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PayPal Prepaid Mastercard Review

May 15, 2019
Banking, Prepaid Debit Cards
PayPal Prepaid MasterCard Review
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PayPal Prepaid Mastercard

3.0 NerdWallet rating

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.

The bottom line

  • Must have a PayPal account to use online card services.
  • Free transfers from your PayPal balance to the card.
  • Offers interest-bearing savings account.
  • $4.95 monthly fee that’s unavoidable.
  • No network that offers free ATM withdrawals or cash reloads.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best prepaid debit cards

Let’s break down the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard’s fees and services.

General fees and features

  • Free to open online.
  • No inactivity fee.
  • Purchase limit of $5,000 and maximum card value of $15,000.
  • ATM withdrawal limit of $940 per day.
  • Unavoidable $4.95 monthly fee.
  • $5.95 fee to request a check for your remaining funds if closing your card account.
PayPal Prepaid Mastercard’s $4.95 monthly fee is about average for the prepaid cards NerdWallet surveyed, but some cards offer ways to waive their monthly fees or don’t charge them at all.

Maximum amounts for purchases and daily ATM withdrawals are relatively high. Many cards cap these daily purchases around $2,500 to $3,000 and ATM withdrawals around $500.


Purchases and withdrawals

  • Use the card wherever Mastercard or PULSE cards are accepted.
  • No purchase transaction fees.
  • Cash back at retail checkouts.
  • Free $10 "purchase cushion."
  • $1.95 fee per ATM withdrawal, plus any ATM operator fee.
  • $2.50 fee per withdrawal over the counter at a bank.
  • $1 fee for declined ATM transactions.
You can use PayPal Prepaid Mastercard at a wide network of merchants, more than is available with American Express-sponsored cards such as Bluebird or Serve. You can also make purchases or get cash back for free, though few competitors charge for these services.

But many prepaid cards also have a free ATM network, and PayPal Prepaid does not.

Many prepaid cards have no overdraft programs or related fees, but PayPal Prepaid does — to a point. If you’ve previously had a direct deposit to your card, and you overdraw it by $10 or less, PayPal Prepaid may approve your transaction without fees. You may only have one overdraft at a time, and leaving it unpaid could result in having your card canceled.


» Looking for savings options you can open with $0? Check out our list of the best high-yield online savings accounts


  • Free transfers from a PayPal balance.
  • More than 130,000 NetSpend Reload Network locations.
  • Direct deposits can be available up to two days faster than what traditional banks offer.
  • $300 per day limit on PayPal transfers.
  • Up to $3.95 per cash load at a NetSpend Reload Network location.
  • Expedited mobile check processing costs at least $5.
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard lets you add money in five ways: from a PayPal balance, direct deposit, bank account transfer, cash reload and mobile check deposit. Many other providers offer some or all of these options; some offer more of them for free. For example, PayPal Prepaid doesn’t offer a free cash reload network.

Other services

  • Up to 5.00% APY savings account.
  • Cash back offers based on your spending habits.
  • Free card for secondary cardholder.
  • Free balance inquiries via customer service, PayPal website or text message.
  • Customer service available 7 days a week via phone.
  • $0.50 fee per ATM balance inquiry.
  • No way to access online services without linking card to PayPal account.
Linking your card to a PayPal account is necessary to access online services, such as balance inquiries, PayPal transfers and the savings account option. Other prepaid debit cards don’t require a separate account to access their online services.

But it’s somewhat unusual for prepaid cards to offer savings features or rewards, and PayPal Prepaid does. This could help offset some of its fees. And unlike some competitors, PayPal doesn’t charge for calls to customer service. It also has longer contact hours than some prepaid cards.


» MORE: Prepaid debit cards: What you should know

Helpful link to PayPal but not a bargain


at PayPal

Turning a PayPal balance into money for card purchases or straight cash is one of the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard’s biggest perks. But PayPal’s card doesn’t let you avoid regular fees or offer a free cash reload network.

If you don’t use PayPal that much, consider prepaid debit cards with more services and fewer fees.


NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of these four categories: general fees and features (40%), purchases and withdrawals (35%), reloads (15%) and other services (10%). Factors we consider, depending on the category, include fees, ATM access, reload options, breadth of merchant acceptance, account features and limits, consumer-facing tech and customer service. Because prepaid debit cards help to manage money without using credit, any overdraft program gets penalized under the “purchases and withdrawals” category. Several Nerds contribute to prepaid debit card ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.