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.
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+.
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:
- Real-time mobile alerts notify you of transactions and balances.
- 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®!
- No credit check, overdraft fees or interest charges.
- Get cash back rewards.
- 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.