There are many situations when you may need to buy a gift card. But can you buy one using a credit card? Find out whether you can do so and what to be aware of.
Yes, you can usually buy a gift card using a credit card. This can potentially let you earn rewards on gift card purchases. However, some retailers or credit card issuers may have restrictions. Always read the fine print before buying, as your card issuer may treat it as a cash advance.
Learn more about buying gift cards using a credit card, including the advantages and disadvantages of doing so and everything you need to know about the process.
Can You Buy Gift Cards With A Credit Card?
There are a few reasons someone may want to buy a gift card with credit, the least of which is convenience. When already paying for everything with a card, why make a separate purchase? Purchasing several gift cards for birthdays or teachers with a card may make sense to get rewards.
This leads to a common question, "Can I get a gift card with my credit card?" The answer is yes. But before you do so, you should make yourself aware of the benefits and disadvantages of using credit for purchasing gift cards.
How To Buy Gift Cards On Credit
It is easy to buy gift cards regardless of how you pay. Purchasing gift cards means you bring them up to the register and select your form of payment. You will also need to decide how much you want the card to be for.
If you are shopping online, it will be the same type of scene. If you buy an Amazon card, go to the site and select the card. Then proceed to payment just as you would anything else.
There are numerous sites to do this, including Target.com, Walmart.com, and Staples.com.
Do You Earn Rewards When You Purchase Gift Cards?
People often wonder why you would want to buy a gift card with a credit card. One of the most common reasons is that you can earn rewards on your purchase. Credit cards that earn rewards fall into two groups, those that allow you to get cashback and those that allow you to earn points for hotels or flights.
Advantages And Disadvantages
There isn't anything wrong with using your credit cards to purchase gift cards.
One of the bigger advantages is the possible rewards you can earn from your spending. This all depends on the type of card you are using.
Advantage: Take Advantage Of Discounts
Some people take advantage of sales and specials to buy gift cards to save on large purchases. Some people choose to buy Disney gift cards with their Target RedCard to gain 5 percent off. It may not sound like a lot, but when the vacation costs several thousand, 5 percent is a lot of savings.
Advantage: Help Struggling Small Businesses
Even with the pandemic winding down, many small businesses are still struggling. Choosing to buy gift cards from them is a great way to give those local businesses some much-needed cash flow at the moment. Then you can plan on waiting to redeem the gift card until they are doing a bit better. If you would have normally paid for your goods or services at the business with a credit card, you would likely want to buy the gift card with one.
Disadvantage: Limits Set By Retailers
Some retailers set limits on the number of gift cards or the amount you can purchase on your credit card.
Disadvantage: Some Stores Have Stricter Purchase Rules
Most retailers allow store-based gift card purchases on credit cards. But it isn't always the case. Some stores limit purchases, and others prohibit them entirely.
There are some instances where you must show your ID, and they will double-check that it matches the credit card. If everything checks out and your purchase is still being refused, it may be your actual credit card flagging it is a problem. This may mean you need to call the company and check on the specific problem.
Disadvantage: You May Not Earn Rewards
Some rewards cards do not allow you to get points or cashback. This fine print is not always followed, so be aware and do your research first.
Does Your Gift Card Purchase Act Like A Cash Advance?
Some credit cards treat gift card purchases the same way as cash advances. You get the cash advance fee and the larger interest rate when this happens.
Typically, a gift card purchase code is like a cash advance when purchased from banks or when a prepaid card is used instead of a gift card. This can be avoided if you purchase gift cards when buying your groceries. You can also avoid your purchase being rung through as a cash advance by calling your card ahead of time and turning off cash advances altogether.
Don't ignore the importance of confirming that your credit card doesn't treat gift card purchases as a cash advance. Remember that cash advances frequently have higher interest rates than regular purchases and additional fees. They also frequently start accumulating interest right away instead of after your payment grace period.
Best Credit Cards To Use For Buying Gift Cards
The credit card that is most suitable for gift card purchases is the one that you can get the most rewards with. You should be careful when choosing a card. This includes reading all the rules and understanding what rewards are offered.
What Gift Cards Can You Buy With A Credit Card?
You may not realize it, but there are two types of gift cards. There are open-loop and store-based credit cards. As the title suggests, store-based cards are purchased from the purveyor and can only be used at that precise location. When you get a Chipotle card, you cannot use it at Starbucks.
An open-loop gift card is a broader type of card to give. These are MasterCards and Visas, for example. These gift cards can be used anywhere that the logo is accepted. It is considered an all-purpose card, and the recipient doesn't have to use it at specific stores.
Which Stores Let You Buy Gift Cards With a Credit Card?
Many stores will let you buy gift cards with a credit card, and if you aren't sure whether a given one will, ask them.
Some of the big names that allow gift card purchases with credit cards include:
- The Home Depot
- Simon Malls
Some stores that explicitly don't let you buy gift cards with a credit card include:
- Harris Teeter
- Save Mart
Why Don't Some Stores Let You Buy Gift Cards With Credit Cards?
The reason that some stores won't let you buy a gift card using a credit card is usually because of fraud concerns. It is very common for criminals to use a stolen credit card to buy gift cards. Thieves know that gift cards are much harder to track than credit cards. (That is also why many phone scammers ask you to buy gift cards for a specific company instead of wiring money).
How To Tell If You Can Buy A Certain Gift Card With A Credit Card? Ask
If you want to buy a gift card from a specific store using your credit card, the best way to see if it is possible is to ask. You can call the store or check its website ahead of time to see. Or you can head to the store and ask in person at the customer service counter.
You could also grab the gift cards and head to the checkout with your credit card. But if you do that, bring an alternative form of payment. If you use this method and don't have an alternative payment method, ask the cashier if you can pay with a credit card before starting the transaction. This way, they won't have to cancel a partly complete transaction.
Some Credit Cards Let You Earn Gift Cards As Rewards
When discussing gift cards and credit cards, it is also worth noting another potential way to use credit cards to get gift cards. Many credit card issuers let you redeem your points for gift cards of some sort. If you are interested in that type of reward, you can specifically look for a credit card that offers it.
You can usually use a credit card to buy a gift card, but this is not always the case. Some retailers don't accept credit cards as payment for gift cards due to the risk of fraud. Others will allow it but have extra security measures, such as checking your ID. Just check your credit card's terms before buying a gift card with it. Some may treat it as a cash advance, although this is rare. Don't assume that you earn rewards on gift card purchases either; many credit card issuers exclude gift cards from rewards programs.
Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author. He's been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What's Your Story, and more.