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Gift Cards

How to Use Your American Express Gift Card and Check Your American Express Gift Card Balance

By July 7, 2021 September 16th, 2021 No Comments

American Express gift cards are prepaid cards that can be used for in-store or online purchases at any merchant that accepts American Express or Amex.

Why should I get, or gift, an American Express Gift Card?

An Amex gift card is a prestige gift. Everyone knows the iconic American Express logo. But beyond the prestige, American Express gift cards are flexible and practical.

  • Rewarding: It’s a great way to reward your employees, customers, business associates, teachers, and graduates. American Express cards just feel classier than your average run-of-the-mill retail or business gift cards. Give someone a little touch of luxury.
  • Flexibility: American express cards can be purchased any any denomination from $5 to $1,000.
  • Convenience: Use your Amex card at retailers and vendors that accept American Express cards – both online or in-store.
  • Ease: No need to register your American Express card number online and tie it to your home or business emailing address. This previous registration requirement has been lifted.
  • eGift Card and physical gift card options. You can purchase a physical plastic gift card, or an electronic or eGift card.

Making online purchase with American Express Gift Cards

While you don’t have to register your American Express gift cards, if you use your card to make an online purchase you will need to provide the same complete details you would give if you were making a purchase with your debit card or any other credit card.

These details will generally include:

  • Your Name
  • Your Billing Address
  • Your Shipping Address
  • 4-Digit Security Code (located on the front of American Express gift cards)
  • Card Expiration Date

While the funds on a prepaid gift card can never expire, the physical gift plastic card itself can expire. If your American Express prepaid card has expired, contact the customer service number on the card. Amex Bank can transfer the remaining balance to a new American Express prepaid card.

Staying on Track with Your American Express Gift Card

No one wants to run into glitches when trying to make a purchase at checkout – online or in-store. Every time you swipe, or enter in, your American Express card these tips will help everything go smoothly.

1. Check your American Express prepaid card balance in advance

  • Visit AmexGiftCard.com/Balance and enter your card number and security code (4 digits on the front of your card).
  • Call 1-888-846-4308 and speak with an Amex Customer Service agent.

2. Don’t exceed your gift card balance when making a purchase.

While you can’t overdraft your gift card or incur any over-limit fees, you do need to have enough available funds to cover the purchase you’re making. Your gift card will be declined if the remaining balance is not enough to cover your purchase. Some merchants may allow for you to pay your transaction total with multiple forms of payments, but not not all POS transaction devices are equipped to process multiple forms of payment. And it can can get confusing.

3. Don’t forget about pending transactions.

As with your debit card or credit cards, you need to keep in mind any pending transactions when you check your balance. Your available balance may be different from your actual balance. For many online purchases, for example, your card will not get charged until the merchandise ships.

4. Yes, you can use your American Express gift card at Amazon!

You can use your Amex or American Express gift card as payment on Amazon. But keep in mind that Amazon does not allow “split tender” payments when using a gift card. Your gift card must have sufficient balance to cover the entire purchase in full. Additionally, for for your first purchase Amazon may place a temporary $1 authorization on the gift card. As an easier alternative, you can use your Amex gift card to buy an Amazon gift card.

5. A PIN number may be required by some merchants.

A prepaid American Express gift card does not come with a PIN number. If a PIN number is required for you to complete a transaction, call 1-888-846-4308 for assistance. Or you can visit the American Express gift card page.

6. In some instances, you can use your electronic or digital American Express gift card in a physical store.

There is a workaround for you to use a digital or electronic American Express gift card in a store. You would need to add the eGift card to a supporting digital wallet or platform like Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, or Paypal.

Some stores that accept digital wallets (where you could link your electronic American Express gift card) include:
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Best Buy
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Chevron
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Disney Store
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • GameStop
  • Giant Eagle
  • Jamba Juice
  • Jersey Mike’s
  • Jimmy John’s
  • KFC
  • Kohl’s
  • Lululemon
  • McDonald’s
  • Nike
  • Office Depot
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Safeway
  • Sprouts
  • Staples
  • Target
  • Texaco
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Whole Foods

7. Know the American Express gift card restrictions.

While you can use your American Express gift card anywhere American Express is accepted, there are a few limitations with Amex’s prepaid cards.

  • American Express gift cards may not work for paying at the pump. When you pay at the pump, the gas station will obtain authorization for higher amount (anywhere from $20 to $40 or more). If you have limited funds on your prepaid card, it will get declined. It’s better to just prepay the clerk inside the station if your balance is running low.
  • ATM withdrawals are not permitted. Additionally, you cannot return or cash in your American Express prepaid card for any cash value.
  • Recurring billing or payments cannot be paid with an American Express (or any other) prepaid gift card. This may include phone or utility bills, subscription box services, streaming services, gym memberships, or other products or services that are auto-billed.
  • Reservations or deposits cannot be paid with a prepaid gift card, including cruise lines, airfare, car rentals, or hotel stays.
  • No reloads. You cannot reload an American Express gift card.
  • Fee to reload prepaid Amex cards that are not gift cards. You can reload some prepaid cards (that are not gift cards) for a fee. Usually the fee is around $3.95 a month but it can vary at certain participating locations. There also may be monthly card maintenance fees.

8. Keep your American Express gift card safe.

Take a picture of the front and back of your American Express gift card so you have that data, and as an added back up, upload it to a secure place like your card storage. You can also write down the gift card number and security code on pen and paper.

If your American Express gift card or prepaid card does get stolen, here’s what to do:

  1. Call an American Express customer service agent at 1-888-846-4308.
  2. Provide them with the card number, security code, and expiration date.
  3. Request that the stolen or missing card be frozen or cancelled.
  4. Request a new Amex card be issued with any remaining funds transferred onto the new card.

If you do not have the American Express card number, they will not be able to cancel the missing or stolen card and re-issue you a new one with the remaining funds. You will not be reimbursed for any stolen or unauthorized funds used on the card before contacting American Express. Make sure to contact them straight away.

The information on this website pertains to American Express Gift Cards issued by Amex Bank of Canada. The information is available only at merchants in Canada and U.S. that accept American Express Cards except cruise lines, casinos, recurring billing and other merchants that American Express may determine from time to time. The Gift Card is not reloadable. Use is subject to the Gift Card Cardholder Agreement, which includes usage restrictions, terms and conditions. This Gift Card will only be available to purchase and activate at the time of purchase and use only at ATMs or redeemable for cash.

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