for telephone or online purchases despite having an adequate balance. For security reasons, the card holder’s address and billing address must match. If not, the card will be declined. You can update your account online to avoid this occurrence.

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About the Author

Ann Deiterich has been a writer since 1984 in business-to-business communications, specializing in TQM, business/financial topics, office management and production efficiency. As an environmental proponent, nature and science are her areas of interest. Deiterich holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Albright college and has three expert rating certifications including Grammar, Words/Phrases and Advertising Skills.

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