Review: PayPal Prepaid MasterCard

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PayPal™ Prepaid MasterCard®

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3.5
On November 13, 2012
Last modified:November 11, 2012

Summary:

With reasonably low fees, this card is ideal for those wanting to transfer money from a PayPal account.

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™ Prepaid MasterCard® 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:

  • Free direct deposit - get your paycheck and government benefits up to 2 days faster.
  • Instantly transfer money from your PayPal Account to your PayPal Prepaid MasterCard!
  • Get account alerts on your mobile device or download our App to check your balance and see recent transactions
  • 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
  • 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.

You can get more details at the PayPal™ Prepaid MasterCard® website.

Published or Updated: November 11, 2012
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Jim Donahue says:

    You can use any prepaid account with PayPal as long as you have the routing and account number unless your card isn’t issued by a bank like the Bluebird card.

  2. Doug B. says:

    The Bluebird card does provide users with a routing & account number and it can be used with Pay Pal.

    • Frank B says:

      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.

  3. Renee says:

    A grade of B+ for fees? I think not. I didn’t use the card for two months and they just take $10 from me?! I knew I should have gotten Green Dot!

    • anon says:

      Uh, dude. It says that there’s a fee of $4.95 per month, and you didn’t use it for 2 months. Do the math.

  4. CAtHy says:

    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.

  5. Gil says:

    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.

  6. marie says:

    i don’t like these card fees. $4.95 adds up over time and i don’t like the fact that my hard earned money is taken out every month.

  7. A low monthly fee and the ability to earn some cash back rewards from selected stores and restaurants. The PayPal prepaid mastercard is my far one of my favorite prepaid cards.

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