Activate Your Vanilla Visa Gift Card

Prepaid debit gift cards like the Vanilla Visa Gift card are more difficult to use than you might think.

I recently purchased one from Walmart and there are a number of steps you have to take.

In order to use it, you need two things.

1. Register the Zip code on
2. Call in and activate it.

I jumped through several hoops and removed that journey from this text. Hopefully you will ignore any Walmart stickers or instructions that come with the card.

Or get a better quality gift card.

Registering your card

If you received the card as a gift, or purchased the card at the store or online, you still need to register it

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your card info and check your balance
  3. There is a link on the side for Registering your card. After you enter your zip code, the link becomes “Edit your card”
  4. Now that it is registered to your zip code, you still need to activate it.
  5. Find the cardholder agreement link, or the number on the back of the card packaging and call the toll-free number to activate your card. You will be prompted by an automated message to enter the card number.

These steps are probably the same for Vanilla Master card.

At the Store

If you use the card in a store, you have to choose “credit” if you are swiping the card yourself in a scanner.

Declined Card?

If you don’t have the card registered and activated, expect your purchases to be declined. If your card is declined, a $1 hold may be placed on your account until the store voids the charge (usually 7-10 days).

Activation Fee?

If the activation fee is not applied to your card, see the cardholder fee table on for the fee amount.

Cardholder Name?

If you are making a purchase online, the cardholder name will be the name you registered at the store you purchased the card from. Or check the card for text where the name would be printed, like “A GIFT FOR YOU“.

The google search for: cardholder name for vanilla visa found a number (400) of silly people calling the card a scam and a rip-off on a topix forum. Oh, to be a young teenager again. 🙂

Update 12/26/14

Upon a second look at that topix forum, there seem to be numerous reports of issues with the card. Without digger deeper to see what’s going on, this is something to consider before spending a lot of money on these cards. I was able to use a $50 card with some difficulty, but my purchase did go through.


Sometimes you should just buy a quality gift card.

Customer Service?

A link from for Tips for Using Your Gift Card -> to Shop Online , links to a useless Youtube video that speaks like an advertisement. No wonder all the kiddies down-voted it.

What do you do when it’s not as easy as Point, Click and Buy? #FAIL


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5 Responses to “Activate Your Vanilla Visa Gift Card”

  1. sherry vogel Says:

    all i need is card activated thats it

  2. Oakheart Says:

    Received card as gift, and the website says my zip code is “invalid.” Repeatedly. I know my zip, and I type accurately, so I am inclined to think the people calling the card a scam and a rip-off may not be all that silly.

  3. Ann Jean Millikan Says:

    My zip code is invalid??? How do I register my card so I can use it in a store today in person?

  4. Melissia E Grosjean Says:

    you can call the toll free number 1800-571-1376 and add the zip code there. I couldn’t get my zip code on the website either.

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