PayPal Prepaid Mastercard review: Should you get one?

Adam Rozsa
06.10.21
4 minute read

There are a lot of prepaid card options out there. But if you’re a frequent PayPal user, then the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard might be right for your spending needs.

The card is issued by the Bancorp Bank—member FDIC—and managed by Netspend. With your card, you can link it to your PayPal account and gain access to many features and PayPal’s card account management service.

Some features include:

  • Access to tiered APY savings account
  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile app management
  • PayPal’s online bill pay service
  • Payback Rewards program and other special offers

While it isn’t a credit card—you can’t build credit—this card is a convenient solution for anyone looking for a prepaid card with perks.

And if this sounds like a good option to you, it’s easy to get one. Simply go to their site and order one, or visit any of the thousands of retail locations that offer prepaid cards.

But if you’re looking for an alternative to the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard, why not try a Wise debit card instead? It’s a zero cost card that links to your Wise multi-currency account. With the card you can spend money in over 200 countries with no foreign transaction fees and always at the mid-market rate.

Get a Wise debit card

📝 Table of contents

How do I add money to my PayPal Prepaid Mastercard?

Adding money to a PayPal Prepaid Mastercard isn’t difficult, and there are a lot of options available.

Transfer from PayPal balance

Move money directly from your PayPal balance to your card via PayPal’s card management account or application.

Direct deposit with enrollment through PayPal

Your card account canbe set up to receive direct deposits and funds are available at no charge as soon as they’re received.

Netspend Reload Network

Visit any of the over 130,000 Netspend reload locations across the US and load cash.

Tax Refund

You can notify the IRS or any state or local tax authority that you want your funds deposited on your prepaid card.

Mobile Check Load

Through PayPal’s partnership with IngoMoney, you can use your PayPal mobile app to load checks directly to your prepaid card.

How do I check my PayPal Prepaid card balance?

There are four ways to check your account balance:

  1. Call the toll-free customer service number on the back of the card.
  2. Enroll in the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard SMS alert service.
  3. Check the balance at an ATM—$0.50 per inquiry.¹
  4. Link the card to your PayPal account and check the balance at the online account center.

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard fees

PayPal Prepaid MastercardWise debit card
Card order fee$0—unless purchased at a retail location. Retail location fees vary by location.²$9
Monthly card fee$4.95²None
Foreign transaction fee4%²None
ATM withdrawal fee$2.50 per withdrawal²

First two ATM withdrawals up to $100 / month: Free

ATM withdrawals over $100 / month: 2%

Over 2 withdrawals / month: $1.50 per withdrawal


(6/3/2021)

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard could be a good option for you, but be aware of the fees associated with the card.

The card is free to order from the PayPal site, but there’s a fee that varies if you purchase one at a retail location where the initial card load will be either $10 or $20 plus the retail fee. And once you make your first purchase, the card automatically enrolls in the $4.95 monthly fee program and deducts within 36 hours.¹

There are also some fees associated with loading funds on the card.

Based on the Netspend location, you could be charged up to $3.95 to load cash on the card. Also, loading checks through PayPal’s mobile expedited check load option charges at least $5.00 per load and up to 2% or 5% of the total amount based on the type of check. But direct deposits and standard mobile check loads are free.²

If you need cash directly, PayPal charges $2.50 per ATM withdrawal, and there’s a 4% foreign transaction fee with every purchase to use the card internationally.²

💡 To avoid foreign transaction fees, try the Wise debit card. There are no monthly card fees, and you can keep more than 55 currencies on your balance. If you send money abroad, you’ll always get the mid-market rate and only pay a small fee.

Bottom line

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard has some fees associated with it—like most prepaid cards, but it’s a viable option for anyone who needs to watch their spending or give their kids access to a prepaid card they can monitor.

Overall, there are some positives to the card—especially if you link the card to your PayPal account.

It gives you access to a savings account with a variable APY, and you can enroll in their Payback Rewards program. It’s also very convenient to move money onto the card via your PayPal account and access everything all in one location.

However, there are definitely some cons to using this card. It has some of fees associated with basic usage like ATM, foreign transaction fees, and the monthly fee. Also, if you want access to any of the free deposit features and online management, you must link the card to your PayPal account.

Should you get one? It depends, of course, on your needs. But if you want an alternative, there are a lot of other options available out there.

One alternative to consider is a Wise debit card. There are no monthly fees, no foreign transaction fees, and you can keep more than 55 currencies on your account, so you can always pay with the local currency abroad.

Order a Wise debit card


Sources:
  1. PayPal - Prepaid Mastercard FAQ
  2. PayPal - Prepaid Mastercard Card Order

All sources checked on 3 June 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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