My Week in Manufactured Spending: Running Into Issues with Giftcards.com

Shortly before I returned from Europe, I received reports of issues with Giftcards.com orders. Apparently there are a myriad of problems related to certain card designs. Ordering them gets you gift cards with flat numbers (not a big deal) that are issued by Sunrise Bank. I still haven’t been able to figure out which designs end up being issued by Sunrise Bank, but I picked the owl and sunflower cards, which were both issued by Metabank.

Metabank Visa gift cards from Giftcards.com

Metabank Visa gift cards from Giftcards.com

These cards cannot be unloaded at Walmart via money orders, so you definitely don’t want to end up with these cards. There were also issues reported on Flyertalk related to card activation as well as gift cards arriving in separate envelopes. I experienced most of these issues myself after placing my first order following a month long hiatus. I’m told it has to do with some system changes giftcards.com has undergone recently.

After getting a couple of orders cancelled, which hasn’t happened to me in many months, I finally received my first batch of gift cards in the mail yesterday. I had purchased just under $2,500 worth of Visa gift cards for myself and another $2,000 for my dad. Both arrived at the same time, but right away I noticed a few things were off. One of the gift cards in my order was mailed out in a separate envelope and the packaging slips looked very different. I tried to activate them using the Giftcards.com app but would either receive an error message or the balance would show up as $0. I got on the phone with a few different Giftcards.com reps, none of whom were the least bit helpful. One started opening up a case before he even heard the whole story and two others insisted the cards did in fact have the appropriate balances on them.

One phone representative explained that some of the cards were not properly activated via the app. She wasn’t able to activate them on her end, but recommended I do it via the phone system. This was a bit of a hassle but I ultimately got through all of the cards and when I checked the balances on the Giftcards.com app afterwards, each was showing the correct balance. 

Figuring all of this out took about an hour of my day but going forward, I at least know the process and how to navigate around some of these issues. I’ll have to contend with having to activate gift cards over the phone and re-checking to make sure the balance is intact on each one. On the plus side, it appears that under the new system, all PIN numbers are automatically set to the last four digits of the card. This does save me some time because now I don’t have to re-set each PIN individually. Hopefully the mobile app is updated soon and the process of buying and liquidating these gift cards goes back to being fairly simple.

Have you had issues with Giftcards.com orders recently? Please share your experience in the comment section.

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Ariana Arghandewal


  1. Ariana, do you know if you can pay off a Citi credit card with a VGC directly over the phone with their Cust.Service? I heard that it’s possible to do $500/day like this, but never tried.

  2. Just ordered a bunch of from gift cards.com. Basketball design all flat numbers and issued by metabank. I had a bad feeling when gift card.com added the new box that you had to scroll down to agree to the terms. How are you liquedating these metabank GC’S?

    Have you tried buying from giftcard mall?

  3. Ariana, I have spotted the same activation issue via the app. However, you just need to ignore the error, go back to the activation screen, and hit submit again. The balance shows up correctly and the card is indeed activated. I have done this all along for the past 1m over 50 cards with no issues.

  4. You say that “These cards cannot be unloaded at Walmart via money orders…” So how are you planning on liquidating the cards? Thanks!

  5. I had the same issue when activating thru mobile app. I ended up to use my laptop to activate all. All cards are issued by Meta and working well in WM mo.

  6. I can vouch for what Sanjay wrote — I’ve found that, when using the app to activate a card, submitting its number twice generally does the trick (i.e., when you get the fail message, press “back” and then “submit” or “activate” again).

    Same as Oz, I haven’t had any problems at Wally.

    I do hate how the cards arrive piecemeal — some one day, a few others the next.

  7. Did anyone notice that the cards are being shipped from Nevada now instead of Pittsburgh?

  8. I have activated my cards on the phone and when I check the balance it says zero. I have called many times to customer service and have spoken to a supervisor and they said to check back in 1-2 business days. I tried to activate online and an error message is given. These cards are Metabank. What should I do? I need to liquidate these cards ASAP since the credit card bill is due. Thanks

  9. Giftcards.com was acquired by Blackhawk networks which also owns Giftcardmall.com. That’s why they are now issued with flat #’s and pin set to last 4.

  10. Confusing to track orders now, with the multiple envelopes. Haven’t had any issues with activation using my laptop. I did have one order not ship, however, and had to call in. CS rep was a bit challenging, but with persistence on my part, he figured out which cards hadn’t shipped, and told me they’d look into it. Cards arrived a few days later, so not too painful. Can’t decide if I want to get as many orders in now as I can, if they were bought out by Blackhawk, or wait for them to work the kinks out…

  11. I also recently placed an order after a few weeks hiatus and noticed difference right away. They no longer send shipping confirmation numbers once orders have been sent out and the design I ordered also had the flat numbers instead of the embossed ones. However, I was still able to purchase MO without any hiccups. Does anyone know if any of the card designs they carry still have the embossment that can be unloaded at WM? I am also missing one order that was placed over a week ago, which has been escalated to upper management. I have no idea what’s going on over there now but I hope they get it together.

  12. I’ve had difficulty with reorders. I cannot complete the order
    at the final button. The scrolling terms and conditions button
    Does not activate and so I am stuck! Very frustrating..

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