How to shop with PayPal and earn reward points

Use rewards credit cards on your PayPal purchases.

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A PayPal account gives you a secure place to store your payment details so you don’t have to enter them every time you buy something online. It also offers encryption for every transaction and reimbursement if items don’t show up or are different from the seller’s description.

How does PayPal work with credit cards?

Once you have set up a PayPal account, you can add your credit card details to your PayPal wallet. Then, when you’re shopping online, just click on PayPal as the payment option, enter your login details and choose the card you want to use.

You can use all four popular card networks with PayPal: Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. But you’ll get the highest value with a reward credit card or with any of the PayPal rewards credit cards.

Compare rewards credit cards

Updated March 30th, 2020
Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Citi® Double Cash Card
N/A
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
$0
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months months to pay off transfers.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
$0
Get rewards on gas and groceries with no annual fee. Ideal for everyday use, it's the only card that rounds purchases up to the nearest 10 points.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
$150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
20,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.25x miles on all purchases
$0
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $750. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.

Compare up to 4 providers

How can I link a credit card to my PayPal account?

You can add your credit card to your account by following the steps below.

  1. Log in to your PayPal account.
  2. Click on Wallet at the top of the page.
  3. Select Link a card.
  4. Fill in your card details and follow the prompts to confirm the account.

After you have linked your account, you may see a $1 charge from PayPal on your credit card account. This is a temporary authorization charge that PayPal uses to confirm the account is valid. Once confirmed, the $1 charge is released, so it’s never actually taken from your account.

What purchases will earn points through PayPal?

With most rewards credit cards, you’ll earn points when you use PayPal to buy clothes, mobile devices, makeup, music or for any other retail purchases. Spending that usually doesn’t earn points includes gambling transactions, foreign currency purchases, gift cards and any other transactions that may be processed as cash advances.

Pros and cons of using PayPal to earn credit card reward points

ProsCons
  • Protection.
    As well as fraud and theft prevention, PayPal also makes sure you get what you pay for through its Buyer Protection program. You can get a full refund if your eligible order doesn’t arrive or isn’t as described.
  • Convenient payment process.
    Instead of entering your card details and billing information, you only have to type in your PayPal login and password.
  • Avoid card payment fees.
    Sometimes you can get around credit card payment fees by choosing to pay through PayPal.
  • Amex and Discover acceptance.
    If you have an American Express card or a Discover card, you may be able to get around the acceptance limitations and surcharges that some online stores.
  • Switching to a new platform.
    If you’ve never used PayPal before, it could take time to get used to the service.
  • Not always a payment option.
    While PayPal is accepted by a wide range of stores, including eBay, The Iconic, Woolworths, Optus and Telstra, there may still be times when you need to type in your credit card details to make a purchase.
  • Overspending.
    The ease of making payments with PayPal, coupled with the ability to earn points for purchases, could lead you to rack up more credit card debt and interest charges.
  • Reward variations.
    Your card’s reward program may differ when using PayPal compared to using your card directly. Contact your credit card provider directly to find out exactly how PayPal payments will be treated in terms of rewards.

What else do I need to know?

If you want to use a rewards credit card through PayPal, make sure you keep the following details in mind:

  • Transaction details.
    When you make a payment through PayPal, your credit card statement may show PayPal for the transaction description, rather than the store where you made a purchase. This could make it hard to figure out what every purchase is unless you check your purchase history through PayPal.
  • Foreign currency charges.
    If you’re buying something in a foreign currency, PayPal automatically applies its own foreign currency conversion rates. It’s also hard to figure out how to change this setting in PayPal, but you can set it to your credit card’s rate.
  • Security.
    Both PayPal and credit cards offer security features to help keep your details safe when you shop online. But if you’re using a credit card through PayPal and have security concerns, you may need to contact both PayPal and your card provider to sort them out.

Bottom line

While you could just enter your credit card details every time you make a purchase online, PayPal can speed up the process while still allowing you to earn points for your spending. Just remember to regularly log in to your credit card account so that you can check your balance, make repayments and see exactly how many points you’ve earned for PayPal purchases.

If you haven’t found the right card for PayPal spending, check out some rewards credit cards and compare your options.

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