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The rewards scheme favors spending at gas stations and restaurants. Purchases made through PayPal and on eBay earn at accelerated rates as well. General spending earns 1 point per $1 spent, a relatively low baseline rate that’s nevertheless in line with many other rewards credit cards.
PayPal Extras Mastercard does have some notable drawbacks. You need at least 6,000 points to redeem for cash back. Points expire 24 months after they’re initially earned. And there’s no sign-up bonus or introductory APR promotion to sweeten the deal for new cardholders.
On the bright side, there’s a nice lineup of Mastercard-backed benefits for consumers and travelers. You do need a PayPal account to apply, but opening one is easy and free, so there’s little downside to doing so. If you close your PayPal account for any reason after getting this card, you can keep the card and use it regularly.
Let’s take a closer look at PayPal Extras Mastercard and see how to get the most out of your time as a cardholder.
PayPal Extras Mastercard earns 3 points per $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, 2 points per $1 spent at eBay and through PayPal, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else.
Points expire 24 months after they’re earned, no matter what. You also forfeit all the points in your account if you go more than 12 months without any activity.
As long as you spend and redeem often enough to avoid these hurdles, using your points wisely can be a great way to save money on a tight budget.
You can redeem your accumulated points for gift cards from dozens of participating restaurants and retailers, cash deposits to your PayPal account, general merchandise, and travel vouchers for airfare, hotels, rental cars, and more.
Redemption minimums start at 800 points for gift cards, 3,000 for general merchandise, 6,000 for cash, and 15,000 for travel. Points are generally worth $0.01 or less at redemption – for instance, 6,000 points gets you a $50 cash deposit. However, values can vary widely when redeemed for non-cash items.
This card has no annual fee. Cash advances cost the greater of $5 or 3%. The foreign transaction fee is 3% of the total transaction amount. Late payments cost up to $38.
Mastercard-Backed Cardholder Benefits
PayPal Extras Mastercard has a nice lineup of Mastercard-backed fringe benefits. The most noteworthy include extended warranties on certain items purchased in full with the card, complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars paid in full with the card, and emergency traveler assistance services such as lost card replacement. These benefits are subject to change, so it’s best to check with PayPal or Synchrony Bank (the card’s issuer) before you apply.
This card is designed for applicants with average or better credit. If you have serious issues like recent personal bankruptcy on your credit report, you’re not likely to qualify. If you need a boost, check out our 7 tips to improving your credit score.
- No Annual Fee. PayPal Extras Mastercard has no annual fee. That’s great news for frugal cardholders who don’t spend heavily enough to offset a recurring charge. It’s also a nice nod to the annual point-earning cap, which would be an even bigger problem were it offset by an annual fee.
- 3x Points on Gas and Restaurant Spending. This card earns 3 points per $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, making it a great tool to save money at restaurants and reduce the cost of road trips. For drivers and diners, that’s a rate that all but the best dining and gas credit cards fail to match.
- 2x Points for Paying Through PayPal. If you regularly make purchases using your PayPal account, you’ll have no trouble racking up the points in this card’s 2x category. Every purchase made with a PayPal merchant is good for 2 points per $1 spent.
- Lots of Redemption Options. You can redeem your accumulated points for pretty much anything: cash, gift cards, merchandise, travel. That’s a big improvement over most travel rewards credit cards, which either don’t allow cash redemptions at all or devalue points flagged for that use.
- Solid Fringe Benefits. For an entry-level credit card, PayPal Extras Mastercard has some solid fringe benefits. If you’re looking for a credit card that covers your rental car insurance costs and extends warranties on big-ticket items longer than the manufacturers might like, you can’t go wrong here.
- Doesn’t Require Excellent Credit. PayPal Extras Mastercard is available to applicants with average or better credit. Acceptance is never guaranteed, but you’re definitely more likely to qualify for this card with past credit blemishes than for a high-end cash back or travel rewards card that requires a nearly perfect record.
- Tight 24-Month Point Expiration Window. Giving new meaning to the term “use ’em or lose ’em,” this card has one of the tightest point-expiration windows around: 24 months. This poses a problem for infrequent, low-spending card users, who might struggle to accumulate enough points to redeem in time (or simply forget to zero out their point balances).
- No Sign-up Bonus. This card has no sign-up bonus. If boosting your point earnings right out of the gate is important to you, look to a high-wattage travel rewards card such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, whose sign-up bonus is worth up to $1,000 when redeemed for travel.
- High Redemption Minimums on Some Methods. PayPal Extras Mastercard imposes high redemption minimums on some redemption methods, notably cash (6,000 points for a $50 statement credit) and travel (15,000 for a travel award). This is problematic for light users for whom the 15,000-point travel minimum could take months or even years to reach. By contrast, Chase Freedom Unlimited lets you redeem cash back in any amount. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card lets you redeem accumulated miles for travel in any amount when using Capital One’s booking tool.
- No Introductory APR Promotion. This card has no introductory APR promotion on purchases or balance transfers. If you’re looking for a card that waives interest for new cardholders, check out Chase Slate (15 months at 0% APR) or Citi Simplicity (up to 21 months at 0% APR).
- Modest Point Values at Redemption. Points earned with this card are generally worth $0.01 or less at redemption. That’s lower than the industry-standard $0.01-per-point for cash back cards such as Chase Freedom and Discover it. If you’re looking to maximize your return on spending, this card isn’t ideal.
Unlike some better-known rewards credit cards, PayPal Extras Mastercard® doesn’t have strict underwriting standards. Even with an uneven credit history, there’s a chance you’ll qualify for this card.
But, not everyone who applies for PayPal Extras Mastercard makes it through the qualification process. If your application for PayPal Extras is denied, you’ll automatically be considered for the PayPal Platinum Mastercard, a less generous product with a higher APR and no rewards.
Basic though PayPal Platinum Mastercard may be, it’s a great opportunity to build or rebuild your credit without putting down a secured credit card deposit. If you use your spending privileges responsibly and make timely payments on your account, you could graduate to PayPal Extras (or an even better rewards card) in less time than you think.