How to pay for geo-blocked services with gift cards

Gift Card payment

Geo-blocking, region-restricted, geo-restricted or whatever you want to call it, it’s something we’ve now all become used to.

If you try to access BBC iPlayer outside the UK, Foxtel Go from outside Australia, Hulu from outside the USA or a hundred other different sites then you’ll find them blocked.

Most of us are now aware that a VPN service will help you bypass those restrictions. For example, if you’re travelling or living outside the UK then you can use a VPN service from a provider such as IPVanish to watch BBC iPlayer regardless of what country you’re in.

This is all simple enough and within just a few clicks you can be streaming the content you want to watch anywhere in the world.

However, paying for certain service is more difficult.

How to pay for geo-blocked services

Some services such as US based Hulu are subscription services and if you’re a US citizen living or travelling outside the US or you’ve never even been to the US and just want to watch Hulu then one of the biggest problems is paying for a service if you don’t already have an account.

Hulu payment blocked

Invalid card. Credit or debit cards must be issued by a U.S. – based institution

If you attempt to enter payment details registered outside the country of the service it often checks to see where the card was issued or where the Paypal account is registered and if it doesn’t match the origin country of the service then you’re blocked from paying.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a VPN or not because you won’t be able to bypass this section of the website by using a VPN alone.

Gift cards are your friend

The good news is most online streaming services such as Hulu allow payment via gift cards that are available from many major retailers. Hulu has gift cards available online via stores such as Walmart that allow you to buy digital gift cards to pay for the service.

Often it’s still impossible to buy using sites such as Walmart but thankfully there are other sites that cater to an international audience and aren’t concerned where you’re located as long as you’re happy to pay for the digital gift card.

If you’re looking to pay for services such as Hulu or other streaming services then a few good sites to try for gift cards are as follows:

There are also others available and a quick search of Google for “XYZ Gift Card” will throw up further options.

All you need to do is purchase a gift card for the site that you want to sign-up for then use your favourite VPN service to sign-up and when prompted to enter your payment details enter the gift card you previously purchased.


In the example case of Hulu when you enter payment details from outside the US and get the error message “Invalid card. Credit or debit cards must be issued by a U.S. – based institution” all you need to do is quit the web page and then visit Hulu again.

Even though your payment hasn’t been accepted an account has been created.

All you need to do is visit your account section and enter your gift card to pay for the service.

Hulu Gift Subscription

Now you’ve paid you can use a VPN provider such as IPVanish to watch any of the Hulu shows for your subscription period.

This works for plenty of different services so if you’ve found a use for a gift card we would love to hear from you in our comments section.

Author: Christopher Seward

Having used the internet since 1994, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

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