Prepaid Mastercard or Visa Cards as Gifts: Bad Idea For the Holidays

For Christmas, I'm sure many people are looking toward possibly buying one of those prepaid Mastercard or Visa cards. I would say DON'T buy one of these as a gift.

Prepaid Visa & Mastercards Are Worse than Store-Branded Cards as Gifts

It's like giving money that's less useful than money. Why would you want to do that? People like money, and I don't believe (unless it's really thoughtful) much in giving out non-unique gift cards when one could just use the cash.

But hey, if you think there's someone that needs to buy some new clothes, a store-branded gift card might be a great subtle push. But prepaid Mastercards and Visa gift cards? I don't see how there could be any thought put into buying one, and the fees on them usually suck, like inactivity fees if you don't spend the money quick enough (why not promote saving money instead?)

Take a look at my review of the various prepaid gift cards available in Canada here to see what's available and the fees (even after it's purchased)

(But this article applies just as much to the American prepaid Mastercard/Visa gift card market)

You could be expected to pay $30+ for a $25 Prepaid Gift Visa Card or Prepaid Mastercard Gift Card. Why do that? Just give them the $25 or $30 in cash and be done with it, or at least put some thought into it with a gift card to their favourite restaurant or store. 


Never purchase any other type of Gift Cards from Walmart. If they get lost or stolen they cannot help you at all. This is especially true if bought as a seasonal item like gift cards brought in just for Christmas, as once the season is over they return all of these cards and cannot provide you with any information about the issuer. I purchased two $50.00 I believe were Vanilla MasterCard gift cards at Walmart in Buffalo, NY as Christmas presents. The customer service people and store management couldn`t provide any information on who to directly contact as the gift cards were lost other than to refer me to Walmart Credit Services. Walmart Credit Srevices jerked me around for weeks and weeks even lied to me saying they called me back 3-4 times when there had been someone home 24/7. Which I ended up having to go back to the store for to get a special printout because they were originally tracking the card numbers from the receipt but a store receipt printout will have the card numbers on it. Could they have told me this the first time I called rather than the 3rd time. After 4 attempts to get help and each time being told someone would call back within 5 business days, I found if I didn`t call them back within 3 days I had to start all over again because they had closed the file. Then after going through this 4 times they finally told me they could not help me because they did not issue the cards. Couldn`t they have told me that the first time just by the gift card numbers. Good luck with MasterCard Customer service they were really no help at all other than to provide telephone numbers that half of them were no good. You would think that by the card numbers they should be able to tell who issued these gift cards, as it is my understanding that the first four numbers are supposed to identify the issuing bank. Vanilla MasterCard is just as bad, I've gone through this twice with them and have never heard back from them. I might have well just torn up the money that I spent for these cards.

So far I have spent hours on the phone with no results. If you want to send some money for Christmas or any occasion find a method to directly transfer it directly into their bank account.

vanilla master card

Mymoney has been on hold what can I do I'm getting frustrated please help

I have been using this

I have been using this product for online purchases and have had at least 20 of them or so... no issue getting them to work. They are also great for using on poker sites...

Vanilla prepaid mastercard

Thes cards are a scam.They don't work on sites i wanted to purchase from online.Using them is like devaluing your money.Pay more to get less.

small balances on cards

I use the Vanilla credit card for online purchases, which I like it for. The problem is, I have 4 of them now all with $2 - $11 left on them, and don't how to use up those balances. Does Paypal or anyone let you deposit to your own account, ...before I lose all the money in maintenance fees, ...or any other suggestions?

The Vanilla Mastercard is the

The Vanilla Mastercard is the biggest rip-off I've ever seen. I received a $50 card as a gift in September of 2010 and went to use it this year (without ever having activated it) and found that my account balance was at zero. Why? Because even though the card was not activated by ME, the person who is supposed to use the card, the company automatically activates it after 7 months to start charging their 2.50 maintenance fee PER MONTH until all the money is gone. The website provides an activation date which one would think is supposed to give a general idea of when the fees will begin, but it's really irrelevant, since that date doesn't matter. The 7 months start from the date of purchase. In my case, I was charged a fee before I had even received the card as a gift. Ridiculous.

you realize that you have to

you realize that you have to activate the card with your postal/ zip code to use your card on any web site, right? If card is already activated when you buy it, you are ASKING for trouble. This is something YOU need to do. Nitwits buy cards someone else has had access to. :(

iTs a Rip off

its a rip like all credit card instead of interest they add fees.Yea its good for safty and internet purchasing but is it worth it i would have to say NO.


It is really simple. Dealers in illegal items seldom take credit cards. By giving a pre-paid credit card I minimize the likelihood of money being spent on contraband and maximize the likelihood of useful gifts being purchased.

The terrible truth.

I'll be honest, I never

I'll be honest, I never thought of it that way. Very good thinking!



there great

there great

A waste of money and time

I have been charged $2.50 twice and still not allowed to spend a penny for my own use. The automated phone line will not allow you to resolve your issue or talk to anyone who can help and the web site does not allow you to contact Master card. So good luck

how do i find my balance re:

how do i find my balance re: mastecard gift card-vanilla

how do i find out my

how do i find out my balance on my mastercard gift card-vanilla




i really dont think you seen to get the point of them. they are so you can use them to purchase online. i dont see your point as to how they are stupid.

stupid as a gift card?

my friend said it was the best gift he ever got cause he could purchase anything anywhere mastercard is acceptable which is all over the internet and preety much all stores.. so i dont see how that could be stupid? thats actually why i want one is for the internet!

omg gay

do you like replying to your own messages? worker from mastercard!!!

Vanilla MasterCard Gift Card

the website is forever "unable to display". I try to use it and some stores do not accept.
I have some balance that is less than the transaction and the whole transaction is declined. Unable to pay part giftcard and part cash. Meaning I have to find some product that is under the balance and lose out on the remaining balance.

Bad Card and bad idea to give away.

prepaid vanilla mastercard gift card

I'm not very happy with your card reason is I order something by mail,was to be 4.95,checked my card,its now got 38.18 left from my 50.00 dollar card.Next I decided to go to clothing store, thought I would finish using my card it was rejected,great !!! I've got a prepaid
card and I cant even us it. Well where the hell are they good for!!!! Please get back to me and let me know where this card may be spent!!I will not buy any of your cards any more,cash works much easier,no fees or nobody rejects,if I spend just part of my cash.Its the worst gift I've had and will tell all friends and family and some of my friends at the stores how much trouble they are.Some thought about using them for thier kids that are going to collage & university.

I have a $200 prepaid gift

I have a $200 prepaid gift card and want to find out the balance. How do I find out the balance?

to verify your balance

go on

gift card location

you have to go to the mastercard gift card website and put your number and security code in on the card and it will show you what uv'e bought and how much is left on the card

Vanillamastercard Gift Card

Last Christmas, I received a Vanilla Mastercard gift card in the amount of $50.00. As I didn't need anything at the moment, I checked the expiry date and put it away for future use. The back of the card read "Expires 09/10". This indicated to me either Sept. 2010 or October 2009. I tried to cash it last week for a purchase but when swiped at the cash, it said it was expired. I tried to call the toll free number but it's all automated and you must punch in the code numbers on the card. One code has 16 numbers and the other has 9. At the end of this iyour told they're no good maybe you made a mistake.
So you try again and then slam the phone down in frustration. I tried to go to their website but the page cannot be displayed. Do you have any suggestions? I feel like we've been swindled. The person put out cash for these cards so why can't we use them. Also, don't understand about monthly fees you spoke of. I understand the activation fee of4.95. Sorry to be long winded. New at this and not even sure I'm complaining in the right place. Thanks.

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