Transfer Visa gift card balance to PayPal [Step by Step]

By Neil Harris 7 Min Read

The possible scenario here is that you have multiple Visa gift cards with minor balances. However, you want to transfer Visa gift card balance to PayPal to directly consolidate your balance instead of having small amounts scattered around in different cards. Now, the question is: is it possible? Indeed, you may be able to transfer these remaining amounts to your PayPal account.

Traditionally, however, you cannot deposit funds directly into your own PayPal account using prepaid gift cards like Visa, or other forms of wallet-linked card, including credit or debit cards. However, you can link the cards to your account to use as a source of funds for transactions.

Can you transfer money from a Visa gift card to PayPal?

transfer Visa gift card balance to PayPal

Yes, you can but not directly. The simple method is to add the prepaid card like any debit or credit card and then send it to another PayPal user (a friend or family member) who will refund your PayPal balance.

In terms of payment to merchants, PayPal is accepted anywhere in the U.S. where you can use a prepaid gift card with a Visa logo. Keep in mind, though, that this doesn’t apply to merchant-specific gift cards that do not use the Visa logo.¹

How to transfer Visa gift card balance to PayPal

As mentioned earlier, this can’t be completed directly as PayPal does not provide a “Add Visa gift card” button. But there is a possible walk-around that will work for most PayPal users.

All said, below are the steps to transfer Visa gift card balance to PayPal:

If you have the PayPal app, do the following:

  • Tap Wallet.
  • Tap + next to Add Banks and Cards.
  • Tap Prepaid Card.
  • Link your card manually or connect your PayPal account to your bank.

If you link your Visa gift card manually, you need to enter the card details or scan your card. PayPal even allows you to link up to 4 cards to your PayPal account. If you have a verified PayPal account, you can link up to 24 cards.²

Fund a friend’s account with your Visa gift card balance

Having linked your PayPal card, the next step is to fund a friend’s account and select the prepaid Visa gift card as your payment option.

A PayPal representative explained that the only method to transfer Visa gift card balance to PayPal is to transfer the funds from your gift card to a friend’s PayPal account. Then, that friend can send the funds back to you as PayPal Cash.

This method allows you to use your balance instead of managing multiple gift cards. Keep in mind, though, you’ll need to cover 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)³ when moving the money from your gift cards to your friend’s account. This may be a small price for the convenience of having PayPal cash at your disposal. It would be reasonable to expect a more streamlined process for such a simple task.

Don’t try to create a PayPal invoice to fund yourself

Some people will advise you to log into your PayPal account and create an invoice to yourself in the Visa gift card amount you intend to send to your PayPal balance. “Just send the invoice to yourself, then pay it with the Vida gift card—that’s it,” a PayPal community member, Tservers, explained. Unfortunately, this is incorrect.

Let’s clarify things a bit.

When you’re adding a Visa card to your PayPal account to transfer Visa gift card balance to PayPal, you should add it as if it were a standard credit card, instead of attempting to send money to yourself.

Why is this important?

Firstly, PayPal does not permit you to make payments to yourself.

Secondly, using a card to transfer funds to your own account violates the terms of your agreement with the card provider, and is categorized as cash advancing fraud.

Read also:

Why can’t I use my Visa gift card on PayPal?

When you’re attempting to transfer money from your Visa gift card to PayPal, if your payment is rejected, it could be because your prepaid gift card’s balance isn’t sufficient to cover the entire transaction. In such a case, consider using a different card or opt for a less costly item.

You might encounter an error message if your prepaid card wasn’t issued in the U.S. or if you’re trying to make a purchase from an international merchant.

Even if your prepaid gift card has a balance that covers the total amount, and you still receive a decline message during checkout, it could be that you need to register your billing address with the card issuer. On the back of the prepaid gift card, you can usually find a contact website or phone number for completing the registration process. Once you’ve registered, please attempt the transaction again.

In some rare circumstances, it may be necessary to register your billing address with the card issuer. You can use the contact details found on the back of your prepaid gift card to facilitate this process.

Again, you might receive an error message if your prepaid card was not issued within the U.S. or if your purchase involves an international merchant.

Read also: you maybe able to use your PayPal Credit


  1. Use your prepaid gift cards wherever PayPal is accepted. PayPal
  2. How do I link a debit or credit card to my PayPal account? PayPal
  3. PayPal Consumer Fees. —PayPal
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Seasoned, hands-on exec with a broad range of experience at both start-ups and large international corporations. Highly successful, results and customer oriented professional and with over 18 years experience in the software and payment innovations arena, with a proven track record in driving revenue growth and delivering results in operational performance and profitability through direct and indirect channels. Key focus is on customer success and delivering value and efficiency gains through tech. I live & breathe innovation in the payments arena - Visa & Mastercard card processing, UK Bacs, Faster Payments, Direct Debits, card acquiring & global payments are my junk food
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