PayPal has become a staple of the digital payments world, offering a safe, fast and convenient gateway for a wide range of different transactions. One of the easiest ways to make electronic transactions – whether online or mobile – is to link your credit card or debit card to your PayPal account.
But before adding this personal information to any service or account you have online, it is important to understand more about the service and how it works. That way you can understand when to use PayPal, how to link a card and what card or cards (if any) you want to link to this payment service.
PayPal became established as the preferred payment option for eBay in the late 90s, giving buyers and sellers on the site more security in the payment process regardless of where they were in the world. The popularity of online shopping has helped PayPal build on that reputation and expand to include new digital payment options like PayPal Here (which lets you pay from your account using a mobile app).
The company now claims to have “152 million active accounts in 100 currencies and across 203 markets”. This widespread use of PayPal means it is easier to make purchases from companies anywhere in the world. The sign in process can also add a layer of protection to the process because it means you do not have to enter your card details for every online purchase you make.
Whether you are new to PayPal or have been using it for years, it is a good idea to review the system so that you can make sure all your details and transactions are as safe as possible. This article outlines how to link a debit card or credit card to PayPal, how to make a PayPal payment with a linked card, important things to remember about linking cards and other ways to use the service.
On This Page
- Linking a card to a PayPal account
- How to make PayPal payments with a linked card
- Important things to remember about linking cards
- Other ways to use PayPal
When you set up a PayPal account, the service will suggest you to link a card to make the payment process easier. While this is not the only way to use PayPal, it can be convenient if you want to put all your online purchases onto one card. PayPal also says you should still get rewards and other complimentary extras when you link an eligible card you’re your account.
Basically, cards “work just the same, but you don’t have to enter your information every time.” To link a debit card or credit card to your PayPal account, all you have to do is follow the steps below:
- Log in to your PayPal account
- Click on “Profile” near the top of the page
- Select “My Money” from the profile options
- Find the Credit and Debit Cards section and select “Update”
- Click “Add another card”
- Enter your information
- Confirm the details
After you have added a credit or debit card to your PayPal account, it will have to be verified so that PayPal knows it is valid. PayPal says this process helps protect your account by increasing security standards across the network, confirming your identity and reducing the risk of stolen cards and identity theft.
“When you link your card to your account by authorising PayPal to charge a small amount, PayPal generates a unique random code which displays on your card statement,” PayPal explains.
“Only the legitimate owner of the card has access to the statement. For this reason, this process limits the risk connected with stolen credit cards and fake identities.”
If you already have a card linked to you PayPal account, you will have to choose which one to set as the primary option, which will be the default payment choice when using PayPal. While you can still switch between cards whenever you pay with PayPal by selecting the payment method that you want to use, setting a default can make shopping with PayPal quicker and more convenient.
Making a PayPal payment is easy with a linked debit card or credit card and means that you do not have to enter your card number, account name, CVV and other information every time you shop online.
To complete an online purchase using PayPal, all you have to do is select it as your payment method, enter your account email or username and your password, then follow the prompts to complete the transaction. For a PayPal Here or PayPal Mobile payment, on the other hand, you just need to sign into your PayPal account through the mobile app and follow the payment prompts.
If you have more than one credit or debit card linked to PayPal, you’ll be asked which one you want to use. The default payment method will come up first, but you can choose to select a different card or account from there.
Depending on the payment method and merchant, it could take a few days for the transaction to show up on your debit card or credit card account. Some merchants will automatically place an authorisation hold on purchases until they are processed, which could also mean your current and available balances show up differently for a couple of days. But once it is confirmed in PayPal, you will get a receipt emailed to you so that you can keep track of how much you spend.
There are a few things to consider before linking a card or cards to your PayPal account. For starters, PayPal will only offer you unlimited transactions if you “verify” your account – a process that requires you add details for at least two payment methods, such as a debit card and a bank account.
“All PayPal accounts, including yours initially have sending and withdrawal limits, which determine how much money you can send and withdraw from your account,” PayPal explains. Verifying your account is a good idea if you plan to make a lot of transactions through PayPal, but it is not essential otherwise.
Another factor to consider is whether or not authorisation holds and delayed payment processing could affect your day-to-day account usage. If, for example, you link your everyday debit card to PayPal but don’t check for authorisation holds or an up-to-date available balance, you could end up overdrawn on your account when you go to make another purchase with your card.
PayPal also offers Buyer Protection to help you get a refund if something that you buy does not show up or is “significantly not as described”.
“If your transaction qualifies for PayPal Buyer Protection you are covered for the full purchase price plus the original shipping charges,” PayPal says. But it also notes that some purchases are not eligible – including products in the “Motors category”, real estate and intangible items (such as services).
Taking the time to check out different features of PayPal will help you make more informed decisions about when to use it, as well as what cards or accounts you want to link. That way you can get the most out of this service whenever you use it.
As mentioned before, you do not actually need to link a debit card or credit card to PayPal. Other options include adding a bank account or transferring money directly to your PayPal account. You can even add money and exchange it to a foreign currency if you need to pay a retailer overseas (although there may be fees involved).
Sometimes you can add prepaid cards as a payment option as well, providing they are MasterCard or Visa options and can be verified by PayPal. Just remember to keep money loaded onto the card if you decide to use it through PayPal.
Some people have also found PayPal a convenient way to get around restrictions on different services from around the world. In a 2013 article about geoblocking and US credit card options, for instance, tech journalist Adam Turner said PayPal could help you sign up for services like Netflix and Hulu.
“Sometimes you can use a US PayPal account as the middleman to pay your monthly subscription,” he says in an article for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Most services like HuluPlus will only accept PayPal if you’ve got a valid credit card attached to your PayPal account. You might get away with attaching an Australian credit card, or perhaps a pre-paid card like the Load & Go — even if HuluPlus knocked you back when you tried to use the same card to sign up directly.”
The PayPal Mobile app can also be helpful if you are shopping somewhere that does not accept cards. If you’re at the markets, for example, asking a cash-only seller if they have PayPal could mean you do not have to go in search of an ATM when you want to buy something. It could also make it easier to pay back friends if you’re splitting the bill for something.
Whatever the case may be, most people have a PayPal account these days. But understanding the different ways you can use it means that you can choose whether you link cards to the account, transfer money directly or rarely use it at all.
Linking a credit or debit card to your PayPal account is definitely one of the most convenient options – particularly if you use the service a lot. But while you will not have to enter your card details for every online or mobile purchase you make when you use PayPal, it is still important to take some time to think about security.
Just like any online account, there is a risk that your PayPal account could be hacked – and no matter how small that chance may seem, it is real. So when you create or update a PayPal account, make sure you consider the following:
- The security of the email address you use to sign up,
- How unique the password is,
- Whether there is a variety of capital letters, numbers and symbols in your password; and
- The protection offered by whatever payment method you link to PayPal (eg purchase protection or zero liability for a credit/debit card).
PayPal security is set at a high standard, but there are all kinds of scammers and hackers trying to get peoples personal and payment details. So making sure you have optimised your security should keep both your PayPal account and your linked cards safe.
As more and more businesses offer products and services online, digital payments are growing in popularity. Established services like PayPal are now available for both big and small companies, making it a safe and convenient way to pay without entering card details all of the time.
Learning more about PayPal and reading about how to link a debit card to the service, as well as other payment options, gives you a greater understanding of how and when PayPal could benefit you as well as it’s security features. So now you have a better idea of the different payment options available, you can make the most out of using your credit or debit card through PayPal whenever you want.