A Visa® gift card has a fixed amount of money attached to it when you purchase the card. It can't be refilled and you can't use it at ATMs. Other prepaid Visa cards have more flexible options, so it's useful to check which type of card you have. You can use either type of card to make purchases online or at brick-and-mortar stores that take Visa cards.
The easiest way to get money out of your Visa gift card is to simply use it at stores that accept Visa credit or debit cards to make purchases. If you're tired of carrying around an extra card on top of your existing debit or credit cards, you can make a priority of using it until the balance is all spent. You can also generally use the card online to make purchases or pay your regular bills, like utilities or even a mortgage payment, and you may be able to use it to send money with services like PayPal, though fees may apply.
You can often use the gift card in combination with another form of payment if you don't have enough on the card to fully complete a particular purchase. If you're unsure of the balance on the card, you can call the number on the back of the card or often check it online.
Withdrawing Money from an ATM
While Visa gift cards won't allow you to withdraw funds from an ATM, other types of prepaid Visa cards may. If you're unsure what rules apply to your card, check with the company that issued it by calling the number on the back, looking at any paperwork that came with the card or visiting its website.
If you are going to use a prepaid card at an ATM, you generally must have an associated PIN, similar to a traditional debit card. If you don't have a PIN or don't know it, call the company that issued the card or go online to change it. Some companies will let you set the PIN to one of your choice online or over the phone, while others will send you a computer-generated PIN in the mail. You can also use this PIN at some stores to make purchases, using the card in "debit" rather than "credit" mode.
Once you have your PIN and verified the card will work at an ATM, you may want to determine what fees are charged for using different ATMs. Some prepaid Visa cards have in-network ATMs that charge no fees or smaller fees, while you may incur larger fees to access your money through other ATMs.
Selling the Gift Card
If you have a Visa gift card that you're just not using it, consider selling it to someone else. You can often sell it to a friend or acquaintance. Online resellers will often buy other types of gift cards, such as ones tied to a certain store, though most don't deal in Visa, MasterCard® or similar cards.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.