What is the difference between a Vanilla Visa Gift Card and an upgraded Visa gift card? While both share some of the same characteristics, they differ in how they are used. Both Visa has recently broadened its gift card family by introducing its new Vanilla line. Where Visa Gift Cards are usually intended to be used either by the individual doing the shopping or by another recipient, both the Vanilla and the upgraded versions have a slightly different function.
The biggest differences between the two types of Visa gift cards (other than the name) are the types of recipients and the kinds of purchases you can make with them. Vanilla Visa gift cards are given to members of your household and are not usually available for other parties. This means that the purchases made using a vanilla visa gift card can never be charged onto any other credit card. This is a pretty big limitation, but it does help prevent abuse by those who misuse prepaid Visa gift cards.
As mentioned before, upgrade Visa gift cards give you more purchasing power and therefore allow you to purchase items not available on a standard Visa card. For example, an upgraded Visa gift card might allow you to shop at a Macy's or a JCPenney store while still using the Visa card. You can't do that with a standard Visa gift card, so you have to settle for purchasing items from the stores listed on your card. If, for some reason, you can't visit these stores (say, you're not living anywhere near them), then the benefits of the upgrade are nullified.
Upgrades and multi-packs of Vanilla Visa gift cards can only be purchased once per year, per card. If you're planning on purchasing more than one Vanilla Visa card in the future, or plan to travel abroad, you will need to consider the annual fee and the one-time purchase charge for each card. Many times, the annual fees are a lot higher than the one-time purchase charges. If you plan on traveling extensively, you may want to consider getting a multi-pack of Vanilla Visa cards and paying the yearly fee for them. This will lower the amount of money you need to pay out each year when you travel.
Vanilla Visa gift cards are great for those who like to shop online. However, it's really inconvenient to carry around a large number of gift cards. One solution to this problem is to get an international credit card. These are Visa cards that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. An example of such a card would be the card from Citibank. They have a one-time purchase fee and no annual fee.
As you can see, getting an international Vanilla Visa gift card is a viable option for many people. You can purchase these gift cards online and then load them with funds at any participating retailer. Some stores even allow you to purchase gift cards with a prepaid membership. This allows you to create a profile, choose the products you want to purchase, and load your card with funds before you make any purchases.
If you like to travel or plan on doing so in the future, you may want to consider getting a multiple-packs of Vanilla Visa gift cards. You can get them for travel, vacation, and even for future events such as weddings. The higher the card limit, the more expensive your purchase will be. However, if you travel a lot and can use the savings, a multiple-packs of vanilla gift cards can help you save hundreds of dollars when you travel.
As with any Visa or MasterCard product, you always have the option of converting your Vanilla Visa into actual money. They currently offer no annual fees, so you do not lose any value by converting your Vanilla Visa into cash. You should also keep in mind that not all locations offer the option of a multiple-packs of Visa gift cards. Be sure to look out for these offers as well.