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Another way to use up 3V Virtual Visa cards

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Since a block was placed on 3V Virtual Visa cards being used to pay off tax bills or to pay into bank accounts, their uses have shrunk.  Some people are also sitting on a pile of unused cards.

Reader Jon dropped me a line with an interesting tip.  I have not tested this myself, but it appears to work OK.

As I posted in December (in relation to an offer which is now over), TopCashback has started selling gift cards for various retailers.  These include:

  • Starbucks
  • Debenhams
  • Chef & Brewer
  • Currys PC World
  • Fayre & Square
  • Ernest Jones
  • Flaming Grill
  • H Samuel
  • John Barras
  • Leslie Davis
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Taylor Walker
  • Toys R Us
  • Wacky Warehouse

The official list is here.

Here is the little trick.  These are all RELOADABLE gift cards.  (Note that only the TopCashback versions are reloadable, you cannot reload a standard M&S gift card for example.)  This page confirms that TCB gift cards can be topped up online.  3V cards DO work for topping up giftcards, according to Jon.

Let’s imagine you have £200 of 3V cards which you are struggling to use.  You can buy a £20 Marks & Spencer gift card via TopGiftCards.  You can then top it up with your 3V cards.  You can them use instore at M&S without any problems, even though these are theoretically only for online transactions.

In theory, if you spend a lot of money at one of these stores on a regular basis – M&S is probably the most likely – then this may even prove to be a long-term way of using 3V cards.  At least for as long as Tesco is giving 150 Clubcard points for every £50 you buy ….

You need to be a TopCashback member to use TopGiftCards – if you are not already a member, my ‘refer a friend’ link is hereYou will receive 500 Clubcard points when you earn £10 cashback, as long as you join before February 10th.

Comments (48)

  • James67 says:

    Debenhams gift cards can also be used at Debenhamsplus. Therefore anybody sitting on a stack of cards could use this routd to buy a tablet, tv or large appliance. Pay attention to pricing though, I would imagine amazon will be a better deal in most cases.

    • Simon says:

      Don’t forget you can buy e-gift cards from Amazon so you could buy 4 £25 e-gift cards apply the claim codes to your account and then use the balance to buy a £100 item.

      • Rob says:

        Indeed you can. Please click through our Amazon link in the right hand margin if you do this!

    • squills says:

      Debs plus will do pricematch. They are already part of the appliances/ laptops direct group (so can immediately see their own sharper prices) – but will also generally match competitor prices.

      • James67 says:

        Thanks folks, do you think they will pricematch the 16gb wifi only ipad airs on amazon at the moment for £358? I too took advantage of the foursquare Debenhams deal x4 but passed it on for a relatives benefit. I got 4x £10 back on amex recently so am sitting on £200 of giftcards for £160 and hoping to top that up further by getting giftcards with money off vouchers at tesco. Hence my reason for favouring Debenhamsplus route at moment. If they will not priocematch amazon though then my benefits are wiped out by the lower prices there.

        • James67 says:

          Following up on this. I called Debsplus this morning. They claimed their prices are fixed and refused to price match anybody. I guess their policy has now changed.

          • squills says:

            They pricematched for me as recently as 10 January. Try another representative?

    • Trickster says:

      I used debenhams gift cards @ debenhams plus, purchased in store with the 50% foursquare credit end of 2012, to buy a half price iPad. If I recall you can only use them over the phone though. It was easy enough to use multiple cards though.

  • Sinizter says:

    PC World / Currys should not be the obvious choice for anything except to pretend they don’t exist.

    I would happily pay £10 more from another store to avoid being subjected to the incredible levels of ignorance that is a pre-requisite for working there. They pretty much lie to you – I don’t care whether it is out of poor training, ignorance or to push insurance product.

  • Stu says:

    Does anyone know a way of clearing 3v balances of less than £1?

    • Andrew Grant says:


    • Scott says:

      Ebay is also a good option. Especially if you have stuff to sell, since you can add these cards to Paypal and pay your seller fees using them. Ebay allows you to pay three amounts usually per day or so, with no minimum limit.

      • John says:

        Good idea. I use mine up with paypal (that’s what 3V cards were designed for!! – people who don’t have a card or bank account who want to shop on ebay) but as I don’t really sell, I didn’t think of this.

        You can actually prepay seller fees I think. Off to sell my euros, hope I don’t get scammed!

      • Mark says:

        The only issue with anything paid through PayPal is the $1 temporary transaction which basically means you can’t use the last 65p on a card that way. Amazon gift cards are my normal way of zeroing them, though I have used small balances over that to pay off eBay seller fees.

    • Clive J says:

      I use small amounts to contribute to my monthly mobile bill (O2), although I can’t recall if I have ever done it for less than £1.

    • Simon says:

      As Andrew said Amazon is your best bet, they changed their e-gift card page last year to say the minimum purchase amount was £1 but they didn’t update the validation on the page so you can still buy an e-gift card for as little as 10p (don’t forget to use Raffles link on the right hand side!)

      If you have say 5p left on a card and there is something on Amazon for want to buy for £2 make sure the gift card balance on your account is £1.95 when you check out you’ll be 5p short and you can use your 3v card then.

      • Stu says:

        Ahh, that makes sense. I was aware of the Amazon route but wrongly assumed it ‘did what it said on the tin’ i.e. £1 minimum 🙂

    • barca99 says:

      pikey alert!

      • Stu says:

        Far from it barca99. Look after those pennies, the pounds look after themselves…

  • John says:

    Yes to everything, unless you use a reloadable gift card / amazon as per this post

    • Simon says:

      You can combine 3v cards for £1.75 using their website, so if you bought 2 and combined them you’d end up with £48.25 to spend on a single purchase. Personally I’d be ok doing this as I would have paid £1.75 and got 150 clubcard points, the best use is to try to find things you can spend £25 on though.

  • Froggitt says:

    Here’s another interesting way to use the 3V cards – load onto Paypal account as above, and use in store using the Paypal app .

    Not many retailers accepting Paypal yet, but the number will grow.

    • Joe says:

      I’d be weary of flushing them through paypal – they love closing accounts, and their customer service is terrible.

      On the giftcards: check your employer’s benefits package. Every large employer I’ve worked for sells gift cards at a discount. Sometimes you order them as part of salary sacrifice, but sometimes you can do it through a website, and pay for them as you please. Provided that website doesn’t require your card to have Verified By VISA technology built in, you might be able to use 3v cards to buy discount gift cards like that.

      • Simon says:

        Verified by VISA is the problem I’ve got Joe, I can buy gift cards at a discount from my employer’s colleague offers website but you must use a card which is Verified by VISA so 3v are no use.

      • John says:

        I’ve never heard paypal closing accounts for having too many cards. They seem to only do it once you start receiving money.

      • Christopher Mackie says:

        Yeah most of them are run by Reward Gateway. Probably the last place left in the UK to get cash back with IHG. Hilton has now gone.

  • Chilibenny says:

    One place that accepts PayPal is Blackcircles when you need new tyres. They don’t accept AMEX so I bought my tyres (they paid 3x Clubcard points on the purchase) through Paypal using my Gold card. Four tyres were £296 so I got 888 CC points and 592 Avios on the Gold card.

    • Chilibenny says:

      Maybe Nigel but I have been very happy with them. When the fitters came to put on my four tyres they found one was damaged and refused to fit it so I had to go back again when a new one had been sent from Blackcircles.
      I got a customer feedback form from Blackcircles and said it had inconvenienced me and suggested more CC points as compensation.
      They came back and said they would now give me 5x CC points instead of 3x points.
      Pretty happy with that

      • squills says:

        And Blackcircles are pretty willing to pricematch if you challenge them, Clubcard points on top

  • Stephen says:

    I still have yet to see a 3V card in real life.

    • Simon says:

      Now 3v can’t be paid into NS&I they should be fairly easy to find in any large Tesco Stephen, I went in a store today and there were hundreds.

      • avidsaver says:

        My Tesco is a big Tesco Extra and I’ve never seen either 3V or the fee paying VISA gift card. l ways look. All other gift cards are on display near the greetings cards and wrap. Am I being dumb? Should I be looking somewhere else?

        • louie-m says:

          Probably. There is usually a dedicated gift card stand about as far from the entrance as can be at the very end of an aisle facing the cashiers.

          • avidsaver says:

            Thanks for the tip loule-m. I’ll keep a keen eye on my next visit – fingers crossed!

  • david says:

    A tip for your N.Ireland readers – you can buy electicity with powerNI with the 3v cards.

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