Gift Card Usage

How do I activate my Visa® gift card? 

Simply call the number on the activation sticker, or use the Activate My Card option online.

How is my Visa gift card different from a store gift card or certificate? 

Unlike store gift cards or certificates, our Visa gift card enables you to choose where you spend your available balance. You are not limited to just one store or location. You can use it at several stores, even online.

Can I use a Visa gift card with more than one merchant? 

Yes. That is the advantage of a Visa gift card! You can use it at multiple retailers for as long as there is a remaining balance.

Can I use a Visa gift card at an ATM or banking center? 

No. Gift cards can only be used for retail, online and telephone purchases.

Can I use a Visa gift card to get cash back at the checkout? 


Can I use a Visa gift card online? 

Yes. You must register your card before purchasing online, as some retailers will not process a transaction without a valid address registered to the card.

If my name is not on the Visa gift card, can I use it, and do I still sign the receipt? 

Yes. Please sign the back of your gift card, so that retailers can verify you are the cardholder. And even though it has a greeting instead of your name, you should still sign for purchases.

How can I obtain the original value of a Visa gift card? 

The original value may be embossed on the gift card or printed on the card carrier. You can also check your balance online or by calling the number on the back of the card (fees apply).

How can I check the balance on my Visa gift card? 

To check the balance, sign in online or call the number on the back of your card (fees apply).

Can I make purchases for more than the amount on my Visa gift card? 

No. Your gift card is a prepaid and can be used only for purchases up to its value. For larger purchases, you can advise the merchant that you wish to split the transaction (i.e., you have a $20 gift card and want to make a $100 purchase—pay the $80 first with another form of payment, then use your $20 gift card to pay the remaining balance). If you attempt to make a purchase for more than the gift card's value, the transaction will be declined.

What if I spend all of the money on my Visa gift card? 

Once all of the funds are used, your gift card account is closed. You can keep the gift card in case you need to return an item you purchased, which will reopen the account, if it has not passed the expiration date. Or, simply discard it.

How long can I use a Visa gift card? 

The expiration date is embossed on the front of your gift card. You can use it through the end of the month it expires.

Can I add more money to (recharge) a Visa gift card? 

No. You cannot add more money at this time. However, you can purchase additional gift cards online or by visiting a branch.

What if my Visa gift card is expired, but I still have a balance? 

If you have a remaining balance, you can request that a check be mailed to you, minus the $15 processing fee.

Why is my actual balance different than my available balance? 

Actual balance reflects all purchases that cleared your account, while available balance includes any pending transactions that have not yet cleared your account.

What is the difference between pending and posted transactions? 

Pending transactions place a hold on your balance until the purchase clears your account. The amount may be for less or more than you actually spent (i.e., $1 pre-authorization to ensure your account is active, or 15% over for gratuity at a restaurant). Once the transaction clears your account to pay the merchant, it becomes a posted transaction. The pending transaction is then lifted, and the remaining balance is available.

Why can't I use my Visa gift card to pay for gas at the pump? 

To prevent fraudulent transactions, you cannot use a gift card at the gas pump. You must prepay for the purchase inside the station.

Why should I register my Visa gift card? 

Registering your gift card has several benefits:

  • It enables you to make purchases online, as most online retailers do not accept payments without having a valid address registered to the card
  • It enables customer service to assist you more quickly
  • It protects you if your gift card is ever lost or stolen, so that you can have funds reimbursed

Do I have to have an email address to use a Visa gift card? 

No. An email address is not required for purchases. However, it is useful if you ever forget your online username or password.

Why was my account charged a maintenance fee? 

If there is still a remaining balance 12 months from the issue date, your gift card account will be charged a monthly maintenance fee until it reaches a zero balance.

Can I change my address and telephone number after I receive my Visa gift card? 

Yes. The recipient can change this information online or by calling customer service at (866) 262-7439.

What if a Visa gift card is lost or stolen? 

Call customer service at (866) 262-7439 immediately to report it.

What if I think there is an error on a Visa gift card transaction? 

Call customer service at (866) 262-7439.

What if I want to dispute a purchase made with my Visa gift card? 

First, contact the merchant directly to settle the dispute. If you are unable to resolve the issue, call customer service at (866) 262-7439.

What can I do if the remaining balance on my card is less than the processing fee to cash the card? 

If your gift card is not expired, try to spend the balance at a merchant that will allow you to use two forms of payment for a single purchase. Simply ask the merchant to apply the exact amount left on the gift card, and pay the difference with your other form of payment. If it is expired, and the amount of the processing fee to cash the gift card is higher than the remaining balance, your gift card will be assessed a monthly maintenance fee until it reaches a zero balance.

What if I do not want a gift card and prefer cash? 

Please keep in mind it may be used everywhere Visa debit is accepted. If you truly do not wish to use the gift card, you may call customer service at (866) 262-7439 to request that a check for the remaining balance be mailed to you, minus the $15 processing fee.

Equal Housing Lender Your savings federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government. National Credit Union Administration, a U.S.Government Agency. ©2014 Desert Schools Federal Credit Union