Before giving a prepaid debit gift card, it must be activated in the store or by calling the number on its packaging, states MasterCard. After activation, the recipient can use the card at any location that accepts that brand of credit card.
Most Visa gift cards are active after purchase, but some cards require manual activation before use, states Visa. Before making purchases with the debit card, the recipient should check the balance through the card issuer's website. If there is not enough money on the gift card for a purchase, the recipient must also use a second form of payment.