Amazon Kindle And Digital Order Purchases Using Credit Card vs Gift Card

Amazon does many things quite well.  One of the things they do quite horribly however is denying you the ability to specify a payment method when purchasing the following:

  • Digital video
  • Kindle books
  • MP3s
  • Other digital purchases

If you’re wondering how I got that list of what doesn’t work, I simply tried turning off 1-click settings, and Amazon said “AH-HA! you’re screwed sucker, you can’t turn 1-click off for the various products”.


What does this mean?  Well it means if you have a personal gift card, and you’re trying to use the corporate AMEX your company gave you to make a rare company purchase (and don’t want a separate Amazon account just for that), you’re SCREWED. (sort of)

Note you CAN specify 1-click settings in your Account, and therefore determine the default credit card used for these purchases.  However unlike normal purchases, digital purchases such as kindle books REQUIRE 1-click to purchase.  Therefore unlike normal purchases, you CANNOT select a payment method, and therefore you CANNOT override the default to use your remaining gift card balance.

Amazon, all I’ve got to say is:  Get with the program.  This is sad.

The only solution is to call Amazon and ask them to request a “balance hold” on your gift card.  What this will do is cause a Pending “Balance hold” transaction that erases your gift card balance to $0.00.  You can see this when going to “Your Account” and “Gift Card Balance”:


When your gift card is temporarily at $0.00 you can place the digital order while on the phone with Amazon that finally (after some significant wait time on the phone) allows you to place the order using your credit card instead of your gift card.  Then you have to ask amazon to replenish your gift card/release the hold, which can take another hour (luckily you don’t need to stay on the phone for this).

Dear Amazon,
Please fix.

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