PayPal Prepaid Mastercard Review
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard provides some great features for PayPal users, like free transfers between your PayPal account and the card. And the cost is reasonable. But, if you’re not a PayPal account user, you might look at other options.
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard, issued by the Bancorp Bank and managed by Netspend, allows for free instant cash transfers from PayPal to the prepaid card. It also offers a number of useful features like a high-interest savings account, cash back bonuses, and mobile check deposit. But many of the features are available only to PayPal users.
PayPal Prepaid Mastercard Overview
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is available on the Mastercard network and is widely accepted anywhere Mastercard debit cards are accepted. It offers instant transfers to and from a PayPal account, particularly important for PayPal users who don’t have a checking account.
In addition, the PayPal prepaid card, similar to other prepaid cards managed by Netspend, offers a high-interest savings account with a promotional rate of 5.00% APY on deposits up to $1,000.
The card has a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee. That’s about the average for prepaid cards. However, with some prepaid cards, there are ways to waive this fee. But it’s not possible with the PayPal prepaid card.
You can load your PayPal card for free via direct deposit or PayPal account transfer. The card also offers free mobile check deposit, but processing takes 10-days. For check deposits to be instantly available, the fee is 1% for government checks and 4% for all others.
You can get cash at virtually any ATM, but ATM withdrawals come with a fee of $1.95.
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard includes the main features of most prepaid cards, such as free direct deposit and bill pay, but it also offers some unique features such as its connection to PayPal and Refer-A-Friend program.
Connect to PayPal Account: You can connect the card to a PayPal account for instant money transfers to and from PayPal. It is important to note that having a PayPal account is crucial to getting the full use of this card. Users who don’t connect their card to a PayPal account can’t access the online portal or mobile app to check their balance or transactions and aren’t eligible to earn cash back rewards.
Savings Account: The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard offers a high interest-bearing savings account. Users can transfer money into their savings account to earn up to a 5.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on deposits up to $1,000, with a 0.50% APY on balances over $1,000.
Cash Back: If you connect your card to your PayPal account, you’ll receive periodic offers to earn cash back rewards for select merchants. You’ll need to opt-in to these offers through the portal to earn cash back.
Purchase Cushion: The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard doesn’t offer an overdraft program so it doesn’t have overdraft fees. However, direct deposit users may be eligible for a “purchase cushion” of up to $10. This allows a PIN or signature transaction to put your account at up to a $10 negative balance to cover an overage. Note that not covering the negative balance within two months can result in your card being canceled.
Referral Bonus: If you refer a friend with your refer-a-friend promo code, you and the friend each get $5. Note that all referrals need to activate their card and load at least $10.
Bill Pay: The PayPal card offers free bill pay through an e-check system. However, this takes several days. If you need to pay a bill instantly, you will need to use the MoneyGram service available through your PayPal card account, which charges a fee.
Text Alerts: As the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is managed by Netspend, the card offers Anytime Alerts that users can customize to their needs. Alerts can be sent daily, weekly or with each transaction and include individual transaction details, received deposits, budget notifications, and declined transactions. Users that have opted into alerts can also get on-demand information by texting the Netspend SMS number any time.
|If you want to get…||Text this command to 22622|
|Your account balance||BAL|
|Closest Reload Network location||RELOAD (or any five-digit ZIP code)|
|Info about your most recent transaction||LAST|
|Info about your 7 most recent deposits made within the past 30 days||DEP|
|Get your routing and Card Account numbers to sign up for Direct Deposit||DIRECT|
|Unsubscribe from Anytime Alerts||UNSUBSCRIBE|
|How to use Anytime Alerts||HELP|
You can have up to a $15,000 balance on the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard – higher than most prepaid cards. The maximum daily spending limit for the card is $5,000, again higher than most prepaid cards. The ATM limit is $940 a day, more than double the average for prepaid cards.
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard doesn’t have an activation fee if you buy online or any transaction fees. But it does charge a $4.95 monthly fee. Unlike some cards, there is no way to waive this fee by loading a minimum amount or by using direct deposit.
The card doesn’t charge for direct deposits, PayPal transfers, or inactivity fees.
There is a $1.95 ATM fee and a $2.50 over-the-counter bank withdrawal fee, so the only way to get cash from the card for free is by getting cash back at the register when making a debit purchase using your PIN.
There’s also a $0.50 fee to check your balance at an ATM and a $1.00 fee for declined ATM transactions. The mobile app makes these easy enough to avoid since you can check your balance free through the app.
If you cancel your card, you can request a refund check for the balance. This check is sent by mail and usually takes three to four weeks to receive, with a fee of $5.95 deducted from the balance. If you decide the card isn’t for you, transfer the balance to your PayPal account instead and bypass this fee.
How to Load Money on the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
There are several ways to load the card.
Direct Deposit: Paychecks and government benefits checks can be loaded via direct deposit without a fee.
Mobile Check Deposit: Users can deposit checks via the card’s mobile app if their card is connected to a PayPal account. Mobile check deposits are free but take 10 days to clear. If you want same-day processing, you have to pay a 1% to 4% fee.
Online Bank or PayPal Transfer: If you have a bank or PayPal account, you can transfer funds to the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard online for free. Transfers from bank checking accounts are also free.
Cash Reload: The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard uses the Netspend reload network for cash reloads. There are 130,000 partner locations where you can load cash onto PayPal card. While the PayPal prepaid card does not charge a fee for this service, the partner locations do. Cash reload fees at partner locations range from $2.00 to $3.95.
Using the Card
The Paypal Prepaid Mastercard works like a credit or debit card. It can be used anywhere Mastercard debit cards are accepted. Basically, just about any online or brick and mortar retailer.
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard offers 3 ways to get cash:
ATMs: You can use the card like a bank debit card to withdraw money from any ATM. The fee is $1.95 per transaction, plus the fee charged by the ATM owner.
Over The Counter Bank Withdrawals: You can withdraw cash in person at a bank using your PIN number. However, the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard charges a $2.50 fee for this service.
Cash Back at Retailers: You can get cash back at the register when making debit purchases using your PIN number.
How to Get a PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
Getting a PayPal prepaid card is easy. You can purchase at retail stores or order a card online.
Purchase at Retail Stores
You can buy an unregistered card at a number of stores. Participating stores include CVS, Dollar General, and other retailers. A number of convenience stores also carry the PayPal card.
The upside of purchasing at a retail store is that you can load the card with cash at the initial purchase and use it right away for purchases. The downside is that it costs more and most features of the card are unavailable until you activate or register the card online. The price of getting the card at retailers varies because it’s determined by the retailer. But it can cost up to $4.95.
Unless you need the card immediately, the better option is to buy online. That’s because it’s free. And, even if you buy it in the store, you’ll need to “activate” the card, which means providing identifying information to get a personalized card. When you purchase online, purchasing and activating the card are both in one step. It requires completing a simple form with identifying information–name, address, and social security number. There is no credit check, no ChexSystems inquiry, and no income requirement.
For regular users of PayPal that need to turn a balance into usable funds, the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard offers a great service. A number of added features, such as high-interest savings, rewards, and mobile check deposit add value.
But the monthly fee is unavoidable. And if you don’t have a PayPal account, many of features won’t be available to you.
Best For: Prepaid card users that regularly use PayPal and don’t frequently load cash other than direct deposit or account transfers.
Not So Good For: Prepaid card users who don’t have a PayPal account or direct deposit.