Gift cards have become increasingly popular over the years as an easy and convenient way to give someone a gift. Rather than trying to figure out what gift to buy someone, you can simply get them a gift card and let them choose their own gift. Gift cards are available for a wide variety of stores and restaurants, making them useful for nearly anyone on your gift list.
However, one downside of gift cards is that it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of the balance remaining on them. Unlike cash, you can’t just open your wallet and see how much is left on a gift card. You need to take additional steps to check the balance.
Fortunately, it’s usually pretty easy to check your gift card balance. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of some of the most common ways to check your gift card balance so you always know how much money is left to spend.
Check Your Gift Card Receipt or Packaging
When you first buy or receive a gift card, one of the easiest ways to find the balance is to check the gift card receipt or packaging. Most retailers print the gift card’s full initial value on the receipt or a sticker attached to the packaging. So if you bought a $50 gift card, the receipt would show “Gift Card – $50” or something similar.
While this only shows the original value when new, it at least gives you a starting point before using the card. Just keep the receipt with the gift card so you know what the original amount was if you need to check the updated balance later on.
Check Online or Via Mobile App
Many major retailers allow you to check your gift card balance online or using their mobile app. Below are some examples:
- Amazon: Log in to your Amazon account, go to Your Account > Gift cards. You can see your gift card code, balance, and expiration date.
- Starbucks: Install the Starbucks app, register your gift card number, and you can view the balance.
- Target: Go to Target.com, click “Sign In” and log in to your account. Click “My Target” then “GiftCards” to see your balance.
- Walmart: Visit Walmart.com/account/giftcards and log in to your account to check your balance.
- Best Buy: Go to BestBuy.com, click “Your Account” and log in. Click “My Best Buy” then “Reward Certificates” to see your balance.
If the retailer has an online account system, signing up for an account and registering your gift card number is usually the easiest way to check your balance. It allows you to view it anytime by logging into your account.
Call the Toll-Free Number
If a gift card doesn’t have an online balance check option, it most likely has a toll-free customer service number printed on the back you can call. When you call the number, follow the automated prompts to check your balance. You’ll typically have to enter your 16-digit gift card number along with some security information.
Some retailers may require you to set up a PIN number or ZIP code for your gift card before you can check the balance by phone. If you get an error when entering your info by phone, that’s a sign you may need to go online first and register the card.
Check Your Balance at the Store
For gift cards from physical retail stores, you can always go to the customer service counter or checkout at the store and have them check your balance. Bring the physical gift card with you and ask an employee to check the balance for you.
This should work at any store that sells gift cards. The employee can scan the card or enter the numbers to pull up your current balance. Some may ask to see ID to verify you are the card owner if it has a registered name.
Use Gift Card Balance Checkers
There are a number of gift card aggregator websites that allow you to check balances for thousands of different gift cards. These balance checker sites work by allowing you to search for the retailer, then provide your gift card number to see the balance. Some examples include:
The benefit of using these sites is you can check gift card balances from tons of different merchants all in one place. Just be aware that some smaller retailers may not work with these aggregators.
Sign Up for Balance Alerts
To stay on top of your gift card balance, some retailers offer the option to set up automatic balance alerts. This way you can get notifications when your balance drops below a certain threshold.
For example, with the Starbucks app you can enable balance alerts that will email you when your Starbucks Card balance falls below a level you define. This makes it easy to know when it’s time to add money to the card again.
Balance alerts are highly useful if you continue adding money to and spending from the same gift card over time. Set up alerts so you never get caught off guard with a card that’s suddenly empty.
Use a Gift Card Tracking App
Using a gift card tracking app on your smartphone is another handy option to stay on top of balances. Apps like Gift Card Manager and GiftIdeasClub let you store details on all your gift cards in one place.
Once you enter your card details, the app can display up-to-date balances and remind you to use cards before they expire. Some apps even let you store photos of the physical cards so you have a visual reference.
Check Your Monthly Statements
If you used a credit or debit card to purchase a gift card, you may be able to view the original value on your monthly statements. Open the digital or paper statement from the month you bought the gift card and look for the store name and transaction amount.
While this only shows the initial load value, it can serve as a data point to compare to the current balance. This method works best if you register the gift card number and keep all receipts and statements together.
Checking your gift card balance is usually very quick and straightforward. Now that you know the various options – like checking online, calling customer service, or using gift card tracker apps – you can easily keep tabs on your balance. Staying on top of your balances ensures you use your gift cards to the fullest and reduces the likelihood of losing track of any remaining funds.
Knowing exactly how much money is left on your cards also helps prevent any awkward moments at the register when the card gets declined for insufficient funds. Take a few minutes today to check balances on any gift cards you currently have so you always know where you stand.