Can You Buy Gift Cards With Credit Cards?

Kelly Shepherd  | 

The short answer is sometimes, but it’s actually rather complicated. You see, in October 2015, new rules were enacted under the EMV (EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa) system. This safeguarded consumers by putting more securities on credit and debit card purchases through the use of chip-enabled technology.

The new rules essentially stated that businesses that do not upgrade their transaction technology to feature chip-enabled payments will be held liable for fraudulent charges made on their machines. So naturally, businesses all over the country were purchasing new transaction machines that incorporated these regulations — making it more challenging for fraudsters to steal money by purchasing gift cards using credit cards.

For years, fraudsters have been using the gift card method to quickly turn a stolen credit card into hard cash. They do this by immediately purchasing large amounts of Visa gift cards using the stolen credit card, then immediately go to a gift card exchange and get cash in hand for the gift cards they just bought using stolen money.

Can You Buy Store Gift Cards with A Credit Card?

It all depends on the store. For instance, smaller businesses that can’t afford the advanced technology have had to rely on the use of magnetic strip technology that has fallen into the stone age. This technology has the capability of charging credit cards for gift cards without the extra security measures the EMV puts in place.

Store gift cards are slightly different from Visa gift cards in that they can only be used at a specific location. Oftentimes, companies will even give consumers in-store gift cards when they exchange or return goods bought from them and don’t have the original card used to purchase the items — this is another layer of protection. Depending on the policies and technology of the store, you may be able to get away with purchasing gift cards using your credit card, but be sure you know the policies before counting on it.

Based on what area of the country you live in, you might be able to find vendors that allow you to purchase gift cards for specific stores using your credit card. Some examples of these vendors are Simon Mall and GiftCards.com.

Stores around the country, however, are doing what they can to help eliminate fraud from occurring by making necessary upgrades. Some stores have enough revenue to replace machines with newer technology, leaving them less susceptible to liability, while other stores that can’t afford this luxury are enacting new policies to protect customers. For example, they require various forms of identification for all credit card purchases. Even companies like Kroger have even gone the extra mile and limited the purchase amount for gift cards on a credit card within a 24 hour period.

Can You Buy Visa Gift Cards with A Credit Card?

Visa gift cards are generally more prone to fraudsters than store gift cards. Visa gift cards can be used at any location, similar to a credit card and can be exchanged for their cash value, or at least their cash value minus whatever fees it requires to exchange them. Typically, frauders will purchase this style of gift card for a fast cash grab.

Purchasing Visa gift cards with your credit cards is much harder than it used to be, but you can find stores that have more relaxed policies and will get the job done. However, the likelihood of finding a store this late after the 2015 rules became active is quite low, especially if you live in a city with few small, mom-and-pop style convenient stores.

The easiest place to find available Visa gift cards that can be purchased using a credit card will be through online portals like GiftCardMall.com. Sometimes, Visa gift cards bought in this manner are actually cheaper than their counterparts sold in stores, but you have to be sure to use caution on these types of sites.

Can You Buy Gift Cards Using A Visa Gift Card?

This answer, again, will largely depend on the specific store that you are hoping to purchase gift cards at. Buying gift cards using gift cards is no longer permitted at the majority of locations throughout the country because of the possibility for fraud to occur.

In the past, customers have typically used gift cards to purchase other gift cards during the holidays when they receive cards for places they don’t shop at or have no appeal towards. Having the opportunity to exchange a gift card for one you would rather use seems like a good idea, but again, the chance of finding a vendor that will do this is challenging

In most cases, the only way you can purchase a gift card with a gift card is if you use a Visa gift card to purchase a store gift card. Some vendors will allow this transaction because it is very similar to credit card transactions, while other vendors will only allow the purchase of gift cards using cash or debit transactions.

Can You Buy Gift Cards Using A Debit Card?

Debit card transactions are probably the easiest means, aside from cash, to purchase gift cards. Debit cards have a pin-activated processing system that don’t allow transactions to be made without using the proper code. This helps shield customers and companies from fraudulent charges, as well as makes it easier to purchase things that aren’t available through credit.

Debit cards are essentially cash that you have to activate in order to use. Debit cards attach to your personal bank account and only have the available funds that you have in the bank, unlike credit cards that give you access to money you don’t necessarily have. Frauders take advantage of this pretend money when they use your credit cards to buy gift cards.

The only thing you have to remember when purchasing gift cards is that every store will have different policies. Many, if not the majority of stores these days have the chip-enabled technology to protect themselves from liability, so purchasing gift cards will always be harder. But if you do your research, you may just find a store that will let you purchase holiday gift cards even when you don’t have cash or your debit card handy.


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Kelly is a writer from Boise Idaho. She enjoys writing about the outdoors and her dog, Cassius. In her spare time she writes captivating fiction and confusing poetry. Follow her @kellyshep14 on Twitter!

This post was updated January 3, 2018. It was originally published January 4, 2018.