Which gift cards can be used immediately after purchase without an activation fee? There are two types of gift cards, store-specific cards and general-purpose gift cards. Store-specific cards can only be used in the issuing store. For example, a Nike gift card can only be used at Nike stores. General purpose cards are issued by major institutions such as credit card providers and banks, and cardholders are free to use them at major stores that accept them. The generic gift cards are very convenient, but also more expensive.
In the gift card market, generic gift cards typically carry the logos of financial networks such as Discover or American Express, as well as Master cards and some Visa gift cards, which require an additional $3 to $6 to activate at the time of purchase. This money is paid to a third party, like the store, the program manager, and the processor. Of course, if you can find a good deal on a website to purchase a gift card, the activation fee may be reduced accordingly.
Other than that, gift cards issued and sold by merchants or given away at merchant events do not require an activation fee, only activation. For example, iTunes gift cards, Amazon gift cards, Steam gift cards, Nike gift cards, Sephora gift cards, etc. These store-specific gift cards will be automatically activated by the checkout staff if you purchase them at the store. If you purchased the card online, you can call the phone number on the card to activate it. If you don't want to call, you can activate your gift card online, and there is usually an activation link on the back of your card or on a sticker on the front of your card. You can click on the link to activate.
So when you want to use or sell your gift card, if you get a message that the gift card is not activated, it is possible that you did not perform the activation process when you purchased this gift card. You can follow the instructions on the gift card to activate it, or have the purchaser activate it. Generally, store-specific gift cards do not require an activation fee, but there are restrictions on use, which require you to read the requirements on the gift card website in detail.
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