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Shelley Hunter

What Name Should I Put on a Visa® Gift Card?

Activate, register, and link a Visa gift card before using it online.
Hint: The name matters.

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When ordering, buying or registering a Visa gift card, enter the recipient’s first and last name. Although tempting to enter a nickname for fun (e.g. Uncle Stu), some online payment processors will perform routine fraud verification checks which include matching the name on the card used for payment with the name entered in the user’s profile or in the shipping address. If the names don’t match, the Visa gift card could be declined.

If the card was purchased without requiring registration, such as from a grocery store or a department store, take a moment to register the card anyway. Using the website or telephone number listed on the back of the card, contact the issuing company to link the card to your name and current address. Read below for more information on how to successfully use a Visa gift card online.

How to Make Sure a Visa Gift Card Works

From grocery stores, to gas stations and banks, to websites, there are many places to buy a Visa gift card. Although most will work the same and without any problems, there are a few things you can do to ensure smooth online transactions as follows:

1. Activate the Card

You can’t buy a Visa or Mastercard® gift card from a grocery store or department store without getting it activated, but those same gift cards purchased online are often delivered un-activated. The recipient is required to follow instructions on the card (or it’s packaging) to activate and register the card. A gift card that isn’t activated will be declined.

2. Register the Card

For some companies, the process of activation also takes care of registration, which includes linking a name and address to the card. If you purchased the gift card at a store, however, it has probably been activated but not registered–meaning the issuing bank does not know to whom the card belongs. That’s not a big deal if you plan to use the card at a store, but it is an important step for using a Visa gift card online and for recovering a possible lost or stolen gift card.

3. Use Real Name and Current Address

When registering the gift card, enter your first and last name, just as you would on a credit card. Enter current address information as well. Some online websites will perform what is called an Address Verification Service (AVS) check which matches the information on the card used for payment against the information provided at checkout. If the name and address don’t match, the transaction could be denied.

With a gift card that is activated and linked to your name and current address, you should be able to shop online successfully. (These rules apply to egift cards as well.) If the card declines, then check the balance and read this post for other reasons why your Visa gift card is not working.

Using an egift card? Read Gift Card Girlfriend’s Complete Guide to eGift Cards for more tips.

Happy Gift Carding!

~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

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