Frequently Asked Questions about Universal Gift Cards

. . . from our cardholders:

. . . from our corporate clients:

I've been given a Universal Gift Card. How does it work?

The Universal Gift Card is a prepaid or stored-value card that carries a certain amount of spending power. Each time the card is used to make a purchase, the purchase amount is deducted from the card’s available balance. Once its value has been exhausted, it can not be used for more purchases, because negative balances are not supported - it is not a credit card.

Some Universal cards, like the TRUST U Universal Expenses Card, are reloadable - their purchasing power can be topped up with more value. [back to top]

How do I activate a card? Why do I have to do this?

Your card must be activated before you can use it. If the letter or pack to which your card was attached asks you to activate your card, please do so on this website or by phoning the number shown on the card. You will need to enter the 16 digit card number and your 4 digit authentication code – sometimes that is the ddmm (day day month month) part of your date of birth. This is a necessary security step – the same as banks do when despatching credit or debit cards through the post. [back to top]

Where can the card be used?

Universal Gift Cards can be used for internet purchases or anywhere in Australia or overseas where VISA prepaid cards are accepted. They can be spent in about 499,000 places in Australia and 28 million overseas. [back to top]

Are there any transactions for which the card cannot be used?

Universal cards can not be used for mail or telephone orders or at ATMs. 

Use of the card at automated fuel bowsers will require the card to have a balance of at least $49, although only the actual amount spent will be deducted from the card's balance. [back to top]

Can I use the card to get cash from an ATM?

No. Sorry. Universal Cards cannot be used at an ATM. [back to top]

When a merchant asks me "Credit, Cheque or Savings?" and "Sign or PIN?" how should I answer?

1. "Credit" (even though a prepaid card is not a credit card, we use credit card settlement processes).

2. Usually you should answer "Sign" (your 4 digit authentication code is not your PIN). However if your card is reloadable (4365 xxxx), you must enter its PIN instead of signing. [back to top

What if the value of the purchase I want to make is greater than the value / balance on the card?

You will need to supplement the spending power on the card with cash or other payment method accepted by the merchant. [back to top]

What if the value of the purchase I want to make is less than the value / balance on the card?

Only the exact value of your purchase will be deducted from the balance on the card, so you can use the card for more purchases later. No change will be given. [back to top]

Why might a proposed transaction using my prepaid card be declined?

There are several possibilities:

  • your card has not been activated 


  • the amount of the purchase exceeds the available balance. (Please refer to the following two questions and answers too.)
  • your card has expired
  • you have tried to enter a PIN instead of signing the merchant's docket. (Singleload Universal Gift Cards do not have a PIN.)
  • your card has been reported lost or stolen 
  • your card has been suspended


  • a previous voided or interrupted transaction may have been authorised, and the reserved funds have not yet been released


  • the signature panel on the back of the card has not been signed


  • your signature on the purchase receipt does not match the signature on the back of the card


  • for reloadable cards (4365 xxxx) -- you have entered your PIN incorrectly


  • the merchant does not accept VISA prepaid cards



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Do you have any tips about tips?

In service-oriented merchants like restaurants and bars where it is customary to give a tip for excellent service, the Visa system automatically adds up to 10% when the merchant seeks purchase authorisation - to cover a generous tip.

For example, if the cost of your wonderful meal adds up to $100, the authorisation amount will be $108, which means that if the balance on your card were say $105, it would be declined.

You should ensure that your card has a balance which covers a buffer of say 10% when you are transacting with these sorts of merchants, even if you plan to give a smaller tip, or none at all. [back to top]

Are there other "special" merchants I should know about?

Yes. Another special case is at the petrol station: it's better to pay at the counter after filling your tank, rather than using your card at the pump itself before filling up. Why? Because, even if you need only a few litres of petrol, an authorisation for $49 will be sought, and that $49 will be reserved until the actual value of fuel purchased is posted to the account - sometimes a day or two later. [back to top]

How can I check the balance - the value left on the card?

By visiting or by phoning the number shown on the card. Merchants can not do a balance enquiry through their point-of-sale system. [back to top]

Can I see a list of purchase transactions made with the card?

Yes - by visiting [back to top]

Are there any fees for using the card or checking its balance or transactions?

Generally there are no fees for using the card: the balance on the card is entirely for your use. If you use a Universal Gift Card overseas, a foreign currency conversion fee of 2.5% of the transaction value will apply. Visiting the web site is free - to check your card balance or transactions or for any other purpose. A phone call to report a lost or stolen card is free. And your first phone call -- to activate your card -- is free. Thereafter a call to the IVR computer will generally incur a $1.10 fee, and if you choose to talk to a human operator you will generally incur a fee of $4.40. If your card is reloadable, an account fee of $1 per month may be deducted from the card’s balance, depending on the arrangements between us and our corporate client.

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Do I have to remember a PIN?

It depends. Our singleload cards (4249 xxxx) do not have a PIN. Our reloadable cards (4365 xxxx) do have a PIN, and you must enter its PIN instead of signing a docket. Your 4 digit authentication code is not a PIN.

To check your card balance or transaction history, you will need to remember your 4 digit authentication code, which is not a PIN .

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Can I reload my Universal card with more spending power?

Generally Universal prepaid cards are not reloadable. However some incentive and business expenses cards given to employees are reloadable by the employer. [back to top]

Who can use the card?

Anyone who has legitimate possession of the card and who has agreed to the terms & conditions of using the card - by signing the back of it, or offering it to a merchant in payment for goods and services. We recommend the card not be given to young people less than 12 years old. [back to top]

What happens if I need to return an item to the merchant?

Each merchant has its own policy about accepting returned items. If a merchant does accept the return of goods purchased with a prepaid card, then the merchant can process a negative transaction so the spending power of the card is restored. However such credits are not immediate - please check your transaction history on [back to top]

Does the card have an expiry date?

Yes. It will expire at the end of the month shown on the front of the card. This means that most cards have a life of between 12 and 18 months.

Reloadable cards show an expiry date 36 months after their date of issue, but active reloadable card accounts will never expire – a fresh card will be sent to you automatically as each expiry date approaches. Please ensure your Profile on this website is up-to-date, so the new card is sent to the correct address! [back to top]

What happens if there are still funds on the card when it expires?

Whatever value is left on a singleload card after its expiry will not be available to you: we encourage you to use your card before it expires. However an active reloadable card account may continue in perpetuity, so the remaining balance on an "old", expiring reloadable card is transferred to the new, fresh card automatically.  [back to top]

May a merchant add a surcharge to the cash price?

Yes. It is the same as when you use a credit card: Reserve Bank reforms in 2004 mean that merchants are now permitted to add a small surcharge to recompense them for paying the Merchant Service Fee to their bank. Most merchants do not surcharge. [back to top]

What should I do if my card is lost or stolen?

Phone 1800 174 239  (or  +1 954 514 8958  if you are outside Australia) immediately to report a stolen card, so we can stop any subsequent transactions from being authorised.

If the balance on the card exceeds $15 at the time you report its loss, you may order a replacement card, which will be loaded with the balance of the lost / stolen card at the time its loss was reported, less an administration fee of $15.

Or if you have lost the card and think you will find it again, you may take the precaution of suspending it on this website. (Remember to unsuspend your card after you find it.) [back to top]

What are the terms and conditions of using these cards?

Please see the terms and conditions here. [back to top]

What about security?

Like all payment cards, prepaid cards should be safeguarded, treated like cash. However Universal cards are more secure than cash, because your signature is required for a purchase. And if your card is lost or stolen, you can report its loss so it can be disabled and replaced, unlike many store cards. [back to top]

What is your privacy policy?

We adhere to the Australian Privacy Principles. We will not disclose your personal details to anyone except for the purpose of operating these prepaid card programs, or as required by law. All data transmitted via the internet is encrypted. To see our Privacy Policy, click here. [back to top]

How do I contact you if I have more questions?

Please send us an email [back to top]

What do other clients use Universal Cards for?

Our clients use single-load cards for cashbacks or other "thank you" gestures to their customers perhaps for referring new customers. Also as gifts, rewards, prizes or incentives for their employees, resellers, survey respondents etc. To mend the relationship after customer service errors - to say "sorry".

Reloadable cards are best for paying commissions and incentives for your salespeople or resellers. Our TRUST U Universal Expense Card is perfect for facilitating payment of minor business expenses without the hassle of completing paperwork and finding receipts.

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How are the cards delivered?

We deliver cards to individuals by Australia Post, or to clients in bulk by courier - within Australia only. Special arrangements need to be made for delivery to New Zealand or other countries.

Each card is presented on a "carrier" letter which uses your stationery or ours, uses your text or ours, and is placed in your envelope or ours. For bulk delivery of cards to you, other fulfillment options are available too.

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How long will it be between ordering cards and their despatch?

Both your order and clear funds are needed before we can place the order on the card manufacturer. Then it takes up to 3 business days before the cards are despatched by post or courier. [back to top]

What minimum and maximum amounts can be loaded to Universal Gift Cards?

For single-load cards: minimum 1 cent to maximum $4,999.

For reloadable cards: minimum 1 cent to maximum $9,999. Any reload that would lift the balance to exceed that maximum will fail. [back to top]

What can be printed on the front of the cards?

VISA requires its logo, the card number, the card's expiry month and the cardholder "name" on the front of the card. We require the Universal Gift Card logo and brand on the front of the card. The VISA hologram can be placed on the back of the card. All this means that there is not much space for extra words. The greatest impact for custom-designed cards comes from the image and colours you choose. For more information and guidelines for designing your own cards, please contact your UGC sales consultant. [back to top]

What is the production time for custom-designed cards?

After final approval of the card design by you and VISA it generally takes card manufacturer 6 weeks to produce inventory. Then we run a "package test" so you and we can check that all fulfillment choices have been understood perfectly - that takes another week.

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What payment options are available?

Direct credit. Credit card - VISA, MasterCard, American Express only - a 1.5% surcharge applies for VISA or MasterCard, or a 2.5% surcharge applies for AMEX. For speedy processing, several clients provide a float which is topped up as necessary, or give us a Direct Debit Authority.

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