Last $10 On Visa Gift Card Proves Seemingly Inextractable

Kate has a $50 Visa gift card. She used $40 on it and then tried to buy some DVDs for $7, but the card was rejected. What gives?

Kate writes:

I received a $50 card from a relative (who obviously does not read Consumerist) at Christmas. I took the card to a restaurant where they said that only a portion of it could be used, if at all. They ran the card for $40 and it miraculously cleared. This happened at the end of March.

I found some really cheap DVDs on Amazon that totaled around $7, so I thought I’d use the card to pay for it. The next day Amazon sent me an email saying the card I used was rejected so I had to use another one. I’m not a math whiz or anything, but I’m pretty sure 7 is less than 10, so there doesn’t seem to be a reason for why it was rejected. This was the end of April.

Basically since then I’ve been afraid of trying to use the card for fear of rejection at the register. I’m wondering, is it possible to use the last of the $10? If so, what are some ways people have successfully spent the remaining money? I’m not above buying something I don’t want or need – I just don’t want those bastards at Visa to keep my money. Any help would be great!

Hi Kate,

Have you called the number on the back or otherwise checked the balance on the gift card? Bank-issued gift cards are notorious for tacking on all sorts of fees that can chew up your balance. Depending on what the exact card it is, you might be incurring monthly charges, inactivity fees, fees for having swiped it once at that restaurant, or fees for just thinking about your gift card.

So check your balance out, you might not have very much at all. And next time ask for cash, just like the good Consumerist Anti-Gift Card recommends: