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What You Need to Know about Electronic Visa Gift Cards

The most important things to know about buying and using electronic Visa gift cards. (Spoiler alert: MUST be used online.)

adding photo to digital egift card on phone   banner with gift cards

Giftcards.com has been selling electronic Visa gift cards for over a decade, so I know a thing or two about how these gift cards work. In the blog post below, I’ll share the basics of how to buy electronic Visa gift cards, how to redeem electronic Visa gift cards and my favorite hack for using electronic Visa gift cards online.

Main Difference Between Plastic and Electronic Visa Gift Cards

laptop computer with visa order screen

There are two main differences between plastic (a.k.a. “physical”) and electronic (a.k.a. “digital,” “egift” or “e-gift”) Visa gift cards as follows:

  • DELIVERY Plastic Visa gift cards look like debit or credit cards. They can be purchased in stores or bought online and shipped to recipients. These are physical gift cards that you can hold, hand to someone, store in your wallet and swipe at the cash register. Electronic Visa gift cards, on the other hand, are virtual. They are purchased online and delivered via email, text or another digital mode.
  • REDEMPTION Physical Visa gift cards can be redeemed in stores, online and over the phone. Electronic gift cards MUST be redeemed online or wherever “card not present” transactions are allowed.

Both physical and electronic Visa gift cards contain a card number, expiration date and code verification value (CVV). Both cards may also be linked to personal information (e.g., name, address or zip code) if given at activation. If you plan to use an electronic Visa gift card online, keep that in mind.

Buy Here: Electronic Visa gift cards

Where to Buy Electronic Visa Gift Cards

egift on a mobile phone

Electronic Visa gift cards must be purchased online from a Visa-authorized gift card issuer. To my knowledge, Giftcards.com was the first to sell virtual Visa gift cards, but now there are a few other options. Here’s what to look for in choosing where to buy electronic Visa gift cards:

  • AUTHORIZED BY VISA Reputable gift card sellers generally list issuing banks and license agreements on their websites. Giftcards.com Visa® eGift Cards are issued by MetaBank® and licensed from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Here’s a list of authorized Visa gift card sellers.
  • SECURE DELIVERY Since anyone with access to the numbers on an electronic Visa gift card can use the funds, only buy egift cards from issuers that guarantee secure delivery. At Giftcards.com, for example, recipients must provide an email address to claim an egift card and provide address information to activate an egift card.
  • FREE DELIVERY Electronic Visa gift card delivery should be fast and free. Many websites provide scheduled delivery options as well. This feature means you can buy egift cards at a convenient time for you and still have the egift card arrive on the day of the celebration.
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE Only buy gift cards from reputable sellers that offer money-back guarantees and customer service. Suppose your electronic Visa gift card doesn’t get delivered. In that case, you will want a person to talk to and a company willing to fix the problem.

Remember to protect your egift card number. Anybody with access to the electronic Visa gift card can use it online without your permission.

Buy Here: Electronic Visa gift cards

How to Buy Electronic Visa Gift Cards

custom egift card for halloween on phone

To buy an Electronic Visa gift card, you will need to provide the following:

  • Name and email address of the recipient
  • Dollar amount
  • Delivery date
  • Custom message (optional)
  • Photo or video (optional)

When you’re done customizing the egift card, add it to your shopping cart and complete the purchase. The egift card will be delivered as soon as payment is processed or on the scheduled delivery date.

Remember: As with plastic Visa gift cards, you will have to pay an activation fee at purchase. Here is the Giftcards.com fee schedule for reference.

How to Redeem Electronic Visa Gift Cards

enter visa egift card online shopping

Electronic Visa gift cards are generally usable wherever Visa debit cards are accepted. To redeem an electronic Visa gift card during online checkout, enter the card number, expiration date and CVV in the debit/credit card fields. Do NOT use the gift card fields. (Gift card fields are reserved for the website’s own gift cards.)

If you are having trouble redeeming an electronic Visa gift card, review the following restrictions:

  • Must be used online
  • Must be used on a United States-based website
  • May not be used on gambling sites or adult websites
  • May not be used on money transfer services like Venmo/PayPal
  • May not be used for recurring bill payments

WHAT BILLING ADDRESS? Use the name and address linked to the electronic Visa gift card at the time of purchase or the address entered when you claimed and activated the card. If that’s not working, read this blog post on what zip code to use when using a Visa gift card online.

If you want to use a Visa gift card in stores, buy a plastic Visa gift card instead.

Need More Help?

Here’s a blog post on what to do when a Visa gift card is not working online.

Gift Card Girlfriend

What other questions do you have about electronic Visa gift cards? Send me your gift card questions in the comments below or leave a message for @GCGirlfriend on Twitter.

Happy Gift Carding!

~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

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The Giftcards.com Visa® Gift Card, Visa Virtual Gift Card, and Visa eGift Card are issued by MetaBank®,N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Visa Gift Card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the US. No cash or ATM access. The Visa Virtual Gift Card can be redeemed at every internet, mail order, and telephone merchant everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the US. No cash or ATM access. The Giftcards.com Visa eGift Card can be redeemed online or in stores everywhere contactless Visa debit cards are accepted in the U.S. No cash or ATM access. The Giftcards.com Visa Reward Cards are issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Visa Reward Card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. No cash or ATM Access. The Giftcards.com Mastercard® Gift Cards are issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. The Mastercard Gift Virtual Account is issued by MetaBank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard Gift Virtual Account can be redeemed at every internet, mail order, and telephone merchant everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted in the US. Mastercard Gift Cards can be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted in the US. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. The merchants represented are not sponsors of Giftcards.com or otherwise affiliated with Giftcards.com The logos and other identifying marks attached are trademarks of and owned by each represented company and/or its affiliates. Please visit each company's website for additional terms and conditions.

Giving Good Gift Cards, Happy Gift Cards, Holiday Favorites Gift Cards, and Choice Gift Cards are curated by Blackhawk Network and issued by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC.