How to Use PayPal for Gift Credit Cards

How to Use PayPal for Gift Credit Cards. With shipping costs as high as they are, it makes sense to send gifts electronically via prepaid gift cards. would seem like a likely candidate for prepaid gift card services. However, credit card regulations make it risky for companies like PayPal to offer the services directly. If it sold debit cards directly, it would be vulnerable to scammers purchasing prepaid cards for themselves and then claiming their card was stolen. Therefore, PayPal must use an intermediary. If you want to send a gift card, you can use PayPal's program with Ebay, purchase a Visa gift card from a retail seller or transfer the money to your friend's PayPal account -- and let her transfer the balance to her own PayPal debit card. You can, however, issue a gift card directly to your own child.

Use PayPal for Gift Credit Cards

Step 1

Establish a PayPal account. You can do this by visiting, and clicking on the "Sign Up" button near the search engine in the upper right hand corner of the home page. You'll be prompted for the type of account you want to set up, your name and bank account information. You'll be required to set a password and provide an email address. Once you're done, PayPal will wire two small transactions to your bank account. You must know what these amounts are to activate an account.

Step 2

Set up a "Student Account." This program is designed for parents of teenagers who want to give their children spending money while still monitoring where that money is spent. You will again be prompted for your child's email address. Access the Student Account section (see Resources). When the process is complete, PayPal will send you a debit card that you control, then you can give it to your teen.

Step 3

Set up an eBay Gift Card. PayPal does not administer gift cards directly except for those designed for Student Accounts. However, you can send a friend an eBay gift card, and fund it via PayPal. Your friend may use her eBay gift card for nearly anything available on To set up an account, visit the eBay gift card section (see Resources) and select whether you wish to create your own personalized card or select a stock card from the eBay inventory. Follow the directions. You will need an active PayPal account to create a gift card.


  • Since PayPal does not directly administer a cash gift card program other than Student Accounts and the eBay gift card, you may still wish to send someone a gift card. You can do so using a Visa gift card. Visit the link in Resources to find a list of retail outlets that will sell a Visa gift card to you. Alternatively, you can send money online using PayPal, if you know the recipient's email address. Your friend can convert that to her own PayPal debit card on her end.


  • Send Money in the U.S. or Overseas