Vanilla gift cards are prepaid cards that can be used at any merchant that accepts Visa. If you have ever had trouble using your Vanilla gift card, such as it being declined or not activating, then this blog post is for you. 

In this post, we’ll go over some of the reasons why your Vanilla gift card might not be working and how to fix them.


  • Vanilla gift cards are a convenient and versatile gift choice.
  • While using the card, you may run into a number of issues that can be because your card is not activated or you have insufficient balance.
  • There are several fixes that you can try to avoid these issues.

What is a Vanilla Gift Card?

A vanilla gift card is a prepaid voucher that Vanilla provides in partnership with payment companies like Visa and Mastercard, loaded with a specific amount of money that can be used to buy goods, services, and cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin from any store that takes Vanilla gift cards as a way of payment.

Vanilla Visa gift card is different from bank Visa cards. They are not connected to your bank account, and the money cannot be refilled when used up. You can always get a new gift card with customized features such as amount, images, and text.

Read more: How to Use Vanilla Gift Card Online?

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Why Your Vanilla Gift Card is Not Working

Let’s explore some of the most frequent problems that you may encounter when using your Vanilla gift cards. In each case, we’ll offer a solution to help you avoid the problem.

The most common problems are:

  1. Your Vanilla gift card is not activated.
  2. You have insufficient balance on the Vanilla gift card.
  3. Your Vanilla gift card might be expired or damaged.
  4. Your card is not accepted by the merchant.
  5. Your Vanilla card may be frozen or blocked.
  6. You’re using the card in the wrong way. 

Problem One: Your Card is not Activated

One of the most common reasons why your Vanilla gift card is not working is that it has not been activated properly. When you buy a Vanilla gift card, you need to follow the activation instructions on the packaging or the card itself.

You can either activate it online or by phone, depending on the card type. If you skip this step or enter the wrong information, your card will not be ready to use.

Read more: How to Use DoorDash Gift Cards?

How to Fix

To activate your Vanilla gift card, you need to visit the website or call the phone number listed on the card. You should provide the card number, expiration date, security code, and other personal details.

Once you complete the activation process, you will be able to use your card without any problem. If you still encounter issues, you can contact the customer support number on the card for more assistance.

Problem Two: The Charge Amount is Greater Than the Card Balance

Another reason why your Vanilla gift card is not working is that the charge amount is greater than the card balance. Vanilla gift cards have a fixed amount that you can spend, which is determined when you buy them.

If you try to make a purchase that exceeds the available balance on your card, your transaction will be declined. This can happen if you forget how much money you have left on your card or if the merchant adds a tip or a hold to your charge.

How to Fix

To prevent this problem, you should keep track of your card balance and make sure you have enough funds to cover your purchase. You can check your balance online or by phone, using the information on the card.

You can also ask the cashier to split your payment between your Vanilla gift card and another form of payment, such as cash or another card.

If the merchant adds a tip or a hold to your charge, you need to wait until the transaction is finalized and the extra amount is released back to your card.

Problem Three: The Card is Expired or Damaged

A third reason is that your Vanilla gift card is expired or damaged. Vanilla gift cards have an expiration date that is printed on the front of the card.

If you try to use your card after the expiration date, it will not work. Similarly, if your card is physically damaged, such as scratched, bent, or cracked, it may not work properly.

How to Fix

To avoid this problem, you need to check the expiration date of your card and use it before it expires. You also need to take good care of your card and protect it from damage. If your card is expired or damaged, you can contact Vanilla support and they may be able to replace it for you.

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Problem Four: The Card is not Accepted by the Merchant

Another reason is that the card is not accepted by the merchant. Vanilla gift cards can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, but some merchants may have their own policies or restrictions regarding gift cards.

For example, some merchants may not accept gift cards for online purchases, recurring payments, or international transactions. Some merchants may also have a minimum or maximum amount that you can spend with a gift card.

How to Fix

To avoid this problem, you’d better check the terms and conditions of the merchant before using your Vanilla gift card.

You can also ask the merchant if they accept gift cards and what are their limitations. If the merchant does not accept your card, you can use another payment method or shop elsewhere.

Problem Five: The Card is Frozen or Blocked

Your Vanilla gift card is not working because the card is frozen or blocked. Vanilla gift cards have security features that prevent unauthorized use or fraud.

If your card is suspected of being involved in any suspicious activity, such as being reported stolen or lost, being used in an unusual location or amount, or being used repeatedly in a short period of time, it may be frozen or blocked by Vanilla. This means that you will not be able to use your card until the issue is resolved.

How to Fix

To stop this from happening, you should use your card responsibly and securely. You also need to report any lost or stolen cards to Vanilla as soon as possible.

If your card is frozen or blocked, you need to contact Vanilla support and verify your identity and card information. They will then review your case and either unfreeze or unblock your card or cancel it and issue you a new one.

Read more: 20 Best Games to Win Free Amazon Gift Cards

Problem Six: You’re Using the Card Incorrectly

It is possible that your Vanilla gift card is not working because you or the cashier are running the wrong type of transaction. Vanilla gift cards are processed as credit cards, not debit cards, i.e., you need to choose the credit card option when you use your Vanilla gift card at a checkout terminal. If you choose the gift card option, it will not work.

This means that you do not need to enter a PIN or sign a receipt when using them. However, some cashiers may not be aware of this and try to run your card as a debit card, which will result in a decline.

How to Fix

To avoid this problem, you need to inform the cashier that you are using a Vanilla gift card and that it should be processed as a credit card. You can also ask them to select the credit option on the terminal or swipe the card yourself.

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Why Vanilla Gift Card is not Working on PayPal

You cannot use a Vanilla Gift Card on PayPal. This is because Vanilla Visa does not support PayPal as a platform any longer and has stopped allowing its gift cards to be used with PayPal accounts since 2019.

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Why Vanilla Gift Card is not Working on Steam

Currently, Vanilla gift cards are not accepted on the Steam store. So, if you have a Vanilla card and you want to buy something from the Steam store, you will need to go to a nearby store and use your Vanilla gift card to purchase a Steam Wallet card.

Final Words

It can be frustrating when your Vanilla gift card is declined, even if you have money on it. There are a few reasons why this might happen, such as a technical issue, using the card at a place that doesn’t accept it, using it incorrectly, or because the card hasn’t been activated yet.

No matter what the problem is, you can always fix it by dialing the free phone number that is on the back of your Vanilla gift card.

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