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PayPal Debit Cards vs. PayPal Credit Cards – What’s the Difference?

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If you’re one of the millions of consumers who use PayPal to send and receive money, chances are you might also be thinking about getting a PayPal card to make managing your finances even easier. But which one? PayPal offers credit cards, debit cards and a prepaid card. We’ll break down how each type of PayPal card works so you can decide what’s best for you.

PayPal credit cards

PayPal offers two credit cards, the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® and the PayPal Extras Mastercard®. However, you can only have one PayPal credit card at a time.

The company also offers PayPal Credit, a revolving line of credit for digital purchases. Though PayPal Credit in some ways functions like a credit card, there is no physical card involved.

The draw with PayPal Credit is that it offers special financing on purchases of $99 or more: No interest if paid in full in 6 months on purchases of $99 or more. Buy now and pay over time when you spend $98.99 or less. Subject to credit approval.

However, beware that the no-interest offer involves deferred interest. If you fail to pay the purchase off in full within the special financing window, you’ll be charged interest from the date of purchase. And the regular purchase APR is on the high end at 23.99% variable.

We review each PayPal credit card’s pros and cons to help you evaluate which card could be the best fit for your needs. Note that you’ll need a PayPal account prior to applying for a card.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

If you want a card that earns a flat-rate cashback percentage on purchases without requiring you to activate different categories for a higher cashback rewards rate, you’ll like the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®.

Cardholders get 2% cash back every day, every purchase, every time you use your card. That’s the highest flat rate you’re likely to find on a credit card with no annual fee. The cash back you earn can be redeemed into your PayPal account at any time with no minimum redemption amount.

More card details:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: 2.5%
  • Regular purchase APR: 19.99%, 23.99% or 26.99% variable
PayPal Extras Mastercard®

If you spend heavily on gas and dining out, the PayPal Extras Mastercard® might be just the card you need. 3 points per $1 spent on gas and restaurant purchases, 2 points per $1 spent on PayPal and eBay purchases, and 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases

Points can be redeemed in the following ways::

  • Gift cards for restaurants, gas, retail and more.
  • Merchandise such as housewares, electronics and sports equipment.
  • Credits to your PayPal balance.
  • Travel vouchers for airfare, hotel stays or car rentals.

More card details:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Regular purchase APR: 19.99%, 23.99% or 26.99% variable

PayPal debit and prepaid cards

Debit and prepaid cards may be a better way to manage your money if you find yourself tempted to overspend on a credit card. PayPal offers a consumer debit card and a business debit card, as well as one prepaid card.

PayPal Cash Card

PayPal’s debit card, the PayPal Cash Card, is linked to your PayPal account and allows you to withdraw money from your balance as needed. Since this is a debit card, there’s no credit check involved when you apply. Whether you have no credit, excellent credit or anything in between, it doesn’t matter.

How to fund your PayPal Cash Card:

  • Receive direct deposit on the card. Set up direct deposit with your employer or government benefits provider.
  • Deposit a check by smartphone. Snap a photo of your check and deposit it with the PayPal app.
  • Load cash at a retail location. At more than 100,000 CVS, 7-Eleven and Rite Aid locations nationwide, just scan a barcode on the PayPal app or swipe your card.
  • Transfer from your bank account. Transfer money from your bank account to your PayPal account.

There’s no annual or monthly fee with this card. However, there are some other fees:

PayPal Cash Card Fees
Type of fee Amount charged
ATM domestic and international withdrawal fee $2.50 (ATM owner may also charge a fee). $0 if you use one of the 33,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide
Cash reload service fee Up to $4.95
Foreign transaction fee 2.5%
Over-the-counter withdrawal fee $3
PayPal Business Debit MasterCard®

If you can’t qualify for a business credit card or already have one, another option for managing day-today expenses while earning cash back is the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard®.

With the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard®, earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases, including ones paid using a linked bank account. Note that you must sign up to earn cash back and also that you’ll only receive your cash back when your monthly earnings are $1 or more. If you earn less than $1 back, it won’t be awarded and won’t carry over to the next month.

This is a debit card, so no credit check is conducted when you apply.

Fees to be aware of when using the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard® include:

PayPal Business Debit MasterCard® Fees
Type of fee Amount charged
ATM domestic withdrawal fee $1.50 (ATM owner may also charge a fee)
Teller assisted withdrawal fee $3
ATM international withdrawal fee $1.50 (ATM owner may also charge a fee)
Foreign transaction fee 1% of the purchase amount from a non-US merchant or 1% of the withdrawal amount at a non-US ATM. This fee will apply even if the transaction does not require a currency conversion.
PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®

If you prefer to manage your finances with a reloadable prepaid card, the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® is a decent choice. You can load funds onto it via direct deposit, by transfers from your PayPal account, and at more than 130,000 NetSpend Reload Network locations across the country.

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. And while prepaid cards don’t have the same rewards and benefits as credit cards, they may be preferable if you wish to limit spending, because you can only spend what you’ve loaded onto the card.

Listed below are some of the fees you may encounter with the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® :

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® Fees
Type of fee Amount charged
Monthly fee Plan fee is $4.95 monthly.
ATM domestic withdrawal fee* $2.50 (ATM operator may also charge a fee)
ATM international withdrawal fee* $0, but the foreign transaction fee applies (ATM operator may also charge a fee)
Foreign transaction fee 4%
Over-the-counter withdrawal fee $3
Cash reload at a NetSpend Reload Network location Up to $3.95

See the website for more details.

Alternatives to PayPal credit cards

If you’re not sure a PayPal credit card is the best choice, you may want to take a look at these two credit cards that serve similar spending profiles as the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® and the PayPal Extras Mastercard®.

For those looking for a straightforward flat-rate cashback card, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is worth a look. And for those who want top-notch rewards for dining at restaurants, the relatively new U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card is hard to beat.

Citi® Double Cash Card

With the Citi® Double Cash Card , earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Be aware that this card offers half your rewards when you make a purchase and the remaining half when you pay it off. However, as long as you make at least the minimum payment, you’ll earn the second 1% back.

Where it beats out the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® is if you don’t want to redeem cash back into a PayPal account. The Citi® Double Cash Card offers the following redemption options:

  • Statement credits
  • Deposits into a bank account
  • Physical checks
  • Conversion to Citi ThankYou Points

More card details:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Regular purchase APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card

If you’re hungry to earn dining rewards, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card should be on your list. It offers the highest rewards rate on restaurant and takeout purchases that we’ve found on a card with no annual fee.

Earn 4X points on dining, takeout and food delivery, 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations, and 1X points on all other eligible purchases.

There’s a generous sign-up bonus, too: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Finally, cardholders can earn a $15 streaming credit after 11 months of streaming service purchases. Eligible streaming services include Amazon Music, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, YouTubeTV and more.

More card details:

  • Annual fee: $0*
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Regular purchase APR: 14.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)

Alternative to a PayPal prepaid card

If paying a monthly fee for the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® doesn’t appeal to you, and if you don’t like the idea of being charged ATM fees and foreign transaction fees, a better prepaid card for your wallet may be the Bluebird by American Express.

Bluebird by American Express

This card comes with no monthly fee and allows you to reload funds at no cost at virtually any Walmart register. It also lets you withdraw money from the more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATM locations without incurring a fee. (Note that when withdrawing money at other machines, you’ll be charged $2.50 plus any ATM operator fees.) There’s also an option to get cash at Walmart stores via Cash Pickup Powered by Ria, but you’ll incur a $3 to $9 fee based on the amount you withdraw.

You can order the Bluebird by American Express card online at bluebird.com for no fee or purchase it at a retail location, in which case the retailer may charge a fee of up to $5.

The Bluebird by American Express also offers a variety of cardholder benefits:

  • Purchase protection
  • Fraud protection
  • Roadside assistance
  • Emergency assistance when traveling
  • Amex Offers
  • American Express Experiences

FAQs about the PayPal cards

How do you get a PayPal card? You can apply for the PayPal credit cards and request the PayPal debit cards on paypal.com. If you want a prepaid card, you can order one from paypal.com or buy one from a retail location.

What credit score do you need for a PayPal credit card? The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® requires an excellent/good credit score, and the PayPal Extras Mastercard® also requires an excellent/good credit score. Here are the five tiers your credit score is categorized into:

  • Exceptional credit: 800 to 850
  • Very good credit: 740 to 799
  • Good credit: 670 to 739
  • Fair credit: 580 to 669
  • Poor credit: 300 to 579

Who issues the PayPal credit cards? Synchrony Bank issues both PayPal credit cards.

Fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.