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Using Your Wells Fargo Visa® Gift Card Questions

Activation and registration

How do I activate my Wells Fargo Visa Gift Card?

You can activate your Visa gift card by calling 1-877-855-8719 (toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) from within the United States. Make sure you have your card in front of you, as you will need the 16-digit gift card account number and the three-digit code on the back of your card. You will also receive your Personal Identification Number (PIN) when you activate your gift card.

How do I register my Visa Gift Card and why is card registration important?

Register your gift card online. You will need to provide your card number and the three-digit code on the back of the card in order to log in and enter your information. When you register your gift card, you link your address, phone number, and email address (optional) to your gift card.

You will need to register your gift card if you plan to use it for online or catalog purchases, because many websites use address verification for security purchases. Registering your card will help us replace your gift card if it is lost, stolen, or destroyed.

Can I obtain a PIN for my gift card?

You will be issued a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when you activate your gift card. You may change the PIN for your card by calling 1-877-855-8719 and following the prompts. Note the PIN can only be used for purchases and cannot be used to obtain cash at ATMs, cash back with a purchase, or over-the-counter cash withdrawals.


How will I know the original value of my gift card?

The card carrier that comes with your card has the purchase value on it. You can also sign on to check purchase date and value.

How can I check the balance on my gift card?

Either call 1-877-855-8719 (toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), or sign on. Make certain you have the 16-digit card number and the three-digit code on the back of the card.

Why do I need to keep track of my balance?

Knowing your balance before you use it will help ensure that your card is accepted. The gift card is processed through the Visa and MasterCard networks, and, similar to a credit or debit card, retailers do not have access to view the remaining balance on your card.

Can I make a purchase for more than the amount remaining on my gift card?

It depends on where you use the gift card. Some merchants will permit you to use the card for part of the purchase price and pay the remainder with cash, a check, or another card. If you aren’t sure whether the gift card balance will cover the purchase, be sure to ask the merchant if you can pay any remaining balance with another payment method.

What happens when I have spent all of the funds on my gift card?

Once the balance of your gift card is $0.00 (zero), you can no longer use it. However, we recommend that you keep your gift card in case you need to return merchandise for credit.

Can I add more money to my gift card?

No, but if you are a Wells Fargo customer, you can order a new gift card online or purchase a new gift card at most Wells Fargo stores.

Using the card

Should I select Credit or Debit when using my gift card at merchants?

You can either select Credit and sign for your purchases or select Debit and enter your PIN. Note that you cannot get cash back at merchants or make over-the-counter cash withdrawals.

Can I use my gift card at more than one merchant?

Yes, you can use your gift card in any debit network in which we participate in the United States.

Can I use my gift card internationally?

All gift cards issued today and those with expiration dates on or after June 2017 can only be used within the United States.

However, cards with expiration dates prior to that can be used internationally at merchants that accept debit cards. If your card expires in August 2014 or earlier, please read the Gift Card Customer Agreement and User Guide for a complete explanation of foreign currency transactions and the foreign currency conversion fee.

Note that the phone number for gift card activation and customer service, 1-877-855-8719, will only work inside the U.S. You should activate all gift cards in the U.S. before you use them out of the country. Gift card recipients can sign on to track their balances online.

Can I use my gift card at gas stations?

Yes. However, if you use your card to purchase gasoline, we recommend that you pay inside the station, not at the pump.

If you were to pay at the pump, the electronic terminal at the pump may be programmed to confirm that you have a sufficient available balance on your card to pay for an average purchase of gas. Before you are permitted to pump gas, a $100 authorization request (Preauthorization Request) will be submitted. Please note that this amount may increase from time to time and is subject to change without prior notice.

If you have an insufficient available balance on your card to cover the Preauthorization Request, your attempt to use your card at the pump may be declined. If you have a sufficient available balance on your card to cover the Preauthorization Request, you will be permitted to continue your transaction at the pump. However, if the dollar amount of your actual gasoline purchase is less than the amount of the Preauthorization Request that we approved, a “hold” on your available balance may automatically result equal to the difference between the two amounts.

Once the merchant sends us the final amount of your actual gasoline purchase, we will remove the “hold” on your available balance for any additional amount exceeding this final amount. This may take three to seven days, and during this period you will not be able to use any balance subject to this “hold.” To avoid a decline of or a “hold” on your available balance, we recommend that you prepay for your gasoline inside the station.

Can I use my gift card to withdraw cash from an ATM or get an over-the-counter cash withdrawal?

No, you cannot use your gift card for ATM, over-the-counter cash withdrawal, or cash back with a purchase transactions, even if you use your PIN.

Are there any other usage restrictions on my gift card?

Yes. Gift cards cannot be used for gambling or for recurring billing purchases (such as cellular phone service or subscriptions). See the agreement that came with your gift card for further details on gift card usage.

Expiration and fees

How long can I use my gift card?

  • Gift cards expiring June 2017 or later. The funds on your card never expire. However, the expiration date on the plastic card itself will be between five and seven years, depending on how and where the cards were purchased. The expiration date of the plastic will be printed on the front of your card.
  • Gift cards expiring August 2014 or earlier. Your gift card and the funds expire on the date printed on the front of your card.

What happens if there are still funds available when my gift card expires?

  • Gift cards expiring June 2017 or later. The funds on the card never expire. If for some reason you have not used up all the funds by the expiration date on the plastic card, please contact us at 1-877-855-8719, and we will issue you a replacement card at no charge.
  • Gift cards expiring August 2014 or earlier. We encourage you to use the entire gift amount before your gift card expires. There is a $15 administrative fee (or the remaining balance if it’s less than $15) to close out the card. If you have registered your gift card with your name and address, we will automatically send you a check for the remaining funds on the card within 90 days after the plastic expires. However, if Wells Fargo does not have your current address on file, then any balance remaining after the card expiration date will be reported and remitted as unclaimed property in accordance with applicable law. This is another reason why it is important to register your card with your home address.

Is there a fee for using the gift card?

No. There are no fees for using the gift card at the point of sale. For the schedule of fees and charges, please read the Gift Card Customer Agreement (if your card expiration date is June 2017 or later) or the Gift Card Customer Agreement and User Guide (if your card expiration date is August 2014 or earlier).

Returns and declines

What should I do if a merchant declines my gift card?

It is possible that the gift card’s available balance was less than the purchase amount. To avoid these situations, inform the merchant of the gift card’s remaining balance and use another form of payment to pay the difference.

Some merchants — for example, restaurants, mail-order companies, and cruise lines — require that the gift card’s available balance is greater than the purchase amount to ensure sufficient funds for tips or incidental expenses.

Why do I sometimes have problems using my gift card at restaurants or hair or nail salons when I have enough money left on my card to cover the purchase?

Sometimes merchants will check your gift card balance to see if there is enough money to pay for an anticipated purchase amount, which might be more than the actual purchase amount (for example, including a tip at a restaurant).

If the anticipated purchase amount is greater than the actual purchase amount and you do not have enough money on the card to pay the anticipated purchase amount, the merchant may decline your card. To avoid this, tell the merchant up front how much you would like to pay with your card. If the merchant allows it, you could use another form of payment for the rest.

Do certain merchants place a hold on available value on the gift card in excess of the actual transaction amount?

Some retail establishments (such as hotels, car rental companies, restaurants, or gas stations) may initiate electronic notices seeking validation of the gift card or approval of the anticipated purchase amount, or both.

Such an anticipated purchase amount may exceed the amount of the actual purchase transaction. The bank may place a “hold” against the card value for the anticipated purchase amount. This “hold” may remain in effect from the time the notice is received from the retail establishment up to the time the merchant draft or other item is presented to the bank.

Why are my purchases online or by telephone declined when I know there are sufficient funds on the gift card to make the purchase?

Online and telephone purchases require that the billing address for your purchase match the address on file for your gift card. If your card does not have your name on it, then you need to register your card before making an online or catalog purchase.

If your gift card is embossed with your name, then it is possible that the address on your card is different than your current address. You can sign on to register or confirm your address online.

It’s important to register your card, because internet, mail, and telephone purchases are subject to the merchant’s security policy governing the acceptance of bank cards.

  • This means that many merchants won’t complete an internet, mail, or telephone transaction if the data provided by the purchaser does not match with the information that the bank has on file about the cardholder.
  • Unless you register your card in advance, there will be no way an internet, mail, or telephone order merchant can confirm your identity.
  • Without such confirmation, the merchant might decline your purchase even if there are sufficient funds on the card.

My internet purchase was declined even though there was a sufficient balance, but my gift card was still debited. Why?

If you had sufficient funds on the gift card when you attempted to make the purchase, then the debit is a temporary debit. Your gift card will be reimbursed for the amount debited within five to seven days. The debit occurred because our gift card system approved the purchase and then the merchant declined to complete the transaction under its security policies.

  • This probably occurred because you had not registered your gift card in advance. (See question above.)
  • Once a purchase transaction is approved by the gift card system, the funds are debited and can only be replaced later, when the data indicating that no purchase was completed is received.
  • Please note that Wells Fargo Bank and Visa, and their affiliates, employees, and agents have no control over merchant’s security policies and cannot reverse or overrule a decline based on the merchant’s security policies.

What happens if I return an item purchased with my gift card?

Depending upon the merchant’s return policies, the merchant may credit your gift card, provide a cash refund, or issue you a store credit. Keep your gift card in case you need to return merchandise for credit.