How to Use Up Low Balance Gift Cards

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This is a great tutorial on how to use up low balance gift cards. Bookmark it for after the holiday season!

Have you ever been so excited to receive a gift card for your birthday, the holidays, or maybe just as a thank you? You use it to treat yourself to something nice, but you end up not using the whole balance. You have 2.14 left on the card, but no idea how to use up that last little bit of change. There is a really easy way to get that money off of that gift card and into something that you will use it for. Here’s the kicker: it involves Amazon. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use up low balance gift cards.

Disclaimer: This tutorial only works for gift cards from major credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express. Since these cards are already viewed as pre-paid credit, they work well for this tutorial. There is a great way to use up store gift cards. If you would like to see that tutorial posted, leave a comment below.

Step 1: Find out the balance of your card

This is the most difficult part of the whole process. You will have to tediously call each phone number on the back of each gift card to find out the balance. Either write the balance in marker on the back or front, or write it on a sticky note and place that on the card.

Step 2: Sign into your account

While Amazon does force you to do this step later, why not get it out of the way now? It’s important to log in so your “purchase” is documented on your account.

Step 3: Click on the “Gift Cards” link above the search bar

You could also type in “Gift Cards” in the search bar, but just click the link. It’s easier.

Step 4: Choose “Email” under Instant Delivery

Step 5: Choose your delivery type and design

You will be emailing this to yourself, so no need to pick anything fancy or specific.

Step 6: Choose “set my own” on the Amount drop-down, then add the amount that is on the gift card.

Step 7: Type in your email address under “Recipient E-mail” and your name under “Your Name.”

Also, set the delivery date to “Now” and click purchase.

Step 8: Choose “add new card” and type in all pertinent information

It will ask for a first and last name, so just put your name there. Click continue.

Step 9: Confirm your purchase

Step 10: Look for an email from amazon with your new amazon gift code!

There will have interactions on how to add the code to your account, and utilize it for a future purchase.

After completing these steps, you’ll have those balances waiting for you the next time you log into Amazon to make a purchase.

My friend Robyn has a great tutorial sharing how to transfer small gift card balances to bank or paypal accounts. Be sure to check that out, as well.

I hope this helps you in some way. If it does, please use the share buttons below to share with friends and family.

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


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  1. 10.3.14
    Olga said:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

    • 10.3.14
      Amiyrah said:

      You’re welcome, Olga!

  2. 10.5.14
    Beth said:

    I never ever would have thought of doing this in a million years. Thank you for the great piece of advice!!

    • 10.5.14
      Amiyrah said:

      You’re so welcome, Beth! I don’t know why I didn’t write about this sooner. It’s such a money-saver!

  3. 10.5.14

    I didn’t even know this was possible. So, you are trading it in for a lower amount than is on the gift card? Or do you just add the balance left to Amazon and they deal with collecting the balance?

    • 10.6.14
      Amiyrah said:

      You are actually buying an amazon gift card with your visa/mastercard/amex card! You don’t lose any money, since those cards are viewed as pre-paid debit cards. Isn’t that cool?

  4. 10.9.14
    Gina said:

    Thank you! I had a pile of little cards in my desk drawer and now they’re gone!

    • 10.10.14
      Amiyrah said:

      Whoo Hoo! You’re welcome, Gina.

  5. 10.24.14
    Brandi said:

    Going to take some time today to do this! Thanks for the great tip!

    • 11.2.14
      Amiyrah said:

      You’re welcome, Brandi!

  6. 12.19.14
    Nichole said:

    Whenever I receive gift cards with a Visa/Mastercard logo, I activate them immidiately and then logon to my cable account, electric bill, or phone bill and apply the full amount to that bill. My thinking is, the full amount is used immediately and I do not have to worry about having a few dollars left over.

  7. 7.27.15
    Jess king said:

    You mentioned a tutorial for using up store gift cards? I have bunches and would love to know the secret!

    • 7.28.15
      Amiyrah said:

      Thanks for commenting, Jess! I’ll be sure to add that tutorial to my editorial calendar and get it up soon.

  8. 7.29.15

    This is what I do with them too!#greatminds

  9. 11.5.15
    Debbie said:

    Did I miss something? You mentioned that you would add the tutorial on how to use up store gift cards…but I can’t find anything about it.

    • 11.5.15
      Amiyrah said:

      HI Debbie!

      No, you didn’t miss anything. I haven’t had the chance to create the tutorial for that yet, but thank you for reminding me. I’ll get it up ASAP!

      • 11.5.15
        Debbie said:

        Thanks! Looking forward to putting that “forgotten”
        money to good use!

  10. 1.3.16
    Jess said:

    I’m interested in the tutorial for using up store gift cards

    • 1.4.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Working on it, Jess!

  11. 3.9.16
    Basis said:

    Hi.great tips. I m also interested for tutorial how to use money from store gift cards.

  12. 3.19.16
    alicia said:

    Hello! Did you ever do a tutorial for store gift cards? would LOVE an idea!!!! thanks!

    • 3.21.16
      Amiyrah said:

      Not yet! It’s on the list 🙂

  13. 9.9.16
    liz said:

    I’d be interested in the store gift cards article too! Is it up somewhere, maybe I missed it.