Visa Gift Card to PayPal: Easy Way to Transfer Your Balance

Written By Branson Knowles

Visa Gift Cards are a popular gift around the holidays. They’re a little more thoughtful than cash and are just as flexible. In fact, they may be even more flexible than cash seeing as that you can load their balances straight into your Paypal account. Users often ask, how do you transfer money from your Visa Gift Cards to Paypal?

Transferring money from Visa Gift Cards to Paypal is easy, you can add them to your Paypal balance the same way you’d add a new debit card. Go to the Paypal app, head to the wallet section, and click add new card. Your balance will be added right away.

Once you complete the transfer, the funds will be moved over instantly from your Visa Gift Card to your Paypal balance. Paypal also accepts Mastercard, Discover, and American Express vanilla gift cards as well. 

Paypal doesn’t allow you to transfer the balance of just any gift card though. It has to be a vanilla gift card, meaning it can’t be attached to any one store in particular. Vanilla gift cards are often treated like a digitized version of cash, whereas a gift card to a restaurant is more like in-store credit. 

my vanilla visa gift card

Adding a Visa Gift Card to Paypal is completely free to. Paypal treats the process like any other debit or credit card and doesn’t charge any fees throughout the whole process, but Visa might.

Certain Visa Gift Cards come with fees attached, like monthly service fees, low balance alert fees, or even transaction fees. If your Visa Gift Card has a monthly service fee attached to it, you may want to transfer your balance before you have to pay it.

If it has a transaction fee, meaning you get charged a fee every time you add or subtract from the balance, you should transfer as much of the balance in one transaction as you can, minus the fee. That’ll save you from having to pay the fee more than once. 

It’s a good thing that Paypal allows you to transfer your balance from Visa Gift Cards to your Paypal as well — gift cards can stack up!

My wallet is only so big, and I already have to carry around my driver’s license, credit and debit cards, and some cash. The last thing I want is another card.

Whenever I get vanilla gift cards now, usually for my birthday or around the holidays, I just add them to my Paypal balance. From there, I either send the money to my bank account or throw it into one of my Paypal savings accounts.

You can do the same, and if you’re wondering how you can transfer money from your Visa Gift Cards to Paypal let me break it down for you in this article.

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How to Transfer Money from Visa Gift Card to Paypal (Step by Step)

If you’ve just received a Visa Gift Card and want to use the balance but don’t want to add yet another card to your already bulging wallet, you’re in luck. Paypal will let you add the gift card balance straight to your account, letting you use the card without actually using the card!

I’ll go over the process of transferring your balance from your Visa Gift Card to Paypal down below:

  1. Open up the Paypal App (or head to the website): To begin transferring your money from your gift card to Paypal, start by going to the Paypal app. To transfer the money, you have to withdraw it from within Paypal.

  1. Head to the wallet section: The Paypal app has five icons on the bottom of the screen, each representing a different section of the app. Click on the wallet to add the Visa Gift Card to Paypal.

my paypal wallet

  1. Click “Add banks and cards”: Towards the top of the wallet section of the app are some options Paypal will give you if you’re wanting to add funds to your balance. Click “add banks and cards” to add a Visa Gift Card to be drawn from.

paypal add banks and cards

The “add banks and cards” button will then ask if you want to add from a bank, debit or credit card, or through an Amex Send Account. Click debit or credit cards.

paypal debit and credit cards

  1. Link a card manually: If you had a traditional debit or credit card from a bank, like Chase Bank or American Express, Paypal would give you the option of logging in through your bank’s mobile platform and linking your accounts that way.

linking new debit card to paypal

Unfortunately, they do not have a way to link your card through a website operated by Visa. You can, however, add your card manually. To add your card, you’ll begin by adding your card number to Paypal.

paypal adding visa gift card manually

Then you’ll enter in the security code as well as the expiration date. You may need to scratch off some film to see the security code. Once your card is linked, you’re almost done.

  1. Add your balance: You can now add either some or all of the balance of your Visa gift card to Paypal. There’s no charge to move money on Paypal’s end, but Visa might charge a fee so check with them before moving any money. If there is a per transaction fee, consider moving all of your money in on transfer to avoid incurring multiple fees.

You can also transfer a balance from a Visa Gift Card to Paypal when you’re checking out with Paypal. If you’re making a purchase with the hugely popular finance platform, you can actually add a Visa Gift Card to your balance at checkout.

If you’re not a Paypal member but are still making a purchase through them, you can enter the Visa Gift Card’s information the same way you would any credit or debit card. 

You can use Visa Gift Cards for anything on Paypal that isn’t a recurring transaction. Because gift cards have a limited balance, Paypal doesn’t want to rely on them for transactions that may go on for longer than their balance can afford. 

If you use a Visa Gift Card through Paypal and ever see that your transaction has been declined, it could be due to insufficient funds. Check your balance through Visa, and if everything looks good try again or contact Paypal support. 

Can You Use a Prepaid Gift Card to Send Money to Someone on Paypal?

If you already have an account through Paypal, you can use a prepaid vanilla gift card to load your balance up and send funds over. You can’t send money to someone on Paypal with a gift card without having a Paypal account yourself though. 

Like I mentioned previously in this article, you can use Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express gift cards to add funds to your Paypal accounts. Once the money is added to your balance, you’re free to send it to another user on Paypal.

Why Can’t I Use My Visa Gift Card on Paypal?

There may be a couple of different reasons why you can’t use your Visa Gift Card on Paypal. If you added the card to your Paypal balance but forgot you already used the gift card somewhere else, you may not have enough to cover what you wanted to add to Paypal.

You also may have entered the numbers wrong when adding the card. Paypal lets you scan the card to add the card’s numbers for you, but if you entered it manually you could have typed in the wrong number or the wrong expiration date. 

Not all Visa Gift Cards can be added to Paypal. Only vanilla gift cards can be added, meaning gift cards to no store in particular. If you have a Visa Gift Card that is supposed to go to a store or restaurant, you won’t be able to add it to your Paypal balance. 

Can You Transfer a Gift Card Balance To Your Bank Account Through Paypal?

Paypal may be the perfect middle man to get money from a vanilla gift card into your checking account at your local bank. A lot of banks won’t transfer money from a gift card into your account for you, or they just don’t have the capability to do so.

Either way, Paypal can load up the balance for you and send it to your bank account for free. You first have to connect your bank account to Paypal using your bank’s routing and account numbers or you can connect your bank to paypal through your bank’s online platform.

Once the two are connected, add your gift card and its balance to Paypal through the wallet section of the app. Add however much of the balance you want to transfer over and send it to your bank account. 

You can choose to send it for free, waiting 1-3 business days for it to arrive in your checking account, or you can send it instantly for a small fee and have it arrive… instantly! 

No matter how you choose to go about your transfer speed, using Paypal as a connector is a great way to send money from your Visa Gift Cards to your bank’s checking account. 

More Useful Articles About Using Paypal

About the Author

Lead Researcher, Digital Banking in the U.S. at TopMobileBanks

Branson Knowles is a former banker and current writer at

During his years banking, he helped his clients discover their financial freedom through smart savings and spending goals. He started as a teller before becoming a banker and obtaining his federal licenses, furthering his clients' on their financial journeys.

After becoming one of the top producing bankers in the state, Branson decided it was time to pursue his own financial freedom. He started writing freelance finance articles before joining, breaking down banking like only an ex-banker could.

11 Responses

    1. Yes, there are two options for it:

      1. Once you upload your Gift Card to PayPal, you can withdraw through PayPal Card at ATM
      2. You can transfer it from PayPal to your Bank Account

  1. i added my vanilla visa gift card to my paypal but it says only debit cards from banks are supported. credit cards and these prepaid gift cards are not supported for adding money to my balance. any comment or solution? Thanks!

    1. Hi Willy,

      If your gift card doesn’t work on PayPal this way, you can try an alternative like:
      – Linking your Gift card to Venmo
      – Linking your Gift card to Apple Wallet

      (Linking it to Cash App will not work)

  2. Tommy, what am I doing wrong? Have you actually done this? I linked my visa gift card to PayPal fine, but it won’t let me transfer it into PayPal balance. I messaged PayPal and they told me directly that linked gift cards can’t be transferred to PayPal balance. Are they wrong in telling me this can’t be done?

    1. Hi Lou,

      Did you try to make a small test transaction?

      Please, let me know if you still need help with it.

    2. Do this, use someone’s PayPal and create an invoice then send it to your main account with the amount you have in the gift card. On your main account pay the invoice you received using the money on the gift card to your friend’s account and now withdraw from your friend’s account.

  3. Hi, Toni. I’m having the same issue was Lou above. I was able to successfully have the cards linked, but I don’t seem to be able to get the card balance into my PayPal account.

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      That should be on PayPal’s side, then.

      I tested it with the Mastercard gift card last month, and it worked.

      I should do a new test with a Visa Gift card.

      How about moving your balance to Venmo, then?

      1. I’ll give that a try. The thing is it’s not showing any kind of balance (that I can see… Am I missing it?). I uploaded both a Visa and a AMEX gift card and both of them were excepted but I’m not saying that it actually posts a Balance. Both have more than $20 available on them.

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