Mastercard Gift Card Versus Visa Gift Card: Which One to Choose

Prepaid gift cards are excellent for all kinds of special occasions, from birthdays and graduation to employee rewards and recognition. This article will cover the differences between a Mastercard gift card and a Visa gift card, the associated fees, how to register, and more. Let’s get to it!

What are Visa and Mastercard?

Before jumping into Mastercard gift cards vs. Visa gift cards, we want to discuss the companies behind the prepaid cards. There are some differences between Visa and Mastercard, but they are not banks, rather, they are networks that process payments between merchants and cardholders. These two companies handle the payment information and authorization to simplify the transaction. Many card issuers utilize Visa and Mastercard. Check your credit cards, they probably bear the logo of one of these two companies!

Is Visa or Mastercard Accepted in More Stores?

These two companies are about equal in the number of retailers that accept them around the globe. It is in the best interests of most businesses to accept both companies, and because of that, the stores that accept one and not the other are few and far between. The most trouble which you are likely to run into is cash-only places. These, too, are lessening in number, but there are still a fair amount of these places. You are more likely to run into a store that accepts neither Visa nor Mastercard instead of one that accepts one and not the other. 


Mastercard Gift Card vs. Visa Gift Card

There are few differences between Mastercard gift cards and Visa gift cards in relation to their usage and benefits. Both are preloaded, non-reloadable, widely-accepted cards that provide flexibility in gift-giving and spending. They share some limitations, which are:

  • Expiry Date. Both cards are valid for a set number of years. While the funds do not disappear, you cannot use an expired card.
  • Associated Fees. Alongside the cost of purchasing the card, you are required to pay both activation fees and inactivity fees. 
  • Non-Reloadable. Prepaid gift cards differ from other prepaid cards because you can only load a gift card once with a set amount between $5 and $500. 
  • Require Activation. Some merchants do not accept unactivated prepaid gift cards. The activation process is simple. You can follow the steps on Visa or Mastercard’s website or call the number on your card. 

These limitations are common between both Visa and Mastercard gift cards. These cards function interchangeably and are the two top sources of prepaid gift cards for gift-giving. They share the same flexibility and usability, where each gift card can be spent anywhere, and with payment splitting, it is easy to use the card all in one place, like your next grocery trip. Even if only a few cents remain on the card, you can pay those upfront and cover the rest with an alternate payment method. 

Visa and Mastercard Gift Card Fees

There are no usage fees associated with these cards, but there are a few fees associated with these gift cards. The price varies depending on the card’s value, usually between $4 and $8 depending on the card’s value. 

Which Gift Card is Better?

There’s no clear winner between these two gift cards. Both cards provide excellent coverage in retailers at the cost of a small activation fee at the beginning. There are a lot of excellent times to purchase and gift one of these cards, and we believe that you will find the same amount of success regardless of the differences between a Mastercard gift card and a Visa gift card. 

A little packaging goes a long way. Regardless of the differences between Mastercard gift cards and Visa gift cards, adding a personal flair to the gift itself is bound to bring a smile to your friend’s face. 

Pros and Cons of Prepaid Gift Card

Gift cards are one of the best gifts out there. They provide so much value, letting people go out and spend it on something exciting or use it to help their monthly expenditures on something necessary like groceries, gas, or other household supplies. Purchasing a gift card to a specific store often evades the pesky activation fees of Mastercard and Visa gift cards, but it locks the recipient into one specific store. Prepaid cards grant them maximum flexibility. Let’s jump into the pros and cons of prepaid gift cards.

Mastercard Gift Card vs. Visa Gift Card — Pros

Prepaid gift cards are excellent gifts, and many pros are associated with them. This section will cover the reasons to purchase a prepaid gift card for yourself or for friends and family to celebrate a special occasion. 


Prepaid cards grant the user spectacular flexibility to spend it wherever and whenever they like with little to no hassle. Any store that accepts Visa or Mastercard will accept the prepaid card. Sending a prepaid gift card as a gift is equivalent to handing over cash or a check. Prepaid gift cards are excellent gifts for pragmatic recipients as well as those to whom money is the best gift. Wrapping up cash in an envelope is a bit tasteless, so purchasing a prepaid gift card, especially one you’ve customized, is a great way to send a gift that you know they will love. 


Sometimes you find a gift card for the right store at the right amount — but it looks quite bland. You don’t want that! At Gift Card Granny, you can build your own gift card design and find one that perfectly suits your friend or family member. 

Prepaid Mastercard and Visa gift cards also allow you to add a custom picture, a gift message, and even a logo, should you so desire. 

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 let your recipient feel the joy of receiving an actual gift, and it is easy to add the card to their wallet and use it at the appropriate time. 

The case for virtual gift cards has gone up with the use of Apple and Google Pay. It is super easy to add a prepaid gift card to your phone’s wallet and scan it at a register. The danger of losing the physical card — and the money it had — is gone when it is added to your phone’s wallet!

Budgeting Monthly Purchases

This section is more about purchasing prepaid gift cards for your own use, but these cards might help you stick to your monthly budget. 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 prepaid 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 card each month, and you can use whatever you have left over as a bonus for the next month. 

Mastercard Gift Card vs. Visa Gift Card — 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. These cards should be used because they are a step up from writing your friend a check, and if you think that these following obstacles will give your friend a headache, we recommend sticking to a more traditional form of monetary gift. 


Prepaid gift cards have an activation fee that you, as the purchaser, should pay for. This is usually only a few dollars, but it does add up if you buy a lot. On top of the activation fee, both cards have dormancy fees that kick in after one year of inactivity. This rarely comes into play, as most people who have had a prepaid gift card for over a year have misplaced it or aren’t going to use it. 

Expiration Date

There is a difference between Visa gift cards and Mastercard gift cards in terms of their expiration. Visa gift cards expire 7 years after they are issued, and Mastercard gift cards are available until the balance on the card is $0. Due to inactivity fees, however, it is rare that cards last for much longer than a year after they are received. 

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 you feel your friend may decide to let the remaining funds go rather than spend them this way, a prepaid gift card is not for them. 

Mastercard gift card vs. Visa gift card: Which is your favorite?

Earn Cash Back On Gift Cards with Gift Card Granny

As a quick reminder, we’ve pointed out all of the retailers on this list that you can find on Gift Card Granny as of this writing. 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!

Mastercard Gift Card vs. Visa Gift Card: Which One to Choose?

At the end of the day — It is up to you. Both of these cards provide excellent value with a few limitations and are great gifts to friends and family alike. Regarding which gift card is better, one way to set one over the other is if you find a deal on one of the cards. 

Remember: you can buy and customize Mastercard and Visa gift cards on Gift Card Granny to craft them as the perfect gift for you or your friends. Gift Card Granny offers customized physical gift cards as well as customized e-gift cards. 

FAQ: Mastercard gift card vs. Visa gift card

What are the differences between a Mastercard gift card and a Visa gift card?

Mastercard gift cards and Visa gift cards work the same and can both be redeemed at many retailers across the country. 

Which gift card is more widely accepted?

Both Mastercard and Visa gift cards are accepted by almost every retailer in the country. 

Can I use a Mastercard gift card where Visa is accepted?

As long as the retailer accepts Mastercard gift cards as well. While Visa cards and Mastercards are separate entities, almost every retailer accepts them both. 

Can I exchange a Mastercard gift card for a Visa gift card?

There are certain stores that do not allow you to purchase a gift card with a gift card, but Target and Walmart will let you spend a Mastercard to purchase a Visa gift card. 

What are the fees for a Mastercard gift card vs. a Visa gift card?

Visa gift cards have a small fee, around $3, to activate, and Mastercard gift cards have a similar purchase fee for all their gift cards.