You could buy a closed-loop gift card, meaning one that is only redeemable at the issuing store or restaurant. But some brick and mortar stores like Gap, Banana Republic, Aerie, Costco and more will also allow you to purchase a gift card in the U.S. and use it across the border (and vice versa).
Click to find my growing list of gift cards that work in Canada and other countries. Cash can easily get lost or stolen with no hope for recovery and traveler’s checks are somewhat inconvenient to use.
But gift cards, on the other hand, are flexible, easy to use, and can be replaced if lost or stolen. Additionally, Visa gift cards that can be redeemed wherever Visa debit cards are accepted, offer the flexibility of a credit card without some concerns typically associated with carrying plastic.
And since the card isn’t tied to your bank account, you don’t have to worry that your account will be overdrawn, your identity compromised or your credit rating jeopardized should the card falls into the wrong hands. In essence, our Visa gift cards are an excellent choice for your next road trip–use them almost anywhere, as long as you don’t cross the border.
If you still want an alternative to cash and travelers’ checks for a trip abroad, however, read below for more information on Visa gift cards that work internationally. Redeemable worldwide wherever Mastercard debit cards are accepted, you can “get your choice of currency and cash back at participating merchants”–so you’ll never have to stand in line at the currency exchange counter when you could be out sightseeing.
If either one of these gift cards is lost or stolen, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized purchases. While the number of options is somewhat limited, I decided to broaden my own horizons in search of gift cards that can be used in Canada and other cities and states around the world.
The terms and conditions come from the websites of the stores and restaurants (or my calls to their customer service departments) and are, therefore, subject to change. Please check the link provided to confirm the accuracy of the merchant’s gift card redemption policies before placing an order.
To make purchases and redemption easier, Amazon has a currency conversion tool that can be used at checkout to calculate the value of a gift card. AustraliaBrazilCanada China FranceGermanyIndiaItalyJapanMexicoNetherlandsSpainUnited KingdomUnited StatesApplebee’s According to the Applebee’s website, “… Rightwards purchased in either the U.S. or Canada are accepted in both countries.
Cross-acceptance and cross-currency redemption is only possible between the U.S. and Canada at this time.” United States and CanadaCostcoThe Costco website says, “Members and non-members may use the Costco Cash Cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at Costco.com or on Costco.ca. United States, Canada and Puerto Rico Eddie Bauer According to the Eddie Bauer website, Rightwards purchased in Eddie Bauer US and Canadian retail stores can be redeemed in participating stores in either country, regardless of card currency.” United States and Canada Banana Republican Navy After an exhaustive search of the company’s website, I called customer service to find out if Gap brand gift cards can be used outside the U.S. According to the customer service agent I spoke with, Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy gift cards purchased in the U.S. can be redeemed at any of those stores in Canada.
I received further clarification that, “the balance will always be in USD, and the currency conversion takes place at the POS at the time of redemption. Starbucks Cards can also be used interchangeably at most stores in Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Starbucks Cards issued in Greece, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey may only be used in the country from which they are issued.” United States Australia Canada Hong Kong Ireland Mexico United Kingdom. Subway The Subway website says that the physical Subway Card is usable in the U.S. and Canada, but the card is only usable at participating Subway restaurants in the U.S. “The card is only available in USD and must be registered prior to use.” United States and Canada Tim HortonsThe Tim Hortons website says that “you can use your Ricardo at participating restaurants in both Canada and the U.S.” United States and CanadaWhole FoodsAccording to Whole Foods, A U.S. gift card can be redeemed at any Whole Foods Market location in Canada and a Canada gift card can be redeemed at any Whole Foods Market location in the United States.
For those stores and restaurants that do allow their gift cards to be used outside the U.S., a currency conversion will be needed to calculate the value of the gift card. Some websites clearly outline whether their cards can be used internationally, some provide clarification deep inside terms and conditions pages and others don’t have cross-border redemption listed at all.
We might not have the flexibility of sending Visa gift cards to friends and family members across the border, but there are some really great store brand gift card alternatives. Online, there are a couple of places where you can find international Visa gift cards, but there are some restrictions.
While you cannot use a standard Visa gift card internationally, you can use a Visa Prepaid debit card worldwide, as long as the issuer approves international transactions. Visa Prepaid debit cards are available from many financial institutions and retailers, including BBT, Kroger, PNC Bank, Ralph's, TD Bank, and Walmart.
Retailers like Amazon, CVS, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, JCPenney, and Walmart sell Visa gift cards. We checked each store’s Visa gift card use policy and found that you can only use these gift cards in the U.S.
The following online retailers do sell international Visa gift cards, but with restrictions: You must use a work email address to create your account, and Ribbon does not permit personal use.
You can use prepaid debit cards anywhere Visa is accepted (except in countries where it is restricted by federal law), and you can reload them, use them at ATMs, and replace them if they are lost or stolen. The international use policy for prepaid debit cards depends on the issuer.
If you’re in the UK, for instance, and you’re trying to get hold of a book that’s only been released in the USA, you might find yourself ditching your local site for Amazon .com. If you’re buying a gift for someone living abroad, it could be far more convenient to use their local site, rather than getting costly, slow international shipping from your country to theirs.
There are two exceptions at the moment, which are the Japanese and Chinese sites: you’ll need to register again to use those. Step 2: Find a language you can understand and switch to that one If you don’t have any idea what’s going on, find the little globe symbol and switch to an easier language to understand, if one’s available.
Country or Region DVD region code USA and CanadaRegion 1Europe and JapanRegion 2Southeast Bioregion 3Latin America and AustraliaRegion 4Russia, rest of Asia, and AfricaRegion 5ChinaRegion 6International venues, cruise ships, planes, etc. Region 8Country or Region Blu-ray region code North America, South America, East and Southeast Aside Europe, Africa, Oceania, the Middle East, French territories, and GreenlandCode Central Asia, South Asia, Mongolia, Russia, and Coincide C Shopping tip 3: Check electronics for voltage and types of plugs There are also a couple of things to bear in mind if you want to buy electronics from abroad. Which means if you buy anything with a plug from abroad, you might also need to get hold of an adaptor, so that it can actually fit into a foreign socket.
Sadly, the problems don’t stop just by purchasing an adaptor. You’ll also need to check the voltage and frequency, to ensure that your adaptor will be able to cope with your device, in your country.
If the voltages don’t match, you run the risk of frying your new electronics long before they normally die. You won’t be surprised to learn that shopping internationally sometimes comes with strings attached.
The exchange rate Amazon displays may not match those listed in newspapers or other financial databases. Amazon says that those exchange rates you find online aren’t available to everyday consumers.
Depending on the item, you may feel a bit of sticker shock when you see how much Amazon wants to charge you for shipping. If you do end up eligible for a refund, hold tight, because Amazon says it takes 60 days to come through.
It may be that the item you’ve ordered requires additional scrutiny or may be banned depending on your local customs regulations. Amazon notes clearly that you’re responsible for making sure the item you’re ordering is allowed in your country.
Otherwise, if you double-check, usage fees and possibly bad exchange rates end up costing you even more than you realize. So if you’re using an international card, try to find one that exchanges money at the mid-market rate and keeps fees at a minimum.
But if you group multiple items together, the cost is the same whether you buy a couple books or a few Blu-rays or a combination of both. So if there are any ways for you to reduce any of these factors, you could end up with a lower delivery cost.
Shipping tip 3: Make as few separate orders as possible Naturally, Amazon cuts down on both cost and waste where it can by packing your items up together. Ordering a single item every few days is costly, inefficient and not exactly environmentally friendly either.
And Amazon itself is careful to explain that using a ‘freight forwarder’ does affect your ability to return items if they’re damaged or defective. International shipping times vary a great deal.
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