Skip to content

The Complete Guide to Adding Gift Cards to Your PayPal Account

Have you ever received a gift card for your birthday or a holiday gift but weren‘t sure where to spend it? Or maybe you won a gift card from a raffle or contest but the store isn‘t conveniently located. If so, you‘ll be glad to know that you can add gift cards directly to your PayPal account and spend the balance anywhere online!

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain everything you need to know about adding both physical and digital gift cards to PayPal. You‘ll learn the step-by-step process, understand the benefits, and get tips for managing and using gift card balances in your PayPal wallet. Let‘s get started!

An Introduction to PayPal Gift Cards

Before jumping into the how-to, let‘s briefly go over what types of gift cards can be added to PayPal:

  • Physical Gift Cards: These are the plastic gift cards you receive from stores that can be used in-person or online. For example, a $25 Starbucks gift card.
  • E-Gift Cards: Also called digital gift cards, these are gifted and received electronically via email, SMS, or mobile app. For example, gifting a $50 Nike e-gift card.
  • Prepaid Cards: These reloadable prepaid debit cards function similar to gift cards. Many of them like Visa or Mastercard prepaid cards can be added to PayPal.

The table below summarizes the key differences:

Type Physical Card Delivery Method Redemption
Physical Gift Card Yes In-person, Mail In-store, Online
E-Gift Card No Email, SMS, Mobile app Usually online-only
Prepaid Card Yes In-person, Mail In-store, Online

Now let‘s look at how to go about adding these different gift cards to your PayPal wallet.

Step-by-Step Guide to Adding a Gift Card to PayPal

Here is the complete 4-step process to add a gift card to your PayPal account:

Step 1: Log in to your PayPal account

First, log in to your PayPal account on the website or mobile app. You can download the iOS or Android app if you prefer to add cards on-the-go.

Pro tip: Make sure you are logged into the correct PayPal account before adding a card. You don‘t want the gift card ending up in the wrong wallet!

PayPal login page

Step 2: Go to the Wallet page

After logging in, click on "Wallet" at the top menu bar. This will take you to your account‘s wallet page.

Here, you‘ll be able to view your current PayPal balance, linked bank accounts, credit cards, and any added gift cards.

PayPal Wallet page

Step 3: Click on "Link a card"

On the left sidebar of the wallet page, click on the "Link a card" option. This will open up the section to add a new card to your PayPal account.

Link a card in PayPal

Step 4: Enter your gift card details

In the "Link a card" section, go ahead and fill in the following gift card details:

  • Gift card number
  • Expiration date
  • Security code (if available)
  • Card type (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc)

Finally, click "Link Card" at the bottom to finish adding your gift card to PayPal!

Enter gift card details in PayPal

And that‘s it! PayPal will verify the balance and add your gift card to the account wallet. You‘ll see it listed along with your other cards.

Pro Tip: If you have a physical gift card, make sure to enter all the digits carefully and double check for any scratches or damage that could impact scanning. For e-gift cards, copy-paste the number and code from the email to avoid typing errors.

Checking Your Gift Card Balance on PayPal

Once you‘ve successfully added a gift card to your PayPal wallet, you may be wondering how to check the balance. It‘s easy!

Simply follow these steps whenever you want to view your PayPal gift card balance and expiration date:

  1. Go to the Wallet page in your PayPal account
  2. Click on "Gift cards & coupons" under the "More" section
  3. Here you will see the balance and expiration details of all gift cards added to your PayPal

This allows you to easily monitor multiple gift card balances in one place. Never wonder "how much is left on that gift card?" again!

Seamlessly Using Gift Card Balances for Purchases

The best part about adding gift cards to your PayPal account is that the balance becomes available to seamlessly use for purchases and transfers.

When checking out on a website that accepts PayPal payments, any available gift card balance is automatically used before your PayPal funds or linked bank account.

For example, let‘s say you have:

  • $50 PayPal balance
  • $25 Starbucks gift card balance
  • $100 bank account balance

If you make a $60 online purchase, PayPal will first deduct $50 from your PayPal balance, then take $10 from the Starbucks gift card to complete the payment.

Your bank account will not be charged, and you just got to "spend" your gift card at an online store of your choice, even if they don‘t directly accept Starbucks gift cards!

Buying Digital Gift Cards Through PayPal

If you don‘t already have a gift card, you can easily buy new e-gift cards directly via PayPal too.

PayPal has an entire Digital Gifts store where you can browse and purchase e-gift cards from 100+ top brands like Amazon, Target, Sephora, Uber, and more.

Here‘s how it works:

  1. Visit the PayPal Digital Gifts site
  2. Browse gift cards by category or search for a specific brand
  3. Select the e-gift card amount and quantity you want to buy
  4. Enter an email address to send the gift card(s) to
  5. Check out using your PayPal balance or linked bank account or card

The recipient will receive the e-gift card(s) to their email immediately or on the scheduled delivery date you select.

It‘s a quick, easy way to buy digital gift cards as last-minute gifts or just to top up your own wallet!

Exchanging Unwanted Gift Cards for Cash

What if you‘ve received a PayPal or store gift card that you know you won‘t use? Rather than letting it sit there or go to waste, you can exchange unwanted gift cards for cash.

Services like CardCash allow you to sell or trade-in gift cards you don‘t want and receive cash back in return.

Here is an overview of how it works:

  1. Visit the CardCash website and enter your gift card details to get an instant offer. Make sure to have the gift card number handy.
  2. Review the offer and accept it if you are satisfied with the amount. Offers can be up to 92% of the gift card‘s value depending on demand.
  3. Verify your identity by providing info like your address and Social Security Number.
  4. Link your PayPal account to safely receive your cash payout once the gift card sale completes.
  5. Receive the payout to your PayPal wallet within a few days to a week depending on processing time.

Just be sure to read the fine print on fees, transfer timelines, and payment methods before exchanging gift cards through third-party services like these.

Troubleshooting Common Gift Card Issues

Sometimes you may run into problems when trying to add or use gift cards on PayPal. Here are some common issues and troubleshooting tips:

  • Can‘t add gift card: Double check that you entered the gift card number correctly. Contact the merchant if you still can‘t add it.
  • Declined payment: The gift card might be expired or have insufficient funds. Check the balance and top it up if needed.
  • Missing or incorrect balance: Contact PayPal to investigate and update incorrect gift card balances in your account.
  • International payment failure: PayPal gift cards can‘t be used for certain international transactions and currencies. Use another payment method instead.
  • Unauthorized gift card use: Report unauthorized or fraudulent gift card activity to PayPal immediately. They can help recover or refund the stolen funds.
  • Other issues: For any other problems, don‘t hesitate to contact PayPal‘s customer service for help. They can walk you through troubleshooting the specific error.

In Summary…

Adding both physical and digital gift cards to your PayPal account is super convenient for keeping all your gift funds secure and accessible in one place.

Simply link the gift card to your PayPal wallet, check the balance anytime, and seamlessly use it for online shopping and transfers. Consider exchanging unwanted cards for cash back too.

Hopefully this guide gave you a thorough overview of how to add a gift card to PayPal as well as tips for managing gift cards like a pro!