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Can You Buy Gift Cards With a Credit Card? Everything You Need to Know

Can You Buy Gift Cards With a Credit Card? Everything You Need to Know
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated January 12, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Whether there’s a holiday coming up or the birthday of a family member who’s hard to shop for, you may be wondering: can you buy gift cards with a credit card? Typically you can — though some stores may limit the amount you can purchase and certain stores may not allow it at all. However, when you buy a gift card with a credit card, you could miss out on the rewards you’d usually earn, though not always.Read on to learn more about the process of purchasing a gift card with your credit card and whether it’s a good idea.

What Are Gift Cards?

A gift card is a prepaid debit card that can be used to make a purchase. Unlike a debit card, which is attached to a bank account, gift cards have a certain value loaded onto them. When it’s used up, the card no longer holds any value. This is also different from how credit cards operate, as you can borrow funds to make a purchase, then pay it back plus interest.Some gift cards function as store cards and can only be used to make purchases from a specific retailer. Other gift cards are more general purpose and can be used at any merchant that accepts cards or online. These gift cards, which are referred to as open-loop gift cards, are often offered by major credit issuers, such as American Express, MasterCard and Visa.

Can You Buy Gift Cards With a Credit Card?

Most retailers that accept credit cards will allow you to purchase gift cards with a credit card. Some may place limits on the amount of gift cards you can purchase with a credit card. Occasionally, retailers may have an internal policy that prevents you from purchasing general-purpose gift cards with a credit card. This is likely due to concerns about gift cards being purchased with stolen or counterfeit credit cards.

How to Buy Gift Cards With a Credit Card

Purchasing gift cards with a credit card is usually no different than making any other credit card purchase. When making a large purchase of gift cards at a store, occasionally cashiers will ask you to show identification, just as they would with any other large purchase.You also can use a credit card to purchase a gift card online, such as through a retailer’s website. The gift card will then typically be emailed to you.

Do You Gain Credit Card Rewards for Buying Gift Cards With a Credit Card?

Many credit card issuers include terms that prevent you from receiving rewards for the purchase of gift cards. For example, American Express excludes certain charges from earning rewards, such as “purchases of travelers checks, purchases or reloading of prepaid cards, purchases of gift cards, person-to-person payments or purchases of other cash equivalents.”In practice, there’s no way for the card issuer to know what you are buying from most retailers, so you will receive rewards from your gift card purchases from places such as grocery stores, gas stations, drug stores and office supply stores. However, if you are purchasing gift cards from an online merchant that only sells gift cards, some credit card issuers won’t give you any points, miles or cash back that you would normally receive for your purchases. 

Should You Buy Gift Cards With Your Credit Card?

If you are going to buy gift cards, your credit card is a convenient way to make the purchase. And if you end up receiving rewards, they can be very valuable. That being said, just as with any credit card purchase, you will incur interest charges if you don’t pay your credit card statement balance in full.

What Are the Best Credit Cards for Purchasing Gift Cards?

If you’re choosing a credit card and see many gift card purchases in your future, here are some of the top credit cards that offer purchase rewards that you may be able to earn:Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit: This card offers 1% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases, as well as on mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV services. It’s common to find gift cards for sale at gas stations and grocery stores. The annual fee for this card is $75 for the first year, then $99. Credit One Bank NASCAR Credit Card: This card offers 1% cash back on eligible gas and automotive purchases, and you can usually find gift cards for sale at gas stations. The annual fee for this card is $39 to $99, depending on your creditworthiness and other qualifications. Secured Sable ONE Credit Card: This card offers 2% cash back on purchases at Amazon, Uber, Uber Eats, Whole Foods, Netflix, Spotify and more. Both Amazon and Whole Foods sell gift cards. The card also offers you 1% cashback on everything else, so you can earn rewards from your gift card purchases at any store. There’s no annual fee for this card.And for more options, here’s our roundup of the best credit cards in various categories, including the top secured credit cards and the top 0% intro APR credit cards.

Compare Credit Cards With Lantern

You can often use a credit card to purchase a gift card, whether it’s a gift card from a specific retailer or a more general use gift card offered by a major credit card issuer. That being said, you may not be able to earn rewards depending on where you purchase the gift card.If you’re hoping to improve your credit score to level up from the land of gift cards and debit cards to a credit card that allows you to borrow funds and boost your score in the process, Lantern by SoFi can help you compare credit card options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to buy gift cards with a credit card?
What gift card can be used as a credit card?
What stores allow gift card purchases with credit cards?
Photo credit: iStock/gradyreese

About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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