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

[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]

PayPal is slowly rolling 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

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

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Rajadat
Rajadat

Chuck William Charles have you guys heard of cards being unlinked from PPK? sometime in the last 24 hrs all of my linked CCs were removed and now i’m being forced into using PP bal or checking acct with PPK.

Andrew
Andrew

Yes, it happened to my PPK. You might need to change to a different web browser

Rajadat
Rajadat

sadly, did not work for me.

t0dd0
t0dd0

Fine here

rusz
rusz

Is melio still giving insufficient funds message with PPK?

raekwon
raekwon

As of this past week, yes.

Lantean
Lantean

I cannot select my Amex as card I pay with on PayPal Key… I even deleted the key and started over and it still won’t let me select it.
Did anyone have the same issue? Thanks.

Koolstone
Koolstone

I used to be able to do it, but newly added AmEx card is not shown on the list, but the old one is there.

Rom
Rom

Any update on this? Having the same issue

mrfnuts
mrfnuts

Anyone use a C1 card for PPK and then use Plastiq? This would get around the Plastiq block for C1 cards, but would there be a consequence to doing so from C1 themselves?

vc
vc

1-the charge will include pq, so depending on how c1 is monitoring it, they may take notice. not worth it imo
2-have you searched pq’s site for an update? i’m not sure if you’re referring to business cards, but as far as i know, it was for biz cards. i know that one of the decisions was reversed, but i can’t recall which 1.

James
James

anyone tried for la county property tax to see if it works as debit?

Chris
Chris

Hi James – Riverside County worked

t0dd0
t0dd0

same fee

mrfnuts
mrfnuts

What am I missing here? The LA County site charges a 2.22% fee for using any card, credit or debit:

https://ttc.lacounty.gov/pay-secured-property-taxes-online/

Otherwise, better off going through Plastiq — which I did do for the 1% fee, and it worked perfectly fine.

If you do know of another means for paying the LA County property taxes with debit card for less than 1%, please do share. I’ve still got my 2nd installment to go.

Chris
Chris

Ouch – neighboring Riverside County charges a flat $3.95 for debit card use

calwatch
calwatch

They used to have a separate debit rate but no longer do. What I’ve been using for LA County property tax are office store VGC/MCGC from the recent deals.

Chris
Chris

Good idea

sg77

When paying property tax with Plastiq, what info do you put in the “Loan, Apartment, or Unit Number” and “Memo” lines? (parcel number? address? payment stub number?)

t0dd0
t0dd0

Time has come. Anyone know if paying California property tax with Plastiq and bofa cash reward will trigger as online category bonus?

BeTheDatapoint
BeTheDatapoint

I have never heard of anyone triggering the CR online bonus by paying property taxes, but only one way to truly find out – be the datapoint. You can maybe trigger the 5x Paypal category with Freedom instead.

t0dd0
t0dd0

Yea may just have to use my flex and the $1500 max. Partial bonus is better than no bonus

Kyle ❤️

Just used the Paypal Key linked to one of my Freedom cards. Payed through Pay1040.com and it was processed as a debit card charging me $2.58!!! I paid 1,497.42 towards estimated taxes and the fee was 2.58 for a total of $1500. Chuck

Kyle ❤️

Does not work on PayUSATax.com

Geng
Geng

I just tried it on pay1040.com and it’s not recognized as a debit. A window pops out saying: You could save $xxx by using a debit card. If you would like to pay this fee, press continue. To use a lower cost debit card, press edit.

My PPK is linked to a Citi card. But I don’t think the sourcing card matters right? It’s pay1040.com that somehow still recognizes PPK as a credit

Kyle ❤️

Maybe, not sure. I did it a second time with another freedom card and worked fine.

d00d
d00d

I just tried it, they payment reached Chase and showed in Pending status there. But the pay1040 site displayed an error and refunded the payment.

rfclub
rfclub

DP: 10/24 payusatax.com success.

Samosa
Samosa

Finally figured out why my Plastiq payments via PPK were being declined. Turns out in my PP account when I changed my preferred payment method from Discover to Freedom (and deleted the Discover), the payment source for PPK didn’t automatically update from Discover to Freedom. Since I had deleted the Discover from PP, there was no payment source for PPK and hence my payments on Plastiq were getting declined. To fix this issue, log into your PP account, click on 3 vertical dots located on the upper right corner of the white “PPK box” (also shown as the screenshot in the above post), click on “manage PPK”, and make sure “pay from” is the credit card you plan to use. Keep in mind your PP balance will be used first so keep it to zero. The above steps fixed the issue for me and my payment on Plastic using PPK went through just fine. So if you are receiving the message “your card was declined”, give it a try Sue eyesonthepoints Matthew JD

ieatdogfood
ieatdogfood

You can choose whether or not to use PayPal balance first with the look-alike iPhone button on/off slider.

Samosa
Samosa

Thanks, I never keep/use PayPal balance so didn’t know about it.

Sue
Sue

I’m getting “your card is declined” message on Plastiq using PPK. Tried CF and CFU. Anyone else getting the declined message?

Samosa
Samosa

yep, same here.

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

Question: Is there is way to make the PPK refund stay in PayPal Balance (i.e., not going back to the original source)?
I recently opened several credit cards such as the BOA Cash Rewards and the BOA Travel Rewards to get the opening bouns. I also opened a Reloadable Prepaid Visa Debit Card (just like a normal VGC but is reloadable). I then tied my new CCs to the PPK and then used the PPK to load the Prepaid Visa Debit Card. The process went through successfully, and I was not charged a Cash Advance fee. My initial plan was purchasing Money Orders to liquidate the Prepaid Debit Card (this card has my name printed on the surface and is a real bank card–not like the un-reloadable VGCs that we normally get from a store). The plan sounds good, but now I realized that I made a mistake. I just came across the T&Cs of the Prepaid Debit Card and found that the card cannot be used to purchase Money Orders. I have already loaded ~$4,000 to the Prepaid Debit Card, and I do not think that I could spend this amount of money quickly. So, I am planning to cancel the Prepaid Debit Card and get a refund. The Prepaid Debit Card does not come with a contract, and they said that you can cancel at any time (basically, no early termination fees on the basis of my own understanding).

Now, if I cancel the Prepaid Debit Card, they will refund me to PPK. According to the T&Cs of PPK, when the Key gets a refund, it will put the money back to the original sources (i.e., debit or credit cards)–this is not what I want. If the refund finally goes back to the original sources, I have to find new ways to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to get the opening bouns.

So, is that possible I can find a way to let the refund stay as PayPal Balance? Please help. Thanks a lot!
What I am thinking is: I can simply delete the credit card information from my PayPal account. However, I do not think this will work: The card information is already stored in their (PayPal) database. Even if I delete the card information, they can still send the refund back to the original sources.

ieatdogfood
ieatdogfood

Isn’t there a fee for loading reloadable prepaids?

Have you tried buying a MO despite the terms?

I don’t have an answer for your PayPal balance matter but I did have cash back bonuses stay and not get clawed back with PayPal refunds before, but YMMV on that too.

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

Thanks for the reply. No, reloading the Prepaid Debit Card has no fee at all. Using the Prepaid Debit Card has no fee as well. I have not received the physical Prepaid card yet. When I get the card I will try to purchase an MO anyway even though I do not think that will work. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Samosa
Samosa

Xinqing Wang May I ask which specific reloadable Prepaid Debit Card are you referring to?

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

GoHenry. I do not suggest trying this card because it does not allow purchasing MOs.

Samosa
Samosa

Thanks, let’s see if they can figure out whether I am buying groceries or MOs.

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

I will definitely try that when I receive the card.

vc
vc

what are they going to do after you’ve already drained the card to purchase the mo? nothing lol. and, that’s if they find out. i’ve done something similar, except i liq the ppd card by loading onto another card. it’s not something that i recommend doing often if the name of the ppd card appears on your cc statement in a way that identifies it as bank. if the cc company sees it, they might charge a cash adv fee. what does this ppd card appear as on your bank statement?

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

what are they going to do after you’ve already drained the card to purchase the mo?
Their T&Cs say that buying MOs are prohibited. I am afraid that it is hard-coded.
i liq the ppd card by loading onto another card: Which card can take a PPD as the source to reload money? The PPD that I am talking about rejects several other PPDs.
what does this ppd card appear as on your bank statement?
This is what they appear:
PAYPAL *GOHENRY INC 402-935-7733 DE
Transaction date: 10/16/2020
Card type: Visa
Transaction type: Purchases
Merchant description: POI FUNDING TRANSACTIONS
Merchant information: 402-935-7733 , DE
Reference number: 0326
Merchant Name: get more information about merchant name change PAYPAL *GOHENRY INC Select toEditthe merchant name
Transaction Category: get more information about transaction category Cash, Checks & Misc: Other Expenses Select toEditthe transaction category
Online Purchase: Y
Dispute this transaction

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

I am really interested in this: liq the ppd card by loading onto another card
May I how which card eats a PPD? I am trying to find a way to better liquidate PPDs.
Thanks.

vc
vc

i’m assuming any other ppd card that accepts vgc, like bluebird

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

I am totally banned by AmEx for those cards. So, I cannot get one. Do you have an alternative card that can eat VGCs? Thanks.

Samosa
Samosa

Xinqing Wang You can try a few options to liquidate your ppd card;
1. I suspect MO purchase may work.
2. Try paying a CC bill.
3. The 3rd option is a reply to your question of “which card eats a PPD”. BlueBird by Amex should work. you can load for free at WM (usually MC and VGC load fine, so your ppd should work too). Serve by Amex is another option, but it comes with a monthly $6.95 fee (which can be avoided by having zero balance when the statement cuts). Yet another option is GoBank mastercard (must be purchased in-person at a WM physical store. Those bought online can’t be reloaded for free at WM). Once you have your funds loaded to BB, Serve, or GoBank, you can choose to deposit them to your bank account. Keep in mind Amex is known for shutting peoples BB and Serve accounts for “unusual activity”. Good luck.

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

1. Thanks a lot for your reply. I will try that and report here. If it does work, certainly we have a new way of MS.
2. The T&Cs of the PPD bans using the card for paying any bills. I contacted a customer service representative, and he told me that I actually cannot even use the PPD to pay my monthly rent. But thanks for your advice, and I will try paying a CC bill anyway.
3. Thanks again. I have been shut down for using the BB and Serve for doing those things many years ago. I recently (last week) replied for the Serve Card but was declined by AmEx. So I think that I am totally banned by AmEx. The only alternative for me right now is the GoBank card. I saw some people discussed this card several times, but I am still not sure how I can use it for liquidating a VGC. With the GoBank Card, can I liquidate a VGC using the ATM within a Walmart center? Or, do I have to talk to the Money Center just like buying an MO? If the clerk has to be involved, I am afraid that the game is as difficult as purchasing an MO. I mean, if I have to talk to a clerk to reload the GoBank card with a VGC, I can simply purchase an MO with the same amount of trouble. If I can reload the Gobank with a VGC using an App on my smartphone, that would be great. Currently, I am reloading the HoHenry PPD on my phone using PPK, which is very easy to do (but the real headache is how I can liquidate the GoHenry PPD). Thanks!

Samosa
Samosa

Xinqing Wang reloading GoBank (mastercard) is the same as BB i.e., CSR must be involved. Some CSRs match names on Gobank and the funding source card. However, it shouldn’t be a problem for the purpose of liquidating your PPD because, as you said, your name will be on the PPD card.

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

OK. Thanks a lot for the information. I will try to buy a Gobank card and try to reload it using my PPD. But I really have a question: As far as I can remember when I had the AmEx BB and Serve, I did not need to talk to anyone in Walmart. Instead, I simply went to their ATMs and reloaded the BB/Serve, which was really convenient until I was totally shut down. After that, I did not play with reloadable PPD until now. So, do you mean the policy has changed and we have to talk to someone to reload the GoBank card? Thanks.

calwatch
calwatch

Yes, the Kates (Moneycenter express kiosks) are now gone. They’ve been gone for years now, which is why I got out of the MS business. Still, debit card with name without the “gift” on it should not cause any issues. Failing that GoHenry does have ATM withdrawals and you could always do a cashover transaction at a grocery or convenience store to take out money slowly.

Josh
Josh

Can you add the prepaid card to your Venmo account and have P2s send the $$ back to you?

Adding: Kudos on the idea. There are particular prepaid debits that I think would work better that have free ATM fees as they’re directly tied to certain banks. These should be much easier to liquidate.

Kyle ❤️

https://help.venmo.com/hc/en-us/articles/217042688-Card-Limit

Yes, but Venmo caps you to 4 cards per 6 month period so not the best solution.

Xinqing Wang
Xinqing Wang

UPDATE!
Samosa
When I received the physical card from GoHenry and wanted to activated the card in the GoHenry App, I noticed that the card was blocked and I had no way to activate it myself. I then called the customer service center of GoHenry and talked to them. They asked me what was my plan to use the card. I explained that I want to use it to train my kids for daily shopping, pay bills, and so on. (Background: GoHenry is a PPD designed for kids). The representative initially said it is OK and would activate my card for me. However, after the representative talked to another department, she said that this card cannot be used that way. Also, she said that I have already loaded a lot of funds to the card, which is not typical for kids. So, they had to cancel my account and refund me. I was fine with that because I did not believe I can use the card to buy MOs anyway. So, I told her that just close my account.
After the phone call, I immediately unlinked the credit cards that I used for PPK from Paypal and also deleted the PPK that I used for reloading GoHenry. I did that hoping the refund will stay as a Paypal balance.
Today, I just received my refund from GoHenry, and the refund indeed stays as a Paypal balance instead of going back to the CCs. I have transferred the Paypal balance to my bank account.
Summary: 1. It seems it is impossible to use the GoHenry PPD for purchasing MOs. If you open the account and quickly reload a long of funds, they may cancel your account.
2. If you delete the linked CCs from Paypal and also the PPK, the refund may stay as a Paypal balance. Of course, I only tested this once, and YMMV.