Checking your gift card balance is easy and can be done in a few different ways depending on the store or website where the card was purchased. Here are some quick answers to common questions about checking gift card balances:
Can I check my gift card balance online?
Yes, most major retailers and restaurants allow you to check your balance online. Go to the company’s website and look for a link or page to check gift card balances. You’ll need the card number and security code from the back of the card. Some websites may also ask for the ZIP code where the card was purchased or registered.
Can I check my gift card balance by phone?
Many retailers also allow you to check your balance by calling their customer service line. Have the gift card number and security code handy. Be prepared to enter this information through an automated system or provide it to a customer service agent.
Can I check my gift card balance in store?
You can usually check your balance at the register in store before making a purchase. The cashier will be able to swipe the card or enter the number manually to pull up the remaining balance. Some retailers also have gift card kiosks in store that allow you to check your balance.
What if I lost my gift card or don’t have the number?
If you don’t have the gift card number, you’ll need to provide the store with your purchase receipt or other information that can identify the card in their system. Details like the purchase date, card amount, and ZIP code where it was bought may help the retailer look up your card balance.
Checking your gift card balance is easy to do through the retailer’s website, phone customer service, or in store at the register. Have the card number and security code handy when checking online or by phone. If you lost your gift card, provide purchase details like the date and amount to help identify it.
Detailed Steps to Check Your Gift Card Balance Online
Find the Retailer’s Website
The first step is to locate the website for the store or restaurant where the gift card was purchased. For major national retailers like Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Amazon, etc., you can just search the company name + “website” to easily find their website address. If it’s a smaller local business, you may need to search the store name + “website” or look up contact info on Google, Yelp, etc. Bookmark or save the website address so it’s easy to access next time.
Locate the Gift Card Check Balance Page
Once on the company’s website, look for a link or page specifically for checking gift card balances. There may be a “Gift Cards” link at the top or bottom of the homepage. Often there is a drop-down menu under “Customer Service” or “My Account” that will have a “Check Balance” page option. Some websites have a search bar where you can type in “check gift card balance” to pull up the correct page.
Enter Your Gift Card Number and PIN
On the balance check page, you’ll see fields to enter your gift card number and PIN or security code. The card number is the long number printed on the front of the card, usually 15-16 digits. The PIN or security code is the 4-digit number printed on the back of the card on the signature strip. Enter these carefully and double check for accuracy. Some sites make you enter the numbers in separate fields as you go. Make sure to enter the full card number.
Provide Additional Information if Prompted
Some retailers may ask for additional information beyond just the card number and PIN. Often you’ll need to enter the ZIP code for the billing address used when purchasing or registering the card. This helps verify your identity. You may also need to set up an online account or log in with your account details. Provide any other details requested, like previous card balances or transaction history.
View Your Updated Balance
After entering your card details accurately and providing any additional information, the website should display your current gift card balance. It may appear instantly on the balance check page or you may need to hit “Submit” or “Continue” first. The balance is usually shown at the top or bottom of the page so make sure to scroll up and down to find it. Your updated available balance will let you know how much money is left to spend using that gift card.
Print or Save the Balance
Before leaving the website, print the balance check page or write down your remaining balance. This way you have a record of it for future reference. Some sites may also email you the balance or let you text it to your phone number immediately after checking. Save the balance somewhere so you know exactly how much is on the card next time you go to use it without needing to check again.
How to Check Your Gift Card Balance by Phone
Find the Customer Service Number
To check by phone, you first need to locate the retailer’s customer service number. This is usually found on the back of the actual gift card. Look for a 1-800 number. You can also search the company name + “customer service number” online or on their website under a “Contact Us” section. Make sure it’s specifically their gift card customer service number if available.
Call the Toll-Free Number
With the customer service number handy, call the toll-free 1-800 number from any phone. Landlines, cell phones, and smart phones can all be used. If you’re calling from a cell phone, make sure you have strong cell reception or WiFi calling enabled to avoid a dropped call.
Follow the Phone Prompts
When connected, listen closely to the recorded messaging which will prompt you to select options to check your balance. Often you press 1 for gift card balances. You may need to enter the 16-digit card number. Follow all voice instructions carefully, either entering digits on your keypad or saying words for voice recognition.
Speak with a Customer Service Rep
If prompted, stay on the line to speak with a live customer service representative. Let them know you are calling to check your gift card balance. Be ready to provide the card number, PIN, and any other details like ZIP code. Ask them to look up and verify the updated balance for you.
Receive Your Current Balance
The automated system or customer service agent will be able to retrieve your gift card information and provide your current balance after verifying your identity. Make sure to write this number down, just like checking online. You may also be able to set a 4-digit PIN during the call for easier balance checks in the future.
Save the Balance for Your Records
Before hanging up, document the remaining balance stated by the customer service rep. Note the date you checked as well in case you need to reference it later. Save this info in your records, wallet or the gift card sleeve so you know exactly how much is still available on the card.
Checking Your Balance at the Store Register
Bring the Gift Card to the Store
To check your balance in person, you’ll need to have the physical gift card with you. Locate the card and bring it with you on your shopping trip to the brick-and-mortar store. Make sure the card number is still clearly visible and not badly damaged or scratched off.
Ask the Cashier to Check the Balance
Once in store, go to any register or checkout counter with a cashier and let them know you want to check your gift card balance. Ask them to please swipe or key in your card to check the current balance on it before making any purchases.
Provide the Gift Card for Swiping
The cashier will ask for your gift card in order to check the balance. Hand them the card and let them either swipe the magnetic strip on the register’s card reader or manually enter the card number. Make sure they enter it properly and completely.
Receive a Printed Balance Receipt
In most cases, the register will print out a small balance receipt showing your updated available balance. The cashier should hand this printed receipt to you. Some stores may just display the balance on the register screen but a printed receipt is more reliable.
Save the Receipt as a Record
Keep the printed gift card balance receipt with you and retain it as a record, the same way you would an ATM balance receipt. Tuck it away in your wallet or with the gift card itself so you can reference the exact amount still available whenever needed.
Tips for Checking Gift Card Balances
Set Up an Online Account
If the retailer has an online account system, set up an account and register your gift cards to your profile. This makes checking your balance even easier next time by logging into your account. You can also view full card transaction histories.
Some third party gift cards have monthly fees that reduce your balance over time if not used. Check the terms, but using your card at least once a month can prevent dormancy and other fees.
Protect Your Card Number
Never give your full gift card number to incoming calls, texts, or emails claiming to be the retailer. Only share it directly on the company’s official website or with their customer service department.
Update Expired Cards
If your card has expired but still has a balance, you can usually update it with the retailer by providing the expired card details. This transfers the balance to a new replacement card.
Spend Remaining Balances
Be sure to use up any remaining card balance so you don’t lose it. Even small amounts can be combined with other payment when checking out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does checking my balance matter?
Checking your balance lets you know exactly how much money is available on the card before making purchases. This prevents you from getting declined if the card has already been used up by someone else.
Where can I find my card number?
Your gift card number is printed on the front of the physical card, usually 16 digits. It may be partially obscured by a scratch-off area. The security code PIN is the 4 digits on the back.
What if my card is damaged?
If your card is damaged but still has a legible number, you can likely still check the balance with the retailer. If it’s too damaged or lost, provide purchase details for lookup.
Do all gift cards have PINs?
Most have a printed 4-digit PIN on the back signature panel, while some may not have security codes. Follow the prompts when checking balance in case PIN entry is skipped.
How often should I check the balance?
Aim to check your balance every 1-2 months if you don’t use the card often. Check more frequently if you use the card regularly to ensure accurate ongoing tracking.
Why do I need a ZIP code sometimes?
The ZIP code helps verify your identity and that you are the legitimate card owner. It matches the location where the card was bought or registered in the retailer’s system.
What if I’m still owed a balance refund?
If you returned items paid with a gift card but haven’t seen the refund added back, call customer service to investigate why it hasn’t posted yet.
Checking gift card balances regularly is highly recommended to avoid surprises and make sure you use up the full value. Retailer websites, phone numbers, in store registers, and online accounts all allow easy gift card balance lookups anytime. Just have your card number and PIN handy to access the most updated available balance data and track your spending.
|Method||What You’ll Need||Pros||Cons|
|Online||Card number, PIN, account login||Fast, secure, detailed history||Must have internet access|
|Phone||Customer service number, card number||Talk to live agent if needed||May wait on hold, no printed receipt|
|In Store||Physical card||Get printed receipt, instant||Must go to store location|
- Check gift card balances regularly to avoid surprises at the register
- Retailer websites, phone lines, and in store options exist for easy balance lookups
- Have your gift card number and PIN readily available before checking
- Save your balance receipts as a reference for how much remains on the card
- Watch for fees if rarely using gift card to avoid dormancy fees