Published on July 9th, 2015 | by Chuck75
eBay Gift Cards and their Limitations
Gift Card Limits
eBay has a number of limitations on the use of eBay gift cards. Note that there were many changes to the rules starting March 10, 2016. The details below are based on the up-to-date terms, found here.
- You need a Paypal account to use an eBay gift card. Although it’s possible to purchase most things on eBay without a Paypal account, you can’t use an eBay gift card when doing so. You’ll need to login to your Paypal account first in order to use an eBay gift card or any other eBay coupon/voucher.
- Only $1000 worth of gift cards can be used in one transaction. This limit is enforced.
- There’s a limit of eight gift card and promo codes which can be used in one purchase. All eBay vouchers and coupons are input in the same field at checkout and all count toward this limit of eight.
- You can’t use an eBay gift card to buy an eBay gift card. It’s long been in the terms that you can’t use an eBay gift card to buy an eBay gift card, but this is now being enforced. No more ‘rolling’ eBay gift cards as was done in the past.
Things to Bear in Mind
Two other important things to note about using eBay gift cards:
- When you pay with an eBay gift card, the card gets tied to the eBay account used for the purchase. If you have two eBay accounts, and you use part of the gift card balance with one account, you won’t be able to use the remaining balance of the gift card with the other one.
- When you pay with multiple gift cards for one purchase, eBay will not use the gift cards based on the order you input them. Keep this in the front of your head when paying for purchases with eBay gift cards, because it’s hugely important.
Via Slickdeals, the method that eBay uses is to drain the balance of the lower card number first. For example, if you enter card number: 3456777 and card number: 3456778, it will use the former first and the later second, regardless of which you entered first or which has a higher denomination.
I’d venture to guess that there huge amounts of unused eBay gift cards due to this factor alone as it creates confusion over which card is used up and which isn’t. On the checkout screen, it will show which card is being used.
Check Gift Card Balance
- Check the balance online here
In the past, there were other ways to see the gift card balance, including over the phone (866-914-8078) and a special Paypal link. You can see all old gift card usage at the Paypal link, but new gift cards do not show there.
There were some old rules on eBay gift cards which are no longer in effect since March 10, 2016.
- There used to be a limit of $500 or $5,000 in eBay gift cards that can be used per Paypal account per rolling 6-months. Now there is no limit at all.
- The gift card was tied to the Paypal account, and not tied to the eBay account. Now it’s the reverse: it’s tied to the eBay account, and not tied to the Paypal account.
- There used to be an unenforced limit of $500 in eBay gift cards per transaction. Now there is an enforced limit of $1,000.
- There used to sometimes be a 4-hour delay in the activation of eBay gift cards. This, apparently, isn’t around any longer.
Purchasing Gift Cards on eBay
All we have discussed until here was for limitations on the use of eBay gift cards, i.e. you are buying stuff on eBay and you want to pay with an eBay gift card. Now we’ll talk about limitations on purchasing gift cards that are being sold on eBay, e.g. you want to buy an Exxon gift card on eBay, irrespective of whether you pay for the gift cards with your credit card, Paypal, or with an eBay gift card.
There are a few authorized gift card sellers on eBay, including Giftcardmall, Paypal Digital Gifts (PPDG), SVM, and Cardency. There are also regular people, like me and you, selling second-hand gift cards on eBay (more details on how to sell gift cards on eBay here).
Aside from buying eBay gift cards on eBay, you can also purchase many gift cards on eBay, including those of popular merchants like Target, Exxon, Home Depot, Staples, and many others; see List of Best Options for Full-Price Gift Cards on eBay. And you can choose to pay for these gift cards with a credit/debit card or with an eBay gift card.
You don’t need a Paypal account to buy gift cards on eBay – you can pay with a credit card in the eBay system directly, except for the following three scenarios:
- When buying gift cards from PPDG, you need to login and pay with Paypal.
- When using an eBay gift card (regardless of where the gift card was purchased), you need to login to Paypal first.
- When using an eBay coupon or voucher, you need to login to Paypal first.
Limits to Purchasing Gift Cards on eBay
There are no clear limits, currently, to the amount of gift cards you can buy on eBay. However, there are a few constraints to keep in mind.
- Paypal Digital Gifts Due to the increased fraud risk on digital gift cards, PPDG enforces some vague limits on the volume of gift cards you can buy. It used to be a limit of $1,000 per rolling 30-days, then it changed to 4 discounted gift cards per rolling 10-day, and now they don’t seem to have any hard limit at all. BUT they do glitch out and stop allowing you to purchase at a certain point. Buy what you can until it stops you, and try again later.
- Gift cards from other sellers (SVM, GCM, etc.) These don’t have the same restrictions as PPDG, but a few of us have recently bumped into an undisclosed limit at which time eBay brings up a screen indicating that you’ve bought too much and the purchase can’t go through. Wait a day or two and try again.
- Discounted Gift Cards When buying discount gift cards on eBay from authorized sellers, the seller will always have a limit to the quantity you can buy. For example, if $100 Exxon gift cards are on sale from SVM for $95, they may limit you to buying three of them. Or if PPDG if selling $50 iTunes e-gift card for $40, they may limit you to buying four of them.
Other eBay/Paypal Posts
- Keeping Track of Gift Card Orders on eBay
- Seven Ways to Purchase eBay Gift Cards at a Discount
- Ebay Bucks, Gift Card Deals, & Timing Your eBay Purchases
- Best Shopping Portal for eBay Purchases
- The Various Levels of Paypal Accounts
- How to See the Available Quantity of eBay Sales
- How to Get Targeted for Bonus eBay Bucks Offers