You'll Need A Working Credit Or Debit Card To Use That Hulu Gift Subscription

G. wanted to buy his daughters a six-month subscription to Hulu Plus to watch some shows, but didn’t want to give Hulu the ability to keep billing his credit card into perpetuity. Hulu offers prepaid gift subscriptions, though, so he could simply purchase a code, and the streaming-video party would stop when the subscription ran out. Right? Not so fast.

My daughters are hooked on a few television series, and they’ve been asking me for a subscription to Hulu Plus so that they could watch some of the episodes that aren’t yet available on Netflix. A six-month gift subscription would be a great Christmas gift, I thought. They could see the shows they wanted, and I wouldn’t end up on the hook for paying for more than six months.

So, we purchased a six-month subscription gift card (actually, just a code) from the Hulu Plus web site, printed it up nicely and put it under the tree. They were very happy, until they tried to use it. They can only enter the gift subscription code “after creating a Hulu Plus account, including providing Hulu with a valid payment method.”

Well, I thought I knew the way around this. I tried a trick that worked when a similar thing happened at Barnes & Noble when setting up accounts for new Nooks, also being funded with a gift card. Instead of entering my credit card, I entered the number from a pre-paid debit card that had no current balance. Barnes & Noble happily accepted this worthless piece of information and allowed us to continue setting up the accounts. Hulu Plus wasn’t fooled, though.

So, I had to enter my credit card information to create an account, and then I could enter the gift code to fund the account for six months. They’re supposed to email me at the end of the six months before charging my credit card. Fingers crossed that that will happen.

I think it might be worthwhile to purchase another pre-paid card and just leave $5 on it. Maybe that kind of card would work when signing up for accounts like this.

It’s not a hardship, but a good thing to know when gifting a subscription to kids or someone else who doesn’t have a bank account.