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Are Nintendo Gift Cards Region Locked?

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Have you been playing Nintendo, and noticed you could buy gift cards cheaper in other places? Maybe you wondered if you could use these gift cards in the United States? 

So are Nintendo gift cards region locked?

Although many people may not realize it, Nintendo gift cards are actually region locked. They are region locked to avoid people buying them for a cheaper price and then selling them for a profit in their region as well as to prevent fluctuations based on currency values.

If you want to know more about the Nintendo gift cards being region locked and what that means you will want to keep reading.

You can also watch this video if you prefer as well.

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What Does Gift Cards Being Region Locked Mean?

The Nintendo gift cards are region locked. A region lock means that when an item is released in a specific region,  it can’t be used in another region.

As you know some video game console models are different for a different country, that means most of them are region locked. Nintendo gift cards are also region-locked which means the cards from a different region of the world will only work on consoles/accounts from that region.

Basically gift cards from Japan will only work for Japanese consoles/accounts trying to purchase things on the Japanese eShop.

The Nintendo eShop cards can only be used in the country that uses the same currency as the Nintendo eShop card. This means that a Nintendo eShop card purchased in France can also be redeemed in the Netherlands, or Germany.

The region where the Nintendo eShop card is meant to be used can be found on the back of the card. This means that if you purchase a card in the United States, it would only be able to be used in a country that uses the USD as their currency. This would be anywhere in the United States as well as possibly in some areas of Canada (if you are near the USA border).

Buying A Nintendo eShop gift card

To buy a Nintendo gift card from Nintendo, first you need an account. The cards will be delivered in digital format to your account once they are purchased.

Also, once they are purchased you will have immediate access to making a purchase on the Nintendo eShop.

On the eShop you can buy over 1000 games from Nintendo to play on your Nintendo Switch, Wii U, or Nintendo 3DS. You can also buy a Nintendo eShop card or gift card online by using your credit card or debit card.

The cards are available at different prices based on countries. For the US region gift cards are available at $10, $20, $35 and $50. For the Canadian region, cards are available at $20, $35 and $50.

How To Fix The Nintendo eShop If It Is Not Currently Available In Your Country?

There are a lot of countries that do not currently support the Nintendo eShop. Some of these countries where the Nintendo eShop is unavailable are:

  • Brazil (can only redeem codes)
  • Bangladesh
  • Costa Rica (limited availability)
  • Dominican Republic
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Philippines
  • Serbia
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Russia
  • Ukraine

This restriction is not that hard to bypass though.  

To bypass this restriction you only need to set your location to a country where the Eshop is currently available. Most people use America, Canada or Japan.  You can also select the country you’d like and of course, make sure the country’s language is matched to your preferences.

In order to do this, you will want to follow these steps. You can also watch this video to learn how to bypass this restriction. 

  • Set your Nintendo device country. 

First, go to settings and then system and select region. Make sure you have selected the eShop available country such as America.

  • Next is to open the Nintendo eShop and you will be asked to enter a region. Then Select the United States as your region.
  • Lastly, you have to set your zip code. To do this go to location settings and click change. Set it to “97330” as your zip code. This is a real zip code in the United States.

Now you can access the Nintendo eShop without any error. In order to purchase games in the Nintendo eShop, you should purchase it with a Nintendo eShop gift card. This is because if you use a credit card that is linked to your real country, you will be locked out again.

Can You Use An eShop Card On The Switch?

You can use a Nintendo eShop gift card on the Switch. The Nintendo eShop digital cards are redeemable only through the Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo Switch, Wii U or Nintendo 3DS family of systems.

Card balances can be shared across the Nintendo Switch, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family of systems, but may only be used on a single Nintendo eShop account. These cards are also only able to be redeemed online.

Is The Nintendo Switch Region Free?

The Nintendo Switch is region free. Physical Nintendo Switch game cartridges are also region free. So if you purchase a game in Germany, and bring it back to your home in America, you will be able to play the game.

This doesn’t mean the game will automatically translate to English though, as it will still use the language it was developed for unless specifically designed with multiple language options.

Although the Switch is region free, accessories designed for the Nintendo Switch may or may not work with the Nintendo Switch consoles produced for other countries. Variations in global voltage requirements can cause problems.

This is why Nintendo recommends only using accessories designed in the same country where you bought your Switch.

How To Purchase Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers

All active paid Nintendo Switch online memberships are able to purchase a set of Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers. Switch game vouchers expire one year from the purchase date and if you have more than 6 active vouchers then you can’t purchase additional vouchers.

If you want to buy vouchers from Nintendo eShop then you will need to follow these steps.

  • Access the Nintendo eShop using a Nintendo Account with an active paid Nintendo Switch Online membership.
  • Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers can only be redeemed by the same Nintendo Account that was used to purchase them.
  • Select “Nintendo Switch Online” in the left-hand menu to view available special offers.
  • To see the details of the offer, select “Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers.”
  • Select “Proceed to Purchase”.
  • Add/Select your payment method and enter the additional details as needed.
  • Select “purchase” and you are done.

Do Nintendo eShop cards expire?

No, eShop cards do not ever expire but the game vouchers mentioned previously do. Nintendo gift cards are available in both the US and Canada.

However, if you lose the gift card and it is not linked to your account then you will lose the balance on that card so if you have some older cards just laying around, it may be a good idea to spend a little bit of that gift card money and stop saving it. 


Now that you know Nintendo gift cards are region locked, you can go and buy the gift cards that you want, you just have to do it in your region. Since these gift cards only work for the region they were bought for then unfortunately you can’t take advantage of currency fluctuations or other things to try and save some money.

If you have a bunch of gift cards laying around though, you may want to add them to your account and then dispose of the cards since if you lose the cards and they aren’t on your account then you will lose the money that is on them.

No matter what region you are in, If you play with Nintendo, you will probably always enjoy the games and never be disappointed with your purchase.