|Rewards Rating:||2 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||0.5|
In a Nutshell:
The PayPal Extras Mastercard is burdened by cumbersome redemption tiers, poor redemption value and restrictions galore, making it a hard sell even for frequent PayPal users.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Other Notable Features: Identity theft protection, Mastercard Airport Concierge discount
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Along with the PayPal Cashback Mastercard, the PayPal Extras Mastercard is one of two rewards credit cards offered by PayPal and issued by Synchrony Bank. But unlike the Cashback Mastercard, which carries a flat 2% cash back rate on all purchases, the PayPal Extras Mastercard earns points in tiered bonus categories, offering an outsized rewards rate on dining and gas, as well as PayPal and eBay purchases.
Both cards are designed to appeal to PayPal loyalists, but the PayPal Extras Mastercard will fall far short for most users, thanks in large part to its overly restrictive rewards redemption scheme and low point-to-dollar rewards value.
Rewards-savvy cardholders with a solid credit score can almost certainly do better with alternatives like the PayPal Cashback Mastercard or other cash back cards.
Solid rewards rate at gas stations and restaurants
The PayPal Extras Mastercard offers a relatively high rewards rate of 3 points per dollar on gas and restaurant purchases, as well as 2 points per dollar on PayPal and eBay purchases and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
On a pure points basis, the card’s rewards rate on gas and dining is a pleasant surprise, rivaling the rate offered by higher-end rewards credit cards.
That said, once you get a better sense of its cumbersome redemption scheme and paltry redemption values, the card’s rewards rate starts to look much less impressive. You must reach pre-set redemption tiers before you can redeem your rewards, and when you do, you won’t get much bang for your buck.
Restrictive redemption options
If you’re looking for flexible rewards redemption, the PayPal Extras Mastercard will be an enormous disappointment. Not only does the card only let you redeem your rewards after you’ve reached specific redemption tiers, but it also offers limited payout options. You can choose between cash back, merchandise, gift cards and non-refundable travel vouchers.
For example, the PayPal Extras Mastercard only lets you redeem your Rewards Points as cash back once you’ve accumulated 6,000 points. Assuming an average ongoing rewards rate of 1.58 points per dollar, the average person would have to spend about $3,800 to rack up the 6,000-point minimum required for a cash back redemption.
|Tip: You must have a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account in order to redeem your cash back to a PayPal balance. Otherwise, you can only transfer cash rewards to a bank account or debit card linked to PayPal.|
These pre-set redemption tiers make the PayPal Extras Mastercard much more restrictive than the best cash back credit cards, many of which allow you to redeem cash back in any amount, at any time, usually as a statement credit, check or direct deposit, as well as for merchandise, online shopping, gift cards and travel.
Here are the card’s other redemption options and a selection of redemption caveats:
|Redemption method||Minimum points required||Notes|
|Gift cards||800 points||Options include stores like Target and Walmart, as well as sites like eBay|
|Merchandise||3,000 points||Merchandise options range from housewares to electronics|
|Cash Back||6,000 points for $50 cash back||Redeem to a linked bank account or debit card, or, if eligible, to a PayPal balance|
|Travel vouchers (air travel, hotel awards, car rental and vacation awards)||15,000 points||Flights must be booked at least 21 days in advance and only for coach seats. Air travel may also require a Saturday night stay. Blackout dates apply.|
As you can see, you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops to make use of the points you’ll earn with the PayPal Extras Mastercard. And when you do stockpile enough points to meet the card’s redemption criteria, you’ll likely be disappointed by their redemption value.
For example, 6,000 points gets you just $50 in Cash Back Rewards, giving your points a value of just 0.83 cents each. Compare this to the 1 cent per point redemption value you’ll commonly find with popular cash back and rewards credit cards.
See related: What is cash back?
Point expiration and forfeiture
To make matters worse, the PayPal Extras Mastercard carries a fairly harsh point expiration and forfeiture policy. Rewards points are forfeited if you have two or more consecutive late payments, if you don’t make a purchase for 24 consecutive months or if you have not redeemed points 24 months after they were first accrued. In contrast, many credit card rewards programs offer points or cash back that never expires.
Not the only way to earn rewards on PayPal and eBay purchases
While the PayPal Extras Mastercard may seem like a great fit for loyal eBay shoppers and anyone who frequently uses PayPal for online payments, the card is far from the only way you can earn points or cash back on these purchases. Indeed, the PayPal Cashback Mastercard offers a flat 2% cash back rate on all purchases – not just PayPal and eBay spending.
PayPal also regularly pops up as a bonus category with the Chase Freedom* and Discover it® Cash Back cards, both of which offer 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories upon enrollment (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%). PayPal is included as a bonus category on the 2020 Discover Cashback calendar and was eligible for 5% cash back as part of the Q2 2018 and Q4 2019 Chase Freedom categories.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card* goes even further, offering year-round 3% cash back in a category of your choice, with online shopping as one option, along with gas, dining, travel, drug stores and home improvements and furnishings. Plus, you can change your preferred 3% bonus category once each calendar month so that your rewards line up with your spending habits. (There is a cap of $2,500 spent each quarter in the 3% and 2% categories, dropping to 1% thereafter.)
Additionally, a number of flat rate cash back cards can come close to or even beat the PayPal Extras Mastercard’s rewards rate. The Citi® Double Cash Card, for example, offers up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases).
See related: Best credit cards for online shopping
No sign-up bonus (but no annual fee)
Unlike many rewards cards, the PayPal Extras Mastercard offers no sign-up bonus to new cardholders. (To be fair, neither does the PayPal Cashback Mastercard). Many cash back cards come with sign-up bonuses of $100 or more when you spend a certain amount on your card within the first few months.
Even a few retail and credit-building cards offer some form of welcome bonus. The Discover it® Secured, for example, will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, and the Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card offers a $10 cash back bonus after you make your first purchase.
On the plus side, the card charges no annual fee.
High APR even with stellar credit
If you suspect you’ll need to carry a balance, the PayPal Extras Mastercard may not be the best choice. The card comes with no introductory APR and carries a variable ongoing APR as high as 26.99%. That’s massive compared to the average credit card interest rate and is high even compared to the rate offered by many credit cards for bad credit. Even if you have excellent credit, the best interest rate you’ll get is 19.99% variable.
Bare-bones cardholder perks
The PayPal Extras Mastercard also fails to impress with its cardholder benefits, offering next to nothing in the way of retail or travel perks. You’ll enjoy ID theft protection and TransUnion credit monitoring (but not an actual credit score) at no cost, as well as a 15% discount on Airport Meet and Greet services through Mastercard.
How does the PayPal Extras Mastercard compare to other rewards credit cards?
The PayPal Extras Mastercard offers a competitive rewards rate at gas stations and restaurants, as well as on online shopping via eBay and PayPal. However, its inflexible redemption scheme and subpar redemption value severely limit its appeal.
Luckily, a number of other cash back cards offer a comparable rewards rate, more flexibility and better cardholder perks. Here are a few of our top picks.
One of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market, the Citi Double Cash card is a great choice if you want to earn rewards on every purchase without the hassle of tracking spending or enrolling in bonus categories. In addition to its 2% cash back rate on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases), the card comes with a 0% introductory APR offer for 18 months on balance transfers (13.99%-23.99% variable thereafter), which could help you save on interest and pay off debt.
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card doesn’t charge an annual fee, but requires an Amazon Prime membership. Though PayPal is not an accepted payment method on Amazon.com, this card’s 5% rewards rate on Amazon purchases could offer a lot of value if you don’t mind doing most of your shopping through the site. You’ll also enjoy a 5% rewards rate on Whole Foods purchases and a 2% rewards rate on gas, making it a decent option for everyday spending.
A great choose your bonus category rewards card, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card offers 3% cash back in a category of your choice and 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases. Along with online shopping, 3% bonus category choices include gas, dining, travel, drug stores, furniture stores and home improvements. You can change your bonus category choice once per calendar month, making the card ideal if your spending habits change from month to month.
Why get the PayPal Extras Mastercard?
- You spend a lot on gas and dining out
- You want to earn rewards on every PayPal and eBay purchase
- You can’t qualify for a cash back or rewards card with more flexible redemption terms
- You want to avoid paying an annual fee or tying up money in a security deposit
How to use the PayPal Extras Mastercard
- Use the card for all restaurant and gas purchases
- Use the card anytime you shop on eBay and opt for PayPal checkout whenever possible when shopping online
- Pay on time: Two consecutive late payments could cost you your hard-earned points
- Be patient: You’ll have to meet pre-set redemption tiers before you can enjoy your rewards
Is the PayPal Extras Mastercard worth it?
The PayPal Extras Mastercard carries an overly complicated rewards redemption scheme and far too many restrictions for us to recommend it to the average cardholder. While the card may work in a pinch if you’re simply looking to avoid an annual fee, you should be able to find a more rewarding option.
* Information about the Chase Freedom and Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuers. The Chase Freedom and Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card are no longer available through CreditCards.com
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