Yesterday Whitney posted a question in the comment section about why I use Giftcards.com over GiftCardMall as my primary source for PIN-enabled gift cards. I’ve gotten this question quite a bit over the years and thought it was worth addressing, in case it helped others make sense of their manufactured spending strategy. For me, it comes down to a simple fact: I haven’t been able to get a GiftCardMall transaction approved in over five years.
Back in 2013, shopping portals were running an insane cashback deal on Visa gift card purchases through GiftCardMall. I don’t remember the exact amount, but I want to say it was between 3 – 5%. In other words, it was HUGELY profitable. Each card was capped at $1,000 (as opposed to $500) and the purchase limit was fairly high.
I placed one big order, it came through and I was generously rewarded for it. A few months later, I tried to place another order. By this time, the cashback amount had been lowered along with the purchase limit. My transactions wouldn’t go through. I figured at first it was getting processed as a cash advance transaction, and since my limit was below the purchase amount, the bank was declining it. But that turned out not to be the case.
Why GiftCardMall Keeps Declining My Gift Card Orders
Over the years, I’ve tried multiple times to place a Visa gift card order through GiftCardMall. Even the smallest transactions (i.e. $500) wouldn’t go through. On one or two occasions, I received a confirmation number, followed by a cancellation notice via email. So I gave it up and focused on buying my cards at giftcards.com.
I know lots of people who are able to purchase Visa gift cards from GiftcardMall without these issues. Unfortunately, that’s doesn’t apply to me, for whatever reason. My guess is I got blacklisted after that big purchase. If you fall into this group and are wondering which source you should buy your Visa gift cards from, consider the following:
Gift Card Fees
Giftcards.com charges a $6.45 fee per card, plus $7.45 for shipping. Meanwhile, GiftCardMall charges $5.95 per card and shipping is free on orders up to $1500. Above that, a $10.95 shipping fee applies.
A ~$2450 gift card purchase would cost you $42.20 through Giftcards.com and $40.70 through GiftCardMall. Split your GiftCardMall purchase in half and you’ll save another $10.95 on shipping.
The cash back payout on giftcards.com and GiftCardMall is often the same. Shopping portals like Yazing normally offer 1% cash back on Visa gift cards at both merchants. However, factoring in the lower fees makes GiftCardMall the better option.
It’s possible to get a higher payout on Giftcards.com purchases. Yazing offers 1.25% cash back on MasterCard gift cards purchased through Giftcards.com. Since MasterCard gift cards can be liquidated through money orders just like their Visa counterparts, there’s really no reason not to buy these instead. While an extra 0.25% cash back may not seem like much, it’s actually pretty significant. On a $2,500 purchase, you’ll earn $6.25 more cash back than on Visa gift cards.
Right now, iConsumer is offering 2% cash back at Giftcard.com: 0.8% cash back and 1.2% in stocks. Take that at face value. iConsumer could very well pull a BigCrumbs and rename the company in order to get out of paying their “partners” their fair share. But if you want to sign up anyway, consider doing so with my iConsumer referral link.
Giftcards.com limits gift card purchases to $2,500 per transaction and you can submit two per day. The monthly limit for both sites is $60,000 worth of purchases. That’s up from the previous $30,000 gift card purchase limit introduced a year ago.
If you haven’t been blacklisted like I have, GiftCardMall can be a cheaper place to buy Visa gift cards. If not, then 1.25% cash back on MasterCard gift cards isn’t bad either. Regardless of which site you go with, I recommend you churn gift cards in moderation and mix in lots of regular spending to avoid credit card shut-downs.
Which merchant are you using for gift card churning purposes?