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How to Use a Mastercard, Visa or Amex Gift Card on Amazon

by on April 10, 2019
in Tips & How-Tos, Shopping, Money Savers, Time Savers :: 5 comments

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Trying to use a Mastercard, Visa or Amex Gift Card on Amazon can cause several headaches. First, simply registering the card as a payment method can be tricky. Amazon requires a name and billing address to register a credit card as a means of payment. Since many gift cards aren’t personalized to you, there is no name or zip code to enter, and Amazon won’t be able to validate the card.

Even if you get through that first hurdle, Mastercard, Visa or Amex gift cards aren’t well-suited to online purchasing. Since Amazon doesn’t allow you to split a purchase among multiple cards, if your gift card is worth $50 and your order is $70, there’s no way to make up the difference, and your transaction will simply be declined. On the flip side, if your order is $47, you’ll be left with a $3 balance on your gift card, which isn’t useful for anything.

However, there are a couple of tricks that will make using a gift card on Amazon a breeze. In fact, there’s probably no better place to use one of these cards than Amazon. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Register your Mastercard, Visa or Amex gift card with the issuing bank

If your card doesn’t already have your name and zip code associated with it, you’ll need to do that through the financial institution that issued the card. Sometimes there will be a registration URL on the back of the card. If not, look for the name of the institution on the card and then Google “[institution name] gift card registration”. That should get you to the right site. If it's an Amex gift card, use this link. Once there, you’ll be asked to verify the card info, and then you’ll have the option of registering the card with your name and address. This is also a good time to confirm the available balance.

2. Add your gift card as a payment method on Amazon

Next, go to Amazon.com and click on the Account & Lists dropdown to go to Your Account.

Amazon Your Account Add Payment option

Click on the Payment options box to add your gift card as a new payment source. If the box doesn’t appear, but you'll find “Payment options” under the Ordering and shopping preferences list below it.

3. Swap your Mastercard, Visa or Amex gift card for an Amazon gift card

At this point, you could start using your Mastercard, Visa or for purchases on Amazon. The problem is, though, that Amazon doesn’t let you divide purchases among multiple cards. So if you have a $30 gift card, you can’t make purchases for more than $30. And if you make a purchase for less, you’ll be stuck with a small remaining balance that is even more difficult to use.

The trick to get around this is to use your Mastercard, Visa or Amex gift card to buy an Amazon gift card. With Amazon gift cards, the full amount can be credited to your purchase, and any additional funds required can be paid with your regular credit card.

Click on the Gift cards box in Your Account then click the Reload Your Balance Button.

Amazon gift card balance

On the next screen, enter in the balance on your Mastercard or Visa gift card (if you don’t know it, you can get the remaining balance from the issuing institution (see Step #1 above) and select the gift card you added in Step #2 as the Payment method.

Amazon reload gift card balance

Assuming you properly registered your card and entered in the correct balance amount, the transaction should go through and you will see the full amount reflected in your Amazon Gift Card Balance. Now, you're all set, and when you make a purchase, your gift card balance will be applied automatically until it’s gone. Try it for yourself.

For more Amazon shopping tips, see:

[Image credit: Josh Kirschner/Techlicious, American Express, Mastercard, Visa]



Discussion loading

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Adding Mastercard gift card to Amazon

From Mary Taddeo on July 12, 2019 :: 6:06 pm

Just wanted to say a huge Thanks to Josh for his clear and accurate instructions for doing the above.
I had tried it before using my own resources, without success.  I am thrilled that it worked with your instructions, since I want to buy a special gift on Amazon, and adding the Mastercard gift card balances will REALLY HELP.
Thanks again for the wonderful service you are providing.
Gratefully,
Mary Taddeo

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Glad it worked!

From Josh Kirschner on July 13, 2019 :: 10:17 am

I had my own frustrations using gift cards on Amazon, so thought providing a detailed solution would be helpful to others, as well.

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Did not work for me using Amex or Visa gift cards

From Ben A. on July 30, 2019 :: 8:01 pm

So frustrating… it’s like $ going to waste since I cannot use these gift cards anywhere unless I use less than the amount.  I even tried reloading $1 less than the balance since most companies put this amount on hold initially.

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Didn't work for me for full amount - needed to go $1 less

From Todd Hackett on August 07, 2019 :: 11:55 pm

I followed the steps to register three MasterCard gift cards with my name and address, add them as Amazon payment methods, and load their full value into my Amazon gift card balance. The transactions failed, telling me that the payment method needed to be revised. I eventually contacted Amazon through online chat, and was told that the charges were denied by the bank and to contact them. I called the number on the back of the and after almost five minutes of automated messages and selections finally talked to a person. She checked and said that Amazon applied a $1 hold to verify that the card was valid, then applied a charge for the whole amount. Since the balance was now $1 less (due to Amazon’s $1 hold), the charge exceeded the available balance and was denied. I had deleted the cards from Amazon, so I put them back, tried again but each time used an amount $2 less than the balance (because the $1 hold was still there, plus I anticipated another $1 hold), and it worked. I tried one first and it took a few hours but finally went through. The others are still processing, but I expect them to work. I should have most of the funds available for Amazon purchases soon, but also have three gift cards left over with only $2 on each.

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That's annoying

From Josh Kirschner on August 12, 2019 :: 10:24 am

It’s annoying that happened for you, but it’s not that unusual for companies to place those temporary holds on new credit cards. The holds usually drop off after a couple of days, so one option is to add the card and, if you’re having an issue wait the hold amount, wait a couple of days then create the Amazon gift card. For cards that have a $1 or $2 balance, you should be able to go back in and apply those amounts to your Amazon gift card account - Amazon won’t (shouldn’t) place another hold on the account once it has already been verified.

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