By: Andrew Robinson | July 16, 2019

In a world filled with gift cards, store credit, coupons, and rebates, cold hard cash is still king. The flexibility and universal acceptance of actual dollars make it impossible to imagine a life where we leave cash beyond. Sorry, not sorry, Facebook, we’re not giving up our bank account for a virtual bag full of “Libre” anytime soon. What does continue to evolve is how we carry that cash. From gold coins to paper bills to electronic funds, the way we transfer money is always getting more efficient. Less and less friction, as economists would say. PayPal is the most trusted name in digital currency and they are constantly making it easier than ever for you to securely access your funds wherever you need them. Whether in-store, at ATMs or in online checkout carts. You can easily use PayPal to pay from your Google or Apple smartphones, making a physical wallet much less of a necessity than it used to be.

Of course, adding money to your PayPal account balance is only as easy as it is to get the necessary funds in the first place. Getting PayPal Cash gift cards for free makes that last step a breeze. This article is here to tell you how you can get the most out of your account and some easy and fast ways to get PayPal cash for free. 

Use your Paypal cash card to shop for things that make you happy.

What is the PayPal Cash Card?

Let’s start with a few definitions, so we’re all on the same page. offers the PayPal Cash Card to users who have a linked bank account or debit card associated with their account. The card functions like a debit card tied to your PayPal balance, with overdraft protection provided by your linked bank account (essentially a PayPal prepaid Mastercard). It is accepted everywhere Mastercard is accepted, allowing you to withdraw cash from ATMs worldwide and use for restaurants or instore purchases like any other card. The card has minimal fees and is a great tool for expanding the places where you can spend your PayPal account balance. The PayPal Cash Card is not a gift card with a separate balance beyond what’s already in your account. 

Whether or not the PayPal Cash Card is right for you, funding your PayPal account with PayPal gift cards is a no brainer, especially if you can get them for free. PayPal Gift Cards hold a monetary balance, between $10 and $500, that can instantly be transferred to your PayPal account. Once the gift card balance is added to your account, you can access the funds through a transfer to your bank account, or by using the PayPal Cash Card at ATMs or anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

PayPal Debit Card Fees

While almost any financial institution will have some fees associated with their accounts, one important characteristic of a financially smart debit card is the ability to conduct most standard checking account functions (transfer money, take cash from the ATM, use as a credit card) without incurring any fees. Here, the PayPal prepaid MasterCard definitely checks the box. There is no monthly fee for regular use. Cardholders can withdraw up to $400 USD from MoneyPass ATMs in the United States without incurring fees (non-MoneyPass ATM withdrawals incur a $2.50 fee per transaction and Foreign Transaction Fees apply to international withdrawals). 

When you link a checking account to your PayPal account through direct deposit, you can also use the card to access your checking account balance as well as your PayPal account balance for free. However, a 1% transfer fee (up to $10) applies for transfers to your bank account using the card (that fee is waived if you instead transfer the funds through PayPal directly and don’t use their Instant Transfer service). Last, if you are using the PayPal Cash Card as your primary checking account, you will incur a $4.95 cash reload fee for adding cash to your PayPal balance – ouch! The easiest way to avoid this one hefty fee is to reload your balance through PayPal gift cards instead of cash – particularly if you can get those gift cards for free. 

How to Earn PayPal Cash for Free

Reloading your PayPal balance requires funds to do so, regardless of what method you use to access your balance. Getting PayPal cash for free requires planting a money tree, having a very generous benefactor, or signing up for an online rewards program. Yeah, we picked that last one too. These rewards programs give you PayPal cash for doing everyday online activities, like answering survey questionnaires, shopping for essentials & coupon clipping. Sites like MyPoints, Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and ShopAtHome are the most trusted out there, giving you a legit opportunity to earn free gift cards quickly, without spending anything more than you would otherwise.

When looking for the best online rewards site for you, choose one that has been around for a long time and have earned sterling reputations from The Penny Hoarder, DollarSprout and Well Kept Wallet – legit personal finance sites that vet potential money-making opportunities to make sure they are both safe and worth your time.

Get a Gift Card with Swagbucks

How can this be the fastest way to earn a $25 Gift Card? Well, let’s provide three examples from Swagbucks to demonstrate:

  • Method 1: Join Swagbucks for free. Check out their featured offers section and click on the Hulu deal. Try Hulu (The amazing online streaming site where all of your favorite TV shows live) for one month for $5.99. Just for trying Hulu, Swagbucks will give you 3300 points, called SB, which you can redeem for Gift Cards. 3300 SB = $33 in PayPal Cash, meaning you spent $5.99 to get a month of great TV + $33 in Gift Cards. Total time spent: 2 minutes. Unbelievable deal? You bet.
  • Method 2: Join Swagbucks for free. Take care of your everyday online shopping at all your favorite sites through Swagbucks Shop & Earn portal. Get 1-25% cash back on every purchase you make, depending on the store. In no time you’ve racked up 2500 SB from a few purchases that you were already going to make. You can instantly redeem for a free $25 PayPal Gift Card.
  • Method 3: Join Swagbucks for free. Don’t spend a dime. Pick a time when you are a bit bored or otherwise not doing anything important. (note: dinner with your family is not a good time). Take a few online paid surveys through Swagbucks and earn 50 to 3000 points on each one you qualify for. Play a few games if you get bored with answering questions. Rack up points, called SB for everything you do. Cash out for PayPal Gift Cards with as little as 300 SB and you’ve just earned yourself a completely free gift card the easiest, fastest, free-est way possible.

More Gift Card Tips:

Where to get PayPal Gift Cards

In addition to online rewards sites like Swagbucks, where you can get PayPal Gift Cards for free, most big box stores, drug stores, and grocery stores now sell physical gift cards at a gift card mall-style kiosk, or even at the checkout line. Visit your neighborhood Target, CVS or Walgreens and you’re sure to find PayPal Gift Cards available for purchase. You can even use services like Instacart to order these gift cards for delivery. 

Be aware that purchasing physical prepaid cards generally require paying an upfront fee of $4 or more. You are far better off purchasing them as an e-gift card that directly transfers to your PayPal balance.  Try direct transfers through the PayPal mobile app as well for Android & iPhone for easy, fee-free moneygrams to your friends and family. Digital barcodes don’t make the friendliest birthday gift. Physical gift cards are still useful in those situations and probably worth the fee if you want the maximum flexibility offered by prepaid gift cards. (as opposed to Gift Cards, which can only be used for Amazon products but which generally don’t carry fees).

Benefits of PayPal compared to Visa Rewards Cards

There are lots of prepaid cards out there, including Visa & Mastercard options. Most physical prepaid cards, regardless of sponsor, will require paying up front activation fees as high as $6-$7. To avoid those fees, make sure to claim your prepaid cards through online portals that offer fee-free digital versions. Swagbucks offers both PayPal Gift Cards and Visa Rewards Cards as redemption options in their rewards store. How to decide which one is right for you? Sites like often discount Visa cards by 1-2%. PayPal cards rarely go on sale, so all else equal, the Visa Rewards Cards could be a better deal. However, there are several other factors to consider as well:

Are you trying to get funds into your bank account? – If so, PayPal makes this easy and is worth the small extra cost.

Are you making a single purchase for a fixed amount (e.g. a $25 purchase)? A $25 Visa Rewards Card is likely all you need. Save the pennies. 

Are you looking to make several small purchases at different sites? Adding to your PayPal balance will make that easier. It will allow less tracking of balances than with your Visa card.

Are you extremely frugal? (Warning, not for the faint of heart) Try getting a $100 Visa Gift Card from Swagbucks. Saving 2% off the redemption price, then invoicing yourself $100 from PayPal. USe your Visa Rewards Card to pay the invoice, incurring a 1% fee and netting the difference! 

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