For simplicity's sake give cash, not Visa gift cards

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For simplicity's sake give cash, not Visa gift cards

Rocco Maglio, Certified Information Systems Security Professional, CISSP, has over 20 years in the field of software engineering.

I recently tried to use a Visa gift card that I received over the holidays. The cashier asked me how much money the card had on it. I responded that I wanted to use the whole card towards my bill.


Rocco Maglio, CISSP

She responded that she could not see the amount on the card, she could only enter an amount to be billed to the card. If the amount was more than the balance of the gift card, it would be declined.

I did some research and this is a common issue. If you have a gift card, you need to keep track of the balance of the card.

You can usually find your card balance online or via a phone number listed on your card. You will need the balance to use your gift card in many stores.

Other people reported that they were unable to use multiple cards at a store for a single purchase, so they have to buy something that came close to using up the amount left on the gift card.

They end up with a few cents or dollars left on the gift card.

The takeaway from this try is to avoid purchasing Visa gift cards. They charge an activation fee and are not as easy to use as cash.

For a $100 gift card, the activation fee can be somewhere between $4 and $10. The businesses have to pay a percentage to the credit card companies to accept the card.

If you gave $100 cash you would save yourself the activation fee, the business where the money was spent would save the credit card percentage, and the receiver of the card would save themselves the difficulty of actually using the Visa gift card.