Possible problems w/ Staples Mastercard Gift Cards


Late last month, Staples offered fee-free $100 Mastercard Gift Cards online for a few hours before the deal sold out (we reported it here). I have not yet had any issues (I used one successfully so far), but many readers at Doctor of Credit have not been so lucky.

Activation & Registration successful, but cards declined

The issue here is that the cards are activating successfully and can be registered online (note that to register for online purchases, you’ll need to go to mcgift.giftcardmall.com after activation). You’ll see the expected $100 balance available online:

However, many people are reporting that even after activation and checking the balance online, the cards are being declined both online and in-person.

Personally, I didn’t have that issue. At least, I don’t think I did. I tried using one of mine to buy a $100 Amazon gift card and the purchase went through. I received the Amazon gift card and applied it to my account. However, I’m marginally concerned with the fact that the available balance still shows $100 online despite the pending transaction for $100.

While the balance in the transaction activity shows $0, I find it odd that the available balance farther up still shows $100.

I think the transaction must have been approved if Amazon sent the gift card. Still, many commenters at DoC are reporting an inability to use these online or in-store.

What to do if your cards don’t work

If your cards don’t work, you could try calling Gift Card Mall at 1-877-426-2551, hitting option 2, and asking for the technical support team. It sounds like this may end up leading to a lot of time on the phone, but if you bought the max of 10 cards, this may be the better method.

If you only have one or two cards, you might try calling the number on the back of the card (1-877-322-4710) and choosing the option for a replacement card. I imagine it’s easy enough to explain that you need a replacement for one reason or another if it’s one or two cards. If it’s ten, I imagine they may want to send you through technical support.

Bottom line

It’s disappointing to see yet another issue with Mastercard gift card. I was happy to pick up a cheap 5K Ultimate Rewards points, but if I end up being unable to use some of the cards and have to invest much time on the phone my enthusiasm will surely wane. Hopefully some of us are lucky and not many readers need replacement cards — and hopefully we’ll see another fee-free Visa Gift Card deal soon.

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Has anybody received replacement cards yet? I’ve been waiting about 3 weeks for mine to arrive.


Yikes. I called 877-322-4710. Entered card number (that’s the only option). Said card was not activated at point of purchase. Call who you bought it from. Also tried the other number someone listed below. Does anyone have a way to get to an actual person? None of my cards will register.


Found # on GetHuman of 877-426-2551. Kept pushing buttons to get a person. She pulled up my order immediately and said she activated all the cards. Within 1-2 hours I’ll know.


Same issue with mine. No help calling the number on the cards, but did get them activated through the second number you posted. Thanks!


The 2551 phone number worked for me. Thanks so much.


Just want to put in a DP the other way. Just used mine in a store. No issues

Sir Jim

How do you use a GC to pay for an insurance/utility bill?


It looks like the Staples MCGCs are working now! I had the same problem as described by others. My cards were not working yesterday. I just used 5 MCGCs to pay an insurance bill and they all processed successfully this morning.


I’ve heard the problem is only applicable to people who MS and it’s going to be solved when your cc account is closed, sort of like AA cancelling tickets already issued..

Ok, after your heart attack, jk.
Really, if you’ve had a bank close all your accounts for MS spending , like I did, you would think twice about doing again and would devote time to taking advantage of that bank in any way possible. DO YOU HEAR ME CHASE?


Be Nice(fr.) they gave me the united card last month @ 10/24 ..Screw all banks ..


Just went through this yesterday for 5 cards. Called the number on the back of the card. Sorry, I don’t remember which options I chose, but when I got to a human, she said that GCM is now well aware of the issue. She opened a ticket for me and gave me a case number and an email address to mail a copy of my receipt. Said it would take up to 15 days for them to mail me a check. Sent the email and got an out-of-office reply! Guess I’ll wait 2 weeks and see. If it works, it’s a zero cost liquidation, and I have my Marriott points and $50 bucks (thanks Amex!) for my trouble.


I’m having the same issues. Walmart declined one at the register. So far I have not found any online opportunities to spend as even when registered the payment is declined. I also purchased a $100 Amazon card as a test. That went through, but was then reversed in a few days due to ‘payment issues.’ I also attempted to list them on Paypal and Fluz, but they aren’t working there either.


I might just be lucky, but all 10 of mine worked after activation and registration. I bought Costco gift cards, paid insurance and gas bill. Everything got approved. I’ll see if all these charges post.


I am having an issue with Visa Debit Gift Cards. More and more here in northern CA Walmart is not allowing the use of them to buy money orders. Plus not many places even sell MOs and they want cash for them. Anybody have any ideas where or how I can liquidate them??


no body is going to share that publicly. Visa Vanilla cards will not work at Walmart for years now.


For the record, I often check my VGC and MCGC’s after I use them and I often see a balance at the top like the one shown above that doesn’t match the transactions. I’ve never had a problem, however.


I’m caught up in this nightmare/runaround. Bought 10 cards (two transactions of 5 each). Activated the cards over the phone, but all the cards keep declining everywhere I try to use them. Called the number on the back multiple times- they said the cards are active and working so nothing they can do and can’t reissue. Called Staples – first agent put me on hold and then transferred me direct to GC Mall. Called Staples again and asked for Supervisor – said nothing he could do with activated third party cards. Threatened a chargeback, at which point he begrudgingly called GC Mall – was on hold an hour while he went back and forth with them. He ended up getting GC Mall to open a help ticket requesting the cards be cancelled and refunded. GC Mall told him case would be reviewed in 3-5 business days and then approved or denied. He gave me the GC Mall case number and said I needed to call them back in 3-5 days for a status. Not really holding my breath on this.

Just today I read a DoC/Dan’s Deals/FT (can’t remember) comment that GC Mall is now aware of the issue and working on a fix. But, I’m afraid to try and use my cards again if in fact a cancellation/refund request is really in process.


I just got mine in the mail and tried to register the first card and got an error. Haven’t tried to use it yet, but will keep monitoring. Thanks for the all the details.


What’s the point of using the $100 MCGC to buy a $100 Amazon gift card when you could just buy the Amazon gift card directly at Staples and earn the same number UR points with Chase Ink?


I would assume to see if the card is working and get rid of it, given all the issues folks are having. Would gladly trade my 10 cards for $1K Amazon and the hours of my life I’ll never get back from this fiasco!


I agree 100% with your comment. Just load up with Amazon gift cards at 5 times on the old Ink card……or 2 times on cards like Jet Blue Business or Aviator Business.