Google Play cards

Google Play cards are a great way to buy apps and media, and redeeming them is easy

Android Central University

Google announced Google Play cards late last summer in the U.S., and have since been made available in Canada and the U.K. Of course, we all want them to be able to go global with the service, but there has been no word of when we can expect that to happen. In the meantime, if you're in a supported country, it's nice to know just how to apply the balance from a card to your Google account.

It's a pretty simple affair. You can find the gift cards themselves at retailers like Target or Walmart in the US and Canada,  and Tesco and Morrisons in the U.K. They come in $10, $15, $25 and $50 denominations in North America, and £10, £25 and £50 in the U.K. You'll find them next to iTunes cards in most retailers, and you buy them like any other item off the shelf from the store. Once you get them home, adding the balance to your account is easy.

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Redeeming on the web

You can apply the balance to your Google account (your Google Wallet account if you want to be specific) from your Android device or from any computer with a modern web browser. We'll look at redeeming the balance on the web first.

redeeming on the web

Simply fire up your web browser and point it at You'll likely be asked to authenticate by signing into your Google account, do that just like you would if you were accessing Gmail or any other Google service. You'll then be forwarded to the redemption page. 

Next, take a coin of a sharp fingernail and scratch off the grey security paste covering the redemption code. It's just like a scratch-off lottery ticket, except you won't lose $2 while you scratch it. Once you've uncovered your redemption code, simply enter it into the text box that popped up in the middle of the page and click the Redeem button. You'll get confirmation that it was successful and you'll be able to use that balance to buy apps and media.

Redeeming on your device

Google Play menuRedeem a card

It's just as easy to redeem a gift card on your Android device through the Google Play app as it is from the web. Open up the Google Play application, and make sure you're at the main view where you can choose which Google Play store you want to visit. Open the left-side pull-out menu in the app, and you'll see the entry that says Redeem in the list. Tap it.

You'll need to be patient for a second as the app accesses your Google Wallet account, and then you'll be faced with a dialog to enter your redemption code. Scratch off the security covering over your card's code number, and type it in the text box that says "Enter code". With a tap of the green Redeem button you'll be set, and have the balance to spend in Google Play.

It's worth noting that Google Play balances on your Wallet account "cannot be redeemed for Android app subscriptions, magazine subscriptions, or hardware and accessory purchases", but will work just fine for apps, music, videos or books. 


Reader comments

How to apply a Google Play gift card to your account


I must be the only cheapskate in the world who hasn't spent any money in the Android Market (Play Store). I have been using Android phones for 5 years and spent $0 so far. :( Only free apps for me.

Same here! I never spent a single dime for any app on the market. I am not really into purchasing premium apps if I can have it for free.

I guess I'm your opposite. I hate the 'freemium' model and always try to get the paid versions if available.

The cards don't have any value until activated at the register, and the QR code would be covered with a peel-off or scratch-off cover like the current redemption code is.

The codes aren't active until scanned at the till. So scanning even a QR code wouldn't redeem a card that isn't activated yet.

Jerry, what I REALLY want to know is how do I view all of my purchased apps. Unless I've missed something, this is a huge feature I haven't seen announced. Is there a native filter, or do I have to resort to a third party to help?

Wallet is certainly helpful, so thanks for that. However, the account tab shows everything, including the free apps I've downloaded. In the olden days, it was easy to switch tabs and find all the Paid apps I have. Was nice to look back and see if there were any games I purchased and never played.

Yea the google play link will show all app downloads so stick to the google wallet link. only thing is that will show anything purchased with google wallet (online stores, apps, magazines, music, NFC purchases, etc)

I purchased 10$ google gift Card and is alreaady credited to my Google Card, I intend to buy 10$ worth of gems in Clash of Clans, I am in philippines, How do I get it done?

These cards are great n easy to find. I got mine from radio shack n purchase PowerAmp n SwiftKey.


Yeah, sure Jerry, rub it in our face that we can't get those gift cards and that Google is too dumb to bring a piece of paper/plastic into retail...

Does anyone ever sell them for cheaper than the card value? I recently saw an $100 iTunes gift card for $85

this PSA was necessary? if so, i think i may be grossly overestimating the technical prowess of people. also, aren't the instructions printed on the card?

as for spending, i buy content all the time, especially books and magazines. probably $10-15 per month, which isn't a lot, but it's $10-15 more than i spend on similar content anywhere else

" It's worth noting that Google Play balances on your Wallet account "cannot be redeemed for Android app subscriptions, magazine subscriptions, or hardware and accessory purchases", but will work just fine for apps, music, videos or books. "

REALLY worth repeating, because nowhere on the cards or on Google's online help does it say this. Very hard to find, and that means grandma or like billy are in for a surprise if that think they can pay for All Access or a Nexus 7 stand with one..... :-P

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I agree! I recently received a Google Play gift card and thought I could use it to pay for All Access. Couldn't find any info to say otherwise, but also couldn't find a way to get All Access connected to the gift card balance. This might be enough to switch me back to Spotify.

I was hoping so see these in Canada shortly after they were made redeemable here (as per the post linked to by Jerry), but nothing yet that I've seen.

It's head scratching too. I see new music services popping up here, yet no Google Music yet (Which is probably when the cards hit too).

Ah well...

If you have Kroger gorcery store, they offer 4X points toward gas at the moment. My wife is about to get a Nexus 4 so we should be able to get $1 off gas after getting enough gift cards there to buy her phone. On top of that, our credit card company gives 5X points at grocery stores. :) I'm with the others, other than buying phones through google play, have not spent a dime on apps.

Maybe I misunderstood you (and I probably did), but it sounds like you're planning to buy the nexus 4 with Google Play gift cards. As Jerry said above, you can't. They can't be used for hardware purchases.

Just wanted to throw that out there... :)

hello comunity, i have a question.
I am living in mexico, and over here this cards are not avaible. Next week i am travekking to the US. If i bought some 50$ cards and redeem it when still staying in the US, then can use the credit when I return to mexico?

Sadly i dont have my own credit cardo, so bt now i cant buy nothing on line.

Not in Canada at all, crazy think of the revenue they are losing to be dragging their feet launching this where so many droids are avail.

Hello friends I have Google play card registration code I got abroad of my country.
My country (Jordan) isnt categorize to redeem this code .iam asking what if I change my contact details country to United States .qill it work .
And thanks very much.

I purchased my first Google play card. Then I scratch off the film to reveal the number and some of the number is illegible and I am not able to redeem . Someone help. Is there amother way? If nit then I will never purchase a Google play card again.

I cant redeem whit a web or my android. after I just entered the code it shows the amount and when I redeem it says its an invalid code I must register something before I can redeem (Google play)