Gift of College gift cards appearing in more stores


For those saving for college, helping others save for college, or paying off student loans, Gift of College gift cards are a way to do so with a rewards earning credit card.  If you load the card with the maximum $500, the $5.95 purchase fee amounts to 1.19%.  Since many credit cards offer substantially larger rewards, this can be a great way to earn points, miles, or cash back.  Full details can be found here: Pay student loans or 529 plans with a credit card!

a gift card with writing on it

Now Available

Gift of College gift cards have been available at Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores since November 2016.  Now they are starting to appear in other stores:

Coming Soon Eventually?

Gift of College gift cards were expected to appear nationwide in Best Buy stores in the summer of 2017, but they never appeared.  Will we ever see them there?  I have no idea, but will obviously post to the blog if they do.

Why this Matters

There are a few reasons that I’m excited about Gift of College gift cards appearing in more locations:

  • Availability: Not everyone has Toys R Us stores nearby
  • Category Bonuses: I’m not aware of any credit cards that offer bonus points for toy stores as a standard perk, but grocery store bonuses are common.  Pharmacy bonuses are common with cards that offer rotating category bonuses (e.g. Chase Freedom and Discover It).  See: Best Card for Grocery, Gas, Drugstores, Travel, Dining, More…
  • Store Rewards: Most stores do not give rewards when buying gift cards, but some do.  We don’t yet know if any of the stores listed here will offer such rewards, but we can hope!
  • Linked Rewards: Some rewards programs link to credit cards and automatically offer rewards when purchases are made at certain locations.  We’ll keep an eye out for these opportunities going forward.
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Some reports that Gift of College cards is now available in about 46 Barnes and Nobles stores – Not sure which ones, I believe this would be available across all B&N stores starting mid/late oct. The denominations however seem to be upto $200 only.,

Nick Reyes

Yes. See Greg’s comment immediately above yours. We verified that about a month ago – the fee makes it not worth it at that denomination.


I would love to buy some of these cards, where does a person find them for sale now that Toys R Us is gone?


It says on “Gift of College” website ( that the gift cards can be purchased at Barnes and Noble. Can anyone confirm this? Or are they just blowing smoke like with Best Buy?


Any updates on a new national retailer? Or somewhere in the Midwest?


Just notice on the terms at Target REDcard

“Target gift cards and prepaid cards, Stockpile and Gift of College gift cards”
this suggests they are selling gift of college gift cards in-store


That language has been there since at least 9/2016, so I’d assume that was a deal that fell through just like the Best Buy BS.

Nadine at Gift of College

Hi Calvin,

I’m sorry our cards are not available at Target and any questions about why Gift of College gift cards appear in the TCs on their website should be directed toward them.

As soon as we have any updates on Gift of College gift card availability at additional retailers we will make an announcement.

Thank you for your patience,


Hi Nadine, thanks for giving us an update. How’s the Best Buy rollout? (The post said last summer, and I still don’t see it last week at my local Best Buy)

anna astashkina

In Sea there are no GoC cards in TRU or Best Buy. What now?


Would I be correct in assuming that purchasing these at HEBs with the Chase Freedom next month would yield 5x the points?


Question: Assuming I don’t have any qualifying school expenses can I just pull the money out immediately (assuming no earnings)?


I assume, yes, but you’d get hit with the 10% penalty for non-qualified withdrawal from the 529. And, if you claimed a state income tax deduction on the contribution, that would cease to be valid as well.


TRU/BRU stopped selling all gift cards (registers won’t allow it) — no more $500 GoC cards.

Hopefully they find a way to get into BB or another nationwide retailer — even if they have to raise the fee


I emailed support a few months ago and asked about other options for buying gift cards when my local TrU announced it was closing and they told me to go to the next one 30 miles away. So what now?


I can confirm that two of my local TRU stores have hard-coded declines for credit card purchases of GoC gift cards.

Nick Reyes

Interesting. Must be store by store. I just walked out of one where I bought a $500 card with a credit card.


the cashiers have to checkout the cards in a specific way over a certain amount, need to key in approval – no problem once the manager came over to take care of it, card was being reported declined at my TRU last week when the first cashier kept trying

cashier error seems more likely given my past experience, at least that is what i am hoping 🙂

planning on heading back to finish off the freedom mobile pay bonus on card #2


Local toy r us in Illinois shut down credit card purchases.


So Best Buy turned out to be fake news

Master Allan

Hope it’s just delayed and not fizzled out with BestBuy. Paying off student loans with GoC purchased from BestBuy I would be the proud owner of their most expensive TV picked up from reward points alone.


I tried to buy two Gift of College gift cards at my local Toys R Us in Emeryville, CA and the manager told me that they only accept debit or cash. Unfortunately, the next store is significantly farther away. Any suggestions on how I could get the store to change their policy?


Sad to say this gift card is such a disappointment… But it could be one of the most incredible selling cards of all time if they would just get it out there …and do just a little bit of promotion. We are all hoping for that