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How To Use The REAL Gift Card Website

Everything you need to know to activate, check the balance and get help with your gift card.

man checking card on website

Got a gift card from Congratulations! You must have done something pretty special to earn this reward. I love the versatility of Visa and Mastercard prepaid cards because I get to decide how to spend the funds. Rather than being limited to a particular store or restaurant, I can choose to spend the money on practical things like gas and groceries or I can treat the money like a bonus and use it to buy something fun like a new pair of shoes or an airline ticket. If I’m being honest, I almost always go the practical route, but that’s just because I have two kids in college and their needs are more pressing than mine at the moment. But just you wait! In a few years, I’ll be using my gift cards to buy new tennis skirts, golf clubs or concert tickets. I can’t wait.

But speaking of being practical. In the post below, I’ll share everything you need to know to activate, check the balance, and successfully use your gift card plus a word of warning.

Go to the REAL website.

1. Activate Gift Card

When you receive a prepaid debit card from, the first thing to do is activate the gift card. To do this, you MUST go to the correct website, which is generally listed on the back of the gift card and, oftentimes, printed on a sticker across the front of the gift card as well. You may also find a telephone number or a QR code to use instead.

Below is a screenshot of what the CURRENT website landing page looks like. Of course, the images may change and the colors could too, but if you are on the correct website, the URL in the address bar should start with “”.

If you don’t see that URL, call the phone number on the gift card or use the QR code to be safe.

omnicard website screenshot

This may seem obvious, but there are many prepaid gift card websites. I often hear complaints from consumers who are certain their gift cards aren’t working. When I probe further, however, we frequently discover that they are trying to activate their gift cards on the wrong websites. You could have several different prepaid gift cards—all from different issuers—so you have to check the activation address for each card and then type the activation URL directly into the address bar exactly as it is written. Do not do a “search” in hopes of landing on the correct page. If you take that route, you run the risk of going to the wrong site or landing on a scam site. (More on that later.)

Here’s a Tip!

If you find that the print on the back of the gift card is too small to read, use your phone to zoom in on the details. This is an easy way to ensure you are reading the activation website correctly and double-check that you got the right one.

enlarging the print on back of gift card activate

2. Check the Balance of an Gift Card

To check the balance of your gift card, go directly to the website listed on your card. I cannot stress enough the challenges people face when they try to search for an activation or balance check web address rather than typing it exactly how it is printed on the card. Though it may seem easier to type a variation of the address to save a few keystrokes, doing so could land you on the wrong website entirely–no matter how close the URL resembles the correct one.

In this video below, I’ll show you how easy it is to get the wrong website address when activating a gift card and why it’s important to type the website address correctly.

3. Get Help with an Gift Card

If you need help with a gift card from, go directly to that website and look for the Frequently Asked Questions or the Contact Us page listed on the bottom of the page. To make it easier for you, I am including links here as well:

You’ll find information on how to replace a lost gift card or report a gift card lost or stolen as well.

4. Remember to Use an Gift Card

Though many store and restaurant gift cards are free of fees and expiration dates, most rebate gift cards, customer reward gift cards, and other types of incentive gift cards are not. To get the full value of those gift cards, you’ll need to use the cards before they expire or non-use fees are charged. Below are some tricks I use to remember to use my gift cards.

turn gift cards sideways in wallet

To remember to use gift cards, I take the following steps:

  1. Store Gift Cards in Wallet. I activate gift cards and put them in my wallet next to the debit card I use most often. Every time I reach into my wallet to make a payment, I see these cards nearby. This reminds me to consider using the prepaid debit cards instead of my regular bank debit or credit cards when possible.
  2. Use Prepaid Cards for Everyday Purchases. Because prepaid debit cards can be used almost anywhere, I try to use them as quickly as possible on the things I’m already planning to buy, like groceries, gas and other essentials. Though not as exciting as buying a new pair of shoes or booking a trip, I am almost guaranteed to use the full value of these gift cards right away–saving the money in my checking account for splurges.
  3. Use My Online Gift Card Hack. Prepaid debit cards can also be redeemed on most websites. Since you can only use one form of payment online, I use this hack for using Visa gift cards online when the amount I need to pay is greater than the balance on my prepaid debit card.

5. Avoid Gift Card Scams

Lastly, before entering your gift card number into any website or app, double-check to make sure you are on the correct page. Scammers sometimes create fake look-alike websites to trick consumers into entering their card information. Once the card number, expiration date, and card verification code (CVC) is captured by a fraudulent website, the gift card balance can be accessed and drained.

This scam ONLY works, however, if you land on the wrong site. So, once again, type the gift card website address directly into the address bar on your browser. Don’t do a search and you’ll be fine.

using a gift card for online shopping

Here’s a list of other gift card scams you can spot and easily avoid and what to do if you think you’re the victim of a gift card scam.

What other questions do you have about or prepaid gift cards in general? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me on Twitter (@GCGirlfriend) or Instagram (@Gift.Card.Girlfriend) so I can help you out.

Happy Gift Carding!

~Shelley Hunter, Gift Card Girlfriend

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