Review: PayPal Prepaid MasterCard

Over the years a number of readers have asked me how to transfer money to and from a PayPal account. I use a PayPal account, and I always transfer funds via my online checking account. But many readers don’t have and don’t want (or can’t get) a checking account. So for these folks, today we’ll look at a relatively inexpensive solution–the PayPal Prepaid MasterCard.

As the name suggests, this card is a prepaid MasterCard. Before we get to the details of the card, it’s important to note that it is the only prepaid card you can link to a PayPal account. Why? Because that’s how PayPal wants it. Taken directly from its website: “You can’t link a gift card, prepaid card, or one-time-use card to your PayPal account.” So if you want to use a prepaid card, you’ll have to use PayPal’s card.

Costs

If you’ve read any of my other reviews of prepaid cards, you know that the most important consideration is cost. While most cards offer reasonable fees, there are some out there that are completely outrageous. So where does the PayPal debt card fall in terms of cost? While it’s not the cheapest card available, the fees are very reasonable.

The primary fee is a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee. While some cards will waive this fee if you load a set amount on the card each month, PayPal will not. But with this fee you get free unlimited signature and PIN purchase transactions. There are fees for ATM withdrawals and loading cash on the card. Direct deposit is free. Overall, I’d rate the fees of this card a B+.

Features

As noted above, the most important feature is the ability to link the card to your PayPal account. Once linked, you can transfer funds between accounts. If this feature isn’t important to you, there is really no reason to prefer this card over other prepaid cards.

That being said, the card does offer standard features you’d expect to find in most prepaid cards:

  • Instantly transfer money from your PayPal Account to your PayPal Prepaid MasterCard
  • Open an optional savings account currently offering a 5.00% APY for balances up to $5,000 (new)
  • Earn Cash back rewards from specially selected stores, restaurants and more
  • Use free direct deposit and get your paychecks faster
  • Get account alerts on your mobile device or download our App to check your balance and see recent transactions
  • No credit check, overdraft fees or interest charges
  • Safer than carrying cash – use it to pay for everyday purchases

In addition, the card offers a linked savings account that pays 5.00% APR. Given that the highest interest savings accounts today pay about 1%, this is an impressive offer. But keep in mind that there is a limit to how much you can save at this interest rate and you must sign up for direct deposit to get this rate.

19 Responses to “Review: PayPal Prepaid MasterCard”

    • Frank B

      The bluebird card seems to have an issue, along with other prepaid cards, with paypal accepting the checking account and routing numbers provided, especially with verifying the account. Paypal won’t accept the bluebird account numbers or greendot. This is speaking from personal experience unfortunately.

  1. I just wanted to say… Paypal prepay is not the only card you can link to pay pal.
    I have a dollar general prepay card and had no trouble linking it, although now it seems they have recalled the loading cards so now i am looking for a mew card.

  2. I love this product. I gave up on banks 3 years ago and so far I’ve never looked back. 4.95 fee is very reasonable fee to maintain the account open. Of course there is no over draft protection which is the main reason why I stopped using banks. And the fact that I can transfer money from my PayPal account to my prepaid is an added bonus especially for those who sell online. I usually don’t use ATM and I simply get cash back from stores that offer it so I am not worried about the 2.50 fee to withdraw money from the account. All and all it’s a great product for on line sellers and those who are sick and tired of banks Nickle and diming your accounts.

  3. Alison

    It is true that you can link other debit cards to your Paypal account – I have a Wired Plastic debit card linked to mine. However – and this is important – you cannot transfer funds FROM your Paypal account to your debit card. PayPal only allows you to transfer funds from your account to an actual checking account, or this Paypal prepaid MasterCard. I have tried to use the routing and account numbers associated with my various prepaid debit cards (bluebird, netspend, etc) to link to paypal as a checking account – and none of these have worked. So, while some cards out there have fewer fees, if withdrawing Paypal funds is a must and you don’t have a checking account, this really is the only option.

    • Kotobuki

      you can transfer from your paypal to paypal prepaid instantly..it’s called “paypal instant transfer”..the one your referring to is “paypal basic transfer” which is the second option.

      • Kotobuki

        If you want money from paypal transferred to a different card or bank quickly, get the Kaiku card..its the second card i have on hand an it works similar an pretty much instantly when i send money to it from my paypal and use its banking numbers too.

  4. I enjoy the paypal mastercard. I could careless of the $4.95 monthly fee. This is the only prepaid card that you can do instant transfer from paypal with. Try to do that with any other card other then the actual paypal business debit card. which is issued through paypal directly which has no monthly fees or limits.

  5. B West

    I transferred money from my direct express prepaid card, which is purchase only because it is for disabled benefits. However, it cannot be LINKED to my PayPal account like a regular checking account. I think that’s the difference. How would that be beneficial? I haven’t done enough research. In the meantime, PayPal will not activate the card because they claim they need proof of my identity. They want me to send a copy of state ID, SSN, and a document, no older than 30 days, showing address. Has anyone else experienced this? Do you think it’s safe and worth it?

  6. The great thing about this card is that it doesn’t have to go through the ACH process to transfer your money. If you were to make a transfer to this card from paypal it’s instant, whereas to you checking account-linked debit card takes 3-4 business days. So the 4.95 fee is well worth it to me when I need the paypal finds right then!

  7. Nicholson, N

    I use this card and I love it. I get my direct deposit 2 days earlier and I can only spend what I have . . . plus they give me $10 per pay over overdraft allowance so If I down to my last $2.00 on the card . . . I can actually spend $12 – which is a nice perk for emergencies.

    I do know the UNIONPLUS prepaid card was pretty good to me when I had it. Both are the best in the prepaid industry in my opinion and I’m really happy with them. I use a traditional bank . . . just for check writing when absolutely necessary. I’ve been a cardholder since June 2013 with only 1 complaint.

    I tried calling customer service 1x and was so turned off – i never tried again. In order to get a rep on the line, i had to enter my card number (major turnoff), then she spoke little English and to date my request hasn’t been taken care of. I can only withdraw $400 per day and needed to know if they could increase my daily allowance. This still has not been answered or resolved. My direct deposit is about $1500 on average biweekly. $400 a day allowance isn’t cutting it – when you have bills to pay. 🙁

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