Finding the best deals on Nintendo Switch games is no easy task. From your local GameStop to your average box store to your preferred online retailer, you could potentially be looking at several different prices for the same exact video game.
Then, of course, there’s the Nintendo eShop: a digital distribution service specially made for the Wii U, the 3DS, and the Switch. Naturally, you can buy and use gift cards on this digital distribution service. But how can you actually redeem a Nintendo eShop card in the first place? As it turns out, there are two ways. Follow along below to find out how.
What Can You Buy With a Nintendo eShop Card?
Nintendo eShop cards are practically as versatile and flexible as credit cards… well, except for the fact that you can only use them on the Nintendo eShop, that is. Alas, you’ll be out of luck if you try to use the thing to make any purchases outside of the virtual walls of the Nintendo Store.
The same goes for purchases on the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii U, which are no longer supported by Nintendo eShop cards. That’s not to diminish the sheer number of products, software, and services you can use a Nintendo eShop card for, however.
Nintendo Switch Games
Firstly, Nintendo eShop cards can be used toward the purchase of any Nintendo Switch games you find in the Nintendo Store. From pre-orders to new releases to discounted titles to some of the most popular releases from the Switch’s past, Nintendo eShop cards will work across the board.
(If you have a balance left over after applying what’s on your Nintendo eShop card, you’ll be asked to choose your payment method of choice to cover the remaining balance.)
DLCs and In-Game Purchases
Secondly, you can simply opt not to purchase an entirely new game and merely use the balance of your Nintendo eShop card toward DLCs and in-game purchases. That’s right: you can use your Nintendo eShop cards to purchase downloadable content, in-game items, expansion packs, special skins or items, and more.
No matter how you want to use the balance, applying it toward these smaller microtransactions will definitely help stretch out the balance.
Nintendo Switch Online Memberships
Lastly, you can also use your Nintendo eShop card to subscribe to or renew a Nintendo Switch Online membership. Nintendo Switch Online not only gives you access to a wider range of online gaming and multiplayer capabilities, but it also lets you enjoy Nintendo’s range of virtual console ports.
These include the new Game Boy and Game Boy Advance ports, the SEGA Genesis port, the Nintendo 64 port, and so on. (Not to mention exclusive special offers and other one-of-a-kind games.)
How to Redeem a Nintendo eShop Card on Switch: Step by Step
Now that you have a better idea of what you can spend your Nintendo eShop card on, let’s break down how you can actually go about redeeming the thing.
There are two primary ways of doing this: you can either redeem a Nintendo eShop card on the Switch, or you can redeem a Nintendo eShop card online. Let’s cover redeeming the card on the Nintendo Switch first, then cover how to redeem it online.
Step 1: Open the eShop
Firstly, to redeem a Nintendo eShop card on the Switch, you’re going to want to open up the Nintendo eShop. You’ll find the eShop shortcut down on the bottom menu on the Switch home page.
It’ll be in this location regardless if you’re using the Switch in handheld mode or docked mode. Once you’ve found it, hit the A button to open up the eShop.
Step 2: Enter the Code
Secondly, wait for the eShop to load. You’ll be met with an orange screen, but don’t worry: that’s just the loading screen. Once it’s complete, you’ll see a menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
Navigate over to that menu, then look to the bottom. You should see a tab that reads Enter Code. This is exactly where we need to go. Scroll down, then hit the A button.
This will then take you to the appropriate page where you’ll enter the 16-digit code on the back of your Nintendo eShop card. If you haven’t revealed the code yet, go ahead and do so.
Once that’s been done, enter the numbers into the appropriate space in the box at the center of the page. (Check to make sure it’s correct and that the numbers match, otherwise you’ll be met with an error code.)
Step 3: Hit Confirm
Lastly, once you’ve made sure the numbers match up, go ahead and hit the A button once more. This will confirm your code, at which point your balance will be added to your Nintendo Account.
From here, you can either browse the Nintendo eShop and spend your card balance on a game (or multiple games, depending on your balance), or you can save it for something else, as we’ve discussed above.
Let’s Talk Nerd on YouTube walks you through redeeming a Nintendo card both on the website and in the eShop.
How to Redeem a Nintendo eShop Card Online: Step by Step
If you’d rather redeem a Nintendo eShop card online instead of on the Switch, don’t worry. The process is just as easy as it is for the Switch, if not easier.
There’s no denying it’s a pain to type on that Switch keyboard, especially compared to the ease of a computer or a smartphone keyboard. Follow along with the steps and images below to learn this alternative redemption method.
Step 1: Go to Nintendo’s Site
First things first, you’re going to go to Nintendo’s special website for redeeming eShop cards. The address is ec.nintendo.com/redeem/#/. Type this into your browser of choice, either smartphone or desktop, and then hit enter.
Step 2: Log Into Your Nintendo Account
Once on Nintendo’s designated site, you’ll be given a few options to choose from. You can either sign in to your existing Nintendo Account, or you can create a new one. Whichever you choose, it needs to be the one attached to your Nintendo Switch.
Step 3: Enter the Code
Once you’ve logged in or created a Nintendo Account, you’ll be prompted to enter the code on your Nintendo eShop card. Type it in, make sure the numbers match, and then click Next. You’ll be asked to re-enter your password. Go ahead and re-enter it.
Step 4: Hit Redeem
After you’ve re-entered your password, you’ll hit Redeem. Just like that, you will have redeemed a Nintendo eShop card. The balance will be added to your Nintendo Account, and you can use it to purchase anything you please.
This is true both online and on your actual Switch itself. The balance carries over from device to device because it’s linked directly to your account.