General Question

Mariah's avatar

Help me understand my Visa gift card?

Asked by Mariah (25876points) December 5th, 2011

I have a Visa Vanilla gift card. It says “card has no value until activated at register” and the website FAQ says “the card is activated by the cashier at the time of purchase.” What I’m wondering is, does this mean the first purchase on my card has to happen at a physical store, or do you think I can order something online with it?

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14 Answers

Judi's avatar

It was activated at teh register when someone purchased it. You can’t steal a card off the rack and have it work.

Fly's avatar

You should have no issues ordering something online. That disclaimer is given to deter theft; it means that the card has to physically be purchased by someone, or the card is worthless.

Blackberry's avatar

It was already activated when you got it at the store (or whoever got it).

Mariah's avatar

Oh! Oh I completely misunderstood. Fluther saves the day again. Thanks guys.

buckyboy28's avatar

One thing to note is that you don’t have to use it in the store, but if the total comes to more than the amount of money on the card online, it will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to split the balance between the card and another source (unless you’re paying with a gift card or a coupon).

If you are using it in the store, the clerk will more than likely be able to type in the exact amount of money on the card and split the amount due with another card. Just make sure you know the EXACT amount on the card.

Mariah's avatar

The only thing that confuses me now is that supposedly there’s a $5.95 activation fee, yet when I check the balance online it says the full amount is still on the card. Do you think the person who got me the gift card paid the fee?

Fly's avatar

Yes, the person who bought the card for you paid the activation fee at the time of purchase.

Mariah's avatar

Alrighty. Hoo boy I feel like a dumby. Thanks for the help!

buckyboy28's avatar

@Mariah Also, keep an eye out for monthly service fees. They usually kick in after six months of inactivity or so. The card technically is a debit card, and not a gift card, so even if your state has laws against losing the value of a gift card, it doesn’t apply to this card.

Mariah's avatar

Yeah that is another thing that confused me! It says it’ll charge $2.50 per month starting 7 months after activation. It’s been more than 7 months since I got the card but the balance is still at the full amount of the card. That’s one of the things that made me think it wasn’t activated already. Huh.

buckyboy28's avatar

@Mariah Use it quick! Maybe Visa won’t catch it!

Fly's avatar

Another thing to be mindful of is that in some cases, transactions can’t be completed if the amount on the card isn’t enough to cover the full cost. I’m not sure if it depends on the store or if it depends on the card, but don’t be alarmed if it can’t be used on a transaction that is over the amount that is on it.

Mariah's avatar

I’ll keep that in mind down the road, but the particular purchase I’m trying to make will be covered under one card. Thanks!

Judi's avatar

@Mariah , some states don’t allow them to eat up your card like that.

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