PayPal Prepaid Mastercard

Andrew Reyes  | 
  • Annual percentage rate (APR): Not applicable.
  • Purchase intro APR: None.
  • Rewards: None.
  • Monthly fee: $4.95.
  • Late fee: None.
  • Reload fee: $0 to $3.95
  • ATM fee: $1.95.
  • Credit score: Not applicable.
  • Compare cards here.

Benefits

  • Easy access to PayPal funds: The main reason to get the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is to transfer money from a PayPal account to your card for free. PayPal users can move their balance to a bank account, but this process can take one business day or longer. Faster transfers to a bank are possible for a fee. With the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard, you can quickly transfer money from a PayPal account and make purchases online or in-person at any business that accepts Mastercard.
  • Excellent mobile app: PayPal’s prepaid mobile app allows users to track their balance, review recent transactions, find reload locations, and keep an eye on fees. With the mobile app, you can also set account alerts that notify you about a low balance, tell you when a transfer is complete, or send you other important notices.
  • No credit check: Since this card is not a credit card, you do not need to be concerned about your credit score. The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is a good option for making online or in-person card purchases if you cannot qualify for a credit card. Since this card is only worthwhile if you have a PayPal account, you may wish to open an account. However, PayPal will not usually run a credit check unless you open a business account.
  • Load in person or via direct deposit: Cardholders have other loading options in addition to PayPal. They can set up a direct deposit and have an employer or benefits provider put the money directly into their Prepaid Mastercard account. There is no cost for this service. There is also an option to load the card in person at any Netspend reload location. In-person reloads can cost up to $3.95, but they allow you to add cash or a physical check to your balance instantly.

Drawbacks

  • Not a credit card: The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is not a credit card. You can only spend money that you have already loaded onto the card via PayPal, direct deposit, or a cash reload. You cannot use money that is not already in your account. More importantly, you cannot improve your credit score by using the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard if you have poor credit or no credit history.
  • Monthly fee: Many prepaid cards have a monthly fee for account maintenance. The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard has such costs as well. However, unlike other cards, there is no way to avoid the monthly charge. Even if you transfer money from PayPal and set up direct deposit, you still need to pay the $4.95 fee. Some other cards offer the chance to waive the monthly costs by setting up direct deposit or depositing a predetermined amount each month. These cards, however, do not give you direct access to your PayPal funds.
  • ATM withdrawal fee: You can use your PayPal Prepaid online or at any brick-and-mortar business that accepts Mastercard. However, if you wish to get cash, you need to pay a fee of $1.95 to withdraw from an ATM. The ATM operator may levy additional charges. This issue is only a problem if you plan to use cash. If you merely use the PayPal Prepaid at payment processing terminals or online, you will not incur ATM fees.
  • To get the most value from this card, you need a PayPal account: You can avoid fees, except for the $4.95 monthly maintenance fee, if you load your card from your PayPal account or via direct deposit. Other prepaid cards have direct deposit features, but the PayPal Prepaid is the only one that allows you to directly access your PayPal funds. If you have a PayPal account, this card is certainly a good option, but if you do not have one and don’t plan to open one, then it is not the best prepaid choice for you.

What Can You Expect From the PayPal Prepaid MasterCard?

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard allows cardholders to use their PayPal funds for regular spending. They connect their prepaid card to their PayPal account via the PayPal website, and they can then quickly transfer funds to the card. PayPal also offers a specialized mobile app for managing Prepaid Mastercard balances, tracking fees, and recording purchases. With these two online tools, PayPal Prepaid cardholders can manage both their PayPal and Mastercard accounts.

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard customers can also deposit and withdraw money in person, much like they would with a brick-and-mortar checking account. They can make cash deposits at Netspend locations, which include stores such as Walgreens and 7-Eleven. They can also use ATMs for withdrawals.

Face-to-face activities do incur fees, however.

Who Should Get the PayPal Prepaid Debit Card?

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is best for people who already have or plan to open a PayPal account. If you receive funds via PayPal, you can quickly transfer the money to your card and use it like a regular debit card.

It is also possible to load the card via direct deposit without incurring fees. You may wish to do this if you want a prepaid card with a great mobile app for account management, or you plan to open a PayPal account in the future.

The PayPal Prepaid is also an option for people who do not have a standard checking account. Between PayPal and the Prepaid Mastercard, you get most of the features of a checking account without actually signing up for one. The Prepaid Mastercard functions much like a debit and ATM card, and you can deposit funds for free with direct deposit or via PayPal.

Those who want to avoid fees may not like this card, but they may also find the fees worthwhile if they use all the services and perks.

Compare other prepaid credit cards and learn more here.


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