Vanilla Gift Cards-Everything You Need to Know

woman receiving a vanilla gift card

Vanilla gift cards are monetary products Visa sells to help you give customizable gifts year-round to family members and friends when celebrating birthdays, special holidays, and the occasional “just because” presents. When you are not sure what type of specific gift card to get from a certain store, opting for a Vanilla gift card with a special design on it is a special way to show you are thinking about the gift recipient. 

Getting a Vanilla gift card for someone is great because they can spend it at any brick-and-mortar or online retailer where Visa cards are accepted. This means the recipient can use the gift card on pretty much any purchase they want, whether they want a new clothing item online or to have a dining experience at a new restaurant in town. 

While you can purchase Vanilla gift cards at local in-store retailers, you can also buy Vanilla eGift cards to send family members and friends who live further away for a more secure way to deliver your gift. Especially for the avid online shopper in your life, a Vanilla eGift card would be a perfect gift option. 

How To Buy a Vanilla Gift Card

There are two ways that you can purchase a Vanilla gift card. You can go to a local retailer in-store to buy a physical card. Alternatively, you can go to the Vanilla eGift cards page online to purchase and email to the gift recipient. 

How To Buy a Physical Vanilla Gift Card At a Store

Purchasing Vanilla gift cards at local retailers is easy and seamless. Go to your favorite retailer that carries Vanilla gift cards and select the corresponding monetary amount you want to give that person. Don’t forget to find the best card design that will delight the gift recipient. 

Take your Vanilla gift card to the register Pay with cash, a debit card, or a credit card. You must also pay the applicable activation fee printed on the card. Once you finish the transaction, the Vanilla gift card will be ready for your gift recipient to use whenever. 

How To Buy a Physical Vanilla Gift Card Online

Maybe you want to save a trip to the store, but you still want to mail your family member or friend a physical Vanilla gift card. Go to and click on the “Buy Gift Cards” option in the top left of the homepage. 

The physical card designs have 297 options to choose from, which is two choices more than the virtual card design options. 

How To Buy a Vanilla eGift Card

Purchasing a Vanilla eGift card is the same process as doing so in-store, but you would have to use a debit card or credit card instead of a cash payment option. Plus, you have more options for a virtual card design to choose from when purchasing online versus buying a physical Vanilla gift card in-store. 

two vanilla gift cards on top of each other

Choose from 295 designs that feature celebration phrases such as Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, or Thank You. Other themed cards can be given to gift recipients that are having a graduation party, baby shower, or marriage. There are even cute designs with animals and patterns on them to suit anyone’s taste. 

Once you select the card design and monetary value for the gift recipient, add it to your cart. Be sure that the email option is selected. Input the recipient’s email and then confirm it by typing it in again in the box below. Note how many gift cards you want that person to have at the monetary value you have selected. If you want only one, you can keep it at this preset value. 

If you want to purchase multiple virtual gift cards, you can do so in the same transaction. Just be sure to type in the appropriate email address for that gift recipient’s perspective card. 

How To Use a Vanilla Gift Card

Using a Vanilla gift card is just like using a debit or credit card, depending on how you choose to spend the funds. In-store purchases allow you to swipe the Vanilla gift card like a credit card while online purchases treat these payment options almost like debit cards. 

How To Use a Vanilla Gift Card At a Brick-and-Mortar Store

When shopping in-store, you can swipe the Vanilla gift card anywhere that Visa cards and gift cards are accepted. If needed, you may have to press the green or red button (depending on the store location), to put the transaction through as credit for the transaction to go through. Once swiped, the available funds from the gift card will be automatically applied to your purchase.  

If you have fewer funds than your total purchase value, it will deduct whatever you have remaining on your Vanilla gift card. Then, the cashier will ask you for the remaining total that you can pay with cash, debit card, or credit card. For example, if your total is $20.25 and you only have $4.25 on your gift card, you will have to pay the other $16 with another form of payment after applying what’s left on the Vanilla gift card. 

How To Use a Vanilla Gift Card Online

When shopping online, using a Vanilla gift card is a bit different. Before implementing your online transaction, you will have to call the customer service number on the back of the Vanilla gift card, input your sixteen-digit card number, and set up the PIN that you will use. 

Write this PIN down in a safe spot for future reference so you can make online purchases with the Vanilla gift card accordingly. When it’s time to pay, mark that you are paying with a Visa card. Input the sixteen-digit card number, the CVV, and if it asks you, the corresponding PIN.

How To Check Your Vanilla Gift Card Balance

For gift recipients, checking your Vanilla gift card balance is a seamless process. You can either check the balance online or call the customer service number to retrieve the total balance. 

How To Check Your Vanilla Gift Card Balance Online

Checking your Vanilla gift card balance online is the fastest and easiest option. Go to the “Check Balance” tab when you log on to Type in the sixteen-digit card number, CVV, and the card’s expiration date. Then click “Continue” to retrieve your current balance and see your past transactions. 

How to Check Your Vanilla Gift Card Balance Over the Phone

Call the customer service hotline at 1-844-433-7898. Press option number three to begin the card balance checking process. Type in your sixteen-digit card number using your phone’s keypad. The virtual assistant may also ask for your CVV or expiration date, so be ready to provide any additional information needed. 

close up of gift card

Once you provide the information necessary, you will first hear your current balance. Then, you will have the option to hear your past transactions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the basics about Vanilla gift cards, here are answers to your frequently asked questions about different aspects of the topic. 

What retailers sell Vanilla gift cards?

Let’s learn where to buy a vanilla gift card. Pharmacies and mass retailers such as Walmart, Target, Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale Club, CVS, and Rite Aid are great places to start when you are trying to find an in-store retailer to purchase Vanilla gift cards. 

How do I get a Vanilla gift card refund?

Depending on the type of Vanilla gift card that you purchase, you may be eligible for a refund if you meet certain terms and conditions. For more details on how to get a refund, take a look at the cardholder agreement based on the starting numbers of your gift card. Alternatively, call 1-844-433-7898 to speak to a customer service agent for expedited assistance. 

How much is the activation fee for a Vanilla gift card?

The activation fee for purchasing a Vanilla gift card usually ranges between $2.95 to $5.95 depending on the monetary value range you are placing on the gift card. 

In which countries can I use Vanilla gift cards?

You can use Vanilla gift cards only in the United States or the District of Columbia. If you are on an international trip outside of these countries, you will not be able to use your Vanilla gift card until you are back within one of the mandated territories. 

What purchases are ineligible on a Vanilla gift card?

You cannot use your Vanilla gift card at ATMs to withdraw cash from it. The Vanilla gift card is also not eligible to be used on purchases involving recurring bills such as electric, phone, or gas bills. 


Vanilla gift cards are awesome gift options for when you are not sure what to get your family member or friend for their birthday, holiday, or another special occasion. It gives them the power to treat themselves while celebrating their momentous occasion. When in doubt about finding the best gift, get a Vanilla gift card!