PayPal Cashback Mastercard Review

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The PayPal Cashback Mastercard offers cash back on all of your purchases at one of the highest rates on the market. There’s just one catch: You have to have a PayPal account.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

overall rating
3.7
PayPal Cashback Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 21.49% - 28.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Get 2% cash back every day on every purchase.
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.0
for Fees
1.9
for Rewards
4.8
for Credit
2.2

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
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    Savvy Saver

The PayPal Cashback Mastercard is for PayPal users with good credit who want low-maintenance cash-back rewards on everything they buy. The card, issued by Synchrony Bank, offers 2% cash back across the board—a flat rate as high as you’re likely to find from any competitor without an annual fee. 

Just keep in mind this card is designed to encourage PayPal use, so less active users of the person-to-person payment system will have a trickier time accessing their rewards.

Pros
  • High cash rewards rate on everything

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • Any amount is redeemable

Cons
  • No signup bonus

  • Must have a PayPal account

  • High APR

  • No promotional APR

Pros Explained

  • High cash rewards rate on everything: Most other flat-rate cash-back cards without an annual fee offer 1.5% or less, so 2% is more than competitive. Even the Citi Double Cash Card awards 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. 
  • No foreign transaction fee: Some competitors charge as much as 3% of each international purchase. If you’re an avid online shopper, it’s nice to know you won’t get hit with a fee, regardless of where the merchant is based.
  • Any amount is redeemable: Unlike the Citi Double Cash Card, you don’t have to accrue a certain amount of cash back before you can use it. While you do have to wait until your next billing period, any cash back you’ve earned is usable (once you transfer it to your PayPal account). 

Cons Explained

  • No sign-up bonus: Unlike many comparable cash-back cards, there’s no sign-up bonus to give you a jumpstart on your rewards stash.
  • Must have a PayPal account: You can’t start the application without having a PayPal account, though it’s free to start one. Likewise, you’ll need an open, active PayPal account to redeem your cash rewards.
  • High APR: The high end of the variable APR range is steep by any measure. Even the rate for the most creditworthy applicants exceeds the average for cash-back cards
  • No promotional APR: To make the high APR hurt even more, you won’t get a break on finance charges when you first get the card. Many competitors offer at least your first 12 months interest-free.

Earning Points & Rewards

If you want to keep things simple, the PayPal Cashback Mastercard is a good option with a generous rewards scheme. You’ll earn cash back equal to 2% on all of your purchases, whether they’re in a store or online. There are no rotating categories to keep up with, you don’t have to enroll or activate anything to earn rewards, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn.

The PayPal Extras Mastercard is an another option with a tiered rewards scheme that favors gas and restaurant charges. Synchrony won’t issue you both cards.  

Redeeming Rewards

Redeeming rewards is not quite as simple as earning them. The cash back you earn is available for use in the billing period after you earn it, and you must transfer the funds to your PayPal account in order to use them. 

This isn’t as low maintenance as the Apple Card, which offers daily cash back that’s redeemable instantly. On the other hand, the PayPal Cashback Mastercard doesn’t require a minimum redemption amount, unlike competitors including the Citi Double Cash Card.

Once you’ve transferred your credit to your PayPal account, your options for using your PayPal balance depend on the type of PayPal account you have. If you have a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account, where you can hold a balance, you can use the funds just as you already do—to send someone money or make purchases. Otherwise, you have much less flexibility; you must transfer the funds to a linked bank account or debit card. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Upgrade your PayPal account (if you haven’t already) to the Cash or Cash Plus version for more flexibility in using your rewards.

You must keep your PayPal account open and in good standing for as long as you have the PayPal Cash Back Mastercard. If your PayPal account is closed, your card will also be closed and you’ll lose any unredeemed rewards.

You may also want to consider a companion card that rewards spending at specific merchants at higher than 2%. For example, if you’re out on the town a lot, pair this card with one that gives you 4% cash back on dining and entertainment.

Customer Experience

Synchrony ranked below average on J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, scoring 780 on a scale of 1,000. On the plus side, you can reach a customer service representative 24/7 or use live chat from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time 7 days a week. 

Once you’ve redeemed your rewards, you can use the PayPal app to make purchases, send money, or transfer funds to your bank.

Security Features

The PayPal Cashback Mastercard comes with identity theft protection if you enroll in the service. The protection monitors the dark web to assess if your personal information is being sold or used fraudulently. You can even request that specific URLs or domain names be checked regularly.

PayPal Cash Back Mastercard’s Fees

Other than the steep APR and the absence of a foreign transaction fee, fees for this card fall within industry standards. Like most cards in the category, there is no annual fee. 

Next Steps
For PayPal Cashback Mastercard®
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CURRENT CARD
PayPal Cashback Mastercard®
overall rating
3.7
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 21.49% - 28.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Get 2% cash back every day on every purchase.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.