How Visa Gift Cards Work

by Jackie Lohrey ; Updated July 27, 2017
Young woman on cell phone gives shopkeeper a gift card.

A Visa gift card is a non-reloadable, prepaid debit card. Once it's activated, the card works just like cash. The cardholder can use it to shop or make a one-time bill payment anywhere that accepts Visa for as long as a balance remains. The gift cards are available at banks and retail stores.

Loading and Activating a Card

The issuer specifies the minimum and maximum load values of the card. The minimum is usually $25, while maximum amounts generally range from $500 to $750. In addition, the issuer determines whether the card activates automatically upon making a purchase or whether the recipient must first activate the card online or over the telephone. Visa recommends the buyer provide the recipient with the card's terms and conditions paperwork, which includes activation and usage instructions.

Using the Card

According to Visa, most gift cards do not come with a personal identification number. For in-person transactions using cards that do not come with a PIN, choose the credit card option and sign a purchase receipt. If the card does have a PIN, use the debit option and enter the PIN you selected or that came with the card. For online transactions, enter the card number and three-digit security code just as with a credit card. However, no matter where or how you use the card, Visa immediately deducts the amount from the available balance.

Expiration Dates

Although most cards have an expiration date extending out between five and seven years, the funds never expire. Despite this, a card with a very small balance may be declined at check-out time even if you inform the cashier in advance that you intend to use two forms of payment. If this happens, Visa recommends contacting the issuer for further instructions. If the expiration date printed on the front of the card passes, you can request a new card from the original issuer. However, an issuer has the option to charge a monthly fee if a card remains inactive for a certain period. For example, TD bank charges a monthly fee of $2.50 after 12 months of inactivity.

Gift Card Limitations

Gift cards can't be used to withdraw cash at an ATM machine or to get cash back at a checkout register. In addition, issuers do not allow cards to be used on Internet gambling sites or to set up recurring bill payments. Although you can use one at a gas station, paying at the pump instead of inside can result in a $100 authorization hold that can take from three to seven days to remove.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by

References

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Cite this Article | raiffeisen-cards.ru A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

Related pages


pre market trading nysesalvation army christmas giveawaycan you get food stamps and wictax liens massachusettshow to update dd214 after dischargedoes getting a car insurance quote affect your credit scoredoes the marine corps reserve pay for collegemacyscreditcardapply for ahcccs and food stamps onlineclosing checking account affect credit scoresep or roth iraif you claim 0 on your w4how to terminate a lease without penaltycigna behavioral healthlandlord responsibilities ohioprocedure to withdraw money from atmclaiming parents as dependents on taxeswho is the grantor and grantee on a deedquestions to ask references for tenantsactivate paypal credit cardarmy tuition assistance graduate schoolexempt w4windstream internet bill payletter of forgiveness of debt oweddoes renters insurance cover smoke damageanb bank car loanqualifications for medicaid in californiaprincipal paydown calculatorgpdiw2 w9double declining balance calculatorpowerlifting scholarshipsappraised value vs market valueseries ee bonds calculatorhow to become a tax preparerva benefits for 100 disabled veteranshow does house swapping workunclaimed property search californiabarber school in columbus ohiopennsylvania unemployment debit cardwhich secured credit cards convert to unsecuredmetlife variable annuity customer servicetemporary debit card wells fargogame warden tennesseenecessities and luxuriespinless debitunited way tax deductionamending an amended returnespp capital gainsaccounting accretionis home insurance tax deductiblehsbc card cancelmileage reimbursement for employeeshow to find percent deviationinterest compounded monthly vs annually501c3 rules for donationstrade in a car i owe money onrequire renters insuranceny debt statute of limitationsfui payrolldifference 401k and irais devry university a trade schoolare church tithes tax deductiblewells fargo fees for transfersis hazard insurance the same as homeowners insurancerental property sale tax calculatorcan you claim homestead exemption on a rental propertyhow much does a penile enlargement surgery costwhat does escrow payment meancan i buy premium bonds for someone elsewhen to file exempt on w4adding funds to paypal accounttreasury bill yield calculationreal estate agent car lease write offhow to qualify for a helocfake ids cheaplemon law in texas used carscraigslist certified check scams