As part of our free cruise challenge, we have been looking for different ways of manufactured spending.
Currently, we have been regularly racking up points by purchasing Vanilla Reload cards and loading the money into our Bluebird accounts. Since me and my wife each have a Bluebird account, we have been able to max out the $5,000 monthly limit of Vanilla Reload deposits for $10,000 worth of manufactured spending each month.
We also rack up around $2,000 worth a month of manufactured spending with Amazon Payments.
I’ve been slowly exploring other options on ramping up some more manufactured spending. Today I will talk about my experience with PayPal My Cash cards and the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard.
PayPal Business Debit MasterCard
If you buy or sell anything on eBay, you likely already have a PayPal account. The PayPal Business Debit MasterCard links directly with your PayPal account, and allows you to make credit and PIN based transactions. There is no annual fee for your PayPal Business Debit MasterCard. This debit card offers 1% cash back every time you sign for a purchase, with no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn. This cash back automatically gets deposited into your PayPal account every month.
You can sign up for a free PayPal Business Debit MasterCard here. The application is pretty easy and straightforward. PayPal will need your social security number, date of birth, and address. Because this is a debit card application, there is no hard inquiry to your credit report!
I applied for the PayPal Business Debit card on March 14th and received my card 10 days later. The daily spending limit is $3,000 and the daily ATM limit is $400.
PayPal My Cash reload cards
My local CVS and Rite Aid stores stock PayPal My Cash reload cards. Just like with a Vanilla Reload card, you can load up to $500 onto a PayPal reload card for a $3.95 purchase fee. You can purchase these cards with a credit card, which can be a great way to earn miles and points on your rewards credit cards. The money on these cards can be loaded into your PayPal account; it’s just like loading money from a Vanilla Reload card into your Bluebird account. Unlike the Vanilla Reload cards, the PayPal reload cards are rarely sold out.
You can find other locations that sell the PayPal My Cash cards here. They include CVS, Dollar General, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Fred’s, and Family Dollar.
Note: not all locations allow you to purchase these cards with a credit card.
It’s not necessary to have a PayPal Debit card to load cash from a PayPal My Cash card into your PayPal account, but having the debit card allows for more flexible means of spending your PayPal balance.
Today I purchased 2 PayPal My Cash cards and loaded them with $495 each. The reason I chose a load amount of $495 was because the closest CVS location to me will swipe my driver’s license if I purchase more than $1,000 worth of merchandise in a single transaction. Some people don’t mind getting their personal information recorded in the CVS database, but I would rather not have them scan my driver’s license. Purchasing 2 PayPal cards worth $495 each brings me to a total spend of $997.90 after taxes in my area.
I purchased these cards with my Barclaycard Arrival MasterCard and will earn 1,996 miles after making the purchase ($997.90 x 2 miles per $1 spent = 1,996 miles). 1,996 miles converts to $19.96 when redeemed for cash back on travel purchases.
Loading your PayPal card with your PayPal My Cash Card
I went to www.paypal.com/cash to load my PayPal account. First you log in with your PayPal information, then you enter the PIN code from your PayPal My Cash card. Loading the funds into my PayPal account was instant. After you load your PayPal account, you need to accept the transaction. There is a daily load limit of $500. This load limit resets at 12:01AM EST, or 9:01PM where we live (PST). There is a rolling 30-day monthly limit of $4,000.
What can you do with money in your PayPal account?
Once the money is in your PayPal account, you can do a combination of making regular purchases (and getting 1% cash back), purchasing a money order, loading your Bluebird account at Walmart locations, send money to your friends, or withdrawal money into your linked bank account. I would personally avoid doing any suspicious behavior like loading your account and then immediately withdrawing the funds into your checking account. This could get you shut down.
Your debit card is assigned a PIN code that you can use to make ATM withdrawals or make PIN based transactions.
I’ve read that every person with a Social Security number can have a Business PayPal Debit card as well as a Personal PayPal debit card. You can sign up for a Personal PayPal debit card here. This means that you can manufacture up to $8,000 a month with both a personal and a business PayPal MasterCard. I’m going to work with the Business Debit MasterCard only for now.
PayPal versus Bluebird
While Bluebird tries to be your full featured checking account alternative, PayPal is much more basic. With Bluebird, you can write checks, pay your bills, send money to friends, and make normal everyday purchases. With your PayPal debit card, you can’t make any bill payments or write any checks.
However, you can make normal purchases with your PayPal Business Debit MasterCard and get 1% cash back. You do not earn any cash back from purchases made with your Bluebird card.
At the end of the day, I think it’s worth it to have both a Bluebird account as well as a PayPal Debit card.
Play at your own risk
With PayPal, there have been some reports with shut downs of accounts that have displayed a lot of suspicious activity. You can always find plenty of PayPal horror stories online. I am going to use my new PayPal Business Debit MasterCard slowly and carefully. The best part of having this card is that you can earn 1% cash back on all purchases. While 1% isn’t much, I don’t know of any other prepaid card that offers this benefit!
For more discussion about PayPal My Cash cards, see this flyertalk discussion here.