What do I do if I have a defective card on Steam?

Defective cards are frustrating and can at times, take a while to fix yourself. Luckily we looked it up for you and detail how to fix the issue quickly.

Jeff Whelpley is the editor / author responsible for this content.
Aug 19, 2019

Like any other scratch cards, Steam cards can get damaged and unreadable. When that happens, you will need instant help from Steam to get your gaming back up.

Here are simple steps to follow when you have a defective card on Steam.

When The Steam Card is damaged from Excess Scratching

When your code is damaged, and you cannot recognize most of the numbers that were on the card, you should contact Steam support. Follow the following steps:

  • Scan or take a photo of the front and back side of your Steam card

  • Attach the photo or scanned steam card to the support ticket

  • Wait for the Steam support to get back to you

Your scanned photo should look like the one shown on Steam support.

Note that, the photo of the receipt you send to the Steam support should not be edited or marked in any way. By so doing, you will have rendered the card useless.

Again, if the damaged Steam codes are printed directly on your receipt, Steam support will not redeem them for you. Instead, you should return the receipt to the store and get help from there. The store operator should be able to give you new codes to redeem on Steam.

For Cards Purchased From Paypal

When your Steam wallet code from PayPal is defective, you need to contact PayPal support. Either PayPal or WebMoney will direct you on how to redeem your defective card. This is the same case when you are using prepaid cards issued by WebMoney or PayPal.

When You Keep Getting an Invalid Code Error

In instances where you keep getting an invalid code error, the problem might be:

  • You are entering the wrong letters or numbers

  • You are skipping some numbers on the codes

  • The code you are using has already been used

  • You have the wrong code

In most cases, invalid code errors are due to users confusing certain letters and numbers. If you keep getting an invalid code message, try any of the following tips:

  • For the number 0, try entering letter O, Q, or D and see whether the code goes through

  • For number 1, try entering letter I in its place

  • Try interchanging letter B with number 8

  • Interchange letter G with number 6

  • Check other instances of numbers and letters that might be confused

  • Re-enter the code ensuring that you do not skip any numbers or letters

Defective Cards from In-Store Retailers

Because digital codes and cards cannot be spoiled, most damages are witnessed on cards from retailers in stores. If your code is damaged or unreadable, take the card or CD back to the retailer and have them give you a new code.

If you had not used the code, most stores would issue you a replacement card with a new code, and some will help you figure out the damaged code. If only one of the numbers or letters has been damaged, the retailer will help you determine the missing number/letter.

Get Help from Steam Discussions

You can also get help from the Steam Community. However, the community cannot help if you scratch your code beyond numbers/letters recognition, but they can help you when your code doesn't go through. Some issues have already been tackled on the community. If you cannot get help from the issues already tackled, you post your question by:

  • Visiting Steam Community

  • Search for discussions on the search bar

  • If you do not get help, select Help and Tips on the list of discussions

  • Select Start a New Discussion and post your question

  • Other Steam users will help you with your defective code problems

However, do not share your code with the members, instead share your problems.

Further questions?

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Jeff truly believes that all customers deserve good service. He’s been building tools, inventing phone tree hacks and helping customers since before his days at GetHuman. He's also a Google GDE and involved in the Angular community.
What do I do if I have a defective card on Steam?

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