This article explains how to buy and redeem pre-paid codes and Microsoft Points so you can make Xbox and Zune purchases and extend your memberships.
Pre-paid codes and Microsoft Points
- Microsoft Points is a currency system that is used by Zune and Xbox LIVE. To get Microsoft Points, you can redeem a prepaid code, or you can use a credit card to buy them directly through your console dashboard, on Xbox.com or by using the Zune software.
- Pre-paid codes are available for purchase in stores. When you buy a prepaid code, you can redeem it for Microsoft Points and buy items and services on Xbox LIVE stores or Zune Marketplace.
More information about pre-paid codes
You can redeem prepaid codes from your console, Xbox.com or the Zune Music + Video software. Then you can buy the following:
- Xbox LIVE Gold Memberships: Play games online with friends, and access movies, TV programmes and more.
- Content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace: Download new games, add-ons for your favourite games, avatar accessories, music, videos and more.
- Microsoft Points: Make purchases in Xbox LIVE and the Xbox Music or Video Store (also known as Zune Marketplace). When you buy something, the points are deducted from the balance in your account.
Pre-paid codes offer a “pay-as-you-go” option, along with the following benefits:
- If you buy points from a participating retailer, you don’t have to store credit card information online.
- When you shop in the Xbox Music or Xbox Video stores (also known as Zune Marketplace), you own the content that you purchase by using points.
- If you use Microsoft Points to buy music or music videos, you can burn them to a CD or DVD. (This excludes "Download to Own" TV videos, which you cannot burn to a CD or DVD.)
How to buy Microsoft Points
You can buy points on Xbox.com, on your Xbox console or by using the Zune software. Here's how:
On a computer at Xbox.com
- Go to the Xbox My Account page. If prompted, sign in using your Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID).
- In the Microsoft Points section, click Add Points, and then complete the steps. You might be asked to enter your Microsoft account password again.
On the Xbox console
- On your console, go to Games, Video or Apps.
- Select Marketplace, browse the marketplace, and select something to buy.
- If you don’t have enough points for the purchase, you are prompted to add Microsoft Points. Follow the instructions to add points.
Using the Zune software
- Start the software, and then click Settings at the top of the screen.
- Click Account in the upper-left corner, select Buy Microsoft Points from the list in the centre of the screen and then complete the steps.
You can redeem the different types of prepaid codes and have them applied to your account immediately. Here’s how:
- On a computer, go to Redeem Code and sign in with your Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID).
- Enter the 25-character pre-paid code and click Redeem Code.
Here is what happens to your account when you redeem different types of prepaid codes:
Xbox LIVE Gold Membership: An Xbox LIVE Gold Membership is added to your account, or an existing membership is extended.
Microsoft Points: Microsoft Points are added to your account.
Xbox LIVE content: The content is added to your account and begins downloading.
Your Microsoft Points balance
To see your Microsoft Points balance and your payment history, go to your Microsoft account billing webpage. You can also see your points balance at the top of the Xbox.com page after you sign in, and you can find your points information on your My Account page.
The following limits apply to Microsoft Points:
- You can use up to 20,000 points (or 400.00 USD) per day.
- You can purchase up to 10,000 points (or 125.00 USD) per 24-hour period.
- You can have up to 76,000 points (or 950.00 USD) in your account at one time.
Problems redeeming prepaid codes
If you try to redeem a prepaid code, you might see one of the following error messages:
Can't redeem your code, the code is either mistyped or is valid for a different site.
Can’t redeem your code. Please try again.
An unknown error occurred.
Try the following solutions in order:
- Make sure that the code you entered matches the code on the card.
- Codes are 25-digit alphanumeric strings.
- Some numbers and letters may look similar, so you may want to double-check your code. For example:
- The number 8 may resemble the uppercase letter B.
- If the uppercase letter V appears two times in a row, it may resemble the uppercase letter W.
- The number 0 may resemble the uppercase letter O.
- Make sure that you haven’t already redeemed the code that you are trying to use.
- The network may be experiencing problems or heavy traffic. Go to the Service Status page to check the status of the Zune and Xbox LIVE servers.
- If you have an outstanding balance for a service that is associated with your Microsoft account (also known as Windows Live ID), you might be unable to redeem a prepaid code. Make sure that all the services associated with your Microsoft account are current and don’t have an outstanding balance. To do this, go to your Microsoft account billing webpage to check the status of your account.
- Make sure that all billing information and contact information that is associated with your Zune or Xbox account is current. To do this, follow these steps:
- Go to your Microsoft account billing webpage and sign in using your Microsoft account.
- Click Profile. If you have to make changes to your information, click Edit profile and make your updates.