Posted by Chuck on July 9, 2015
Misc

Published on July 9th, 2015 | by Chuck

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eBay Gift Cards and their Limitations

Updated 3/21/16

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

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.

Old Rules

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.

We wrote more about these changes herehere, and here.

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



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Oren

You can also check the balance remaining by making a dummy purchase with that eBay gift card.

Shan
Shan

I think there is a limit no of ebay cards used in one trascation. I tried using one 9 or 10 ebay cards for one of my purchase and it was not letting me to do it.

janol
janol

“eBay will not use the gift cards based on the order you input them”

I hate this fact and a very good point, it is a sneaky way to pad their bottom line on unused GC. When I first started buying things with ebay GC, I was throwing away the wrong cards for a couple transactions, pain to figure and sort it all out.

the 4 hour wait is on all ebay GC regardless of where bought.

aresay
aresay

Is there a way to find out how far into the $5000 per 180-day limit you are?

K. Patel
K. Patel

You can manually count from your paypal account summary. it doesn’t take more than 3 to 4 minutes.

Lenny
Lenny

I think I figured out how to see our giftcard usage!

-Login to paypal, then click on ACTIVITY
-On very bottom of the page, click on CLASSIC SITE
-At the top set the date range so it’s the last 180 days, then click SHOW
-On the top right of the table, you can choose to download this data in different formats
(I choose TAB DELIMITED – ALL ACTIVITY) They will then email you a link to the file, so download it
-The file I choose resulted in a full report in .txt format

-Now open the file in Excel (I’m using Office 2003, but I’m sure the following steps are similar in other speadsheet apps)
-In Excel choose DATA – FILTER – AUTOFILTER
(Now there are drop-down boxes for each column’s category name)
-Click on the box for the category TYPE, then choose “Gift Certificates and Cards Redemption”
(now I believe it only shows gift cards redeemed)
-Now just add up the GROSS or NET column for your total!
(I just clicked the first empty cell below the NET number and clicked the Autosum button)

Good Luck!

Patrick L
Patrick L

Thanks for the post. I’ve ran into some of these problems myself, and it would have been nice to have known before hand.

Data Point: I’ve been able to use more than $500 on a single ebay transaction on at least 2 recent transactions. I bought $1000 in Target physical gift cards from GCM on ebay and used 5 $200 ebay egift cards purchased from staples.com for the total amount on both. I believe after adding several cards it removed them all, but after adding the codes again I was able to complete the transactions.

K. Patel
K. Patel

“Only $500 worth of gift cards can be used in one transaction.”

Chuck, I don’t think this is true at all. I have done more than $500 in one transaction and fully paid with Ebay Gift cards. Yes there were two different items, but the total was $550 in 1 transaction and I paid it completely with Ebay Gift Cards.

csdx
csdx

I’ve also managed to exceed the $500 limit, but it is a stated restriction on the ebay terms and conditions page. It certainly doesn’t seem enforced by the software, but of course doing so may be incurring some risk of having adverse action on your ebay/paypal accounts.

anthonyjh21
anthonyjh21

Yep, I was going to post this as well. I’ve done back to back $1,000 purchases using $500×2 ebay gift cards per each order. Never had any issues.

Bill
Bill

Are you verified?

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

I purchase about $500 in ebay gift cards from kroger for 4x fuel points every month to get 2k fuel pts worth $60-70 off gas for my family. I always find something worth while to liquidate them on every month which make money on top of that(typically a 8-10% profit inclusive of credit card rewards)… so $120/mo for maybe an hour’s effort end to end… rinse and repeat. that’s just an average month, sometimes the returns are much better depending. I appreciate these kinds of high yield low time deals and ebay GC’s are a cornerstone for them. I’m not looking for a second job doing MS, I already have a career where my time is typically better invested. I just want to pad my kid’s college savings when I’m out running errands or paying bills on the internet. For this reason alone, I find this blog and your posts do an excellent job honing in on the low hanging fruit which further helps me meet my small goals.

to that end, I don’t mind the limits because it keeps my conservative MS strategy viable while combating the abuse that gets other avenues of MS shut down. The only annoying thing is the 3-4 hour activation time which for me has been consistent. Makes jumping on a quick deal hard when you’re out of gift cards.

lc
lc

How is the $5000 in 180 days calculated? Lets assume each month is 30 days and I use $833.33 per month to reach $5000 in 6 months. On month 7 can I now purchase only $833 since month 1 will drop off or will the $5000 reset completely?

Lantean
Lantean

you can check the remaining balance on all your eBay gift cards all at once here:

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_profile-pie-available

Dan
Dan

That is a great link! Thanks for that!

univs
univs

Thanks! Great link! Now we won’t miss another ebay gift card!

Bryan
Bryan

FYI eBay gift cards are applied in numerical order of the gift card number, lowest number first. I have tested this multiple times and proven it to be the case, at least for my account.

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

Nice observation. Quite annoying. You’d think a mega huge ecommerce company could handle GC currency a little more elegantly in the check out process.

VM
VM

I can also confirm that you can use more than $500 ebay GC in one transaction.

Dan
Dan

Contrary to what the article above says, I’ve noticed that eBay seems to limit you to using up to 8 eBay gift cards in a single transaction. If you try to use a 9th, it clears all the gift cards you’d entered up until that point, making you start over.

Dan
Dan

I’m curious where eBay stands on purchasing eBay gift cards with eBay gift cards. It’s against their rules, but they still allow the purchases to go through. Anybody ever run into trouble with eBay over doing that? Seems you could also go through portal sites and make cash back by doing that.

Eric
Eric

I don’t think portals pay out for purchasing Ebay gc.

univs
univs

eBay seems to have random policy for refunds for items purchased with eBay gift cards. Sometimes the refund goes to my PayPal account and can be transferred to my bank account; sometimes the refund goes to PayPal first and then immediately and automatically goes back to the gift card I used. For the second scenario, the refund can go back to a gift card that you’ve thrown away… Good luck.

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

Have only had one refund through ebay since getting into GC’s, but it did go back to the original gift card which I had thrown away. You can find all gift card numbers you’ve used and any remaining balances on the paypal you logged in with though.

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