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PayPal’s Debit and Prepaid Cards – Everything You Need to Know

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Erin Miller

Erin Miller

Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 26U.S. States Visited: 28

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publicat...
Edited by: Kellie Jez

Kellie Jez

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Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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PayPal is a commonly used option for quickly and efficiently transferring money online, and is increasingly replacing paper options such as checks and money orders.

But despite the popularity of PayPal, Venmo, and mobile wallets, there’s a well-established form of payment that’s still widely used today: plastic, in the form of debit and credit cards. PayPal has branded options for both credit and debit cards that can offer benefits for cardholders.

This in-depth review of PayPal’s prepaid and debit cards — PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® and PayPal Cash Mastercard — explains the benefits, fees, drawbacks, and differences between these card options.

PayPal Prepaid and Debit Cards at a Glance

PayPal Prepaid Card

PayPal Cash Card

  • Move money from your PayPal Account.
  • Take advantage of PayPal Payback Rewards and earn on qualifying purchases from select merchants.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • Card issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Click PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® for additional features & program details, and to request a Card.
  • Access funds directly from your PayPal balance when making a purchase
  • Direct deposit at no extra cost (to fund your PayPal balance)
  • Option for cash withdrawal at ATMs worldwide (including free withdrawals at 25k+ MoneyPass locations)
Monthly Fee $4.95None
Minimum BalanceNoneNone
APR NoneNone
Late Fee NoneNone

Bottom Line: PayPal cards are debit cards, NOT credit cards! We explain the differences in our article Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards: What’s the Difference and Which Is Best?

Both PayPal Mastercards are issued by The Bancorp Bank and can be used anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.

There is no credit check for either card because they are not credit cards.

Cardholders must link their cards to their PayPal Cash Plus account to use these cards and their benefits.

PayPal Prepaid and Debit Card Differences

PayPal Prepaid Card

Image Credit: PayPal

Funds used for the PayPal Prepaid card account are held in an FDIC-insured account with The Bancorp Bank. Funds need to be loaded onto the prepaid card to utilize the card. The PayPal Prepaid card does not pull funds directly from your PayPal account.

This card comes with a $4.95 monthly plan fee. If you order the card online, the first $4.95 fee (the purchase fee) is waived, but the monthly fees still apply. This fee adds up to $59.40 per year.

Loading Funds Onto Your Card

Cardholders can load funds onto the card in a number of ways:

  • No-cost direct deposit service
  • Transfer from a linked PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account
  • Add money at a Netspend Reload Network location (subject to fees)

PayPal Account Transfers

Any transfer made from a cardholder’s PayPal account is limited to the amount of money available in that account. For example, if you only have $150 in the account, you can’t transfer more than that.

Additionally, funds transferred from a PayPal account may not exceed $300 a day and $2,000 per rolling 30 days.

Netspend Reload Network Locations

Netspend provides more than 130,000 nationwide locations where cardholders may add funds to their account. However, a fee (specific to each location) is usually associated with this option.

The minimum amount a cardholder can load is $10 or $20 depending on the location. You can load a maximum of $500.

Special Offers

With the PayPal Prepaid card, PayPal may send cardholders rewards offers. Offers are based on your shopping habits, but PayPal won’t share your personal information with the merchants that sponsor these offers.

Cardholders must review and activate the offer, then make the purchase with the PayPal Prepaid card. The cash-back rewards are credited to the card account.

5% APY Option

Cardholders are given the option to open a tiered-rate savings account through The Bancorp Bank, and along with it, the ability to earn up to 5.00% APY (Annual Percentage Yield) for balances up to $1,000.

You must link your card to your PayPal account to open this savings account.

Interest is calculated on the average daily balance of the savings account with quarterly payments.

Additional details can be found here.

Cash Withdrawals and Cash-Back

You can use PayPal’s Prepaid Mastercard for cash withdrawals.

Cardholders can utilize any ATM with a Mastercard, Cirrus, or PULSE acceptance mark for a fee of $1.95 plus any surcharge fee from the ATM owner or bank. There is no owner surcharge fee if you use a MoneyPass Network ATM for a withdrawal.

Hot Tip: You can withdraw cash at checkout when you make a purchase with merchants who accept Mastercard debit cards, such as grocery stores.

Purchase Cushion

Overdrafts are not an option with this card. If you attempt a purchase in excess of your account balance, it will generally be declined at the point of sale.

However, PayPal may authorize a purchase cushion for some cardholders who have completed a direct deposit transaction. This purchase cushion can create (up to) a $10 negative balance in your account that you will have 30 days to cover. There are no fees associated with this purchase cushion.

Refer-A-Friend Program

The PayPal Prepaid card has a Refer-A-Friend program that allows cardholders to earn $20 for every friend that they refer.

Your friend must sign up, activate their card, and load $40 onto the card for the program to payout. Once they’ve done so, you will both earn $20.

PayPal Cash Card

Image Credit: PayPal

The PayPal Cash card is automatically linked directly to your PayPal Cash Plus account. When you use the card to make purchases, it pulls directly from the available balance in your PayPal account.

While you don’t have to load funds onto the card, you still need to be sure there is money in your PayPal account for the card to work.

Adding Funds to Your PayPal Account

Cardholders can add funds to their PayPal account in a few ways:

  • Direct deposit
  • Bank transfer
  • Cashing a check (with the app)
  • Loading cash at an approved location

Hot Tip: PayPal Cash cardholders can also utilize funds that other PayPal users have transferred to their account.

Direct Deposit

With direct deposit, cardholders can have all or part of their paycheck or government payment (including tax refunds and Social Security) transferred directly into their PayPal account by an employer or government entity.

These funds are generally available the same day the transfer is received, and there are no fees associated with this option.

Cashing a Check

PayPal gives users the option of cashing checks directly within the PayPal app.

PayPal uses a third party for this service, so there can be fees. You have the option of Money in Days or Money in Minutes.

There is no fee for the Money in Days option and funds will credit within 10 days. The Money in Minutes option is quicker than Money in Days, but it will cost you from 1% to 5% (with a minimum fee of $5) depending on the type of check, as this is considered expedited funding.

The minimum check amount is $5 and the maximum is $5,000. The daily limit is $5,000 per day, and the monthly limit is $15,000.

Loading Cash

Image Credit: PayPal

The locations for loading cash into your PayPal account are not necessarily the same as the location options for the PayPal Prepaid card.

Cash loading is available at thousands of CVS, 7-Eleven, and Rite Aid locations nationwide. You must either generate a barcode within your PayPal account and print it, or do so within the smartphone app to load cash ($20 to $500 per transaction) into your account. You’ll show the barcode at the register with the cash you wish to deposit.

There is a $3.95 service fee associated with this option.

Cash Withdrawal

PayPal Cash card cardholders can withdraw cash at ATMs and participating locations nationwide.

There are no service fees associated with a cash withdrawal from a MoneyPass ATM. There are more than 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide.

If you use a different ATM (which must have a Mastercard, Cirrus, or PULSE acceptance mark), the withdrawal fee is $2.50 (both domestically and internationally), plus any amounts charged by the ATM owner.

Cash-back withdrawals at a checkout counter may require a $3 fee.

Automatic Top Up

Technically, this card does not allow for overdrafts. However, users can enroll in Automatic Top Ups to ensure their balance is sufficient to cover their transactions.

With this option, PayPal will automatically add funds to your PayPal balance whenever your available balance is less than the transaction amount. The top up is done by automatically transferring funds from your linked bank account or debit card.

PayPal usually offers cardholders the ability to select from a default amount such $20, $50, or $100, or a custom amount. This top up amount transfers each time it is required by the user to pay the full purchase amount.

If the top up amount selected is transferred and still does not cover the cost of the purchase, multiple top ups transfer automatically. For example, you’re making a purchase for $100 and only have $60 in your PayPal account. You’ve enrolled in Automatic Top Ups with a top up amount of $20. PayPal will automatically top up your account twice to allow for the completion of the purchase.

Save and Invest

PayPal promotes its Goals and Acorns programs through this card. However, these programs can be utilized with any PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account and do not exclusively require a PayPal Cash card.

PayPal Prepaid and Debit Card Fees and Drawbacks

These are not credit cards, so they don’t come with the standard fees we usually see on cards, such as APR, cash advance APR, cash advance fees, and late fees.

These are the fees associated with PayPal debit cards:

PayPal Prepaid card PayPal Cash card
Monthly plan fee$4.95none
ATM withdrawal fee$1.95$2.50
ATM transaction decline fee$1undisclosed
ATM balance inquiry$0.50undisclosed
Over-the-counter cash withdrawals* (financial institution)$2.50$3.00
Foreign transaction fee4% of the purchase amount2.5% of the purchase amount
Replacement card $5.95undisclosed
Additional statement mailing feenoneundisclosed

*Cash withdrawals at retailers such as grocery stores are free when you select the debit option and enter your PIN. Generally, you can expect a fee if a signature is required to obtain cash.

Additional Drawbacks

One of the drawbacks of these cards is that they’re not credit cards (although this could be a perk for some). Since they are not credit cards, they can’t be used to build your credit.

These aren’t the cards for you if you want to earn points or travel rewards from credit cards. While cardholders may be offered cash-back opportunities with the PayPal Prepaid card, the card doesn’t provide everyday rewards or bonuses for purchases in select categories (like some other credit cards do).

You must have an active PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account in good standing to take full advantage of all the benefits these debit cards have to offer.

Obtaining Your PayPal Debit or Prepaid Card

Get Your PayPal Prepaid Card

You can obtain a PayPal Prepaid card in 1 of 2 ways:

If you order the card online, PayPal waives the purchase fee of $4.95. Once the card is ordered, you should receive it in the mail within 7 to 10 business days.

If you purchase your PayPal Prepaid card at a retail location, you can load money onto the card immediately. However, this is a temporary card.

After purchase, the card still needs to be activated, which requires identity verification. Otherwise, you won’t get your real card or be able to add any more money to the account or use the card’s features.

You must activate the card within 120 days or the card will become invalid.

Get Your PayPal Cash Card

You can obtain a PayPal Cash card by requesting one online. Once you successfully order your card, it should arrive within 7 to 10 business days.

Final Thoughts

The PayPal Cash card and PayPal Prepaid card are the debit and prepaid card options provided by PayPal, but are they worth it? If you’re already an active PayPal user, maybe. If you’re not, it’s unlikely either card will benefit you all that much.

For current, active PayPal users, the best thing about these cards is that they link to your PayPal account. If you have a PayPal account where you regularly keep funds, they can be convenient. However, PayPal offers an option to transfer your balance into your bank account, which may be more convenient for some users than a card that pulls from your PayPal account.

Most banks won’t charge you a monthly or yearly fee for a debit card, but the PayPal Prepaid card has a $4.95 monthly fee. Yes, monthly. And there are quite a few other fees you could incur with either card.

If you want to earn rewards on everyday spending or earn points and miles, neither of these cards will help you out.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, the PayPal Prepaid card and the PayPal Cash card are NOT credit cards. They are both debit cards.

No, since neither the PayPal Prepaid card nor the PayPal Cash card are debit cards, they can’t help you build your credit.

The PayPal Prepaid card is a debit card that can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, provided there are funds in the account. This specific card may be loaded with funds for use via direct deposit, a transfer from a linked PayPal Account, or in person at a Netspend Reload Network location (fees apply). This card has a $4.95 monthly plan fee.

PayPal Prepaid cards can generally be purchased at various pharmacies and discount stores. PayPal provides an interactive map where you can search for locations by address, city, or zip code.

You can reload your PayPal Prepaid card at any Netspend Reload Network location. The Netspend Finder service is available online, by enrolling in and using PayPal’s real-time alerts service, or by telephoning the toll-free customer service phone number on your card.

The PayPal Cash card is a Mastercard debit card offered by PayPal that is directly linked to your PayPal account. Cardholders can make purchases with this card wherever Mastercard debit is accepted.

This is not the same as the PayPal Prepaid card.

The PayPal Cash card is essentially a debit card. This debit card is linked directly to your PayPal account to make purchases.

Funds need to be present in your PayPal account for this debit card to work unless you are enrolled in Automatic Top Ups. With Automatic Top Ups, PayPal automatically creates a transfer of funds from your authorized bank to your PayPal account to cover your purchase.

Cardholders may also withdraw cash from ATMs with this card.

This card is not the same as the PayPal Prepaid card.

PayPal Cash cards are not sold in stores and must be requested online.

This card is not the same as the PayPal Prepaid card, which may be purchased at various retail locations.

About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.


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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


Alicia Gladu

November 06, 2018

This was a really helpful article. Thank you so much for the breakdown of the information because I wasn’t sure which one to order. But thanks to this article, I’ve made my decision!


December 30, 2018

Do you get a charge when you use the Pay Pal cash card Master Card to pay bills?

Alex Miller

January 08, 2019


You can review all of the fee’s associated with this card here:

Hope that helps!

Aaron Fuksa

February 22, 2019

$1.50 PayPal fee to use your cash debit card, even at surcharge free ATMS they provide. Completly Free is better, or a 1% fee if under $150 withdrawals.

William Nothern

March 02, 2019

Under the PayPal cash debit card discussion re: loading cash, the author writes: “You must either generate a barcode within your PayPal account and print it. . . “.

This is the method I used to add money to my PayPal account. Yesterday, 3/1/19, I was informed by a customer service rep and a supervisor this option is no longer available within the PayPal account.

Erin Miller

March 04, 2019

Hey William – thanks for the heads up! We’ll get to researching this update and amend the post accordingly! 🙂


August 05, 2021

I want to purchase a small upgrade on an app thats foreign. I believe out of France. Can I go buy a paypal Mastercard load money on it and it work for the foreign app?

Jarrod West

August 09, 2021

Hi Kelly,

I’m not certain whether that would work or not. Could you tell me the name of the app you are planning to use?


September 28, 2022

Can I use my paypal debit card on cashapp?

Jarrod West

September 29, 2022

Hi Troy,

Yes, you should be able to.

Nancy Dubin

March 30, 2019

I thought this would help build my credit but your article proved me wrong. Pay Pal does not address this issue on the website. I don’t understand why this card is at all useful. This is no different than the free card my bank gave me for opening a checking account.

Pat Wood

May 27, 2019

Can a friend or family member transfer money onto a PayPal cash card that I have signed up for?

Jarrod West

May 31, 2019

Hi Pat!

The PayPal Cash Mastercard is linked directly to your PayPal account. Anyone can transfer money to your PayPal account, including friends and family. Then you can use your PayPal Cash card to make purchases with the money in your account!

Mary Gerecke

March 17, 2020

How? This is a “general”, sloppy reply that PP gives on web site. How EXACTLY does a friend “transfer money to my PayPal account”?

Jarrod West

March 18, 2020

Hi Mary,

The process is fairly straightforward. Simply log-in to your PayPal account then, from the website, hover over “Tools” and then click “Request Money”. From this page, you can enter the mobile number or email address associated with your friend’s PayPal account and the amount of money you are requesting from them. Then click “Request Now”.

Similarly, your friend can go to “Tools”, “Send Money”, and enter your PayPal information to send money directly to your account.

If you need any extra help being walked through this process you can contact Paypal directly at 1 (888) 221-1161.

Thanks for reading!


August 17, 2019

Is it available for European Union?

Jarrod West

August 17, 2019

Hi Ahman,

Unfortunately, these products are only available in the U.S.

Thanks for reading!


November 01, 2019

Can I use the PayPal cash card if I’m not actively using the account to buy stuff? I’ve been wondering whether or not to do it since I currently don’t have a job, but I want to know if I can use this to spend money online?

Jarrod West

November 03, 2019

Hi Jeremey,

As long as you have funds in your PayPal account, you can use the PayPal cash card whenever you’d like.

Leslie Pierson

March 01, 2020

If you don’t have any money or a balance on this card how do they recover the monthly fee they charge you? And do they just keep compounding that fee until you do have money?

Jarrod West

March 06, 2020

Hi Leslie,

If you don’t have money in your account when the fee hits then your account will show a negative balance. If you do not pay off the negative balance then your PayPal account will become limited and you won’t be able to use it until you do.
If this continues then PayPal may sell your debt to a debt collection agency.

Amy L Collins

March 22, 2020

Why was my paypal cash card declined at an ATM when I have enough in my PayPal balance?

Jarrod West

March 23, 2020

Hi Amy,

I am not sure why that would have happened to you. Since we are not affiliated with Paypal, I recommend you contact them directly at 1-(888) 221-1161.

Chris Jarrell

April 04, 2020

I don’t have a bank account so I’m using the reload MasterCard now. I reload it at least 2 times a week for online shopping and paying bills. Should I keep the reload MasterCard or move to the cash card?

Jarrod West

April 05, 2020

Hi Chris,

I would use whichever one you think works best for you and your needs. The PayPal cash card does not charge the $4.95 monthly fee that the prepaid MasterCard does, so that is a big advantage!


July 02, 2020

This has been the worst prepaid card I have ever had to deal with. I had a deposit from a certain state for over 1,000 back pay for unemployment, well Paypal decided to lock my card. I call and they verified who I was over the phone. I used my card twice after they unlocked it the 1st time and bam…locked it again. Then I had to send 2 forms of identification and a check stub from the state that deposited my money. It’s going on over 4 days now with no money even though they said it takes 6 business hours…lies lies lies. It has been 4 days with all documents they asked for and yet my money is still being held hostage by Paypal or their Bancorp bank or whoever has it and why do they need to play detective for another state that I worked in? Who are they to need to verify I did work in that state? All they need to verify is that the money came from the state and was it meant for me.

Martin woods

July 03, 2020

Hello. I need your help please. My son was schooling in West Africa and he had a PayPal Mastercard. First, he used it to withdraw money from the atm machine but now he is complaining he can’t use the ATM machine again. He can’t get cash-back money from the ATM. What is the problem now? I need to know, please help me out.

Jarrod West

July 06, 2020

Hi Martin,

We do not represent or have any affiliation with Paypal, so I’m afraid I would not have the answer to that question. I recommend you contact Paypal directly to get this resolved. The contact number for Paypal is 1-(888)-221-1161.

I hope you’re able to get this resolved!


August 04, 2020

Can you get spend all of your money on the PayPal cash card at one time?

Jarrod West

August 05, 2020

Hi Bobbie,

Yes, you should be able to spend all of your money on the PayPal cash card at once if you’d like.


September 27, 2020

Hello, if I purchased a Paypal Prepaid Card at a retail store and made an initial value load and did not activate it, am I still able to use the card in any way before it expires?

Jarrod West

September 28, 2020

Hi Rae,

The card should need to be activated first before you’re able to use it. But you might want to speak with Paypal directly to clarify first. The Paypal customer service number is 1-(888)-221-1161.


October 12, 2020

Do you know if you can use a prepaid visa debit card to “add cash” at a participating store for the paypal cash card instead of using literal cash money?

Jarrod West

October 14, 2020

Hi Jessica,

You’ll want to contact the PayPal customer service team for assistance with that. The contact number is (402)-935-7733.


October 13, 2020

I have a PayPal prepaid card. I thought it was the mastercard cash card. I’m trying to send money to a friend’s bank account so she can get the money out of her account right away. How do I do that?

Jarrod West

October 14, 2020

Hi Rachel,

You’ll want to contact the PayPal customer service team for assistance with that. The contact number is (402)-935-7733. Alternatively, you might find this page helpful.

John H

October 30, 2020

Why can’t I add funds to PayPal at 7-Eleven in Baltimore?

Jarrod West

October 30, 2020

Hi John,

We do not have any affiliation with Paypal, so I’m unable to answer that question for you. You’ll need to contact PayPal directly for assistance with this – their number is 1 (888) 221-1161.

Jamie Youngs

January 07, 2021

Is the Paypal cash card considered a prepaid debit card or is it considered an actual bank account debit card?

Jarrod West

January 11, 2021

Hi Jamie,

It is a debit card that is linked to the balance of your Paypal account.

Jerrod Horton

March 13, 2021

How would I go about withdrawing 5000 dollars off my paypal prepaid card?

Jarrod West

March 15, 2021

Hi Jerrod,

Cardholders can utilize any ATM with a Mastercard, Cirrus, or PULSE acceptance mark for a fee of $1.95 plus any surcharge fee from the ATM owner or bank. There is no owner surcharge fee if you use a MoneyPass Network ATM for a withdrawal.


April 05, 2021

I need to withdraw $2700 from my PayPal account to buy a vehicle. The limit is $500 for cash at Walmart, and if I transfer it to my prepaid PayPal cash card the withdrawal limit is $940 a day. How do I access the $2700 I need to pay for the car I’m trying to buy?

Jarrod West

April 05, 2021

Hi Jeremy,

This section of the PayPal website might be able to help you get the withdraw limit lifted.


November 02, 2021

Thank you for this information. I decided to go with the debit card version (not the prepaid) as I go from primary cash to using a card for online purchases. My family has always trusted PayPal and find their services fantastic.

This PayPal cash card, as it is called, is revolutionary for me. While it has a fee for adding through cash (a small fee for me mind you, as it’s less than five dollars), I can use it in person and online. I think this is fantastic as you are using your own money.

Another attractive thing is the lack of a minimum balance required and fee with it. And lack of monthly fee as well. Ensuring that all your money doesn’t go into that. It’s amazing! I can track everything through the app and website as clear as day.

Thank you for this information.

Lance Alvarado

May 11, 2022

Does Paypal expect anyone to believe that Paypal themselves cannot transfer funds from a Paypal online account to a Paypal pre-paid card held by the same account holder? As well as change the same account holders phone number? The same phone number that the account holder no longer has access to do to theft and has reported this to Paypal numerous times? Where Paypal has sent a new card and set up a new account due to the theft reported but failed to change this phone number and now the account holder cannot access his new online account either nor the funds deposited? And Paypal themselves claim they are unable to do anything? Please explain?

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