It’s exciting to receive a gift card. However, having an unused scratched gift card and not knowing what to do with it is demoralising.

Gift cards are preloaded debit cards with specific amounts for payment of goods and services. Merchants and businesses issue these cards to make it easy for their customers to access goods and services from them. It’s also a way to raise awareness and drive sales.

Giving gift cards has become a popular way of gifting loved ones and colleagues. Gift cards can be physical or digital. The physical cards are like ATM debit cards and sometimes get damaged or scratched. So, what do you do if your gift card is scratched?

In this article, we’ll answer that question and tell you how to resolve a scratched gift card issue.

What Can Scratch a Gift Card?

Cases of scratched gift cards arise when they are physical. Some common reasons this kind of damage can occur are as follows.

  1. Bad storage

When you keep your gift card in a wallet or purse with other sharp items like chargers, pins or anything that has sharply defined edges, you may end up with a voucher that is scratched or damaged.

  1. Carelessness or force

Another reason a gift card can get scratched is if you’re trying to peel off the silver film and you scrape off some numbers by mistake. When scratching off the film, blunt force can scrape off the digits with them.

Digital gift cards have their PIN and serial numbers attached to the email containing the card. You can’t scratch something you can’t see.

How to Know If your Gift Card is Still Usable

If you have a scratched gift card, especially unused, you can check if it’s still valid or usable. You need to check because sometimes, the scratching may take off some parts of the code or all the digits of the code. Now, scratching happens in varying degrees. In the event that you scratch off a part of one digit and it becomes confusing, here’s what you can do

Log in to your account on the retailer’s app or website and try to redeem the card. If you receive an error prompt, use the help section to try to resolve it.

What to Do If Your Gift Card is Scratched

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to handle this type of issue.

  • Go to the retailer’s website, e.g. Steam.
  • Log in to your account.
  • Try to redeem the gift card if you can still see the digits. Remember that some numbers and alphabets look alike. You might be mistaking ‘B’ for ‘8’, ‘O’ for ‘0’, ‘Z’ for ‘2’, ‘S’ for ‘5’ and vice versa.
  • Contact the Customer Support Centre for help if you can’t redeem it.
  • Give them the code (whatever ones are visible to you) and the PIN alongside the serial number.

How to Prevent Your Gift Card from Getting Scratched

To prevent dealing with damaged gift cards, especially lost codes, here are a few tips.

  • Keep your physical gift cards in a separate purse or wallet so they don’t come in contact with sharp objects.
  • Be extremely careful when peeling off the silver film covering the code on the back of your gift card. Do not use abrasive substances or extremely sharp edges to scratch the film off.
  • You can store your gift card in a digital gift card wallet so that you don’t have to carry it around.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my gift card PIN is scratched off?

A: If you have a damaged gift card with the PIN scratched off, immediately contact the retailer’s customer support. They might be able to help restore it.

What do I do with my Scratched Unused Steam gift card?

A: If the damage done to your Steam gift card is severe, such that you can’t see the code or PIN on the back, contact the customer support centre of the issuing retailer.


Gift cards are preloaded debit cards that can be given as gifts and may be physical or digital. It’s nice to receive a physical gift voucher, especially a customised one, but it can get scratched or damaged. This can happen if you store your gift card with sharp objects or use blunt force when peeling off the film. Scratched gift cards pose the risk of loss of the code.

If your gift card is scratched, contact the retailer’s customer support to help you redeem the card. They’ll let you know your other options if they cannot redeem it.