The Complete Guide to Activating a Gift Card

It’s the time of year when everyone starts to get excited about gift giving! A great way to make sure that your friends and family members are satisfied with their gifts is by purchasing a gift card.

Although getting someone a gift card can often be seen as lazy, we think that it can be a great way to show someone that you care, while at the same time not getting them something they already have or don’t want.

However, some gift cards need more than to just be placed in the lucky recipient’s hand to start working, they need activating in advance, which can come as a shock to many people!

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything there is to know about activating your gift card so you can put it in someone’s hands faster than ever before!

How to activate a gift card ordered online.

If you have a card that needs activation, find the sticker on the front of your card. The sticker is white or some other colour and will either say “activation required” or a phone number to call. If there is no sticker or other indicator, then you do not need to activate it. If activating online, type the URL into your browser, carefully checking for typos before continuing. There are scams out there that prey on customers who make an error with their activation code.

If you don’t see a sticker on the card, check the back of it for instructions. If there are still none, then it is likely you don’t need to activate the card.

Assuming you do have an activation code, enter the identification number, activation code, and/or PIN number. Typically the first number is the identification number, but it should be labelled on the web page. The second number is usually the activation code or PIN that activates your card. The PIN is usually shorter than the identification number.

If you have ordered/received a gift card by email rather than a physical item, When you’re ready to activate a gift card, the email will provide instructions and any necessary activation codes. eGifts may require claiming instead of activation, be careful here, however, because the codes can only be claimed once, if you claim it thinking you are activating the code, the recipient will not be able to use the same gift code again and so will have to contact the company for a new code and try to get the old one cancelled, which isn’t the most fun way to be spending Christmas morning or their birthday.


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  1. Yes, you can activate a gift card — but if it hasn’t been activated before, you’ll need the receipt to provide details and more — especially when using a credit card for the purchase (which most people use cards for).
    I recommend doing the following in order:
    1. Locate the instruction sheet that comes with your gift card* (whether it’s paper or an email that came in your inbox) on how to activate your particular gift card.
    2. Look at the last section of instructions on this page, which talks about activating a gift card that has not yet been used*. This is where they will tell you what type of information they need in order to process your request

  2. Well the answer is pretty self-explanatory, you just activate it by swiping in through your card scanner.

    That’s how.

  3. 1. Scratch off the area which reveals the code inside and take your gift card to a store in order to use add it to your account. 2. Take the card with you while you are shopping. 3. Present your card at checkout, pay for any items that you wish to purchase and allow them to swipe (or scan) it with the barcode on the back of your card or in some cases type in its unique 16-digit code from above as they go through checkout so that automatically subtracts what is owed on it 4. The cashier will then usually print out a receipt for you showing how much was used, if anything remains, and how long until said balance expires