PayPal Prepaid Mastercard Review

Spencer TierneyMay 15, 2019

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PayPal PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®

at PayPal

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard has one special feature: transfers from a PayPal account to the card for fast access to funds. But you won’t find much else that’s special. The card has comparable costs and standard services to other prepaid options, but fees can add up.

Best for:

  • People who use PayPal.

  • People who have had trouble with managing a bank account in the past.

  • People who want the flexibility to use their card whenever Mastercard or PULSE cards are accepted.

» See more options: Check our list of best prepaid debit cards

Pros

  • Use the card wherever Mastercard or PULSE cards are accepted.

  • Get cash back for free at retail checkouts.

  • Free transfers from a PayPal balance.

  • Savings account with up to 5.00% APY is available.

» Looking for a way to build credit instead? Learn about secured credit cards

Cons

  • No network that offers free ATM withdrawals or cash reloads, and a $2.50 fee per withdrawal over the counter at a bank.

  • Fee of up to $3.95 per cash load at a NetSpend Reload Network location.

  • PayPal transfers limited to $300 per day.

  • No way to access online services without linking card to PayPal account.

» Ready to open a traditional savings option instead? See the best high-yield savings accounts

General information about prepaid debit cards

What is a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid debit card is a type of payment card that only lets you spend the money you load onto the card. They don’t help you build credit. Like a debit card, a prepaid card works at any merchant that accepts its payment network, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express. It’s safer and more convenient than using cash. Usually the prepaid card has a mobile app to deposit checks and transfer money. Learn more on our guide to prepaid debit cards.

Unlike checking accounts, prepaid debit cards may lack some services such as free ATM or branch networks, checks, among others. If that doesn’t work for you, see our list of best checking accounts. Or, if you’ve struggled with banks before, check out second chance checking options.

Prepaid debit card vs. debit card vs. credit card

  • Prepaid debit cards — pay before: You load money onto the card via cash, checks, direct deposit or a bank account before paying for transactions.

  • Debit cards — pay now: You use money directly from a checking account when paying for purchases or withdrawing money from an ATM.

  • Credit cards — pay later: You borrow money from a bank when you use the card and pay the money back later.

How does FDIC insurance on prepaid cards work?

Prepaid debit cards nearly always have FDIC insurance, which keeps your funds protected in case the issuer goes bankrupt. Only financial institutions can have FDIC insurance, so a prepaid card is either managed by a bank or by a prepaid card company that partners with a bank to offer that insurance. You must register your prepaid debit card with your name and other identification information in order to be eligible for FDIC insurance and other protections.

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