The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Can You Buy Gift Cards with a Credit Card?

Can You Buy Gift Cards with a Credit Card?

credit card advice

Matt Walker
By: Matt Walker
Posted: October 29, 2019

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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.

Photo of an EMV Credit Card Chip

EMV technology has lessened incidents of credit card fraud, enabling retailers to accept credit cards for gift card purchases.

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.

  • 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 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 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
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

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 Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

Discover it® Cash Back cardholders can earn 5% 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. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. The 5% categories must be activated each quarter but Discover will remind you when it’s time to do so.

Additionally, Discover’s Cashback Match program will match the total amount of cash back you earn during your first year with the card. That essentially gives you an unheard of 10% cash back on those gift card purchases when you buy them at a retailer that falls within the quarterly 5% bonus category.

Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.6/5.0
  • 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
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 12 months
N/A 12 months
14.99% - 20.99% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

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.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • 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.

Target REDcard

  • 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 5% cash back at office supply stores. Or you can leverage the Cashback Match on your 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.

Screenshot of Sample Terms & Conditions

Your card’s grace period can be found in your cardholder agreement or terms and conditions documentation.

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.