How to Redeem Nintendo 3DS Codes

Take advantage of your eShop codes

The Nintendo eShop on a 3DS XL handheld video game console.


Nintendo eShop codes are unique numbers that can be used to redeem store credit for the Nintendo 3DS digital storefront for unlocking and downloading full video games to the handheld console. Here’s how to redeem eShop codes on a Nintendo 3DS handheld console.

Instructions in this article apply to all Nintendo 3DS handheld consoles including the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS, New Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS XL, and the New Nintendo 2DS XL.

What Do eShop Codes Look Like?

The codes used for the Nintendo 3DS eShop can take the form of a series of numbers or a QR code and can only be used once. Nintendo eShop codes for the 3DS systems are also region-restricted, which means an eShop code bought in Japan may not be able to be redeemed on an American Nintendo 3DS.

How to Redeem Nintendo eShop Codes

  1. Turn on your 3DS and make sure it’s connected to Wi-Fi.

    If your 3DS is connected to the internet, you should see blue bars in the top-left corner of the upper screen.

  2. Use the arrow keys to highlight the Nintendo eShop icon on the Home menu on the lower screen and press A. It’s the icon that looks like an orange shopping bag.

    If you have a video game open, press the HOME button under the lower screen to return to the Home menu.

  3. From the Nintendo eShop, look at the lower screen and tap Menu.

  4. Tap Enter a download code.

  5. Tap the text field and enter the download code using the onscreen keyboard and tap OK. Make sure to enter the code exactly; if you get an error message, double-check the code and try again.

    If your download code has a QR code, tap the QR Code button under the text field instead. This will activate the Nintendo 3DS’ cameras which you can use to scan the Nintendo eShop code.

  6. Tap OK.

  7. You will be provided with two options; Download Now and Download Later. Select Download Now to immediately begin the download; select Download Later to start the download when you close the Nintendo 3DS system’s lid and it enters sleep mode.

    It’s a good idea to plug your Nintendo 3DS into a power source while downloading a video game from the eShop so it doesn’t shut down. Turning a 3DS off during a download has the potential to corrupt the downloaded file and can also damage the system itself.

How to Get Nintendo eShop Card Codes

Nintendo eShop codes can be purchased in stores and online, usually in the form of a card with the code on the back or inside. Most major video game and electronic stores sell Nintendo eShop codes for both eShop store credit and for full game downloads.

Digital eShop codes can also be bought from some online stores like Amazon. These codes are emailed to the buyer after purchase.

Many sellers offer Nintendo eShop codes in online marketplaces like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. These are often scams and should be avoided. Because eShop codes can only be used once, and it’s hard to prove who redeems them, sellers can claim that you redeemed the code they sold you and keep the money you paid them. Only buy Nintendo eShop codes from reputable online stores.

Where to Get Free 3DS Game Codes

The only legitimate way to get free Nintendo eShop codes is by winning them in a competition or through a special marketing campaign or promotion.

There are many websites claiming to give away free eShop codes, but these are often traps to infect your computer or tablet with malware or a virus and shouldn’t be trusted.

Using such eShop codes, if they even work at all, can also result in your Nintendo account being suspended or terminated completely. Nintendo has even been known to brick Nintendo 3DS consoles they’ve suspected of suspicious behavior like hacking or cheating. The process remotely disables all functionality of a device, virtually turning it into a brick, and it’s not something anyone would want to be done to their 3DS console.

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