Visa gift cards are like prepaid credit cards. You can purchase one for yourself or, as the name suggests, for a gift. These cards come preloaded with an amount of money and usually can be refilled, too. These cards can be used at all retailers that accept credit cards with the Visa logo. However, only some gift cards can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Although Visa gift cards are universally accepted at retailers who accept Visa credit cards, there are very few gift cards which can be accepted by ATMs for cash withdrawal. You should review the terms of your gift card in order to determine whether or not this action is possible.
Check the Terms
Carefully review the terms and conditions that came with the Visa gift card. If you cannot find a contract or set of rules, call the toll-free number on the back of the Visa gift card or visit the website of the company that issued it. Ask the bank representative if you can use your card at an ATM or banking center to withdraw cash. Because Visa gift cards are sold by a wide variety of retailers and banks, it is important to make sure you're contacting the right company. You can also look for the Cirrus or Interlink logo on the back of the card. These insignias indicate that you can indeed use your card at an ATM to withdraw the cash you need.
Know Your PIN
You need to get a PIN, or personal identification number, to access cash at an ATM. If you have a prepaid Visa card and don't know the PIN, you'll have to contact the company that issued the card to get a new PIN. Sometimes you can specify a new PIN online or over the phone, but some companies won't issue them over the phone to prevent fraud. You may have to wait for the PIN to arrive in the mail and it normally takes between five and seven business days. But first, make sure you are aware of the possible fees your card charges for this privilege. Look at the rules for ATM withdrawals on the contract, or contact a representative. Some Visa gift cards charge high transaction fees, and you may be charged fees by the ATM owner as well, so you may want to make fewer withdrawals or investigate whether there are in-network ATMs where you'll be charged lower fees.
Some ATM Alternatives
If your card doesn't work at ATMs or you don't want to pay the fees, all is not lost. You can use the card as a debit card instead to pay for regular purchases. You may also be able to use the card for online purchases, including to buy digital gift cards from retailers like Amazon or potentially to send funds to other people with PayPal.
Based in Eugene, Ore., Duncan Jenkins has been writing finance-related articles since 2008. His specialties include personal finance advice, mortgage/equity loans and credit management. Jenkins obtained his bachelor's degree in English from Clark University.