I can understand the rationale for gift cards existing. They let you display some semblance of thoughtfulness, even if they require the bare minimum of effort and were most likely purchased the night before being presented.
I don’t however see the point in those fake prepaid debit cards being marketed as gift cards. They’re almost the same as cash, except taking away your freedom of choice. People who like wasting money on consumerism will get momentary enjoyment from these cards, but people who just want to save and invest for the future will be left in an awkward position.
It’s fairly common for rewards platforms to offer virtual Mastercard and Visa gift cards, sometimes in place of a PayPal withdrawal.
In the case of Swagbucks, it’s actually better value for the user to choose a £10 Mastercard for 1300 points, rather than a £10 PayPal transfer for 1400 points.
If you find yourself stuck with one of these fake debit cards, don’t despair. We have a solution to extract the cash into your PayPal account, which can then be withdrawn to your bank account should you wish. There are two different strategies to choose from, but the underlying concept is the same.
Option 1 - Send the money to yourself
You will need:
- Your main PayPal account
- A second PayPal account for your “business”
How to do it:
If you don’t already have a separate business account for PayPal, go ahead and make one. I used an e-mail address with the word “business” in it to make it look legit. They asked me to prove ID to verify my account, but ultimately it was accepted.
Now add the gift card as a normal debit card to your “business” account on PayPal. Once that’s done, send a payment of the full gift card value to your primary account. You can delete the gift card once it is empty.
Option 2 – Send the money between PayPal accounts
You will need:
- Your PayPal account
- A friend or family member with their own PayPal account
How to do it:
Add the gift card as a debit card on your PayPal account, then pay the full amount to your assistant using that card. Get them to send the cash back to you after they receive it.
Alternatively, provide them with the gift card information to add to their PayPal account, and have them pay the full amount to your PayPal account using the card.
How can I avoid PayPal fees?
Be sure to specify on PayPal that you are sending money to a friend, rather than paying for a service, to be excused from transaction fees.
I’m trying to pay with the gift card but PayPal says my payment has been declined. What am I doing wrong?
A common mistake when entering the gift card information is to insert the wrong numbers for the card expiry date. This is because the format shown on the gift card is inverted compared to what you need to type in. Double check that you’ve correctly entered the corresponding digits in the format of MM/YY. It’s also necessary to match the billing address that the gift card is registered to.
Having the ability to free up funds trapped in Mastercard and Visa gift cards lets you use the money in whatever way you want, rather than being forced to waste it on purchases. It also increases the usefulness of rewards sites like Upvoice that only offer gift cards instead of PayPal cash-outs.
If you found this article useful and would like to discover more tricks for earning cash online, check out my YouTube channel for more great content.
I'll see you next time with some more lazy money making tips.