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Credit Cards

PayPal Credit Card review: 2% cash back on all purchases with no annual fee

The PayPal credit card offers 2% cash back on all purchases. But is it the right card for you?

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The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® is a straight-forward cash back credit card that delivers solid value without any frills.

As you spend on the card, you'll earn 2% cash back on all purchases. The cash back you earn goes directly into your PayPal account.

Below, Select breaks down the rewards, benefits and fees associated with the PayPal Cashback Mastercard to help you decide if it's right for your needs.

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PayPal Cashback Credit Card Review

PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

Information about the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    2% cash back on all purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.49% to 28.49% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    None

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Competitive 2% cash back on everything you purchase
  • Rewards can be redeemed at any amount, without the typical $25 minimum
  • Easily integrates with your PayPal account
  • No fee on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • Cash-back redemptions are limited to deposits to your PayPal account, your linked bank account or debit card
  • No introductory 0% APR for purchases or balance transfers
  • High APR range of 21.49% to 28.49%
  • No welcome bonus, so you can’t maximize rewards during the first few months of card opening
  • Estimated cash back earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated cash back earned after 5 years: $2,213

Benefits and perks

The PayPal credit card is concise in its offering, making it a great fit for consumers looking for a simple way to save money on their purchases.

However, there are a few features to the card worth noting, including:

  • 2% cash back on all purchases, and the rewards never expire
  • Instant access to credit line for PayPal purchases
  • 15% discount on airport meet & greet services through Mastercard Airport Concierge
  • Free identity monitoring

The only caveat to this card is that you must have a PayPal account open and in good standing before applying for the card. It's free to open and takes about two minutes. You can open an account here, just be sure to select the 'personal' account.

Additionally, this card doesn't have a welcome offer like many other cash back credit cards.

How to earn and redeem cash back

Earning cash back on spending

Select calculated how much cash back the average American can earn in a year when using their PayPal Cashback Mastercard. We worked with the location intelligence firm Esri, who provided us with a sample annual spending budget of $22,126.

The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953).

With all spending considered, this would give a cardholder $442 in cash back in the first year. Over a five year period, cardholders could potentially earn $2,212 — although the total amount will depend on an individual's annual spending habits.

Redeeming cash back

You can redeem the earned cash back in two ways:

  • Direct deposit to your checking account
  • Redeem the cash back for PayPal purchases

Many online merchants accept PayPal as a payment method, and you can use the cash back you've accrued on the card for your purchase.

Rates and fees

The card has no annual fee. It has a 3% foreign transaction fee on all international purchases.

Late payment fees can be up to $40.

Card comparison

While the PayPal Cashback Mastercard is a solid pick as a cash back credit card, there are other cards that are potentially more lucrative to consider to help you save on your purchases.

PayPal credit card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is another great cash-back credit card as it offers an identical 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill.

The card also offer a valuable intro 0% APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers (16.24% - 26.24% variable thereafter; balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening and there's an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5), which is a great way to save on interest charges on revolving credit card debt.

However, to redeem the cash back you've earned for either a statement credit, cash into your bank account or check in the mail you must have accrued at least $25 in total cash back.

So if you're debating between the two cards, the cash-back potential is identical. However, if you also have a Citi card that also earns transferrable ThankYou points, like The Citi Premier® Card, you can transfer your cash back from your Citi® Double Cash Card into ThankYou points. These points can then be transferred to airline partners, where you'll often get much more value from your points when redeeming this way.

If you need to consolidate existing credit card debt, the Citi Double Cash card is also a better choice.

Citi® Double Cash Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

    For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    16.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn't require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

Cons

  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,213

PayPal credit card vs. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a solid pick for a cash back card for your wallet.

When you spend on the card, you will earn:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
  • 1% cash back on other purchases

And the card comes with a valuable welcome offer where you can earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

The card comes with perks too like an up to $120 Equinox credit, *rental car insurance and return protection. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

Lastly, the card has a $95 annual fee. (See rates and fees).

So if you're deciding between the two cards, it comes down to a simple math equation and your own preference. The $350 welcome bonus and the higher cash-back categories will likely make the Blue Cash Preferred the better card in year one. However, after the first year, depending on your spending and preferences, the two cards' rewards may be closer. So if you plan on holding either one of these cards long term, be sure to weigh which one will earn you more cash back based on your spending habits.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening

  • Regular APR

    16.99% - 27.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Pros

  • High 6% cash back at U.S. supermarket spending (up to $6,000 a year, then 1%)
  • Unlimited 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • Unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit

Cons

  • 2.7% fee on purchases made abroad
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $679
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,397

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Who the PayPal Credit Card is best for

The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® is a great fit for someone who doesn't want to pay an annual fee and for those who want a no-frills cash-back credit card that connects to their PayPal account. It also should be appealing to those who don't want to keep track of bonus spending categories all the while still earning a respectable amount of cash back on all purchases.

The cash back earned can go straight into your PayPal account, which can than be either deposited into your bank account or used for future purchases using PayPal. If you're a frequent PayPal user, it could be convenient to have the rewards deposited straight into your PayPal account.

Bottom line

The PayPal Cashback Mastercard is a solid cash-back credit card for consumers looking for simplicity and a way to save on their purchases. However, it's light in other benefits and features.

But before you open a new credit card to save on your purchases, it's best to ensure you have a solid budget in place to manage your monthly spending and to make sure you're in a financially stable place.

Catch up on Select's in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card, click here.

*Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
Plenty of rewards and benefits including 4X points per dollar for dining at restaurants worldwide
Enjoy an intro APR on purchases plus, Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.