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All You Need to Know About McDonald’s Gift Cards (aka Arch Card)

By Lana Kisner | October 31, 2023

McDonald’s gift cards (also known as Arch Cards) are an easy way to pay for your order and make a great gift for your loved ones. Rather than carrying cash, you can use them for all purchases at participating McDonald’s restaurants.

There are many ways to purchase them, but there are also limitations on how they can be used. Read on to learn more about how to buy and use a McDonald’s gift card.

Where Can You Buy McDonald’s Gift Cards?

Places you can buy McDonald’s gift cards include McDonald’s restaurants, the McDonald’s website, and participating retail stores. To purchase them online, visit the gift card catalog to choose an available design or apply for a corporate account to order in bulk.

Unfortunately, they are not sold online at major retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart, but most Target and Walmart stores carry physical gift cards. In addition, you can buy them at several other retailers, including:

  • Ahold
  • Food Lion
  • Giant Eagle
  • Kohls
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • SuperValu
  • Walgreens

How to Register a McDonald’s Gift Card

A McDonald’s gift card can be used once money is added to it, but it must be registered before it can be reloaded. To register online, visit the McDonald’s website and click on “Reload Your Card.” You will first be prompted to sign in or to create an account.

On the next page, you will find the option to “Register New Arch Cards.” Enter the card number and PIN along with an optional description to register your card and activate the option to reload it.

You can also register and activate your gift card by calling McDonald’s Customer Service at 1-800-244-6227.

How Much Do McDonald’s Gift Cards Cost?

McDonald’s gift cards can be purchased in whole dollar dominations ranging between $5 and $50. There is no additional cost to buy them, and there are also no activation fees.

When purchasing a McDonald’s gift card, you will only be charged for the amount that you’d like to put on the card. The gift card can later be refilled with the amount desired, and there will be no charges if the card is no longer used.

What Other Gift Cards Can Be Used at McDonald’s?

McDonald’s accepts Visa and MasterCard debit cards, which include prepaid gift cards. Prepaid Visa and MasterCard gift cards can be found in many stores and online retailers. They can be used for in-restaurant purchases and online orders placed through the McDonald’s app or the website.

These prepaid cards can also be used for McDonald’s delivery orders or third-party delivery services like DoorDash or GrubHub.

Can You Use a McDonald’s Gift Card Online?

Unfortunately, McDonald’s gift cards are not accepted as a payment method for online orders. While they can be managed online, McDonald’s only allows them to be redeemed for in-restaurant purchases.

Accepted payment methods for online orders placed through the McDonald’s website or the app include American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards, as well as Visa and MasterCard debit cards.

Apple Pay is also accepted at McDonald’s with credit or debit cards registered to Apple Wallet on an iOS device.

How to Check a McDonald’s Gift Card Balance

To check your balance online, visit the McDonald’s gift card balance page. Enter your 16-digit Arch Card number and the associated PIN, then click on the “Check Balance” button at the bottom of the page. You can also do this over the phone by calling 1-877-458-2200.

Adding money to your gift card can be done in-restaurant or online. When visiting a McDonald’s restaurant, an associate at the counter can reload your card with the desired dollar amount. Alternatively, you can visit the McDonald’s Arch Card Reload page and log in to your online account.

Can a McDonald’s Gift Card Be Used in Other Countries?

Any McDonald’s gift card purchased in the United States is only valid in participating McDonald’s restaurants within the U.S.

McDonald’s gift cards purchased in the U.S. are not valid in Canada or any U.S. territories, and the balance cannot be transferred to a gift card purchased in another country.

How to Send a McDonald’s Gift Card to Someone

McDonald’s gift cards can be purchased for personal use or as a gift for others. To send a McDonald’s gift card to a friend or family member, simply enter their shipping address or email at checkout.

When buying a physical gift card from the McDonald’s website, enter your email along with the shipping address of the person you’d like to send the gift card to. They are shipped via USPS and arrive within 3-10 business days. Cards cannot be sent to P.O. boxes or APO/FPO addresses.

The process is similar when sending a McDonald’s e-gift card. Enter the recipient’s email address at checkout, and the digital card will be sent directly to their inbox.

Do McDonald’s Gift Cards Expire?

McDonald’s gift cards do not expire. They are reusable and reloadable and do not have any issuance, activation, or dormancy fees.

However, they cannot be refunded, returned, or exchanged. In addition, they cannot be redeemed for cash, check, or credit.  

How to Get a Free McDonald’s Gift Card

There are several programs through which you can get a free McDonald’s gift card. Some third-party sites offer them as a reward for participation in a program or completing certain tasks.

Popular ways of winning free McDonald’s gift cards include:

  • Credit card rewards
  • Grocery rebates
  • Reading emails
  • Shopping online
  • Taking surveys
  • Watching video

Playing the McDonald’s Monopoly game can also result in winning a free gift card in certain countries. Check in-store or online to find out over which months the game will be held each year.

What If You Lost Your McDonald’s Gift Card?

If you lost your McDonald’s gift card, it can be replaced over the phone with your activation and reload receipts. If your card is damaged, lost, or stolen, the first step to take is to call the McDonald’s customer service number at (800) 244-6227.

They will cancel your card immediately. You can then complete the lost/stolen Arch Card form and send it along with the original gift card activation receipt to have a new card sent to you. On average, replacement McDonald’s gift cards arrive within 4-6 weeks of reporting them lost or stolen.

About the Author

Lana Kisner is a writer on the team with more than 15 years of experience in the food service industry. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants, listening to live music, and hiking with her dog.