Mastercard Gift Cards for Parents: Is it Right for You?

Using a number of Mastercard gift cards or prepaid cards for families is a great way to track spending and stay organized. New parents and families are juggling a lot of plates, and Mastercard gift cards can be a practical and convenient way to lessen the load. As with any payment method, however, it is not perfect. This article will cover the pros and cons of Mastercard gift cards for families, how to use them, and whether or not they are right for you. 

Earn Cash Back On Gift Cards with Gift Card Granny

Gift Card Granny is an online service that supplies gift cards from many retailers. Gift Card Granny makes it easy to buy and send customized gift cards online and earn cash back while you do. Gift Card Granny carries thousands of local and national brands, including Visa gift cards, Mastercard gift cards, and gift cards for many amazing retailers.

Text eGift Cards on GiftYa

Another popular gift-giving site is GiftYa, which also offers customizable eGift cards! GiftYa lets you add custom photos or videos to all your gifts in the form of a virtual gift wrapper. A GiftYa can be sent by text or email, so the gift is always delivered within minutes. You can also schedule the gift to be sent on a specific date, such as a birthday or holiday. With over 16,000 local merchants and 280 national merchants usable at over 230k locations across the US, you can find the perfect gift for anyone!

Giving a Mastercard gift card as a gift to close friends is a great way to say thanks and help them with their budget!

How to Use Mastercard Gift Cards for Families

Mastercard gift cards let families set aside money for certain aspects of their lives. Families make a lot of purchases, and utilizing Mastercard gift cards as a way to track expenses can be a great boon for new families. If you are interested in purchasing a Mastercard gift card as a gift, purchasing it for new families is an excellent way to give a gift that is practical and convenient, helping them with all their new monthly purchases for their kids. Prepaid gift cards are excellent alternatives to carrying around credit or debit cards once kids start to spend their own money, without having to carry all their cash around. There are a lot of ways to use Mastercard gift cards for families. This section will cover a variety of ways in which a Mastercard gift card can help families stay organized with their spending. Let’s get to it!

Mastercard Gift Cards for Allowance

To start things off, we have Mastercard gift cards for allowance. Using prepaid cards in this way helps give kids the feel of using a credit or debit card without having to open a bank account or give them access to a lot of money all at once. The maximum value of a Mastercard gift card is $500, which is more than enough for a kid’s allowance. One caution here, however, is the purchase and activation fees associated with Mastercard gift cards. While they are incredibly practical, using a lot of Mastercard gift cards causes those little fees to grow significantly. 

Budgeting Monthly Purchases

Perhaps our favorite way to use Mastercard gift cards for parents is to budget monthly purchases. Budgets are an amazing way to keep track of your spending, but while they look good on paper, it is challenging to follow them month after month. If you find that there’s a piece of your budget that often gives you trouble, consider using a Mastercard gift card as an additional obstacle to keep you on track. You’ll get a big reminder when you look at the balance of your Mastercard each month, and you can use whatever you have left over as a bonus for the next month. 

You can customize these Mastercard gift cards at Gift Card Granny with a fun photo and message line. The photo can relate to the card’s purpose or be a picture of your family.  

Here are some common budget categories where a Mastercard gift card may help you save and stay within budget each month: 

  • Groceries. Food is always a challenging category to budget because groceries are a necessity. Budgeting on groceries involves finding a balance between micro and macro savings. On a micro scale, you can swap out some name brands for store brands, and cut back on some premium purchases, if you make any. On a macro scale, you can start meal planning and avoid meals with expensive ingredients or start shopping at an Aldi. 
  • Restaurants. A Mastercard gift card is a practical and convenient way to budget restaurant trips each month. There are a lot of ways to save at restaurants, and cutting back on take-out and dine-in trips is another way to stay within budget. Cooking becomes a far greater challenge with kids in the house, so be sure to build in funds for nights when cooking even the simplest meal seems impossible. 
  • Clothes Shopping. Clothes are an interesting category when using Mastercard gift cards for budgeting because some people love clothes shopping and go voluntarily, while others avoid it at all costs. Regardless of how your friend sees this activity, budgeting their monthly expenses is a smart financial move. 

Mastercard Gift Cards are Usable in Any Store

The flexibility of Mastercard gift cards is what makes them so practical and convenient for parents. You can use them in any store that accepts Mastercards, which is just about every store out there. You can check your balance whenever you need and use whatever remains on the card to split a purchase, as long as you have another payment method on hand. 

One downside to these cards is that you cannot reload funds onto them, meaning you have to keep purchasing new cards (and pay the fees) if you use these every month. There is a different card called a Prepaid Mastercard, which lets you load money as you desire. The prepaid card is excellent for budgeting purposes, but Mastercard gift cards are best to give as gifts. 

Mastercard gift cards for families are practical and convenient gifts perfect for any parent. 

How to Activate a Mastercard Gift Card

You can activate your gift card here or call the toll-free number on the back of the card (1-833-623-4266). Once you activate your card, you are good to go with your purchases. Activation is essential before you try to use your card online. On the topic of using your gift card online, here are the steps to make sure your purchase goes through when using the Mastercard gift card online: 

  • Ensure the balance of your card is greater than the cost of your purchase, including taxes and fees. 
  • Select Credit or Debit as the payment method, not Gift Card
  • Enter the card information as you would a credit or debit card. 
  • Fill in your name and address in the Billing Address section, and then you should be good to go!

Once your card is active, you can use it however you wish. Happy shopping! 

Pros and Cons of Mastercard Gift Card for Families

Mastercard gift cards allow for serious flexibility in spending. There are, however, cons to using these cards as well.  Let’s jump into the pros and cons of prepaid gift cards.

Mastercard Gift Card for Families— Pros

There are a number of benefits to using a Mastercard gift card for budgeting. 

Great for Budgeting

Parents using Mastercard gift cards can keep track of spending. A conventional budget is mainly limited to an idea. You can write out, “I will spend no more than $200 this month on restaurants,” but nothing is stopping you, other than your willpower, from going out twice a week each week and ending the month solidly over budget. A Mastercard gift card comes with a set balance and no way to add more funds. While not the most monetarily efficient, the hard limits when you use Mastercard gift cards for budgeting help you stay within budget even if it means you have to skip out on some end-of-the-month purchases. 


Another boon for Mastercard gift cards for parents is that you can put exactly how much money you want on them (between $5 and $500). This lets you customize the cards to your budget and put on exactly how much you are able to spend that month, and you can decide how much to put on cards for different kinds of spending. 

On top of that, the customizability makes Mastercard gift cards great gifts for families you know.  At Gift Card Granny, you can build your own gift card design to suit your friends perfectly. 

Prepaid Mastercard gift cards also allow you to add a custom picture, a gift message, and a logo.

Virtual or Plastic

Many gift card retailers, like Gift Card Granny, allow you to purchase a virtual or plastic gift card. The virtual gift card is sent immediately to the recipient’s email address, and the plastic card is shipped. Plastic gift cards are a bit more weighty, and virtual gift cards are excellent when paired with Apple or Google Pay. 

Mastercard Gift Card for Families — Cons

There are, unfortunately, cons to using a prepaid gift card as well. The limitations of these cards can catch new users unaware, resulting in an overall negative experience. If Mastercard gift cards for budgeting ever become a headache, instead of being practical and convenient, you are ready to go back to classic cash budgeting or a Prepaid Mastercard. Here are some common drawbacks to using Mastercard gift cards for budgeting. 


All Mastercard gift cards have a pair of fees associated with their use. There is a purchase fee and an activation fee which total around $5 per card. This is not a lot, but it does eat into your budget and adds up quickly after months of using Mastercard gift cards for budgeting. In terms of gift-giving, it is recommended that the gift-giver deals with the fees associated with the card. Send over a Mastercard gift card that’s activated and ready to go!

Splitting Purchases

The final purchase of any prepaid gift card is always the most challenging. To make the most out of the card, you have to ring up a purchase greater than the remaining balance on the card (or equal if you are really lucky) and split the payment between the prepaid card and another form of payment you have on hand. Many retailers have procedures to make this happen, but if it starts to annoy you, you can switch to another form of budgeting. 

Especially if you plan on giving Mastercard gift cards to your kids, make sure they understand how these cards work to evade any unfortunate situations where they try to make a purchase that’s greater than the funds on the card without any other way to pay. 

We are positive that any parents you know would love to receive a Mastercard gift card in the mail!

Mastercard Gift Card for Parents: Is it Right for You?

Mastercard gift cards for parents can be an amazing way to keep track of spending as a family. Use them wisely and make the most out of your budget with Mastercard gift cards from Gift Card Granny

Frequently Asked Questions

How can parents use a Mastercard gift card for family expenses?

Parents can use Mastercard gift cards for families to purchase just about anything! They can use it for groceries, gas, and other in-store purchases with ease. The downside to Mastercard gift cards is the difficulty in spending them online, so they are not the best option for utilities, 

Can I set up a recurring allowance for my child with a Mastercard gift card?

Yes! Mastercard gift cards are a practical and convenient way to give a set allowance to a child. It functions similarly to cash, where they have a limited amount of funds upon which to draw. Be careful, however, because a Mastercard gift card gets declined if they attempt to purchase something of a greater value than is left on the card, and keeping track of the remaining balance is tedious. 

How do I check the transaction history on a Mastercard gift card for my family's expenses?

You can check the transaction history and balance on your Mastercard gift card on their website: