Several types of Visa gift cards are available, including physical and online cards, with options to suit your budget and gift-giving preferences. Additional funds can’t be loaded to Visa gift cards after purchase, but the recipient can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted. Some Visa-branded cards aren’t actual gift cards, but are prepaid cards. These carry different terms and features.
Personalized Visa gift cards are available through banks and online retailers. You can decide the amount of money to load on the card, which is added when you check out. The card is printed with the recipient’s name on it and delivered by mail if you get it online.
Visa gift cards are also available at many in-store retailers. These cards do not feature a recipient’s name, but work the same as personalized cards. However, many retailers only offer fixed-denomination cards in flat amounts such as $25, $50 or $100. The cards usually include an activation fee. For example, a Visa gift card in 2014 for $25 came with an activation fee of $3.44.
Some retailers, such as giftcards.com, issue Visa E-gift cards in addition to physical cards. With E-gift cards, you can pick the value and create a personal message to the recipient. The electronic card is emailed to the recipient and, unlike the personalized version, is good for online purchases only.
Other Prepaid Visa Cards
Visa also offers prepaid cards that some label gift cards. Prepaid cards can also be used anywhere Visa is accepted, but unlike regular gift cards you can add additional funds. Many types of prepaid cards are available, including Visa TravelMoney for traveling, VisaBuxx for teens and general Visa prepaid cards. Visa does not issue these directly and terms vary depending on the issuer. Prepaid cards often carry additional fees, so it's up to the buyer to read the fine print before investing in one.
With a background in taxation and financial consulting, Alia Nikolakopulos has over a decade of experience resolving tax and finance issues. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent and has been a writer for these topics since 2010. Nikolakopulos is pursuing Bachelor of Science in accounting at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.