Home News Where Can You Buy Visa Gift Cards Without A Fee

Where Can You Buy Visa Gift Cards Without A Fee

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How to Buy Visa Gift Cards without a Purchase Fee

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  • Do I Have To Pay The Activation Fee

    Im often asked if there is any way to buy a Visa gift card without paying the activation fee or purchase charge. The answer is no. Visa, Mastercard®, American Express® and other bank-issued gift cards charge a purchase fee to cover the money they have to pay to third parties like the store, the program manager, and the processor. Though you cant avoid paying the purchase charge entirely, there are ways to save money on Visa and other open loop gift cards.

    Gift Cards From Shopping Malls

    Special rules apply to shopping mall gift cards. These are cards sold by the mall and can be used at stores in the mall.

    The shopping mall can charge an activation fee up to $1.50 at the time the card is purchased.

    Shopping mall gift cards keep their value for 15 months from the date of purchase. The mall can apply a dormancy fee after 15 months up to a maximum amount of $2.50 per month.

    You can request a 3-month extension before dormancy fees are charged, by contacting the shopping mall card supplier during the 15th month after purchase of the shopping mall gift card. If you get an extension, dormancy fees cant be charged for an additional 3 months.

    The fees and conditions must be clearly printed on the shopping mall gift card. Read and understand the terms and conditions before you purchase a shopping mall gift card.

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    Confirm Understanding Of Terms

    Although Visa gift cards with no activation fees enable recipients to access the listed value from inception, other fees and conditions may apply. Review the terms and conditions closely to make sure you fully understand any other costs or restrictions associated with the card before making a purchase decision.

    What To Know Before Buying Gift Cards

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    There are a few key things to note before you buy gift cards:

    • While card issuers usually dont have outright restrictions on purchasing gift cards, some stores may have specific guidelines.

    Some merchants may utilize other safeguards for large gift card purchases like requesting a photo ID to ensure credit card payment details match your ID, shares Kim Sobasky of the Retail Gift Card Association .

    Additionally, some specific locations may have their own restrictions on buying gift cards, so just ask if they can be purchased with a credit card. You may want to have a backup plan in case a specific store wont let you use a credit card for the purchase.

    • Buying gift cards may not yield any points or cash back on your rewards credit card.

    Some credit card issuers have terms saying gift cards wont earn rewards. In those cases it might actually work fine, with rewards being earned, but youll have no official ground to stand on if it doesnt work or the issuer has a problem with it.

    For example, the terms of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express say: Eligible purchases do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift card, person-to-person payments, or purchases of other cash equivalents.

    • Some issuers may count gift card purchases as cash advances.

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    Are There Any Fees When Using A Prepaid Visa Gift Card

    When making a purchase outside the United States, a foreign transaction fee of up to 2% will be added to the purchase amount. In addition, some merchants may charge a small transaction fee, conversion fee , or holding/authorization fee. Be sure your balance can cover any possible fees to avoid declined payments.

    Why Choose A Prepaid Visa Gift Card

    While this virtual Visa Gift Card is a great solution for any online buyer, it is especially useful for young people, frequent travelers and for those abroad. The primary benefits of your card are:

    • It is usable online wherever Visa Debit Cards are accepted or in any U.S. webshop that accepts Discover® Cards.

    • This prepaid card is not a credit card, thus not affecting your credit rating, nor is it attached to your bank account.

    • Its issued immediately, without an application process. Simply buy your non-reloadable card online, enter your current billing address and receive the card details immediately.

    Important information is all in one place. Once registered on MyPrepaidCenter, you can easily check your remaining credit and transaction history in your account.

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    Adding Visa Gift Cards To Apple Pay Or Google Pay

    Before you add a Visa Gift Card to your Apple Pay or Google Pay accounts, make sure it’s activated. Please note that Virtual Visa gift cards are able to be added to Apple Pay and Google Pay Wallets, but are not able to be used at a cash register or physical point-of-sale systems. Also please note that at this time, Gift Card Granny Visa and Mastercard gift and reward cards can not be added to Apple Pay or Google Pay.

    If you already have Apple Pay set up on your device, open the Wallet app and tap the plus sign icon or Add card. Take a picture of the gift card with your phone or manually enter in the information. Tap next. If need be, verify the card with the issuing bank or gift card provider. After confirming, tap next.

    Open the Google Pay app and tap Payment. Then, tap the plus sign icon or Add credit or debit card button. You can take a photo of the Visa Gift Card or enter it in yourself. You may be asked to verify your payment method before proceeding. Enter in the provided verification code.

    Where To Buy Visa Gift Cards: 27 Places Listed

    3 Big Problems With Visa Gift Cards

    You can buy Visa gift cards at a variety of major retailers. Purchase fees are about $3 for gift card amounts up to $75, about $4 for $76 to $250, and about $6 for $251 to $500. Availability and denominations may vary by location. Note that Visa gift cards are different than Visa prepaid cards, which are reloadable and have higher activation fees.

    If youre looking for Visa gift cards that you can use outside of the country of purchase, check out our explanation of where to buy international Visa gift cards.

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    Where To Get Visa Gift Cards With No Fee

    Most Visa cash gift cards come with an activation fee. In the table below, you can see how much the purchase or activation fee varies depending on the cards balance:

    Balance
    $350$500$6.95

    The purchase fee varies only if the cash gift card is physical. If you have a digital Visa gift card, the activation fee is $5.95, regardless of the balance.

    To avoid paying the activation fee, you should purchase a Visa gift card in one of the following financial institutions:

  • TD BankThe bank offers fee-free Visa gift cards to the account holders in amounts ranging from $25 to $750. They can be used wherever Visa credit cards are acceptable
  • Bank of the OzarksYou can get the Bank of the Ozarks Visa gift card in amounts between $10 and $1,000. You can use it for online purchases and everywhere Visa cards are acceptable
  • Navy Federal Credit UnionThis credit union offers fee-free Visa gift cards to their members, in amounts varying from $15 to $500
  • Republic BankClients of Republic Bank can get fee-free Visa gift cards in amounts ranging from $25 to $250. Unlike those from TD Bank, Bank of the Ozarks, and Navy Federal Credit Union, Republic Bank Visa gift cards are non-reloadable
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    Where Can I Buy Gift Cards

    In addition to buying gift cards at their specific stores , you can buy many different store and generic gift cards at:

    • Grocery stores and supermarkets

    There are many online gift card sites, so just make sure you do your homework and use a legitimate company to buy yours.

    Warehouse clubs like Costco sometimes offer gift card deals for select stores and restaurants, providing extra value for what you spend. For example, you can often get $100 worth of gift cards for $79.99. You can buy them online or at physical Costco stores .

    Additionally, there are sites like Cardpool.com where you can buy and sell unused gift cards. Youll usually get a deal on gift cards when buying. You wont make the full value when selling, but if youre not going to use a card you can at least get something for it.

    Insider tip

    Did you know? Consumers spend more than $130 billion on gift cards per year, according to advisory company CEB TowerGroup, but roughly $1 billion of that goes unspent.

    What Is A Gift Card

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    A gift card is also a type of stored value card loaded with funds for future discretionary use. Only it contains a specific amount of money. Once this sum is spent down, the card can no longer be used. Gift cards also have expiration dates, which are often much shorter than that of prepaid cards.

    Gift cards can be purchased in several different formats. The most familiar type is what’s technically known as a closed loop card: It is good only at a particular merchant or certain retailer and bears that outfit’s name and logo. Some retail groups will allow the same gift card to be used at any of their affiliated stores.

    Gift cards began with specific stores. Now, however, many of the major charge or credit card issuers, like American Express, Visa, Discover, and MasterCard, are also offering gift cards, good anywhere the regular plastic is accepted. Known as open-loop cards, these are most easily confused with prepaid debit cards, especially since some of them are reloadable as well. These cards may carry a one-time activation fee.

    Prepaid vs. Gift Cards

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    Emv Cards Fraud And Gift Cards

    Sobasky explains, In 2016, some merchants that were not yet EMV-compliant created self-imposed restrictions to limit fraud by requiring cash for gift card purchases or restricting credit card usage when buying gift cards.

    Generally speaking, merchants that are EMV-compliant no longer set limits around the use of credit cards to buy gift cards, she adds. EMV chips are now on nearly all credit cards issued in the U.S. According to PYMNTS, Merchants who have upgraded to chip technology saw a decrease of 80 percent in counterfeit fraud dollars in September of 2018 when compared to September of 2015. Also, total counterfeit fraud dollars went down by 48 percent.

    Sobasky also notes, Any payment restrictions havent had a long-term impact on gift card purchases. Gift cards have been the most requested gift in America for 12 years running, based on data from the National Retail Federation.

    Where Are Visa Gift Cards Sold

    With gift cards widely available online, in third-party stores, at banks and in a variety of other places, it would almost be easier for me to explain where you cant buy Visa® gift cards. But there are differences in the cards themselves and especially in the purchase price of each.

    If you want a personalized Visa gift card, for example, youll have to order it online. If you want a Visa gift card quickly, youll need to buy it at a grocery store or send an electronic gift card instead. If you want to pay a low activation fee, then the gift cards at Giftcards.com are some of the lowest Ive found.

    Of course, Im not a lawyer so I cant give legal advice, but I can speak from my own experiences. Below, Ill share the most common places Visa gift cards are sold and the benefits of each.

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    About Government Payment Cards

    Many eligible individuals may receive a Government Payment Card in the mail. Several states use these cards to distribute unemployment benefits. Additionally, as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act , some individuals may receive their Economic Impact Payment via the Economic Impact Payment Card.

    Government Payment Cards are not linked to your bank account, and they are not credit cards. They are prepaid debit cards onto which a government agency loads funds directly and you can use them just like traditional debit cards.

    Are There Any Restrictions When Paying With An Instant Visa Gift Card

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    Your card should be accepted on any U.S. website that accepts Discover® Cards as a payment method or Visa Debit Cards internationally. It cannot be used for recurring bill payments, memberships, subscriptions, hotel and/or car rental reservations, or getting cash at ATMs. Depending on the merchant, split tender payments may be declined, extra fees or restrictions may apply. Be sure the prepaid balance of your card can cover the total amount of your order.

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    Why Would A Visa Gift Card Be Declined

    The card might get declined if:

  • The purchase price is higher than the balance on the card. Note that, if you shop internationally, a foreign transaction fee of up to 2% will be put on top of the purchase amount.

  • The merchant doesnt accept Visa Debit Cards or Discover® Cards .

  • The billing address you entered at the merchant website is not the same as you entered when you created the virtual card in your account.

  • It is used for a recurring bill, subscriptions or reservation, which put a hold on the available funds for up to 30 days.

  • You try to use it in a prohibited country.

  • You choose debit instead of credit when given the option.

  • Is A Gift Card A Kind Of A Prepaid Card

    A gift card is different from a prepaid card. You need to understand that a gift card is specifically for shopping at a particular store or stores. You cannot withdraw or send money using a gift card. Prepaid cards have the option of sending money, shopping at accepted points as well as withdrawing cash from ATM points. You can use a prepaid card to buy a reloadable gift cards with no fees from merchants who sell them.

    Again, money loaded in prepaid cards does not expire. You can use it at any time you wish. Gift cards can expire. It means that when you receive one, you should use it within a specified time. After that, the card becomes a mere plastic.

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    Do Prepaid Cards Come With Fees

    Before you open a prepaid card, it’s important to understand what fees may be associated with them. Most prepaid cards charge monthly maintenance fees around $10, which is similar to checking account fees that can cost up to $15 a month. But you may also pay a fee to open your prepaid card, typically around $5.

    You can also expect to incur an ATM fee, reload fee and foreign transaction fee with many prepaid cards.

    The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® can cost up to $4.95 to purchase the card and charges you $4.95 a month to use the card. You may also incur ATM withdrawal fees of $2.50, check deposit fees ranging from $0 to 5% of the total check amount and a 4% fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

    There are options out there with minimal fees. Bluebird® by American Express has no card opening fee when you open an account online , no monthly fee and no foreign transaction fees.

    While there’s typically no minimum balance requirement, you could get stuck paying a monthly fee you regardless of your balance. Make sure you’re familiar with your card’s terms of service and reach out directly to your card issuer for more information.

    What To Do If The Business Closes

    Can You Use Vanilla Gift Cards Online

    If you have a gift card for a business that has closed, your options may be limited.

    Read the terms and conditions before buying a gift card. The terms may allow the card to be used at another business location.

    If a retail business is closed because of financial difficulties or bankruptcy, you can contact the trustee in bankruptcy for assistance.

    Remember, a shopping mall gift card can be used at any store in the mall. If a store in the mall goes out of business, the card is still valid at other stores in the mall.

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