How to Send a Birthday Present Online

Updated February 21, 2017

With a few clicks, it's possible to send a birthday present instantly by e-mail to a recipient anywhere in the world. There are three basic types of birthday presents you can send online: digital gifts such as music or movies; gift cards or cash; and charitable gifts. The process may vary slightly depending on the site, but the basics are similar and require nothing more than a credit card or PayPal account and the recipient's e-mail address.

Choose the type of gift you'd like to send. For digital music or movies, specific items may be sent as gifts via iTunes. To send digital items on most retail sites such as or, purchase an online gift card that can be e-mailed in an e-card.

If you're sending a gift card, select an e-card. Most retailers who sell online gift cards offer the option of incorporating them into a digital birthday card that is e-mailed. Amounts generally start at five or ten dollars and are paid via a credit or debit card. Add your recipient's e-mail address and a birthday message where specified.

Send cash online by using a money transfer service such as PayPal. Click on "Send Money" and enter the recipient's e-mail address and the amount. Select the "Personal" tab and click on "Gift." You can add a message before your gift is sent.

Donate money to a favourite charity in honour of your recipient. Some charities that offer online birthday gifts include Unicef, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Heifer International. Most charities offer a birthday e-card option to announce your gift.

If you don't already have an account with the site you're using to send an online gift, you can create one. Most retailers will require a credit card, debit card, or bank account, and some accept PayPal. The recipient's physical address is almost never required for e-mailed gifts, but you will have to enter your billing address if you're using a credit card or bank account.


Online services such as iTunes and PayPal require that gift recipients as well as givers have or create an account. If you don't know if your recipient uses a certain service, stick with an online gift card or charitable gift. Always double-check that your order is correct before confirming it.


Some retailers such a iTunes and Amazon are not designed for international gift giving. Stick to cash (PayPal instantly converts currency) or charitable gifts when sending online birthday gifts to recipients outside of the U.S.

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About the Author

Delaware-based Daisy Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997, when she became the features editor for her local biweekly music newspaper. She has been a staff writer and contributor to online and offline magazines, including "What It Is!," and Slashfood. Cuinn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.