How to Activate a Mastercard Gift Card

Nothing beats receiving a gift, especially when you are not expecting one. And whether it’s for a special occasion or a spur-of-the-moment decision while out shopping, you can never go wrong with picking up a gift card. There are tons of options when it comes to shopping for gift cards, for both in-store and digital transactions. Whether you wish to pick up a gift card at a local department store to stick in a greeting card for a mail carrier to deliver or you want to bypass the wait and purchase a virtual gift card that will be quickly received by your gift recipient, there are so many possibilities when it comes to choosing gift cards that work for you. 

Typical retail gift cards are something most of us are well-accustomed to. Ever since gift certificates became popular in the world of retail, it has become commonplace to give and receive funds that can only be used at specific businesses and locations. You can find gift cards for essentially any store nowadays, from national chains to local joints. Restaurants, boutiques, drug stores, book shops, and pretty much any other category of store offer gift cards for patrons to purchase and give to friends and family. Whoever you may be shopping for, you should have no problem finding a gift card that meets their needs. 

Still, if traditional retail gift cards don’t make the cut for your gifting needs, try not to get too worried because there are other options out there. Bank gift cards like the Mastercard gift card take the basic functions of retail gift cards and make them even better. Unlike retail gift cards, bank gift cards are a form of prepaid card that can be used to make purchases at any place that accepts major credit or debit card brands. This means that you can use a Mastercard gift card almost anywhere to purchase a variety of goods and services, and you do not even have to worry about having a limited range of retailers to shop at. 

Mastercard gift cards are incredibly helpful shopping tools that may be used to pay for all kinds of things. Since retail gift cards are limited to specific locations and brands, you need to be certain the person you are buying for will actually be interested in shopping there. This may not be possible for all buyers, which is why a Mastercard gift card can be especially helpful in a pinch. Your gift recipient will be able to use a Mastercard gift card for anything they want, and you do not have to put in any extra work – how great is that? 

This article will tell you how to activate a Mastercard gift card so that you can use it to make purchases in physical stores and online, as well as provide you with additional information regarding the Mastercard gift card activation process. Some common questions you will find answers to in this article include:

  • Do I need to register my Mastercard gift card before using it?
  • How long does it take to activate a Mastercard gift card?
  • Can I activate a Mastercard gift card online?

Before you rush off to the nearest store with your brand new Mastercard gift card, take time to certify that your gift card will work by ensuring that it is activated and transaction-ready. 

Mastercard Gift Card Registration 

Before a Mastercard gift card can be used to make purchases, it needs to be activated. Upon activation, Mastercard gift cards will be registered to a specific account where the current balance and past transactions can be viewed. 

Typical retail gift cards do not require activation, but since Mastercard gift cards are a lot more versatile than in-store gift cards, extra security measures are taken to ensure their validity and protect against fraud. Both plastic and digital Mastercard gift cards can be redeemed at different online and brick-and-mortar stores once they are activated, which makes them a fantastic tool to use on your shopping trips. 

Keep in mind that the activation process being discussed is primarily relevant to Mastercard gift cards delivered in the mail, ordered from online shops, and such. If you purchase a gift card at a physical store, you have the cashier load funds onto the card while checking out; the cashier takes the card, activates it, and then loads the dollar amount specified by you. Once completed, the Mastercard gift card is immediately ready for use in any store that accepts credit or debit card payments. 

How Do I Activate my Mastercard Gift Card? 

Activating your Mastercard gift card is a fairly straightforward process that should not take longer than a few minutes of your time. In a time where many of us have busy schedules and value convenience over all else, it is a relief to know the Mastercard gift card activation process is quick and uncomplicated. 

In order to activate your Mastercard gift card, you will need to have the gift card account number, the expiration date, and the card verification value (CVV) located on the gift card itself. There is a toll-free number (1-833-623-4266) on the back of the card that you can call and will be prompted to put in the gift card’s information. It is important to take note of the 16-digit number of your Mastercard gift card, the valid thru date, and the 3-digit security code so that you retain the information if your card ever gets misplaced or stolen. 

For security reasons, it may take up to twenty-four hours after activation for your Mastercard gift card to function properly. If you discover that you cannot immediately complete a transaction with your card after you call to activate, try not to fret and wait for the allocated amount of time to pass. 

Can I Activate a Mastercard Gift Card Online? 

Yes, you can activate a Mastercard gift card online, and it is extremely easy to do so. In fact, this activation method may be even more popular for folks than activating a Mastercard gift card over the phone, especially when it comes to young people. 

To activate a Mastercard gift card online, visit the official Mastercard website and enter the card number, expiration date, and CVV into the corresponding boxes. You may also use this website to check your current card balance and view past transactions to keep track of what you have used your gift card value on. 

Gift Card Granny offers our own tool to activate both Visa and Mastercard gift cards. You can also use Gift Card Granny to check the running balances on Visa Prepaid Gift Cards, Virtual Visa Gift Cards, Virtual Mastercard Gift Cards, and Mastercard Gift Cards. Make sure you enter all of the card information accurately so that you do not run into any errors along the way. Once the information is all submitted, you will see a picture of your card along with your available balance. You also have the option to create a 4-digit PIN for your card, which allows you to use the card for debit transactions. If you do not create a PIN, you will need to run your card as a credit. 

If you wish to view the many other retail gift cards available at Gift Card Granny, you can browse our selection here

Gift Card Granny makes activating your Mastercard gift card as simple as ever so that you can spend a whole lot more time shopping and less time worrying. 

Why is Activation Necessary? 

When buying a gift card for someone else, you probably want to make them do the least work possible. The bonus step of activation for Mastercard gift cards can seem like quite a lot and may even deter you from purchasing, but rest assured that activating your Mastercard gift card is a fundamental step that adds extra security. The activation process gives the gift card issuer time to run fraud prevention checks and to ensure that the Mastercard gift card was not purchased with a stolen credit card. 

While not all gift cards require activation before they can be used, Bank-issued gift cards that are delivered in the mail typically need to be activated once received. Any transactions you try to make with the gift card before it is activated will be declined because there is no temporary bank account linked to the card number you have. 

Considering it only takes a couple minutes, the gift card activation process is well worth your time in order to access your prepaid funds. However, you should be aware that it could take up to twenty-four hours for a Mastercard gift card to be fully activated. This wait period, as mentioned before, offers extra security by detecting fraud and ensures your funds are fully and safely loaded. 

What Do I Do if My Mastercard Gift Card Won’t Activate?

If you are attempting to shop using your Mastercard gift card and discover that it is not working for transactions, then there is a good chance your gift card has not been properly activated. A Mastercard gift card that has not been activated will not be able to be used until it is registered by you. 

If your Mastercard gift card does not appear to be activated, then the next step is to input all of the relevant information (gift card account number, security code, and expiration date) into your phone or online. If you complete these steps and encounter an error along the way, there is a good chance you have entered incorrect information. Make sure to double check all of the numbers you entered. In most cases, it can be something as simple as switching a couple numbers around in a long sequence, such as with the 16-digit activation code. 

Still experiencing issues? We suggest calling the customer service number located on the back of your Mastercard gift card. You can also contact the Mastercard Assistance Center toll-free at 1-800-627-8372 (call collect outside the U.S. at 1-636-722-7111). 

If you purchased a Mastercard gift card from a physical retailer, then you will need to make sure the cashier activated the gift card at the till. Return to the business you purchased the Mastercard gift card from and bring any receipts you have so that the problem may be resolved. 


There are many methods available at your disposal to successfully activate a Mastercard gift card. From calling the toll-free number on the back of your Mastercard gift card to utilizing the online activation tools provided by Mastercard or Gift Card Granny, you have plenty of methods to choose from. Just be sure to keep your Mastercard gift card on hand so that you have access to the gift card activation number, expiration date, and security code, as you will always need to have this information in order to activate or use your gift card. If misplaced, this information can help you recover your gift card and ensure no fraud takes place. 

A Mastercard gift card should make your shopping experience all the more worthwhile, so get your Mastercard gift card activated ASAP and use it to your advantage. Whether you already have a shopping list made of all the items you plan to buy using your gift card or you plan on using it to help fund your next trip to the supermarket for everyday necessities, there is truly no limit as to what a Mastercard gift card can do for you!