Why Did My Target Gift Card Balance Disappear?

If you’ve noticed your Target gift card balance has suddenly dropped, you’re probably wondering what happened to your money. Gift cards can be confusing, and balances disappearing can be super frustrating.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Target gift card balances can disappear if the card is deactivated, has fees deducted, is lost/stolen and used by someone else, or has fraudulent activity

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the various reasons your Target gift card balance may have vanished, and what you can do to help get it back or prevent it from happening again. Keep reading to learn more.

Your Target Gift Card Is Deactivated

Have you noticed that your Target gift card balance has mysteriously disappeared? Well, the reason behind this might be that your gift card has been deactivated.

There are a few reasons why Target might deactivate a gift card besides requesting the deactivation yourself, like in cases of fraud or technical issues.

Your Target Gift Card Expired

Deactivation due to fraudulent transactions 

Target may deactivate a gift card if they suspect that it is fraudulent or if there is suspicious activity on the account

This could include things like multiple unsuccessful attempts to use the card, or using the card to purchase a large number of high-value items.

Deactivation due to technical issues 

Sometimes, gift cards can be deactivated due to a technical issue.

This is usually resolved quickly by Target and a replacement card would be provided, when needed.

Deactivation due to Customer Request 

Target may deactivate a gift card at the customer’s request. 

This could be for a variety of reasons, such as if the card is lost or stolen, or if the customer wants to cancel the card for any other reason.

If you have a Target gift card that has been deactivated, you can contact Target customer service to find out why the card was deactivated and to see if it can be reactivated.

Tips to avoid deactivation

Here are some things you can do to avoid having your Target gift card deactivated:

  • Be careful about where you purchase your gift card. Only buy gift cards from trusted retailers.
  • Keep your gift card in a safe place.
  • Don’t share your gift card number with anyone you don’t trust.
  • Register your gift card with Target. This will make it easier to recover your balance if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Monitor your gift card balance regularly. This will help you track your spending and make sure that your balance is correct.

Fees Were Deducted From the Balance

One possible reason why your Target gift card balance disappeared is because fees were deducted from it. These fees can eat away at your balance over time, leaving you with less money to spend.

It is important to understand the different types of fees that may be associated with your gift card.

Monthly Inactivity Fees

Some gift cards, including Target gift cards, may have monthly inactivity fees. These fees are typically charged if you don’t use your card for a certain period of time, usually after a year of inactivity.

The exact amount of the fee can vary, but it is typically around $2 or $3 per month. This fee may continue to be deducted from your balance until the card is depleted.

To avoid monthly inactivity fees, it is recommended to use your Target gift card regularly or check the terms and conditions of the card to see if there are any specific requirements to avoid these fees.

It is also important to note that some states have laws prohibiting or limiting the charging of monthly inactivity fees on gift cards, so be sure to check the regulations in your state.

Purchase Fees

Another type of fee that can be deducted from your Target gift card balance is a purchase fee. Some gift cards, especially those that are purchased from third-party retailers or online platforms, may have a fee associated with them at the time of purchase.

This fee is typically a percentage of the total value of the gift card.

For example, if you purchase a $100 Target gift card with a 5% purchase fee, you would be charged an additional $5 at the time of purchase. This means that your gift card balance would start at $95 instead of $100.

It is important to read the terms and conditions of the gift card before purchasing to see if there are any fees associated with it.

If you are unsure about the fees associated with your Target gift card, you can visit the Target website or contact their customer service for more information.

target store

The Card Was Lost, Stolen or Used Fraudulently

If your Target gift card balance has disappeared, it could be due to the card being lost, stolen, or used fraudulently. These unfortunate situations can happen to anyone, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and resolve the issue.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Cards

If you have misplaced your Target gift card or suspect that it has been stolen, it is important to report it as soon as possible. Contact Target’s customer service or visit their website to report the lost or stolen card.

Provide them with any relevant details, such as the card number and the date of purchase. By reporting the loss or theft promptly, you can help prevent unauthorized use of the card.

Pro tip: Keep your gift card’s receipt or take a photo of the card’s information, including the card number, as it may be required when reporting a lost or stolen card.

Disputing Fraudulent Charges

If you notice unauthorized charges on your Target gift card, it is crucial to take immediate action to dispute these fraudulent charges.

Contact Target’s customer service right away to report the fraudulent activity and provide them with the necessary information. They will guide you through the process of resolving the issue and may even be able to help you recover the lost funds.

Did you know? According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission, gift card fraud accounted for $27 million in reported losses in 2020 alone.

This highlights the importance of being vigilant and proactive when it comes to protecting your gift cards.

Target takes the security of their gift cards seriously and has measures in place to assist customers in these situations. By promptly reporting lost or stolen cards, reporting fraud and disputing fraudulent charges, you can increase the chances of recovering your gift card balance and preventing further unauthorized use.

For more information on how to protect yourself from gift card fraud and what to do if your Target gift card balance disappears, you can visit Target’s Gift Card FAQs page on their official website.

You Spent More Than the Balance

If you noticed that your Target gift card balance has disappeared, one possible reason is that you may have spent more than the balance on your card. Gift cards are a great way to shop without carrying cash or using your credit card, but they do have their limitations.

Most gift cards have a fixed amount of money loaded onto them, and once you have used up that balance, the card will no longer be valid.

It’s important to keep track of your gift card balance to avoid any surprises. When making a purchase, make sure to check the remaining balance on your card before finalizing the transaction.

If you attempt to spend more than the available balance on your gift card, the transaction may be declined, or the remaining balance may be used, leaving nothing left on the card.

If you have used up the entire balance on your Target gift card, don’t worry! You can always reload the card with more funds or purchase a new gift card. Target offers a variety of gift card options, including both physical and digital cards, so you can continue to enjoy your shopping experience.

Tips to Avoid Spending More Than the Balance:

  1. Check your gift card balance before making a purchase.
  2. Keep track of your spending to avoid exceeding the available balance.
  3. If you want to purchase an item that exceeds the gift card balance, consider using another payment method to cover the remaining amount.
  4. Consider using a mobile app or online account to easily track your gift card balance.

Remember, gift cards are a convenient way to shop, but it’s important to be aware of the remaining balance to avoid any unexpected surprises.

By following these tips, you can make the most out of your Target gift card and enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience.

How to Prevent Your Balance from Disappearing

Use Your Card at Least Once Every 36 Months

One of the main reasons why gift card balances disappear is due to inactivity. If you haven’t used your Target gift card for a period of 36 months, it is considered inactive and subject to expiration.

To prevent this from happening, make sure to use your card regularly. Even a small purchase will help keep your balance active and ensure that the funds remain available for your use.

Register Your Card Online

Another way to safeguard your Target gift card balance is to register it online. By registering your card, you can keep track of your balance and easily manage your funds.

Additionally, registered cards are often protected from loss or theft, providing an extra layer of security.

Visit the official Target website and follow the instructions to register your gift card. It only takes a few minutes and can save you from potential loss or inconvenience.

Register Your Card Online

Keep Your Receipts

When you make a purchase with your Target gift card, it is important to keep the receipt. The receipt serves as proof of purchase and can be helpful if any issues arise regarding your card balance.

In the event that your balance does disappear or there is a discrepancy, having the receipt can make it easier to resolve the situation with Target’s customer service. Keep your receipts in a safe place until you are certain that your card balance is accurate.

Take a Photo of the Card

Another useful tip to prevent your Target gift card balance from disappearing is to take a photo of the card itself. This can be done using your smartphone or any other camera.

By having a visual record of the card, you can easily access the card number and other important details in case the physical card gets lost or damaged. 

Having a photo of the card can also help with verifying the card’s authenticity in case of any issues.

By following these simple steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of your Target gift card balance disappearing. Remember to use your card regularly, register it online, keep your receipts, and take a photo of the card.

These precautions will help ensure that your funds remain safe and available for your next shopping trip at Target!


Losing a Target gift card balance can be disappointing. But in most cases, you have options to get a replacement card, remove unfair fees, or dispute fraudulent charges.

Just be sure to use your card at least once every three years, register it online and keep the receipt.

Taking preventative steps can help ensure your card and hard-earned balance remain safe and accessible when you need them.

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