How to use your American Express gift card for online shopping

How to use your American Express gift card for online shopping

American Express Gift Cards are pre-paid cards that can be used for in-store and online shopping almost immediately after their purchase. In the past, to use your American Express Gift Card online, you had to follow a registration process to add your billing address to the card. That is no longer the case.

Making online purchases

To make your purchases with an American Express gift card, the process will be the exact same as if you were to use your personal debit card. You would enter in your name, billing and shipping addresses (just use your shipping address for both), the gift card number (15-digit number on the front), card expiration date, and the 4-digit security code (located on the front of the card).

Just like when using your personal debit card, your purchase will not be approved if there are insufficient funds on your American Express Gift Card. Thus, you have to make sure that your purchase is for an amount equal to or under the balance available on your gift card, unless the online merchant allows splitting the charges over multiple payment cards.
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Tips to keep in mind when using your American Express Gift Card

These are important tips to keep in mind when making purchases with your American Express Gift Card either online or in stores:

  1. Check your balance

    You can check your balance on the AMEX Gift Card at any time by going online to AmexGiftCard.com/Balance and entering the card number and the security code, located on the front of the card, or by calling Amex Customer Service at the number retrievable on the back of the card (or try 1-888-846-4308).

  2. Remember your balance when making purchases

    Just like when using your personal debit card, your purchase will not be approved if there are insufficient funds on your American Express Gift Card. Thus, you have to make sure that your purchase is for an amount equal to or under the balance available on your gift card, unless the online merchant allows splitting the charges over multiple payment cards.

  3. Be aware of pending transactions

    When checking the balance on your American Express Gift Card, be aware of pending transactions. Keep in mind that your gift card balance may show a higher balance than what was spent because some online merchants do not charge the card until the merchandise ships.

  4. When using the gift card at a gas station be aware of the balance

    If you use the American Express Gift Card to buy gas from an automatic self-serve pump, the gas station may try to obtain an authorization for an amount higher than the balance on the gift card in order to make sure the full amount is paid. Therefore, when using an American Express Gift Card to purchase gas, it’s best to prepay for gas inside the gas station with a cashier.

  5. Know the American Express Gift Card restrictions:

    Your gift card cannot be used for certain transactions such as:

    • ATM withdrawals
    • Recurring bill payments (utility bills or subscriptions)
    • Reservations and deposits (hotel reservations or car rental reservations)

    Finally, please keep in mind that you cannot “charge back” the purchases you make using your gift card. This means that any cancellations would need to be taken up with the merchant.

  6. Write down the card number

    Write down the AMEX gift card number and the security code and keep it in a safe place so that if your American Express Gift Card is lost or stolen you can call American Express customer service immediately regarding a replacement at the number listed on the information sheet that came with your card (or try 1-888-846-4308). Please note that you will not be reimbursed for any funds on the card that were used before contacting American Express.


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