Help! I Lost My Gift Card


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

With many gift cards, if someone steals it and uses it up, you're out of luck. But sometimes you do have options.

This post comes from Mary Hiers at partner site MintLife.

For some people, there’s nothing quite as exciting as receiving a gift card. Take that excitement and flip it backward, and that’s the level of disappointment you’ll have when you realize your card is MIA.

‘Tis the season for hectic activity, where you might lose or misplace a gift card. It’s also the season for an unscrupulous person to lift it when you aren’t looking.

Regardless of why it’s missing, you’ll need to know how to replace it, or if you can replace it at all.

If possible, register the gift card as soon as you get it. Some retailers allow this, but others don’t.

Here are a few steps that you can take to recover your losses, but they don’t apply in all situations.

Save that receipt!

Your receipt is proof that the card is paid for and belongs to you. If you received the card as a present, ask the giver for the receipt. If she doesn’t have it, contact the store where the card was purchased.

It’s best to worry about the receipt before a card is lost or stolen, but there still might be luck once it’s gone. No promises there, though. It’s important to know that even a receipt won’t help with replacing some gift cards.

For instance, GameStop, one of the most popular video game and game equipment retailers in the country, has a strict “no replacement” policy, except where the law prohibits it. This policy is in place, regardless of whether you do or don’t have a receipt. In fact, its gift card help page specifically states that cards “will not be replaced if lost or stolen.”

Call or visit customer service

Time is of the essence because gift cards may or may not require a personal identification number to spend the funds. Most don’t, so anyone who has the card can use it to make purchases.

If the card did allow you to register it, you’re a bit safer, but again, that’s not common.

One retailer that’s more secure is O’Reilly’s Auto Parts. They require a PIN to use their gift cards, so there’s more hope for replacing one that’s lost.

As soon as you know it’s gone, call or visit the customer service department of the retailer where it was purchased. And be ready to give them as much information as you can about the card and where it was purchased.

Brace yourself for unrecoverable funds

Although many retailers, such as Walmart, will replace a stolen card with your receipt, you might be out of luck if the card has been zeroed out.

Replacements are often based on the balance that the card has remaining at the time you report it missing. The retailer will transfer that balance over to a new card, and you can go on your merry way.

If the card was stolen and someone’s already gone shopping with it, don’t expect the retailer to assume that those purchases weren’t made by you.

Target and Best Buy are two other retailers that transfer the remaining balance to a new card if you have a receipt. Keyword: Remaining.

With no identifying information at the point of sale, there’s no way to know who used the card and spent the funds, so what’s left is what you’ve got.

Online gift cards

Online retailers such as Amazon.com may require more information to recover a lost or stolen gift card.

It’s a bit more difficult to know if a digital gift card has been stolen until it’s used, and losing one usually means the information has been deleted by you or someone else.

As with all other gift cards, the first thing to do is contact customer service. If the card is registered to you, you can give them the information that they need to replace it, including the order number from when the card was purchased.

A lost or stolen gift card is a disappointment, to be sure. But you might have options.

The best thing to do is save your receipts and register every card you receive, if possible, as soon as you get it. If you can add a PIN, all the better.

The more identifying information that you can offer, the more likely your chances are for recovering the loss.

Retailers don’t necessarily want to make it difficult for you, but they have to protect themselves against loss, too.

More on MintLife:

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: What You Should Do — and Not Do — When Meeting a New Dog

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,042 more deals!