How To Activate a Gift Card [Step-by-Step Guide] How To Activate a Gift Card [Step-by-Step Guide]

How To Activate a Gift Card [Step-by-Step Guide]

Where and How To Activate a Gift Card

Most frugal shoppers will agree that gift cards are a practical and accessible payment method. You can get one without dealing with intricate application forms and start thrifting pretty much immediately—that is, in most cases. Sometimes you need to go through the small hassle of activating the card before making a payment or purchase. Don’t worry—the process is mostly straightforward.

In this article, we’ll show you how to activate a gift card in three different ways. We’ll go over each method and explain why some cards need to be activated. You’ll also get the full scoop on how to earn free gift cards using Mode Mobile’s amazing reward-based system.

Do You Need To Activate a Gift Card?

Most gift cards are activated automatically after purchase, but sometimes the cardholder has to complete the process themselves. Without completing the activation, the card can’t be redeemed online or in-store.

Whether or not activation is necessary depends on the vendor’s specific terms and conditions. For example, some stores only require you to activate gift cards worth more than $250 for safety reasons. It can also depend on the type of gift card (e.g., prepaid gift cards are more likely to need activation than standard retail ones).

How can you tell whether or not your card is ready for use without activation? Physical gift cards have stickers that state if you should activate them. The sticker should also instruct you on what to do next or, at the least, refer you to the store’s customer service. When it comes to digital cards, you typically receive an activation link via email.

Gift card activation helps prevent unauthorized transactions and similar attempts at fraud. In some instances, you may also need to register the card for better security.

Once you activate the card, it becomes linked to your account, which comes with an ID number. If your card is ever lost or stolen, you can report it to the retailer using the unique digits.

How To Activate Gift Cards in Person

If you’d like to purchase and activate a card in person, go to a local retail store or supermarket that has a gift card section. Depending on the type you want and how you want to use it, you can opt for:

Gift Card Type


Single-store gift cards

  • Referred to as closed-loop cards
  • Sold by various vendors (e.g., supermarkets, clothing stores, or gas stations)
  • Redeemable for the goods and services of a specific retailer

Multi-store gift cards

  • Sold by department stores and retail chains nationwide
  • Accepted in multiple locations (e.g., affiliated stores and subsidiary companies)

Open-loop gift cards

  • Known as prepaid gift cards
  • Issued by major credit card companies (e.g., Visa or Mastercard
  • Sold in banks, major retail chains, and drugstores
  • Redeemable everywhere a standard credit or debit card from the same issuer is accepted

Once you choose a gift card, take it to the cashier, and they’ll scan it to get it into their system. You can also ask for a receipt that confirms the card is good for use.

The cashier will ask you to determine the amount you want to load on the card. Typically, the balance ranges from $10 to $500 in either fixed or variable denominations. Keep in mind that most standard gift cards aren’t reloadable, so pick a sum that covers all your needs.

What if Your Gift Card Arrived via Mail?

If you ordered a plastic gift card via the website and got it in the mail, you can still activate it in person. Look for the store that issued the gift card and find their location in your area. Go to the cashier and have them swipe the card. They’ll also answer any questions you may have about the terms and conditions (e.g., does the card have an expiration date, is it reloadable, etc.).

How To Activate a Gift Card Online

You don’t have to go to the store to activate a gift card—you can complete the whole process online. The steps are pretty much the same for most standard retail cards and look something like this:

  1. Look for a small white sticker on the card—The sticker is typically embedded on the front of the card. It contains a URL that will lead you to the activation page. If you don’t see it, turn to the other side and look for step-by-step instructions on how to activate the gift card. If there are no instructions written on the card, it’s already been activated
  2. Open the website link—Enter the provided URL into your chosen browser. Make sure to type it exactly as it’s written before you press Enter
  3. Enter the relevant information—Type the card’s ID number, activation code, and PIN number (if the card has one) in the corresponding fields. The 16-digit ID number is usually written on the card, and the much shorter PIN and activation code should be written on the sticker

The store’s customer service phone number should also be written on the card, so make sure to ring them if you can’t complete the activation.

When it comes to eGift cards, the activation process is pretty much the same. The retailer emails you the digital card, along with the relevant info (ID number and PIN) and an activation code. You’ll most likely receive a link to the activation page or instructions on how to proceed.

Can You Activate a Gift Card By Phone?

Source: Alexandre Boucher

Some retailers will leave a phone number for their customer service department instead of a URL. Mind you, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to the store and activate the card at the register.

If you’d like to activate your card via phone, here’s what you should know:

  • The number is typically written on the white sticker at the front of the card (if your card doesn’t require activation, it won’t have a sticker)
  • It is a toll-free number (i.e., a three-digit code number), meaning you won’t be charged for the call
  • The customer service representative will most likely ask you to provide the card ID number, activation code, and PIN code
  • The 16-digit ID number is embeded on the card, along with the activation code
  • The four-digit PIN is likely located on the back of the card, under a scratch-off sticker (don’t scratch too roughly, or you’ll lose the digits)
  • Not all gift cards come with a PIN, so don’t worry if you can’t find it
  • The ID number and PIN are necessary for checking the card balance, so make sure to save or remember the digits

Score Free Gift Cards With Mode Mobile’s Reward-Based System

What if you had a shot at earning free gift cards and cutting down on your expenses further? Thrifty shoppers worldwide are using reward-based apps to sidestep inflated prices and take charge of their finances. The system is simple—complete a series of phone-based tasks in exchange for points, which you can later redeem for gift cards.

The activities are different for each platform but mostly include taking surveys and watching ads. Keep in mind that many apps come with restrictions on the number of tasks you can finish per week/day. You’re also required to reach a high payment threshold which can slow down your earning rate.

With Mode Mobile’s revolutionary reward-based system, the earning opportunities are unlimited. Mode Mobile is the company behind two products—the Mode Earn App and the Mode Earn Phone—which can help you earn a supplemental income of $1,200+ every year. The best part is that you can acquire amazing awards with minimal effort by merely:

  • Locking your phone
  • Charging the device
  • Listening to music
  • Shopping online
  • Playing games
  • Browsing the internet
  • Reading the news
  • Checking the weather
  • Tracking fitness goals through your phone

Mode Mobile allows you to combine your favorite activities without limitations or impossible payment thresholds. You’ll be able to make hundreds of dollars in gift cards, prepaid cards, stocks, and cash deposits and do it all at a reliable rate.

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Generate a Supplemental Income With the Mode Earn App

You can get the Mode Earn App from Google Play for free and start building your income. The app will automatically award you points for completing eligible activities, such as locking and unlocking your phone or streaming music.

Unlike other platforms, you get to decide how you collect redeemable points. For example, if you enjoy playing mobile games, you can accumulate profit by completing gaming-related tasks. The Mode Earn App will also alert you of personalized partner offers and limited booster activities that align with your interests.

Once you download the app, you’ll get access to various redemption items, including:

Redemption Item Type

List of Items

Gift cards

Starbucks, Sephora, Amazon, eBay, Target, Walmart, and many other retail gift cards

Prepaid cards

Mastercard (virtual and physical) and Visa cards

Game cards and tokens

Fortnite, PUBG, Free Fire, and Playstation gift cards

Electronic devices

Headsets, mini-drones, and similar gadgets

Monetary gain

PayPal deposits, cryptocurrency, and in-demand stocks

The rewards list isn’t final since Mode Mobile adds new items with each new partnership.

Install the Mode Earn App and earn up to $600 in supplemental income with a few hours of daily use. The app has earned a 4.4-star rating from over 2.6 million users for its fast earning rates, multiple reward-based activities, and overall safe user environment.

Source: Mode Mobile

Get the Mode Earn Phone and Earn Twice as Much

If you want to earn twice as much for doing the same reward-based tasks, get the Mode Earn Phone—a high-tech device that lets you make more than $1,200 a year. The phone is equipped with an earn-as-you-go widget and a preinstalled Mode Earn App, enabling you to double your supplemental income. You’ll be able to engage in multiple activities using 16 different earning modes:

  1. Music Mode
  2. Games Mode
  3. Surf Mode
  4. News Mode
  5. Charge Mode
  6. Data Mode
  7. Lock Screen Mode
  8. Fitness Mode
  9. Watch Mode
  10. Save Mode
  11. Share Mode
  12. Weather Mode
  13. Task Mode
  14. Cash Mode
  15. Crypto Mode
  16. Finance Mode

Mode Mobile’s customized device comes with a slew of advanced features that further enhance user experience. The Mode Earn Phone has a powerful Octa-Core CPU, a 4000 mAh battery that has a separate warranty, and a 4 GB RAM to cover all your needs. You also won’t have to fret over which GSM carrier to choose from since the smartphone is compatible with T-Mobile, AT&T, and other major carriers.

Source: Mode Mobile

You can get a Mode Earn Phone in one of two ways:

  1. Start a free trial—After a free one month period, you pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.99 (billed quarterly)
  2. Make a one-time payment—Purchase the latest model, the Mode Earn Phone MEP2, for a one-time price of $109

You can earn back the initial investment and cover the data plan cost with only a few months of active use. You won’t have to spend the entire day staring at the screen—you can earn hundreds of dollars by investing only four hours a day. Get the Mode Earn Phone and rake it in with the only device that pays for itself!

Feature image source: StockSnap

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