eGift Cards

How to use a gift card

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Giving a gift card can be truly special. This thoughtful present offers your recipient the freedom to search for and buy exactly what they want. However, if you’ve never given a gift card before, it might be helpful to know how to use one first.

So, how does a gift card work, how do you pay for it, or even activate one? Hopefully, we’ll have all the answers you need in this article to help you give your friends and family – or even yourself - a gift card.

How does a gift card work?

If you’ve never used a gift card before, you might be wondering how you can buy and use one. Here, we’ve put together a quick step-by-step guide to the process of using a gift card.


The good thing about gift cards is that there are lots of different ways to buy them. You can go into a store and buy over the counter, call a retailer and buy one over the phone, or even go online to purchase. Once you’ve chosen the card you’d like, you can then buy one in a way that’s most convenient to you. Read our article on how to buy a gift card for more.


So, how do you pay for a gift card? To be able to give a gift card as a present, you do then have to put money on it, or ‘load’ it. You can take the gift card to a cashier with cash or a credit card and pay the amount you’d like to add to the card. Alternatively, if you bought the card online, you could then load it with money at the same time. Our how to load a gift card article has more details to help.


Once you’ve loaded the money onto a gift card, how do you activate it? The good news is that many gift cards are activated at purchase, so it can simply be spent right away. However, sometimes activation is required. This is usually done by either calling the provider or following a URL link to then enter provided PIN number details - often called an activation code.


Some gift cards can be spent with one retailer and others can be spent in multiple locations – a Visa gift card, for example. If you want to spend your gift card in a store, you hand the card over and they scan it or type in the card number. If the purchase is online, you do this yourself by typing the gift card number into the shopping cart payment option.

Can I buy a money order with a gift card?

Yes, certain gift cards are extremely versatile, and you can buy money orders with them. However, there are some restrictions you’ll need to be aware of before you attempt it.

For instance, Visa or Mastercard gift cards from Kroger are usually the only accepted type of gift card that can be used to buy a money order.

Some locations within the Kroger Family of Stores will offer money order issuing services and might be able to accept your gift card as a debit transaction. But, it’s a good idea to check with the retailer or service first.

We hope this how to use a gift card guide has been helpful. Want to shop with the Kroger Family of Stores? Browse our full gift card range online today!