The PayPal credit card only works if you don't carry a balance and shop a lot online
If you have a PayPal account and eBay is your go-to for everything from cars to Star Wars collectibles, you might love a PayPal rewards credit card.
If not, look elsewhere. The PayPal Extras MasterCard doesn't pay as much as its cash back competitors.
And yet at first blush, it looks like a good deal:
- three rewards points for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants.
- two rewards points for every $1 spent through PayPal and eBay.
- one reward point for every $1 spent on other purchases.
Redemption options vary and include cash back rewards up to 6,000 points. That nets you $50 deposited into your PayPal account.
While that's enough to cover eBay's transaction fee for selling an old laptop or buying a burrito feast at Chipotle, it's also less than a cent on every dollar spent, as CollegeCards notes in their review.
Up the total to 15,000 and the PayPal Extras card will give you a $150 travel voucher, a pittance according to Doctor of Credit, which found in its Capital One Venture credit card review that applicants can expect 40,000 in one-time bonus miles — equal to roughly $400 in value.
Even better is the Citi Double Cash credit card, which offers better redemption rates and generally charges lower interest if you carry a balance.
Ebay aficionados and those who concentrate spending in PayPal will benefit most from carrying this card in their wallets.
Sound like you? Let's talk a little more about what you can expect from the PayPal Extras MasterCard.
Read on to learn all about the card, and whether or not it could be a fit for you.
Fee-free rewards points for online shopping makes the PayPal credit card strong
Sign up and PayPal will add your card as a payment option automatically.
Make it the primary option and then shop anywhere online that accepts PayPal — and with 17 million merchant accounts, that may as well be everywhere — and you'll earn double points on purchases.
Pay off the balance monthly and you'll begin enjoying rewards immediately since there's no minimum point value required to redeem, as Doctor of Credit points out.
Nor does Synchrony Bank charge an annual fee for the PayPal Extras MasterCard.
PayPal's scary-high APR tops off this credit card's weaknesses
PayPal's APR is close to 25% for most accounts.
Never carry a balance, OK? If you plan to carry a balance, find a reward credit card that won't cripple your cash flow.
The PayPal Extras MasterCard isn't that kind of credit card.
Even the most creditworthy will pay 20.99% annually for the PayPal card versus just 12.99% for holders of Capital One's VentureOne card.
Even the credit card issuer, Synchrony, says in its terms and conditions that only a "limited" number of credit card accounts are expected to get that rate.
Everyone else pays 24.99% on outstanding balances.
Assuming you carry a balance (and too many of us do), no amount of cash back will cover your interest payments at that rate, especially when spending $100 will net you a whopping 83 cents back.
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Who It's Made For
Online bargain hunters should get the PayPal credit card to boost their savings
Maybe you're a savvy shopper who uses credit for cash but doesn't carry a balance.
Or maybe you use a debit MasterCard. Congratulations!
You're making good use of your cash without paying the price of carrying debt.
But could you get even more for your spending?
Answer these questions to find out whether adding the PayPal Extras MasterCard will help multiply your earnings:
- Do you generally shop online?
- Do gas and going out to dinner account for a big chunk of your monthly spending?
- Are you diligent about staying debt free?
- Does purchase protection matter to you when buying at sites such as eBay?
- Is your calendar set to remind you it's time to make your monthly credit card payment?
If you answered yes to more than half these questions then the PayPal Extras MasterCard may be just what you need to save big.
Did You Know?
The PayPal credit card is helping advance the quest to land a human being on Mars
Synchrony wouldn't have a PayPal credit card to offer if it weren't for Elon Musk, a PayPal cofounder who netted over $160 million from the company's sale to eBay.
Today he's the CEO of SpaceX and pursuing a long-term dream to land human beings on Mars.
"I would like to die on Mars," Musk said in a 2013 Q&A from the stage of the annual South By Southwest conference in Austin, TX. "Just not on impact."
Don't take your PayPal credit card on a road trip
While PayPal is a global and Synchrony is the largest private-label credit card company, you'll still have to pay up if you want to use the card anywhere but in the United States.
A 3% foreign transaction fee applies to every purchase made during your Roman holiday — from the handmade gelato to the Gucci pumps, Doctor of Credit notes in its review.
Three reasons the Citi Double Cash card may be better than the PayPal credit card
Both Doctor of Credit and CollegeCards refer to the Citi Double Cash card as a worthy alternative to the PayPal credit card. They're right, for three reasons.
With no annual fee and interest rates starting at 14.49%, creditworthy borrowers would pay roughly $145 a year to carry a $1,000 balance on the Citi Double Cash card versus $210 (at least) holding the PayPal Extras MasterCard.
The VentureOne card goes even further by offering a 0% APR for the first 12 months and then 12.99% after that for the most creditworthy borrowers.
Simpler earning. Spend $1,000 and repay $1,000 and Citi will give you $20.
Synchrony would give you $25 at best if you spent all $1,000 on gas and restaurants.
More likely is you'd get $8-17 from everyday spending plus a handful of PayPal purchases.
No expirations. With the Double Cash card, earnings accumulate and are available for withdrawal once your balance grows to $25 or more.
By contrast, Synchrony's terms and conditions have two gotchas: your points expire after 12 months with no new purchases or, for points that simply go unused, after 24 months.
To be fair, the Citi Double Cash card gets nearly five stars from over 7,700 customer reviews.
An impressive fan base means high demand, and high demand could mean you need a very good credit score — 740 or above — to qualify.
The VentureOne card also requires "excellent" credit, Capital One says.
Synchrony Bank typically isn't as stringent when it comes to approving applicants for its branded store cards, Doctor of Credit says.
Overview of the Card
Here's how PayPal's credit card works, what it does for you, and how people feel about it
Synchrony's PayPal Extras credit card is welcome wherever MasterCard is accepted, pays rewards, and is easy to pay when you have a PayPal personal or business account.
How It Works
The shopping benefits of MasterCard
More time to break stuff. Up to a year of extra warranty protection on anything you buy — so please, don't pay up for the extended warranty if you have this card.
Bonuses for smart shopping. Keep looking for deals: MasterCard will pay you the difference if you find a lower price for your new item within 60 days of purchase.
Thwart thieves. MasterCard pays to replace damaged or stolen items within 90 days of purchase.
Buy with confidence. You're eligible for a refund of up to $250 if the store where you bought a product you've become dissatisfied with doesn't take it back…
…but only if you request help within 60 days of purchase.
The purchasing power of PayPal
What and where you buy determines the points you earn
The more points, the bigger the haul.
Gift cards start at 2,200 points followed by merchandise, housewares, and other goods at 3,000, cash at 6,000, and travel vouchers at 15,000.
Redeem by logging in to your connected PayPal account and clicking over to the redemption site.
If you don't have a PayPal account or can't find what you need?
Call (866) 300- 6432 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (CT), Monday through Saturday.
A REALLY steep price
Don't carry a balance on this card, ever, if you can help it.
You'll pay a high variable interest rate that right now bottoms out at 20.99%.
Decide to take a cash advance and you'll pay 27.99%.
Don't do that, OK?
What It Does for You
Did we say keep this card at home when you travel overseas? We mean it
Besides the 3% fee on all foreign transactions, you'll also pay 3% or a minimum of $5 on every cash advance, and $38 if you pay late.
Found under the magnifying glass
There's a weird grace period to the PayPal Extras MasterCard.
Fail to get your payment in before the due date and you'll owe $27 in late fees if you've been on time in each of the prior six billing cycles.
Miss the deadline more than once over those same six billing cycles and you'll pay the maximum $38 for every misstep. Don't get behind!
How People Feel About It
People love to … wait for the bonuses
Frankly, there aren't many good reviews of the PayPal Extras MasterCard.
Only when short-term bonuses appear do the experts come out of the woodwork, like in March when Danny the Deal Guru highlighted an offer for 1,000 bonus points on purchases made outside eBay and PayPal.
Or when Grant, the namesake blogger from Travel With Grant, wrote about a short-term promotion in which Synchrony lifted the annual earnings cap from 50,000 points to unlimited.
Overall, people who use PayPal seem interested in the card.
Finance Globe says 88% of those who rate PayPal credit cards at its site recommend them. Fast approval was a common theme.
Consumers often complain about poor customer service and weird account changes
Unfortunately, Finance Globe's reviewers appear to be outliers. Complaints of poor customer service and strange account changes are bizarrely common.
Even weirder: some were unable link their PayPal card to their PayPal account or manage it online.
Another PayPal customer, Kevin Sizemore, was not very happy either:
Others complained of unexplained actions taken to either deny charges or materially change accounts without first notifying customers.
The PayPal credit card's connection to your PayPal account is convenient for paying bills and accessing rewards
Experts generally didn't focus on the website or digital services connected to the PayPal Extras credit card.
But it's worth noting that cards include embedded chip technology for security.
You can also redeem rewards online.
Access everything from your PayPal account. Log into your PayPal account and from your dashboard click to the link that says "PayPal MasterCard."
This will take you to the Synchrony Bank site, where you can redeem rewards and explore offers.
Microchip technology. Use your card at one of thousands of locations around the world that use chip-enabled terminals at checkout to defend against fraud.
Also, note that PayPal's highly-rated mobile apps let you pay on the go using any payment stored in your account — including a prepay card, a different issuer's credit or debit card, or the PayPal Extras card.
How to Apply
Interested? Don't try calling if you want the PayPal credit card
Despite all the documented problems with PayPal's online experience, the only way to apply for the PayPal Extras MasterCard is at the PayPal website.
It's best if you log in with a PayPal account and let the site redirect you to an online application hosted by Synchrony Bank.
Don't charge anything until you confirm your PayPal account is linked. PayPal claims most customer credit card applications are approved quickly.
And while reviews tend to bear this out, it's probably worth waiting to confirm your PayPal account has been linked before you start charging goods and services.
Synchrony has a troubled history when it comes to getting customers up and running quickly, according to customer complaints.
How to Close Your Account
Call customer service if you need to close your PayPal credit card account
Synchrony's terms and conditions aren't clear on how to cancel the PayPal credit card once you have one.
Do yourself a favor and don't try to get the job done online.
Call customer service directly at (866) 657-5788.
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the PayPal credit card
Still wondering whether this card is right for you? Don't worry. We're here for you.
- How can I cancel my card?
Different accounts in the PayPal community and around the web suggest there's a mechanism for canceling your card at the Synchrony site. Don't take the chance. Call instead: (866) 657-5788.
- What can I use my PayPal credit card for?
Just like the debit and prepay credit cards that bear its imprimatur, the PayPal Extras card is good wherever MasterCard is accepted, both online and in stores. You may also withdraw cash up to the limit specified in your card agreement.
- Where and what stores can I use my PayPal credit card?
Anywhere MasterCard is accepted, both in stores and online.
- How long does it take PayPal to refund my credit card?
With credit card purchases, refunds can take up to 30 days to complete.
- How can I check my PayPal credit card balance?
First, log into your PayPal account. Then select your PayPal Extras MasterCard account from your Wallet.
- What can I use my points for?
Rewards range from gift cards to merchandise, cash back, and travel vouchers.
- Can I, if so, how do I withdraw money from PayPal credit card?
Yes, and from any ATM. But the service isn't free and you need to set it up. You can do that by calling the number on the back of your PayPal Extras MasterCard and request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to enter when getting cash at thousands of ATMs nationwide.
- Can I get a cash advance and are there any related fees?
Your account be will assessed a 3% fee on the balance withdrawn, whether you're at an ATM or requesting as a check. ATM owners also have the right to impose fees when you withdraw cash.
- Can I pay for my PayPal credit card with a gift, a different credit card? Or PayPal?
No, you can only pay with a linked bank account or your PayPal balance.
- Can I use my PayPal credit card without the card?
That depends on the transaction. Online, certainly. Other stores use a special credit card reader that allow you to pay with your phone and the PayPal app. Make your PayPay Extras MasterCard your primary payment option and the app will charge your card when you make a purchase — even if the card isn't with you.
- How to add an authorized user to PayPal credit card?
There are two ways to add an authorized user to your account – online or by phone. To add a user online, access the servicing site by logging into your PayPal account and clicking PayPal MasterCard from the Account Summary page. Once you're transferred to the Synchrony Bank servicing site, select Manage Cardholders from the Services menu and click Add a New Cardholder at the bottom of the page. To add a user by phone, just call the toll-free number on the back of your card.
- Are there any upgrades on PayPal credit card?
Yes, Synchrony Bank also has a PayPal Platinum MasterCard.
- How soon can I use my PayPal credit card once I receive it?
If you're approved, in most cases, a temporary credit line will instantly be added to your PayPal account and you can start using it on PayPal right away — even before you receive your card. You will receive your card within 7-10 business days.
- How to contact PayPal credit card services?
Contact the Service Center by calling the number on the back of your card or (866) 657-5788.
- How to report stolen PayPal credit card?
If your card is lost or stolen, contact the Service Center by calling the phone number on the back of your card or (866) 300-6432.
- Can someone co-sign for a PayPal credit card?
- Can I use my card online?
Yes. The PayPal Extras MasterCard is connected with PayPal and is an excellent tool for online shopping.
- What credit score do I need to get approval this MasterCard?
Finance Globe says that approval rates are average and the most successful applicants will have a FICO score of 684 or higher.
- What credit score do I have to maintain so my account is not closed?
There's no specific guidance on this but Finance Globe's minimum is likely a good barometer. Even better: try to get and stay above 740.[ExpanderItem] [ExpanderItem title="Will my credit score drop when my account gets closed?"]
Closing accounts will usually lower your score — especially if the account has been open a long time (keeping and maintaining credit over a long period is good) and includes a significant line of credit (the less available total credit, the lower your FICO score). Check out this Credit.com tutorial for more.
- Which credit bureaus does PayPal credit card report to?
Synchrony Bank, which issues the PayPal Extras MasterCard, is a typical lender of credit and debit card products and generally reports to all three credit bureaus.
- Can I build my credit with the PayPal credit card?
Since credit card processing is uniform across industries, buying goods and repaying debts using the PayPal credit card will aid your credit as much as it would using any other card in your wallet.
- Is there an expiry date on the card?
- Is there a credit insurance program and how will it cover me if I lose my job?
Synchrony Bank is the credit card issuer and has a debt cancellation program called CardSecurity, which provides insurance for times when financial hardship would prevent you from paying your bill.
- Can I transfer money from my PayPal credit card to another?
The easiest way to do this is to redeem 6,000 reward points for $50 in cash, which you can then transfer from PayPal to any other legitimate source — whether your own bank account or to buy bitcoin. The cash is yours to use as you see fit.
- Is it hard to get a PayPal credit card?
Finance Globe rates the difficulty of getting approved for the PayPal Extras MasterCard as average.
- How long does it take to receive the card once I have been approved for it?
Usually 7-10 business days.
- Can I pay for my PayPal credit card using PayPal?
Yes. You can use funds in your PayPal account to pay your credit card bill.
- Can I sign up for the credit card if I don't have a bank account?
Generally, no. Synchrony, like any credit card issuer, usually requires you have a funded bank account before extending you credit.
- What is the difference between PayPal Extras Credit Card and PayPal Credit?
The credit card is like any other card in that you charge purchases and repay, building credit. PayPal Credit is a credit line that's managed entirely by PayPal. Transactions aren't reported to a traditional credit bureau.
- Do I need to sign up for a PayPal account in order to get the credit card?
Yes. You must have a PayPal account to qualify for the PayPal Extras MasterCard.
Spend a lot of time on eBay? Use PayPal to shop frequently?
If so, the PayPal Extras MasterCard may be for you. Otherwise, look elsewhere. Better deals are out there.
In fact, since you're interested in a cash back rewards card like PayPal Extras MasterCard, then you may want to check out these reviews and articles:
- Citi Double Cash Credit Card Review
- Amex Everyday Credit Card Review 2017
- Cash Back vs. Rewards: Credit Card Showdown
Do you use the PayPal Extras MasterCard?
How has the card worked out for you?
Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below.