Instead of your prepaid gift cards sitting unused, it’s a good idea to convert them into spendable funds. Fortunately, gift card balance transfer to PayPal is possible. You can readily transfer your prepaid gift cards balance to PayPal, and even to your bank account. Your gift cards must feature a Visa, American Express, MasterCard, or Discover logo to work. Simply treat it like any other debit or credit card at the time of transfer.
Can I transfer money from a gift card to PayPal?
Absolutely. You can transfer money from a gift card to PayPal as long as your prepaid gift card has a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover logo. This, however, does not include merchant-specific gift cards, which do not feature any of these logos.
How to Transfer Money From Gift card balance to PayPal
1. Add the prepaid gift card to PayPal
While you can transfer gift card to PayPal, the first step is to link your prepaid gift card to your PayPal account.
You can effortlessly add your prepaid gift cards to your PayPal wallet during the checkout process, as you would with a new debit or credit card. Just make sure your prepaid gift card has a balance.
Below are the steps to link a gift card on the PayPal app:
- Tap Wallet.
- Tap + beside Add Banks and Cards.
- Tap Cards.
- Link your prepaid gift card manually by entering your prepaid card details or scanning your card.
PayPal allows you to link 4 cards to your account, and up to 24 cards for a verified PayPal account.¹
Note that you can’t add gift cards such as single or multi-store cards (also known as closed-loop cards) because these gift cards have a set range of usage and are not flexible for general transactions.
2. Initiate gift card transfer to PayPal
After you link your PayPal card, your next step is to send your gift card funds to a trusted friend’s PayPal account. During the payment, choose your linked prepaid gift card as the payment method.
At the moment, the only way to initiate a gift card transfer to PayPal is to transfer the funds from your gift card to another person’s PayPal account. If you wish, your friend can resend the converted gift card funds back to your PayPal account, which now becomes part of your PayPal balance.
You will just pay the transfer fee of 2.90% + fixed (for domestic) fee or 5.00% minimum international fee of 0.99 USD or a maximum international fee of 4.99 USD (for international) when transferring your gift card funds to another person’s PayPal account. It’s just a small price to pay for the convenience.
Can I transfer gift card to PayPal to bank account? Yes, you can transfer the funds from a gift card to PayPal and to your bank account.
Meanwhile, you can always withdraw from your PayPal without using your bank account.
3. Transfer gift card to bank and back to PayPal
Alternatively, you can move funds from a prepaid gift card to a bank account. Most providers of general-use prepaid cards, including major players such as Visa and American Express, allow this.
Nearly all prepaid cards offer applications or online platforms which facilitate easy money management and swift transfers. Although the specifics can vary, the overall procedure remains consistent.
For numerous cards, initiating a transfer to an external account begins with logging into your account. Subsequently, you can follow the gift card provider’s instructions to link an external bank account. This will require the bank account number and routing number.
Here’s a general guide on how to proceed:
- Navigate to the gift card issuer’s website.
- Sign in to your account and identify the balance of your gift card.
- Obtain the routing and account numbers of your bank account.
- Input these details on the website, along with the sum you wish to transfer.
- Review your request carefully before submission.
- Await the transfer of funds into your bank account.
Finally, you can move the funds from your bank account to PayPal.²
- Open your Wallet.
- Click Transfer Money.
- Select “Add money from your bank or debit card.
- Enter the amount to transfer from your bank.
- Choose either In seconds with debit or in 3-5 days with your bank.
4. Send an invoice to another of your email addresses
Transferring funds from a rechargeable (or one-time use till depletion) Visa or MasterCard gift card to PayPal can be done in the following steps:
- Log into a verified PayPal account and create an ‘invoice’, sending it to any of your email addresses that’s not the ‘primary’ email registered on your PayPal account.
- Open the received ‘invoice’ and complete the payment using the gift card.
- Once the payment is done, log back into your PayPal account. Choose to move the funds from the “available balance” to one of your recorded bank accounts.
- Wait for a few days for the transfer to be completed.
Alternatively, you can opt for an “Instant Transfer” with a nominal surcharge of approximately 1%. This way, you can convert your prepaid gift card balance to cash.
This method does not apply to most product or company-branded gift cards (like Starbucks, Bed, Bath and Beyond, or other retail outlets). These must be spent either in their physical stores or online platforms.
Above are the methods to use to initiate a gift card transfer to PayPal. Just make sure you have a supported gift card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express (AMEX), or Discover).
How to Transfer Money from Vanilla Gift Card to PayPal
It also seems you would like to know if it is possible to transfer money from a Vanilla Visa/Mastercard gift card to your PayPal balance, if so how to do it?
- Sign in to PayPal. Open your PayPal account on your computer or mobile device. You’ll need to sign in.
- Link Your Gift Card. Look for the “Link a Card” button under the Credit and Debit Cards section. Click it to start linking your Vanilla Visa gift card.
- Enter Card Details. Fill in your Vanilla Visa’s information including the card number, expiration date, and CVV. Click “Link Card.” Make sure you’ve registered the card with Visa before, as PayPal may need the billing address for approval. PayPal will charge $1.95 for verification but will refund it later.
- Send Money to a Friend. Once the card is linked, you can send money to someone you trust, like a friend or family member. Click the blue “Send” button and make sure the card is selected as the payment method. Remember, PayPal will charge a small fee, so don’t exceed the card’s balance.
- Have Them Return the Money. Ask your friend to send the money back to you. This time, the money will go into your PayPal balance instead of your gift card balance.
- Transfer Money to Your Bank. Click the blue “Transfer Money” button on your Account overview to send the money from your PayPal balance to your bank. It usually takes 3-5 days, or you can pay a small fee for quicker processing. If you don’t have a bank account linked, you can request a check by mail for a small fee.
- Withdraw from an ATM. Once the money is in your bank account, you can get cash from an ATM. Now, you have turned your Vanilla Visa into cash!
How to use Prepaid gift cards via PayPal
The usage is identical to regular credit or debit cards – no disparity whatsoever. If you’re a PayPal member, you can conveniently add prepaid gift cards to your wallet and use them during checkout, just like you would with any other debit or credit card.³
If you don’t have a PayPal account, simply input the card details at the time of checkout, as you normally would with a debit or credit card.
Note that you can use prepaid gift cards for any product or service, except for recurring payments or reference transactions. This is due to the inherent characteristic of prepaid gift cards, which can reduce in balance over time, making them unsuitable for automatic payments from PayPal accounts.
What if you don’t want to open a PayPal account?
Not a problem at all! Enter your prepaid gift card details during checkout as you usually would with a debit or credit card. You can use your home or shipping address for the billing address.
Ensure that your selected prepaid gift card has enough balance to cover the full payment.
Why is PayPal declining my gift card?
First, make sure you are entering the correct prepaid gift card information. You might think you entered the correct details but people do omit a number or two while linking their prepaid gift card.
PayPal does not accept gift cards issued by merchants other than Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, and Discover. Single or multi-store gift cards or closed-loop cards with a fixed usage range cannot also be added to PayPal.
Also, it’s possible that your prepaid gift card does not have sufficient funds to cover the full transaction in place.
You might also receive an error message if your prepaid card was not issued in the U.S.
Suppose you are using your prepaid gift card to make a purchase; PayPal might decline your prepaid gift card if you’re trying to purchase from an overseas merchant.
If your transfer is declined despite having enough balance on your prepaid gift card, you can find and contact the website or phone number on the back of the prepaid gift card to complete the process.