Gift cards are one of the most popular items on shoppers’ lists during the holidays or for special occasions. In fact, 91% of people recently surveyed said they’ve purchased a gift card for someone in the past.
Gift cards are easy to use, flexible when spending, and don’t require much work from the gift-giver. But consumers have run into trouble making gift card purchases with credit in the past. So, the question remains — can you buy gift cards with a credit card?
Yes — Here’s How
Thanks to modern credit card security technology, most retailers now accept credit cards for gift card purchases. While some cards may carry a few restrictions on the amount of money you put on the gift card, most will allow you to complete the purchase on credit.
Before EMV Chip security, many retailers didn’t allow customers to purchase gift cards using credit because scammers would copy credit card numbers and use them to buy gift cards that aren’t traceable.
But today, almost every retailer will allow you to purchase store-based or open-loop (Visa, Amex, or Mastercard prepaid) gift cards using your favorite credit card. That means you can bring your chosen card to the register, tell the cashier how much money you’d like to load onto the card (if there isn’t already a pre-set amount), and insert your credit card chip to pay for the purchase.
Several cards, like the ones listed below, will allow you to earn rewards for your gift card purchases, which helps save you a little bit of money on the cost of the gift card. Some consumers have even mastered the art of purchasing gift cards for themselves to collect bonus rewards for their efforts.
And many, if not most, rewards cards allow you to redeem your rewards for gift cards. This allows you to use your rewards points or cash back dollars for gift cards at various retailers.
So, not only can you purchase gift cards on credit and earn rewards for those purchases, you can use those rewards for free gift cards to either give as presents or use for yourself.
5 Best Cards to Use for Gift Cards
You want to consider the rewards offered when choosing which credit card to make your gift card purchases with. Here are our personal favorites, all of which offer cash back or discounts on your gift card purchases.
at Chase'ssecure website
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
- 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
- No annual fee
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
14.99% - 23.74% Variable
The Chase Freedom® card doesn’t charge an annual fee and offers a whopping 5% cash back (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases) in quarterly bonus categories. The best part about this offer is that many of these bonus categories include retailers that sell gift cards — meaning you can potentially get up to 5% cash back for your gift card purchases.
On top of the cash back, new cardholders can also take advantage of a 0% introductory APR for a set period after opening their account. After that period, the card reverts to a very competitive ongoing variable interest rate based on your creditworthiness.
Discover it® Cash Back
This card is currently not available.
Discover it® Cash Back cardholders can earn bonus cash back (up to the quarterly maximum) on rotating categories that include gas stations, grocery stores, and Amazon.com — all of which are retailers that sell gift cards. These categories must be activated each quarter but Discover will remind you when it’s time to do so.
at the issuer'ssecure website
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases
- Chase is not an affiliate partner with CardRates and does not review editorial content on our site
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
13.24% - 19.24% Variable
Gift cards are a great way to thank your employees for all they do. The Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card from Chase makes it easy to purchase gift cards for others and earn rewards for your business. Take advantage of the 5% cash back at office supply stores, where you can buy your gift cards and earn a little bonus money for the business.
Cardholders also earn 2% cash back on their first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year, and an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
4. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. grocery stores — many of which sell gift cards that work at various retail and online stores. The card also offers easy rewards redemptions that include free gift cards.
- Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6k a year) and select streaming services
- Earn 3% cash back on U.S. gas station and transit purchases
- $95 annual fee
Note that this card does include verbiage in its benefit terms that says it will not issue cash back rewards for gift card purchases, though many cardholder reviews say they have made such purchases and received their rewards with no issue.
5. Target REDcard
If you’re a regular Target shopper, you already know about the great deals you can find at the retail giant. But with the Target REDcard, you can make those deals even sweeter by earning 5% off your total purchase, every day.
- Save an extra 5% at Target and Target.com with early access to special products and promotions
- Free 2-day shipping on Target.com purchases plus extended returns
- No annual fee
Make sure you check the fine print in your card’s terms before purchasing a gift card online or at a Target location using your Target REDcard. Not all gift card purchases qualify for the card’s 5% discount.
What Gift Cards Can You Buy with a Credit Card?
Most credit cards don’t restrict the type of gift card you can purchase, but some retailers place restrictions on gift card purchases.
Depending on the amount of money you’re loading onto a card, some retailers may require a photo ID as a security safeguard before allowing the purchase. Other retailers may restrict gift card purchases using a credit card altogether, which would require a backup plan if you’re looking to buy one. The best thing you can do is ask a cashier or store manager about their purchase policy before getting in line with your card.
But with the expansion of EMV Chip technology, most retailers now happily accept credit cards for your gift card purchase — and won’t restrict you as to which cards you can buy.
That means you can use your Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card to purchase a host of retailer gift cards at Staples and take advantage of your bonus cash back at office supply stores. Or you can leverage the Discover it® Cash Back card to earn bonus cash back on your gift card purchases.
But before you purchase your gift cards using a credit card, check the card’s terms of service to make sure it doesn’t place restrictions that may keep you from earning rewards on the purchase.
Most cards no longer place wording in their fine print that says you won’t earn rewards for gift card purchases, but some cards won’t allow gift card sales to count toward minimum spending requirements for signup bonuses.
Is Buying a Gift Card Considered a Cash Advance?
Some credit cards — although it’s rare — consider gift cards and reloadable debit card purchases as cash advance transactions. It is ill-advised to make a gift card purchase using one of these cards.
That’s because a cash advance — the process of using your credit card to get cash from an ATM — begins accruing interest immediately. Typically, you receive a 21- to 25-day grace period before interest starts to build on a credit card purchase. Not to mention the fact that cash advance APRs are generally higher than normal purchase APRs.
The only way to truly tell if your credit card places such restrictions is to check the card’s terms and services. Often, card issuers hide the verbiage among many other hard-to-understand terms, but you don’t need a legal degree to learn the rules.
One way to find any potential restrictions is to do a quick search using your computer. Go to your card’s terms and services page (here’s one as an example) and press your keyboard’s Control and F key (Command + F on Mac) at the same time to bring up your browser’s search function. Type the term “Gift Card” into the box and the tool will automatically search the entire page for that term and highlight any instances where it appears.
You can avoid a lot of potential hassle — and unexpected interest charges — if you do a little research on your credit card before you make a gift card purchase. But rest assured, the cards named on our list above do not charge cash advance fees for a gift card purchase.
Can I Buy a Visa Gift Card with a Credit Card Online?
In the past, most retailers prohibited shoppers from purchasing a Visa prepaid gift card with a credit card. That’s because many thieves would steal credit card numbers and use them to purchase these cards — which provided them with an untraceable card they could then use wherever they wanted.
When this happened, and the rightful credit card owner filed a fraud claim, the retailer that sold the Visa gift card became liable for the loss. Many stores stopped such purchases to reduce their exposure to fraud.
But EMV Chip technology has greatly reduced fraud and shifted the liability for fraudulent transactions to the credit card issuer. Those changes prompted most retailers to adjust their own policies, which now makes it easier for you to purchase a prepaid card with your credit card.
These prepaid cards make wonderful and flexible gifts, and you can purchase them with your credit card at just about any U.S. retailer. But you should think twice if you’re using your credit card to purchase one of these cards for your own personal use.
While Visa prepaid cards offer cardholder protection from fraud, they won’t provide rewards and other services that you’ll find on the credit cards listed above. For that reason alone, you’ll find it more profitable to use your credit card instead of a prepaid card, to make your purchases.
Earn Rewards on Your Gift Card Purchases
Whether it’s for a family member, loved one, or employee, there always seems to be a holiday or special occasion around the corner that requires a gift. Gift cards are easy to buy and allow the recipient to choose which item to purchase.
And, perhaps best of all, you can buy gift cards with a credit card — and if you use any of the cards listed above, you can earn handsome rewards for your generosity.