What Is Happening with Staples Visa Gift Card Activation Codes & Why I’m Not Buying the Cards For Awhile!

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Staples Visa gift card mall activation code

Staples Visa Gift Card Issues

One of the great deals that comes along from time to time is buying Visa/MC gift cards at Staples. While most of the best deals for these gift cards are in-store, Staples does occasionally run specials online as well.

For example, back in December Staples ran a $10 instant discount on the purchase of a $100 Visa gift card. This resulted in a profit of $3.05 plus 480 Ultimate Rewards points when using the Chase Ink card.

Who Actually Sells These Cards

Staples Visa gift card mall activation code

Visa gift card purchases made on Staples.com are processed through Gift Card Mall and usually take a few days to ship. The card is supposed to be shipped in one envelope with an activation code coming in a second envelope, usually a day apart. (See: How to Activate & Register Visa Gift Cards Purchased at Staples.)

Recently there has been some sort of issue with this process & the activation codes have not been getting sent. I have personally had over 20 orders over the past couple of months come without activation codes. Many other people have reported the same thing happening. I did ask Gift Card Mall why this is happening and the phone agent had no clue.

How to Activate Without the Codes

Staples Visa gift card mall activation code
A Gift Card Mall envelope containing an activation code for a Visa gift cards purchased at Staples.

If you don’t receive the code, the only way to activate the cards is to call Gift Card Mall at 1-877-426-2551. They will verify your name and billing address and then activate the cards within a few hours. Having to call in is a pain, especially if you have a lot of orders.

Calling In to Activate

Some people use the names and addresses of family members in order to take advantage of a discount more than one time. Since “technically” the person calling in must be the person who purchased the cards, this can create a few problems.

Fortunately I can report that I called in to activate about 20 cards recently, some of which were in my wife’s name. When asked, I gave the person on the phone only my name and the order numbers (the address was the same). Thankfully, she didn’t mention (or notice) that some of the orders were in my wife’s name and all of the cards activated properly.


Staples Visa gift card mall activation code
It would be so much easier if they just sent these codes like they are supposed to.

I am not a huge fan of the security procedure Gift Card Mall has in place for these cards. The only required pieces of information to activate via telephone are the name and billing address, both of which are in the envelope with the actual gift cards. I haven’t heard of anyone getting ripped off yet, but it wouldn’t be difficult.


In the end, I am not generally a huge fan of waiting for expensive gift cards to come via mail. Additionally, with Gift Card Mall not sending out activation codes, the fact that Staples stopped paying through portals and the overall lax security, I think I will hold off buying these cards online unless another killer deal comes along.

Have you recently ordered Visa gift card from Staples.com? If so, have the activation codes comes in the mail or did you have to activate via telephone? Let me know in the comments!

Shawn Coomer
Shawn Coomerhttps://milestomemories.com/
Shawn Coomer earns and burns millions of miles/points per year circling the globe with his family. An expert at accumulating travel rewards, he founded Miles to Memories to help others achieve their travel goals for pennies on the dollar. Shawn also runs a million dollar reselling business, knows Vegas better than most and loves to spend his time at the 12 Disney parks across the world.

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  1. Ordered 3 last week codes came same day. Just got 2 I ordered last week today no codes going to call.
    Ordered 1 from Amazon and it got lost they usually ship quick. Had trouble with Walmart gift cards would not register CS very slow in activation wil never order from them again. Having trouble with Dollar General loading my serve will only do 1 card and max 500. Dollar tree will not even do Amex serve but they will load green dot with a gift card which I can withdraw at atm. Small 400 a day limit but better than nothing. Bought the cards online and took them in there.

  2. I recently took advantage of the $20 off two $308.95 VGC at staples deal. This has certainly been a nerve wracking experience.

    I ordered $6600 worth of cards, received shipment notifications for $6600 in cards, been charged for $5700 in cards, received $4800 in cards, but have activation codes (but missing cards for $1800 in cards.

    Now that I’m reading that it is really easy to activate VGC without the activation codes I’m worried someone may have stolen 3 packages (which would mean the mail person, as my mailbox is in a locked apartment building mail system). If the 6 cards do not show up tomorrow (tracking said they should have been here by 1/12/16) I will have to call and see if I can get the remaining 6 cards resent.

  3. I did one of the Staples deals that got me a $25 Visa gift card from Gift Card Mall. the card arrived within a couple of weeks. Took another 2-3 weeks for the code to arrive. The card would NOT activate with the code using the website or the phone number. Had to talk to an agent and they activated it without a hitch.

    It almost feels like a scam to make sure the codes don’t come in a reasonable time and that you might lose the card. And then to not have the automated activation work is just silly. A phone number should be registered when you place your order and when you call from that number with the card it should be activated. Not too difficult. Credit card companies have been doing it for years.

  4. I received 8 cards on 2/7 from the same Staples Amex offer. Can I just call in anytime? I’d hate to be on hold only to be told to call back if they don’t come in x days!

    • I have generally called in during normal business hours, however I believe they are open 24 hours. Either way, I have never been on hold for more than a minute when calling in.

  5. I used to get the activation codes regularly – at least a few dozen orders, and my order from a couple weeks ago was the first time I didn’t get my activation code. Sometimes they would come a day or two before the cards came in. Maybe that part of the operation is slipping.

  6. Just an update: Never got the activation codes for my latest order of five cards. The phone rep just now said it will take over 24 hours for them to be activated. I also had to give out a lot of personal information that I have never had to give before.

  7. I’ve ordered quite a few of these in the last 3 months and have NEVER received the activation codes in the mail. I don’t mind calling in though, so it’s not going to stop me from buying these. I will agree though that it suggests the operation is not being run very well. But earning 1,035 Ultimate Rewards points for $6.95 in fees (or $0.0067 cost per point) without having to physically go to Staples is well worth the trouble, I think.

  8. True to form, no activation codes after 7 orders. Card’s actually took 2 weeks to arrive as well. Big delays. Had to call. The rep told me they would be activated by 4pm. It was 12pm when I called. OK, I thought, why can’t they activate them right there. Whatever. At 5pm still not activated. I called back and they apologized, said all cards are activated by people and they were all busy activating other cards. What a joke. Not surprising though when no activation codes are sent. Not too bright over there with the mailings.

  9. Never got the activation code. Called in to active the card. Can I use the VGC to load Serve in Walmart?


  10. Oh also, I’ve ordered directly from giftcardmall in the past and the last time I ordered in Dec I actually got the activation codes via email. I remember thinking that that was an improvement over waiting for a paper letter, not sure if that’s something they’re trying to switch to instead and they’re just not executing well?

  11. Wow good to know, I received my GC and was wondering when the activation code would come. I’ll call in now that it looks like it’s an issue across the board. Normally I get the activation code before the card itself so I was wondering if it got lost in the mail.

  12. This was timely – I’d put aside 4 cards, each on a separate order, about 3 weeks ago and hadn’t gotten around to calling in yet.

    Aside from the 20 minutes on hold, activation went really fast. I had saved the GCM paperwork with the order numbers – made the call easier as I didn’t have to give my billing address or any other information at all.

    • Thanks JEM. I too save the paperwork, but they usually ask for my address. It is crazy that you can activate without much information. Isn’t that the purpose of sending the activation codes separately!

  13. This happened to me in late December as well. Thankfully, the order consisted of only 1 gift card since I was taking advantage of a deal I read about on this site. It was still a pain calling them, though, even with just the 1 card.

  14. Timely post, as I went through all this BS too.

    Never doing it again. Not worth my time for a measly $15 or so profit per card.

  15. Thank you for bringing this up. I ordered 2 and did not get activation. But now its easy since you gave detailed instructions on how to activate

  16. This happened to me last time I ordered one on the Staples deal. When I called in they activated it quickly but now that I hear it is happening a lot I might not do it anymore. Last year when I did these in large quantities I always got the codes by mail.

  17. Same happened to me. I bought a $100 gift card w the Amex $25 rebate and had to call to activate. I thought it was just me!

  18. Having the same problem lately with multiple orders. The agents at that phone line are pretty good though. When I called this past Friday, the agent got my cards activated almost immediately. Very helpful since I was sitting in the Walmart parking lot and needed them activated quickly for some reason…

    • You are right that the phone agents are all very nice and easy to deal with. It is good to know that they can expedite the activation. On average it takes about two hours to activate in my experience, but I don’t usually think to call until I am ready to head out to Walmart.

  19. I missed out on this opportunity by a few hours. I was pretty bummed, but right now I’m not feeling so bad. I would hate to have to go through what you’ve had to deal with. Thanks for the heads up on your experience. I may also pass in the future if I see a similar deal come up.

  20. Same thing happened to me on three separate orders. I waited over a week and called and they activated by phone. I was also surprised by the lack of information they needed. If anyone got a hold of the gift cards they basically had all the information they would need to activate and use.

  21. My husband went through this on Sunday for the first time. I have done it 2-3 times in the last few months and looks like I am going to have to call them tomorrow as I haven’t received the activation codes but have the physical cards.


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