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The PayPal Prepaid Card is not among the prepaid cards that will charge you for making a purchase, regardless of whether you verify that transaction with a PIN or signature. This at least gives you one free way to access your money, which could be sufficient if you hardly ever need cash.
This card, perhaps obviously, can be used anywhere that Mastercard is accepted.
Two of the PayPal Mastercard’s three reload methods are free: direct deposit and regular bank/PayPal transfers. However, “instant” bank transfers of $100 or less cost $1.95 each. It’s, therefore, best to avoid that option with a bit of planning, as regular bank transfers typically clear either the same day they’re initiated or the next. (If you transfer from a bank account, your bank also may charge its own fee to transfer the funds.)
The other option is to add funds at a retail location, but that typically costs between $2 to $3.95 per transaction. You can load a maximum of $2,500 to your card in a 24-hour period and up to $15,000 overall.
You can move funds for free from your PayPal account to your PayPal Prepaid Card account — up to a point. You can’t transfer more than $300 per day or more than $2,000 during any 30-day period.
Interest is a good thing when it comes to depositing accounts, so you may be interested to know that being a PayPal Prepaid accountholder automatically qualifies you to open Bancorp savings account with an APY of up to 5% on a maximum $1,000 balance. When you consider that the best deposit accounts yield only 0.67% on average, that is an outstanding deal — particularly since the account doesn’t seem to have a monthly fee.
Keep this card for a year, and you’ll pay $59.40 in monthly fees. In two years that adds up to $118.80, totaling $297 after five years. That’s a lot of money. It’s also an avoidable expense, as not all prepaid cards charge a monthly fee.
Let’s say you withdraw cash from the ATM once a week. That’s roughly 52 times per year. The PayPal Mastercard’s $1.95 withdrawal fee would therefore cost you at least $101.40 per year. Your overall ATM costs would likely rise far higher, in fact, considering the average ATM owner levies a surcharge of roughly $4.57. At non-network ATMs, you’d therefore be looking at paying around $257.40 each year just to access your own money. Currently, only Allpoint Network ATMs waive the owner’s surcharge.
If you ever lose your card or it’s stolen from you, you won’t be able to just call up the issuer (The Bancorp Bank), ask for a new one, and wait for it to come in the mail. What’s typically a very straightforward process is complicated by the PayPal Mastercard’s $5.95 replacement-card fee. Many issuers give you at least one free replacement as a matter of courtesy, but it seems PayPal isn’t so generous.
You’d better know your account balance before you head to an ATM because checking at the terminal will cost you $0.50 a pop. And if you try to perform an ATM transaction or make a purchase and it gets declined, you’ll be out another $1.