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Using Pre-Paid Gift Cards on Amazon

Given the recent holiday season, it’s likely you received a present in the form of a pre-paid gift cards. For those of you who like shopping on Amazon, you may realize that using those gift cards isn’t so easy. The main issue is that Amazon doesn’t allow you to split the purchase costs using multiple payment methods. Basically, if you’re planning to buy an item that cost more than the value of your gift card and you want to use your debit/credit card to pay the difference, you’re out of luck.

Or so I thought…

After a little research, I discovered a “trick” to using your Visa, MasterCard, or American Express gift cards for Amazon purchases. It requires a few steps but can be done in about 10-15 minutes. I tested it on a recent purchase and it worked perfectly.

First, you have to add the gift card as if you were adding a regular credit or debit card to your Amazon account. Here’s how to do it:

1) Go to and under the “Hello (your name), Your Account” tab at the top-right, click “Your Account”

2) In the Amazon Wallet section, click “Add a Credit or Debit Card” – it will prompt you to sign into your Amazon account

3) Enter the pre-paid card number, name – I entered “Gift Card Recipient” – and the expiration date. Click “Next”

4) You will now see the gift card listed along with your other saved credit and/or debit cards

Next, it’s time for the “trick.” Unlike other types, Amazon DOES allow the use of their own gift cards to offset purchase prices. For example, you CAN apply a $25 Amazon gift card toward a $50 purchase and pay the difference with your debit/credit card. Thus, the workaround is to purchase an Amazon gift card equal to the amount of gift card you received. Here’s how it works:

1) Go to the Gift Cards – Email Delivery page,

2)  Input the exact amount of your gift card, your email address (you’re sending the Amazon credit to yourself), and your name. The default delivery date is “Now” so leave it as-is.

3) Click “Proceed to Checkout”.

4) When selecting a payment method, choose the gift card you just uploaded. Amazon may require that you re-enter the number so keep the card handy.

5) Click “Continue” and complete the purchase.

You will quickly receive an email that contains a promo code. Now you select the items you want to buy and proceed to checkout. Input the promo code and the credit will be applied; if you owe more, simply choose your debit/credit card to pay the difference. Complete your purchase and you’re done!

This is also a great way to use any small balances that may remain on previously used gift cards. Hopefully this will help you use every penny of the gift you receive!

Will Goodson

Will is a senior advisor who designs financial plans and investment strategies for clients. He is a University of Texas graduate and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Additionally, Will has obtained the National Social Security Advisor (NSSA®) designation and works closely with wealth management clients to determine the most optimal strategies for taking Social Security and Medicare. Read Will’s Profile HereRead More Articles by Will

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