How To Activate a Mastercard Gift Card—A Complete Guide
How To Activate a Mastercard Gift Card
A Mastercard gift card gives you the power to spend wherever Mastercard is accepted.
As a way of giving a gift to someone, there are a few better alternatives—Mastercard gift cards can be used both in-store and online, can be sent to whomever you choose, and can even be personalized to make the gift even more special.
What happens when your Mastercard gift card doesn’t work, though? The most common issue is that the card needs to be activated before it can be used.
In this article, you’ll get all the information you need on how to activate a Mastercard gift card.
Mastercard Gift Card Types
Before starting the activation process, you should determine what kind of Mastercard gift card you’re dealing with.
The two basic types of Mastercard gift cards are:
- Physical gift card
- Virtual or eGift card
Physical Gift Card
A physical Mastercard gift card is a plastic payment method similar to a debit, credit, or prepaid Mastercard.
It will come in the mail, together with a separate notification of your personalized PIN, and can be used:
While physical cards are the traditional format, they are slightly more risky to use as they can be lost or stolen and can take longer to arrive in the mail.
If your card is stolen, you can have it replaced by calling 1-833-623-4266 and providing the card number and some information to verify that you are the rightful owner of the card.
Virtual or eGift Card
Virtual or eGift cards are digital versions of the Mastercard and only exist online.
They are usually delivered via email and are available for immediate use, but they can’t be used for:
- In-store purchases
- Cash withdrawals at an ATM
Email delivery is usually more secure than sending a gift card via surface mail, but you could be in danger of data theft or online fraud.
How To Activate a Mastercard Gift Card Online or by Phone
In most cases, both physical and virtual Mastercard gift cards are automatically activated when they are purchased.
If your card hasn’t been activated yet, the procedure is relatively easy—you can choose between:
- Navigating to the Mastercard balance inquiry website and following the instructions
- Calling the toll-free number printed on the back of your gift card. You can also find the number in the email with your card details that you received
You will be asked to provide some details for security purposes, including the following:
- 16-digit card number
- Valid thru date
- 3-digit CVC on the back of the card
You may be asked for some form of identification, such as verification that you were the intended recipient of the gift card—you can provide this with a copy of the email you received or details of the person who gave you the gift.
Once you have completed all the activation steps, your card should be ready to use.
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How To Register a Mastercard Gift Card
To use your Mastercard gift card online, you may have to register it using the same link you used to activate it. You should do this before attempting to make any online purchases if you want to avoid your transaction being declined.
Many online vendors require you to type in the name that is associated with the card, and some even ask for an address that the card is linked to. This is an additional security measure designed to eliminate potential fraud.
How To Redeem a Mastercard Gift Card
Having made sure your Mastercard gift card is activated and registered, you can start spoiling yourself.
Depending on where you want to spend your gift, there are different ways to transact:
- Using a Mastercard gift card in-store
- Adding a Mastercard gift card to a mobile wallet
- Making online purchases with a Mastercard gift card
How To Use a Mastercard Gift Card for In-Store Purchases
In-store purchases are simple and straightforward with a physical Mastercard gift card.
All you have to do is use the card as you would your regular debit or credit card unless you are using a self-serve keypad, in which case you should choose the “gift card” option.
Remember to make sure the funds available on your card are sufficient to cover the value of your purchase.
How To Add a Mastercard Gift Card to a Mobile Wallet
You can add the funds on your Mastercard gift card to mobile wallets by adding the card details as they appear on the physical card or in the email you received with your eGift card.
How To Make Online Purchases With a Mastercard Gift Card
Once your Mastercard gift card has been activated and registered, you can use it to pay for goods or services online.
You can use it in the same way as a debit or credit card, but you may not be able to use multiple cards for single purchases. Anything you buy online should be of a value that doesn’t exceed the available balance on your gift card.
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What if You Have Difficulties With Your Mastercard Gift Card?
You can use your gift card for almost any purchase, but here are a few tips to ensure you don’t run into any difficulties:
- Check your balance
- Make sure gift cards are accepted
- Check if the vendor and card details match
Checking Your Balance
If you don’t have sufficient funds on your Mastercard gift card, transactions could be declined.
It’s a good idea to check your balance regularly by:
- Clicking on the Mastercard balance inquiry page and entering your card details
- Calling the toll-free number and answering the security questions
Either of these methods will tell you whether you have enough money to make a purchase.
If you don’t have sufficient funds on a card, you may be able to combine it with other gift cards to complete a transaction.
Some vendors won’t allow you to use multiple gift cards for single purchases, though, so you should check their terms and conditions before trying to use more than one gift card.
Making Sure That Gift Cards Are Accepted
Mastercard gift cards are valid for many transactions, but some vendors won’t accept them.
The most common places where you can’t use a gift card are:
- Hotels—Hotels will normally refuse to accept a booking if you try to pay using a gift card of any kind
- Car rental companies—Due to their practice of holding a security deposit to cover possible damage during your rental, car hire companies don’t accept gift cards to reserve a vehicle
- International vendors—Many U.S.-issued Mastercard gift cards can only be used with domestic vendors. To purchase items or services online from international sites, you may need to get a Mastercard virtual or physical prepaid card, use your regular credit or debit card, or pay via PayPal
Checking That the Vendor and Card Details Match
If you have typed in a billing address on the vendor’s website during an online purchase, your transaction could be declined if the address linked to your Mastercard gift card doesn’t match it.
In such cases, you need to change the billing address to reflect the one held on file for your Mastercard gift card.
Source: Mode Mobile
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Featured image source: rostichep