Got a bunch of gift cards with a small balance on them? Consolidate them into one!

Do you have gift cards lying around or in your purse or wallet with a small balance left on them?

Have you been carrying them around for awhile unsure how to use them?

You can’t just take them to the store and use them because you have to know exactly how much is left on them, and often it’s just not worth the effort to deal with using a $2.49 gift card then having to use your credit card for the rest of your purchase.  Not to mention the dirty looks you’ll get from the customers waiting in line behind you.

Well, I have a solution for you if you have a small amount left on a gift card so you can make sure those balances don’t go to waste, you don’t annoy anyone and you don’t waste a ton of time and energy trying to figure out a way to indicate how much is left on each card so you have it easily accessible when you go to the store.

This solution really only works on gift cards with a credit card logo on them such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express.  Basically any card you can use at ANY store.

Consolidate Gift Cards

Note: You may have to REGISTER the card with the bank in order to use it, especially with American Express. So if the transaction doesn’t go through, you may have to call the issuing service and assign your name, address and phone number to the card. Make 100% sure they match your Amazon account.

  • Step 1: Gather all your old gift cards that still have small balances on them.  No amount is too small.  Get them all!
  • Step 2: If you don’t already have a shopping account, create one on Amazon.com.
  • Step 3: Go to the gift cards page on Amazon.com and select and email gift card.
  • Step 4: Grab one of your gift cards and call the # on the card (or use the web) to check the balance left on the card.
  • Step 5: Enter the amount left on the card into the box labelled “amount” in the Amazon E-mail gift card details box (.15 cents is the least amount it will take).

  • Step 6: Enter one of your own email addresses in the recipient email box.
  • Step 7: Click ‘add to order’ on the lower right.
  • Step 8: Click ‘proceed to checkout’ on the right side.
  • Step 9: Sign into your account when prompted.
  • Step 10: Under payment method, select pay with new card and enter the card number, name and the expiration date for the gift card you just checked the balance of and click ‘continue.’.
  • Step 11: Double check all the info and click ‘Place your order.’
  • Step 12: Wait for email with gift card claim code and copy the code to your computer clipboard.
  • Step 13: Go back to Amazon.com and then select ‘your account’ on the menu at the top.
  • Step 14: In the second area under ‘Payment’ select ‘apply a gift card to your account’ and paste your claim code into the box and click ‘apply to your account.’
  • Step 15: Repeat steps 3-14 for each of the gift cards you collected that have small balances on them.

Now you have all of your miscellaneous small balance gift cards added up in a single location and you can easily use it on a purchase at Amazon.com.

Once you receive the email from Amazon.com with your gift card claim code, throw away those old gift cards immediately.  There is nothing worse than having a pile of gift cards lying around that you have to call AGAIN to make sure there is no balance left on them.

I do this all the time.  I’ve redeemed a gift card on Amazon for as little as .23 cents and while it looks complicated with 15 steps, it really is quite easy and almost like found money!

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  1. Nadia says

    Hi there, hopefully I’m made a reversible mistake.

    I was able to do step 12, but when I received the email I have no “claim code”, just an order number: “116-********-0294654″.

    Please help me :S

    • says

      You will receive 2 emails. The first will be a receipt for your purchase, the second will be the claim code. If you don’t get the claim code, they will send you an email telling you there was a problem.

      • nadia says

        Hi Kim. They told me they couldn’t process order. Thanks anyway.

        FYI: I’m doing this with my Spanish Gift card and Spanish Amazon account. So European customers, don’t try this.

  2. says

    Awesome; thank you! I don’t have a smartphone, so all of those other “credit card payment” consolidation options don’t work for me, but Amazon I can do. :)

  3. says

    You rock, Kim! I just cleaned out my purse and found some gift cards, so I Googled “consolidate gift cards into one” and your site popped up! I was able to add $28.31 from 4 different cards to my Amazon account. thanks so much for the easy tutorial, I never thought to use the Amazon gift card service this way!

  4. Misha says

    This is an awesome idea and it worked for me flawlessly! I had a stack of American Express gift cards from over the years with balances from $9 to .89¢. Its a bit tedious but its also fun and worth it!! After consolidation my balance was $138.02! Just a note, whenever I receive a gift card I always call the number on back to register it with my name and billing address so I can shop online with no problems. Thanks so much for this amazing idea!

  5. Cara says

    This was the BEST advice ever!! I was able to use up all of my balances and ended up with about $18…sweet!! I read another article that gave this same advice but said amazon.com gift cards started at $5.00. Maybe they changed it to .15 cents. Amazon has made it soooo easy for people to shop with them. It’s amazing other large companies don’t catch on because they sure are missing out. This worked out fantastic for me because I often shop with amazon so the money will def not go to waste. THANK YOU!!!!

  6. Jay says

    Worked Great !! Had these cards forever – some getting charges. Wish I found this sooner. Thank you very much !!!

  7. 4AD says

    This was perfect and easy. A little time consuming, but no issues! Thank you for sharing!
    Helped tons!

  8. Tami says

    I can’t seem to get this to work. Amazon keeps rejecting the purchase. I tried to register the cards on the individual sites but they only allow you to register a zip code. Amazon requires a “name on card”. What are you entering in this field?

    • Jay says

      I don’t know about the first part but for the name, I just put
      in my name – even though it wasn’t on the card – and it worked fine.

  9. Marirose says

    This is so helpful, wish I had known about it before I’ve thrown cards with $0.86 left (for example). No longer! Extremely useful! Thank you :)

  10. Owen says

    Great idea but I tried to register three cards all from Wells Fargo. I successfully registered the first one with .64 on it and proceeded to register another for $3.43 and $21.15, respectively. The second and third registrations appeared to work but then I received and email stating that Amazon was having trouble with the payment, privacy would permit disclosure of why it was declined and that my order had been cancelled. I tried each twice more and, in each case, they failed. Amazon insists on a “name on the card”. I wondered if the literal Your Gift Card was a problem but it was the same with the first card. So far. I have only succeeded to the tune of 64 cents.

    • Beth says

      This is the same problem I am having. I had 3 gift cards all with under $5 on them and only one of them (an AMEX gift card) worked. I have two others with MC logos and Amazon will not accept them. This is very frustrating.

      • says

        Did you register them? They should have info on the back from where they were bought. Then you call them or go to their website and add your personal details.

  11. ficklefrannie says

    You are a genius! I’ve only been using my bank’s gift cards to curb my holiday spending. So I have quite a few cards of random values. And sadly, this never occurred to me although I did most of my shopping online…..

  12. Seneg says

    Problem is when you add a new card to your Amazon account they charge $1.00 to the card first before they charge the gift card amount. The transaction is denied because you are short one dollar. You then have to wait a few days for the dollar charge to come off and do the whole thing over again. Amazon shouldn’t charge the $1.00 the second time. So it can be a little more difficult than stated.

    • says

      Actually it doesn’t. I have done this 100 times or more for amounts as small as 22 cents and it works every time, the first time.

  13. Rose says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I had three gift cards all with small balances under $5 taking up space in my wallet for about a year. I refused to throw them out because I am the type of person who doesn’t even pass a penny on the sidewalk without picking it up. I was able to **finally** use them. Your suggestion worked perfectly – and then I applied my new amazon balance towards the purchase of two books that I had been meaning to buy. Thank you for your in-depth instructions.

  14. says

    Wow…I never knew you could do that. I’m so glad you posted this…I have several small balance gift cards just taking up space in my wallet. I love shopping at Amazon, so this was really helpful. Thanks Kim!