Visa Gift Card vs. Prepaid Debit Card: Understanding the Differences

The Visa brand is practically everywhere, with debit cards issued by banks and gift cards sold by a variety of merchants. Visa cards have a lot of different features and qualities that make them unique, both from other brands and from each other. Consider Visa gift cards and prepaid Visa debit cards, two types of Visa brand cards that can provide secure payment for your transactions. They both possess beneficial qualities, but they are not the same card in the slightest. 

In an effort to better understand the features that make Visa gift cards unique, we are going to discuss the differences between Visa gift cards and prepaid debit cards, as well as alternative payment methods such as travel cards, checks, and traditional credit cards. It’s important you know what you are getting into before you make your choice, which is why we’ve provided all the facts you need right here. 

Some of the questions addressed in this article include:

  • What are the benefits of using a Visa gift card instead of a prepaid debit card?
  • Can I withdraw cash from a Visa gift card? 
  • Can I use a Visa gift card like a credit card?
  • Can I transfer funds from a Visa gift card to a bank account?

Visa Gift Card vs. Prepaid Debit Card

Visa gift cards are open-loop prepaid cards that may be used as payment anywhere that accepts the Visa brand. This means Visa gift cards are good at most restaurants, retailers, gas stations, and online businesses. So long as the place you are shopping at isn’t cash only, a Visa gift card will most likely come in handy. 

Unlike most other retail gift cards, a Visa gift card is not limited by brand or store and is therefore incredibly useful and versatile in terms of what you can use it for. A Visa gift card will come with a certain monetary value which is determined by the individual who purchases the card, and it will only be good for that amount. It is important to keep track of your Visa gift card balance while you are shopping so you know if you go beyond the gift card amount.

Aside from the typical Visa gift cards you may pass by at the supermarket, there are also prepaid Visa cards that have some notable differences. Visa prepaid cards are reloadable and make for excellent budgeting tools. You can use a prepaid Visa card to pay bills and make purchases anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted, and you don’t have to concern yourself with overdraft fees since your spending cannot exceed the available balance on your card. 

Visa Gift Card vs. Debit Card

Visa gift cards have a set amount of funds loaded onto them at the time of purchase. These prepaid gift cards are non-reloadable and are generally used for purchases at retailers, restaurants, and for a variety of services. Prepaid debit cards, however, may be reloaded with additional funds and do not have to be linked to a bank account, which means no worrying about overdraft fees. 

Prepaid debit cards are different from standard Visa debit cards, which must be connected to your bank account in order to make transactions. The amount you can spend depends on how much you have in your bank account, and any purchases that push you beyond that limit may lead to additional fees for you. Visa debit cards can be used to check your account balance and to withdraw money from ATMs that accept Visa, as well as make payments through POS machines. 

Visa Gift Card vs. Credit Card 

There is a stark contrast between Visa gift cards and regular credit cards. Gift cards, whether branded by Visa or sold by other merchants, have a set amount of funds that can be used to purchase a variety of goods and services. These funds will eventually be depleted and the gift card value will be reduced to $0, which means it can no longer be used as a form of payment. 

A credit card is not free or prepaid funds. When you pay with a credit card you are not using your own funds to pay for something, but you are creating a line of credit that will have to be paid off within a certain period of time, typically on a month-to-month basis. A Visa gift card can have a $50 value that you can use on your next purchase and not have to worry about paying those funds back, whereas any money you spend using a credit card will need to be paid off in order to avoid accruing fees. 

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to paying for all kinds of goods and services. Visa gift cards and prepaid debit cards only represent a fraction of the payment methods available to you. 

Visa Gift Card vs. Rewards Card

Visa gift cards can be used as payment anywhere that the Visa brand is accepted, but they do not provide users with any incentive to spend more money to earn certain rewards. Rewards cards may be prepaid or they may function like credit cards, but what makes them stand out from other forms of payment are the benefits or rewards you earn for making purchases with the card. Making purchases with a rewards card allows you to earn a range of bonuses including cash back, points, and airline miles. These benefits can be used to pay down your card balance, cover travel expenses, and for a variety of other purposes. Rewards cards add extra value to everyday spending and work to help users earn extra cash and bonuses while going about their daily lives. 

Visa Gift Card vs. Travel Card

Travel credit cards put the needs of travelers front and center by offering a range of rewards essential for traveling. You can accumulate points by making purchases with your travel card, and once you collect enough you can redeem your reward points for things like airline miles, hotel stays, car rentals, and cash back. Travel credit cards are not prepaid like Visa gift cards, which means you do not have to worry about exceeding your card’s funds. 

Visa Gift Card vs. Cash

You may be wondering what point there is in purchasing a Visa gift card for someone else when cash is an alternative option. After all, you can use cash almost anywhere you go and you don’t even need access to a bank account to pay. Cash may be preferable for some folks, but when it comes down to it, the convenience of electronic transactions is a huge benefit of Visa gift cards. Paying with a card also means you won’t have to worry about keeping track of your money or deal with disorganized change in your bag. 

Visa Gift Card vs Check

For some folks, a check can be a hassle to cash or deposit at a bank. A Visa gift card allows users to bypass bank accounts entirely by paying with prepaid funds that do not require access to the bank. Unless you know the individual you are buying for is comfortable with receiving checks, it is probably best to go with something convenient like a gift card. 

Visa Gift Card vs Money Order 

If you are familiar with money orders, then you will be pleased to know that you can get cash for your Visa gift card by purchasing a money order and paying for it with the gift card. With the popularity and security of electronic payments, money orders are not as common as they once were, but they can still be convenient for certain situations where cash is not accepted. 

Visa Gift Card vs. Bank Transfer

Do you just want to know how to get those funds off your Visa gift card and into your bank account? Completing a bank transfer is not that complicated and may be accomplished by using a third-party service like Venmo or PayPal. Of course, you will need to provide the 16-digit Visa gift card number and the security code located on the back of the card. Once the card is registered to your account, you can transfer the amount of the Visa gift card into your bank account.

Visa Gift Card vs. PayPal

You can easily pay with a Visa gift card on PayPal by registering the card to your account and selecting it during checkout. In general, PayPal is used for electronic transactions and is usually linked to a checking or other bank account to pull funds from during payment. Visa gift cards and PayPal have tons of perks of their own, but when used together there is all the more to enjoy. 

A Visa gift card may be just the thing to brighten somebody else’s day, or a prepaid debit card might be exactly what you need to get your budgets under control. 

How Do I Know if a Visa Gift Card or Prepaid Debit Card is Right For Me?

Even though Visa gift cards and prepaid debit cards are both fantastic cards when it comes to providing payment, the only way you can determine which card best suits your needs is by analyzing your situation and weighing the features of each card. What card you decide to get depends on what you want to do with the card, the functions you want from the card, and anything else that is important for you. 

For example, if you are looking to get a card that you can put multiple transactions on that you later pay off, then a credit card is probably what you want. However, if you need a credit card to use for your vacation expenses, you should consider looking into a travel card or rewards card, which help earn you points to redeem rewards and save even more money while doing what you love. Buying for somebody who is a little more old-fashioned? There’s never anything wrong with plain old cash or personal checks for folks you are close to. 

Whether a Visa gift card speaks to you or you believe a prepaid debit card is calling your name, make sure you do the necessary research on any card you are interested in buying. You should always shop with full confidence knowing you got your money’s worth from a purchase, and that includes when you’re shopping for Visa gift cards. 

Interested in picking up a Visa gift card? You can get predesigned and custom Visa gift cards delivered wherever you need to with Gift Card Granny. Visa gift cards can be digital or sent via mail, and orders placed before 4PM EST are shipped same-day for prompt service.