Gift Cards: FAQs
Customer Service Number: 1.800.314.2363
Should the receipt from the purchase of the Card be kept?
We strongly suggest that you keep the receipt from the purchase of the Card, as we may require it for a refund, exchange or replacement.
Where can the Card be used? Are there any usage restrictions?
The Card may be used at merchants and retailers in the United States that accept the American Express Card (“Merchants”). The Card cannot be used at cruise lines, casinos, ATMs, or for recurring charges (such as monthly utilities or subscriptions). Car rental establishments may accept the Card at the end of the rental, but may not allow you to reserve a car with the Card.
Is the Card ready to use immediately?
In most cases, as soon as you sign the back of the Card, it is ready for use. However, in some cases, it may be inactive for up to four hours after purchase.
How is the Card used to make retail purchases?
Present the Card to the cashier for payment and tell him/her it is a gift card. Sign the receipt with the same signature you used to sign the back of the Card. Retain the receipt as a record of the purchase.
Are there any fees for the use of the Card after purchase?
This Card has NO FEES AFTER PURCHASE (including dormancy, service or other fees).
Do the funds on the Card expire?
No, the funds on the Card do not expire.
If the funds do not expire, what is the “valid thru” date on the front of the Card?
The “valid thru” date on the front of the Card is the date through which your physical plastic card must be used. This date is required to process transactions at merchants that request a plastic expiration date. Even if the “valid thru” date has passed on the Card, its Available Balance remains unchanged and intact. In order to keep making purchases with your Available Balance, after a Card’s “valid thru” date has passed, please call 1-877-297-4438 for a free replacement Card.
Should the card number be written down?
Yes, you should write down the Card number, along with the customer service number (1-877-297-4438) and keep these in a safe place! You will need the Card number to check your balance or replace the Card if it is lost or stolen.
How is the balance on the Card calculated?
There are two ways that your Available Balance may be decreased. First, if you make a purchase with the Card, we will deduct the full amount of that purchase, including taxes and any other fees, from the Available Balance. Second, if you use the Card and the Merchant authorizes for an amount greater than the actual purchase (e.g., when you use the Card at a merchant expecting a gratuity), the Available Balance will be temporarily decreased by the amount of the authorization until the actual transaction posts, which typically occurs within 3 business days. Only the final amount of the purchase will ultimately be deducted from the Available Balance. Once the Available Balance reaches zero ($0), the Card is no longer valid and you agree that you will no longer use it. However, if a transaction occurs despite an insufficient Available Balance on the Gift Card, you agree to reimburse us, upon request, for the amount of the negative balance created on the Gift Card.
Can the Card be used if its Available Balance does not cover the total purchase price?
Depending on the Merchant’s policy, you may be able to use the Card with another form of payment, such as cash, check or another card, to make a purchase. This is known as a “Split Tender Transaction.”
To make a purchase for more than the Available Balance on the Card:
- Present the Card for payment and tell the cashier it is a gift card.
- Tell the cashier the Available Balance and ask whether another form of payment will be accepted for the balance of the purchase.
- Before the Card is “swiped,” tell the cashier to only authorize the Card for the Available Balance.
- If the Card is declined, remind the cashier of the Available Balance.
- Be prepared to provide a second form of payment to cover the balance of your purchase.
Some Merchants may only allow you to use cash or check, but not another card, as the second form of payment. Some Merchants do not permit a second form of payment at all. We do not guarantee that a Merchant will permit a Split Tender Transaction. If you are having difficulty making a Split Tender Transaction or using the Available Balance on the card please call 1-877-297-4438 for assistance.
Can the Card be used to make an internet purchase?
Yes, you can also use the Card to make a purchase over the internet or by mail-order. However, some internet and mail order Merchants do not permit a second form of payment. If you experience any difficulty making a purchase online or by mail order with the Card, please call 1-877-297-4438 for assistance.
How should the Card be used at restaurants, hair salons or other merchants that may be expecting a gratuity?
Restaurants, hair salons and some other types of Merchants will obtain an authorization on the Card for an amount up to 20% more than the total service bill to cover any gratuity that may be added. Be sure that the balance on the Card is sufficient to cover the cost of the bill plus any anticipated gratuity. If the Card is declined, ask the Merchant to obtain an authorization for an amount equal to or less than the Available Balance.
How should the Card be used at gas stations?
Gas stations will routinely obtain an authorization on the Card for an estimated purchase amount to ensure that the Available Balance will cover the final purchase. To avoid having a gas station obtain an authorization for an amount higher than the Available Balance, we suggest that you prepay inside at the cashier for an amount equal to, or less than, the Available Balance on the Card.
What if the Card is lost or stolen?
If the Card or Card number is lost or stolen, contact us immediately at 1-877-297-4438. You must provide your name, address, Card number and other details for identification purposes. You agree to give us all reasonable information to help make a complete investigation of the loss or theft of the Card. If the Card or Card number is lost or stolen, we will issue you a replacement Card with a value equal to the Available Balance on the Card at the time you notified us of the loss or theft. NO REFUNDS WILL BE PROVIDED FOR AMOUNTS DEBITED FROM YOUR LOST OR STOLEN CARD BEFORE YOU NOTIFY US.
Can merchandise purchased with the Card be returned?
Merchandise purchased with the Card is subject to, the Merchant’s return policies. If the Merchant agrees to issue a credit to the Card this amount may not be reflected in the Available Balance until the credit posts, which may take up to seven days.
Can a charge made with the Card be disputed?
No. Purchases made with the Card are similar to those made with cash, in that you cannot “stop payment” or lodge a “billing dispute” on purchases made with the Card. Any problems or disputes you have regarding a purchase should be addressed directly with the Merchant.
How do I check my Available Balance?
The value on the Card at any time is its "Available Balance." You may check your available balance at American Express Gift Cards or by calling Customer Service at 1-877-297-448.