How To Activate and Use a Vanilla Gift Card

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Vanilla Gift Cards are prepaid debit cards that offer the flexibility to shop online or in-store wherever Visa or Mastercard is accepted. Here’s what you need to know about activating and using a Vanilla Gift Card so you can get the most out of this convenient payment method. 

See: How To Save $200 on Your Grocery Bill Every Month

What Are Vanilla Gift Cards?

Vanilla Gift Cards are preloaded with a fixed amount of money, making them a secure and convenient alternative to carrying cash. These gift cards are typically issued by Sutton Bank, are available for purchase in different denominations and include a purchase fee. They are not reloadable, meaning once you’ve used up the funds, you’ll need to dispose of the card.

How To Activate a Vanilla Gift Card

If you have a Vanilla Visa eGift card, it does not need to be activated. However, plastic Vanilla Gift Cards do. Here are the steps to activate your card.

  1. Locate the activation sticker. On the front of the gift card, you’ll find an activation sticker with a phone number and/or a website address.
  2. Call or visit the website. Choose the most convenient option to activate.
  3. Enter the required details. If you call, follow the automated prompts to enter the card’s details. On the activation website, you’ll be prompted to enter the card number, expiration date and the three-digit CVV code found on the back of the card.
  4. Confirm the card’s activation. Once you’ve provided all the necessary information, click the “Continue” button and/or follow the prompts to complete the activation process. 
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Does the Vanilla Gift Card Need a PIN?

According to the Vanilla Visa Gift Card cardholder agreement, you can set a PIN the first time you make a point-of-sale purchase by using any four-digit number you would like. However, if you want to change your PIN, you’ll have to call customer service and provide your account number, expiration date and security code.

How To Use Your Vanilla Gift Card Online

After activating your Vanilla Gift Card, you can start using it for online purchases. When making an online transaction, follow these steps to use your gift card:

  1. Select “Credit” or “Debit” for the type of card. Do not select “Gift Card.”
  2. Enter the card’s number, expiration date and CVV code just like you would with a regular credit or debit card
  3. Fill in your name and address. 
  4. Complete your purchase by clicking the “buy” button. 

How To Use Your Vanilla Gift Card for In-Store Purchases

Using your Vanilla Gift Card for in-store purchases is as easy as swiping any other debit or credit card. Follow these steps when making a purchase at a physical store:

  1. Check your Vanilla Gift Card balance to see if you have enough for your purchase. Be aware that some transaction types can hold 20% more than the purchase amount.
  2. Choose the credit option and swipe, or choose the debit option and enter the four-digit PIN you chose during your initial debit purchase.
  3. Sign the point-of-sale pad or receipt if needed. 
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You can also add your Vanilla Gift Card to your digital wallet so you can use it with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay. 

How To Use Your Vanilla Gift Card at the Gas Station

If you use your Vanilla Gift Card at the gas station pump, there could be a hold placed on the lesser of your entire balance or up to $175. To avoid this, walk inside and prepay for the gas with your card. 

How To Check Your Vanilla Gift Card Balance

Keeping track of your Vanilla Gift Card balance will ensure that you have sufficient funds for your purchases. Here’s how:

  • Visit the website: Enter your card details at to view the current balance.
  • Call customer service: Dial 833-322-6760 and follow the prompts to check your balance.

How To Use Your Vanilla Gift Card for Partial Payments

When you want to make a purchase that you know will exceed the card’s balance, you might be able to still use your Vanilla Gift Card for partial payments.

If you’re making a purchase in person, tell the cashier the specific amount you want to deduct from the gift card, and pay the remaining balance using another payment method.

Be aware that some merchants may require you to pay the remaining balance. 

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If you’re making an online purchase, you’ll have to look and see whether the merchant will allow partial payments on the payment page. For example, Amazon offers split payments.


Using a Vanilla Gift Card provides a convenient and secure way to shop online or in-store. By understanding the activation process and following the simple payment steps, you can easily use your Vanilla Gift Card to make purchases. Just make sure that there is enough money on the gift card to cover your purchase before you head to the checkout. 


Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about activating and using Vanilla Gift Cards.
  • Do you need to activate a Vanilla Visa Gift Card?
    • Yes, your Vanilla Visa Gift Card needs to be activated for you to use it. You can activate it either online or by phone. 
  • How do I use my Vanilla Gift Card for the first time?
    • To use your Vanilla Gift Card for the first time, you must activate it. Call 833-322-6760 or visit to complete the activation. Once activated, your Vanilla Visa Gift Card works just like a regular debit or credit card, and you can use it to make purchases at any retailer that accepts Visa cards.
  • Why won't my Vanilla Gift Card activate?
    • First, double-check that you followed the activation instructions correctly, either online or by phone. If the problem is not resolved, reach out to the customer support number located on the card.
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Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.


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