MasterCard gift cards are a popular alternative to giving someone cash or a paper check. In some cases, you or the recipient of the card will need to register the card before it can be used. Registration is not always required to begin using the card, so it is important to review the instructions provided by the seller of the card. Still, registration can help protect your balance in case the card is lost or stolen.
MasterCard Gift Cards
MasterCard gift cards are an alternative to retailer-specific cards. In almost all cases, you can pay for goods and services using the card at any business that accepts MasterCard. Many gift recipients appreciate being able to choose how they spend their gift card funds rather than being restricted to making a purchase from a single business. In addition, users of MasterCard gift cards have similar protections that are offered by credit card companies when it comes to protecting the balance of a lost or stolen card, or a card that has been compromised by fraud.
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Another fun aspect of purchasing a MasterCard gift card is that the cards come in a range of themes, patterns and colors. You can select a card that suits an occasion, such as a birthday, or that is simply in a pattern or style that you think the recipient will appreciate.
Registration vs. Activation
Unlike credit or debit cards, a MasterCard gift card does not have your name on it and is not connected to you at the time of purchase. While this provides you with some anonymity when using the card, there is a downside: Since the card is not connected to you, you may have difficulty getting a new card or reinstating the card balance if your card is lost or stolen.
In fact, MasterCard states that it cannot reinstate funds or take action on a card if you do not have the card information and the card hasn't been registered to you. Registration prevents a situation in which you can't claim a refund because you simply don't have the card's information.
Activation is a separate step that some retailers of gift cards may require. Activating a card ensures that you will be able to use it. If the card that you have requires activation, you will not be able to use it until you've completed the process. Again, this is not required for many MasterCard gift cards.
An example of a retailer that could require activation is Walmart. Walmart only requires activation if a gift card is purchased online for more than $250 or a bulk purchase of 25 cards or more tax place. Walmart supplies information on how to complete the activation process at the time of purchase. Other retailers may have similar policies, so it's a good idea to check when making a gift card purchase.
Register MasterCard Gift Card
An extra step that you can take is to register MasterCard gift cards at balance.mastercardgiftcard.com or by calling the customer service number on the back of the card. When you do this, you connect your card to you, making it easier to report the card lost or stolen. The process to register MasterCard gift cards is very similar to activating a new credit card or bank debit card. Have the card in front of you and follow the instructions provided in the phone system or on the MasterCard gift card website.
MasterCard encourages recipients of its gift cards to make a record of the card number, expiration date, security code and customer service number. Doing this can protect the balance of your card if it goes missing.