When you get a Visa, MasterCard or Amex gift card, it’s usually much better than one to a specific retailer. However, getting rid of those last few dollars can sometimes be a real hassle. Instead of constantly keeping track of how much is left on my card, I turn it into Amazon credit to get rid of it right away and not worry about it. Just follow these few steps below.
1. Register Your Card
Whatever gift card you have, as long as it has the Amex, MasterCard or Visa logo on it, you should be able to use it for online purchases. Yet you have to register a billing address with it first before you can use it or else it will quickly get rejected. For this example, we’re going to use a Visa Gift Card, one of the easiest to setup with a billing address.
On the back of your Visa Gift Card there will be a web address. Go to that page and type in your card number, expiration date and the three digit code on the back of your card to login.
If you’re using a Vanilla Visa gift card, there will be an option on the welcome page to assign a zip code.
Enter in the zip code and hit the ‘Update’ button to have the zip code applied to your card. It takes roughly an hour for the process to complete. With Vanilla Visa, the process is quite simple since you can do it all from your computer.
American Express is quite different, as you have to call in and give them a full billing address, including your name, address, zip code, etc.
2. Add An Amazon Gift Card To Your Cart
After about an hour your card should be ready to go for online purchases. Go to Amazon’s Gift Card Page and type in a minimum value of $.50 cents.
If the value on your card is below $.50 cents, unfortunately you won’t be able to use it for this purchase. In that case we recommend going to a retailer and paying with two cards, but you’ll have to specify how much you want to put on your first card. Type in your own email address so that the gift card will be sent directly to you.
This part is a little bit confusing since most people are uncertain what to type in for their billing address. The great news is that it really doesn’t matter. The only thing that has to be accurate is the zip code, even if you used your full address to register the card (like with American Express).
For the name on the card, I always put whatever is displayed on the front of the card, such as ‘GIFT CARD RECIPIENT’ or ‘PREPAID GIFT CARD’. As long as the zip code matches what is on file you should be fine. This is also a great way to protect your identity if you wish to make anonymous purchases online.
Note: There have been reports that Amazon takes a deposit of $1 on gift cards in order to test their balance, but this has never been the case for me. I’ve repeatedly emptied my cards that have less than a $1 balance and have been perfectly fine. If this does happen, keep in mind that Amazon will return the amount in 10 business days – it’s just used for verification purposes.
4. Claim Your Code
Using a normal credit card that’s been verified in the past will make your checkout process much quicker, and gift cards will be sent to your email address normally within 5 minutes.
With pre-paid gift cards it’s going to take a little bit longer, so expect to wait anywhere from 3 – 24 hours to receive it. Once you get the code in your email, claim it to your account and you’re good to go.
For those that want to use a card to protect their identity online, I recommend getting a Visa Vanilla Gift Card since they’re the easiest to add a billing address to, only requiring your zip code. Other gift cards may require more information such as your name, address and city.
In any case, only the zip code has to match when you go to checkout. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them down below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!