How do I check the remaining balance on my gift card?

Gift cards have become increasingly popular over the years as an easy and convenient way to give gifts. Rather than trying to figure out exactly what gift to buy someone, gift cards allow the recipient to choose their own item or experience. Gift cards come in all shapes and sizes – from physical gift cards sold at retail stores to virtual eCards delivered online. No matter what kind of gift card you receive, an important thing to keep track of is the remaining balance. Knowing how much money is left on your gift card ensures you get the most value out of it and don’t end up short at the register. Checking your balance is usually quick and straightforward. In this article, we’ll walk through the various ways to check a gift card balance, including options for physical cards, eCards, retailer apps and websites, and more. We’ll also provide tips on what to do if you can’t seem to find the balance info you need. Let’s dive in!

Check your physical gift card

If you have a plastic gift card, the most obvious place to check the balance is on the card itself. Most physical gift cards have a toll-free customer service number, web address, or in-store lookup instructions printed directly on the card. Here’s a bit more detail on using each of those balance-checking methods:

Call the toll-free number: This toll-free number is specific to the merchant that issued the gift card and connects you directly to that company’s customer service team. When you call, you’ll simply need to provide the gift card number and PIN (if required) and ask for the current balance. An agent will then look up your card information in the system and can provide you with the exact balance remaining. This works for cards from major retailers, restaurants, and more.

Visit the merchant’s website: Some physical gift cards list a specific web address on the card design itself that allows you to check the balance online. Typically you’ll go to the URL, enter your gift card number and PIN, and you’ll then see the dollar amount currently associated with that card. Using the merchant’s website to check is handy if you don’t want to make a phone call or go into the store.

Check your balance at the store: Every merchant that sells physical gift cards has a way to check balances in their brick-and-mortar locations. Usually you’ll need to bring the card to the customer service desk or checkout counter. From there, the employee can swipe your card or look up your gift card number to tell you the current balance. This works well if you already happen to be out shopping at that store.

Check your eGift card

eGift cards are gift cards delivered through email rather than physical cards. More and more merchants are offering eGift cards these days as a convenient digital gifting solution. Checking your balance on an eGift card requires a slightly different approach than a plastic card. Here are some tips:

Look in your gift card email: Whenever an eGift card is purchased for you, you’ll receive an email with the card value and redemption details. Scroll back through your email until you locate the original eGift card delivery message. It should clearly state the total amount that was loaded onto the card.

Follow the email instructions: That original eGift card email will also include instructions on how to check your balance. It may direct you to a website, provide a pin code, give you a toll-free number, or use a balance-checking link. To get your current balance, simply follow the unique steps provided in the email.

Log into your account: If you received the eGift card from a site or app that required you to create an account, you may be able to check the balance by logging in. Often eGift cards get loaded directly into your account with the merchant. When logged in, look for options like “gift card balance”, “rewards”, or “my cards”.

Check via retailer mobile apps

Most major retailers like Starbucks, Target, Walmart, etc. have mobile apps these days. If you received a gift card from a retailer with an app, downloading it provides another quick way to check the balance. Here are some things to look for in the app:

Account section: When you log into your account in the app, there is usually an option to view gift cards, balances, or saved payment methods. Your gift card should be visible there along with the balance.

Barcode scanner: Some retailer apps allow you to scan the barcode on the physical gift card using your phone’s camera. This will pull up the associated card details, including the current balance.

Gift card management: Within the app, look for pages or sections like “My Cards”, “Gift Cards”, or “Reward Certificates”. On these pages you can select to view card balances and details.

Reload option: If the app provides the capability to check a balance by initiating a reload, you’ll be able to view the existing available funds prior to adding more money to the card.

Check via retailers’ websites

Along with their mobile apps, most major retailers also allow you to check gift card balances directly on their websites:

Online account: Similar to the app, you may be able to log into your online account and view gift card balances through your account dashboard or wallet.

Gift card management portal: Many retailer sites have a portal specifically for managing gift cards. You can enter the card number and PIN there to check the balance.

Balance checker tool: Some websites have a search bar or pop-up widget that lets you enter a gift card number to instantly look up the balance. This is the fastest way to check a balance online.

Reload page: Similar to reloading through the app, reload pages will show your current gift card value before increasing the funds.

Customer service chat: You can also check with the website’s customer service chat features. Provide your gift card information and ask the agent to confirm the balance.

Check gift card exchange kiosks

Gift card exchange kiosks and machines have become commonplace at grocery stores, malls, and other retailers. These kiosks allow you to check gift card balances for a wide variety of different merchants in one place. To check your balance at an exchange kiosk, simply:

1. Locate a kiosk. They are often found just inside major store entrances.

2. Scan your card. The kiosk will have a barcode scanner to read your gift card and identify the associated merchant.

3. View the balance. The current dollar amount remaining on your card will then display on the kiosk screen.

Some exchange kiosks also allow you to consolidate balances from multiple cards onto one card for easier management. Knowing where to find gift card kiosks can be a handy way to check balances.

What to do if you can’t check your balance

In some difficult cases, you may not be able to check your gift card balance using any of the methods described above. Here are a few things to try if you’re struggling to find out how much is left on your card:

Contact the merchant: Get in touch with customer service directly via phone, email, live online chat, or in person and explain that you’re unable to check the card balance. Providing any information you have about the card can help them identify it in their system and inform you of the balance.

Visit the merchant’s social media pages: Many companies today provide customer service assistance via social media. Try sending a direct message on platforms like Twitter or Facebook to ask about your gift card balance. Include identifying details about the card.

Look up your past transactions: Any transactions you’ve made with the gift card in the past can provide clues about the remaining balance. Review your emails for eGift card receipts or look up purchase history if you used a registered card at a retailer.

Attempt to make a small purchase: Trying to use just a dollar or two of the card at a store or website will typically reveal the current balance at checkout. Only attempt this if you’re comfortable making a small purchase to check.

Let the card expire: If you’ve exhausted all other options, let the card expire. Once expired, the merchant will usually provide instructions for how to check the balance so that you can transfer those funds to a new card.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a fee to check my gift card balance?

No, you should never be charged a fee simply to check the balance on your gift card. The merchant, website, or kiosk lookup method should always show your current balance for free.

Can I check the balance without the physical card?

Yes, you can check your balance without having the physical card in hand. For eGift cards or plastic gift cards you previously registered online, you can check the balance via the merchant’s website or app using just the card number and PIN. Even if completely unregistered, customer service should be able to look up your gift card balance by providing identifying details like the number.

Do gift card balances expire?

It depends on the merchant, but gift card balances often do expire after a period of inactivity, generally around 12-24 months. Be sure to check the fine print on your gift card terms or on the merchant’s website to see if and when your card may expire. It’s smart to use up the funds before the expiration date.

Can I get a gift card balance refunded in cash?

Typically you cannot exchange a gift card with an unused balance for cash. Store policies generally only allow the balance to be spent on purchases with that merchant. However in some cases, you may be able to cash out a small unused balance under $10 if permitted. Check with the retailer.

What happens to remaining balances after a store goes out of business?

If a store closes down, state law determines how long they must continue honoring unused gift card balances. Timeframes range from 60 days to several years. Contact customer service regarding expired cards from a defunct retailer to see about getting the remainder applied to a card from another merchant.

Key Takeaways

– Check physical gift cards by calling the toll-free number, visiting the merchant’s website listed on the card, or asking an associate in stores.

– For eGift cards, the original email and redemption instructions will provide balance details or direct you where to look it up online.

– Download retailer mobile apps or go to merchant websites to find gift card balance portals.

– Gift card exchange kiosks at stores let you check balances from various merchants in one place.

– If stuck, contact customer service or attempt a small purchase to reveal the balance at checkout.

– Know the policies on balance expirations and refunds, which vary by merchant.


Keeping track of the balance remaining on your gift cards ensures you use the full value and don’t miss out on any money left on them. While the specifics may differ slightly depending on where the card is from, there are now more straightforward options than ever for checking gift card balances. Knowing where to check for your particular card takes the hassle out of balance-keeping. Use the tips provided in this article to monitor your gift card funds and maximize the value you get from each and every card you receive.

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