[Update] PayPal Launches Virtual Card Numbers For Use Anywhere (‘PayPal Key’)

Update 3/21/22: Paypal Kills the ‘Paypal Key’ Virtual Card Option (Ends April 21)

Update 1/1/22: For those not eligible for PayPal key it seems you can become eligible by creating a PayPal balance account and then checking eligibility again. Hat tip to GodLovesFrags

Update 12/21/20: The demise of PayPal Key continues as readers report over the past couple of days that Paypal Key no longer works on tax payments. It was a major gain since you could be the small debit card fee and use a credit card, but Paypal has now blocked that.

Update 12/17/20: Paypal Key Will Stop Allowing American Express Cards As Funding Option (Beginning January 4)

Update 11/26/20: Readers note that Paypal Key has blocked Plastiq from working. This has since been confirmed. Other commenters mention a few other things that dried up at the same time, such as Bluebird loads.

Update 10/29/20: Multiple data points I’ve seen indicate that when Paypal Key charges your card they generally carry over the category and method of charge exactly how it would be had you used the card directly. E.g. you’ll get grocery bonus points on a Grocery purchase and you’ll trigger a Chase Offer if you use it at a merchant with a Chase Offer. Good news, though a bit surprising. Note: this won’t always work, and reader Jenny says it does not work for Amex cards.]

Original Post:

PayPal has rolled out a new virtual card number system called PayPal Key. The program runs on the Mastercard network, and allows generating a card number to use anywhere and gets charged to any payment method in your PayPal wallet, including any credit card.

PayPal Key Terms & Conditions | Landing Page | FAQ

You can generate new card numbers whenever you’d like, and you can disable cards whenever you’d like.  The virtual card number can be added on Google Pay, but does not work with Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

PayPal Key is in midst of rollout and might not be available for everyone; check your online login or app to see if it pops up for you. Also important note: PayPal Key is only available for US account holders with PayPal Cash balance account or PayPal Cash Plus balance account. You need the upper level verified PayPal account in order to be eligible. Verify yourself completely and hopefully it’ll pop up for you eventually.

Other key details:

  • Daily limit is $10,000 regardless of linked credit card though that limit may lower if your credit limit is under $10,000.
  • 1.1% foreign transaction fee if the online merchant is located outside US and the District of Columbia regardless of linked credit card.
  • Works on Paypal personal and Paypal business accounts, according to readers.

Potential uses of PayPal Key:

  • Use Paypal Key for a website that does not accept PayPal, and get the PayPal category bonus. For example, right now Discover is offering 5% on PayPal which only works for websites that accept PayPal. PayPal Key is a workaround way of using it on any website, or even in-store via Google Pay or by having them key in the card number (if they are willing).
  • Use PayPal Key as a way of generating a one-time virtual card number for a merchant you don’t want to give your real card number to. For example, when doing free trials, some people like using a virtual card number for the added security they won’t be charged again.
  • Use PayPal Key for a website who does not accept American Express or Discover. If you have an online merchant who does not accept AmEx or Discover, you can still have it charged to your AmEx or Discover by using PayPal Key which runs as Mastercard. Same thing would work for a store who is willing to key in your number or who accepts Google Pay.
  • (I assume that PayPal Key will run as a credit card, not a debit card. If you can find a merchant who considers it a debit card, that obviously opens up a world of possibilities.)
  • Update: Readers have been saying recently that it’s not working on Google Pay for in-store purchases.

Hopefully PayPal Key will work like Privacy which allows using any address, thus enabling you to mask both card and address from any merchant. (PayPal will know your address, but you don’t have to pass it on to any company you aren’t comfortable with, e.g. a charity who you don’t want to get mailers from.)

We’ll add PayPal Key to our List of Banks Offering Virtual Account Numbers.

Hat tip to r/creditcards

Updates

[Update 9/30/20: Might be available to everyone now. Here’s a direct link. You’ll need to verify your Paypal account to get it. (hat tip to gt_ap)]

[Update 9/11/20: Reports of cash advance when using this on some cards/charges; be sure to set your cash advance limit to zero before using.]

[Update 9/7/20: Reposting since multiple people have been getting it recently.][Update 8/18/20: Here’s a direct link to check if you are eligible for PayPal Key. Hat tip to TtiGeR]

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das1996
das1996

Tried a transaction using the PPK number. It went through!

However there’s no way to change which card it’s charged to or anything else.

Kerberos
Kerberos

PPK is still alive?

Jay - ⒿⒶⓨ 🙈 🙉 🙊
Jay - ⒿⒶⓨ 🙈 🙉 🙊

Sad to see this go…

karma_musings
karma_musings

I got no notice from PayPal that they are discontinuing this, and if I had not logged into my account and noticed an unread notification, I wouldn’t have known (April 15!) SO ANNOYING! I use this feature often and am very disappointed. I can only assume they are doing this so that you’re forced to transfer money into their system for them to hold (make interest from), instead of keeping in your own account/bank. Argghhhh!

Bob
Bob

Ding dong the witch is dead.

Mango
Mango

Not working for me. Received some funds into my balance account on 1/26, as of 1/29 still unable to sign up for PPK.

IHJ
IHJ

Same here; created balance account by creating paypal debit card acct and then transferred fund in and out to “create activity” and still no ppk signup avail:( Wondering if you got it to work yet?

Mango
Mango

Nope, still not available for me.

Sue
Sue

Does anyone know if I can link a visa gift card (metabank) with ppk and use it? Anyone tried? Thank you!

Zach
Zach

I can link it. But ppk verification charged me $1.95 for 3 times without refund in 2 weeks.

mcDe
mcDe

I have tried every way to set up a PPK. I used the link on the website “Coming Soon”. I got the debit card. “coming soon”. I created a balance account “coming soon”. My Sister got one no problem. What gives?

Tanya
Tanya

Did you read the latest update? You need to have $ in your Paypal balance, then it will work to create it.

Tanya
Tanya

I take that back – the account balance worked in my personal account, but does not work in my BIZ account.

Tanya
Tanya

The “PayPal Balance account” is only in personal account, not in biz accounts.

DasApache
DasApache

It won’t let you use Prepaid, International, or American Express Cards.

oink
oink

is 1.1% foreign transaction fee not waived even if card has no ftf?