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eBay MasterCard Credit Card Review

Nearly every major retailer, hotel, and airline offers a credit card program that awards loyalty points on every purchase.  The eBay MasterCard, issued by Synchrony Bank, is one of the reward credit cards that can be used to make purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted and redeem for PayPal cash, travel rewards, or gift cards.  This card is probably most ideal for frequent eBay & PayPal users but offers points on other purchases too.  But even faithful eBay & PayPal customers will want to read all the fine print on the eBay credit card website before signing up for this card as they might benefit from other credit cards instead.

eBay Credit Card Image

Sign-Up Bonus

Although a sign-up bonus shouldn’t be the primary reason anybody applies for a new credit card as annual fees & inferior reward payouts can outweigh the initial bonus, it might be the deciding factor if stuck between two or three different credit cards.

New credit card applicants will receive a $30 statement credit after making your first purchase with the new eBay credit card.  Although this isn’t the highest sign-up bonus offered by a points rewards credit card, it is very easy to obtain.  Certain credit cards require spending at least $700 to $2,000 to earn the sign-up bonus.  These bonuses have higher monetary values, but for somebody that just wants a second credit card to increase their credit limit will be pleased that they can earn a bonus without much hassle.

The eBay website often advertises the $30 bonus as a “time-sensitive offer” that typically ends at the end of each calendar quarter.  For example, the first quarter offer might expire on March 31st, 2nd quarter on June 30th, etc.  If you are signing up toward the end of the bonus period, as of this review you must sign-up for the bonus offer by June 30th and your first purchase must be posted before July 15th.

Those with existing eBay credit cards & new PayPal Smart Connect accounts are ineligible for this bonus.

Another “bonus” of the eBay Mastercard is that you can start using the new credit card number with PayPal before you even receive the new card in the mail.  This can be especially handy as it can take 7-10 days to receive your new credit card & might need it sooner to make a major purchase.

eBay Reward Points Accumulation

While most reward points credit cards offer the highest payouts for purchase made at the respective retailer’s stores or website (i.e. You earn two points for every United Airlines purchases but only one mile for all remaining purchases using the United MileagePlus Credit Card), the eBay credit actually offers more points for gas & restaurant purchases.

Here are the reward point payouts you can earn on every purchase using the eBay MasterCard:

  • Restaurant & Gas (Pay-At-The-Pump Only) Purchase: 3 points for every $1 spent
  • eBay & PayPal Purchase: 2 points for every $1 spent
  • All other purchases: 1 points per $1 spent

It is somewhat unusual that eBay pays more for restaurant & gas purchases than using their own commerce platforms, but the rewards point accumulation rates are similar to other retail credit cards regarding the tiered 3,2,1x points payout depending on the spending category.

Another downside is that cardholders will only be able to earn up to 50,000 points per year.  This might not be an issue for most people using this card as they will have to spend at least $16,667 (restaurant & gas purchases only) to reach the points cap.  Those who carry higher credit card balance can benefit from other rewards credit cards with more lucrative redemption rates & awards.

Redeeming eBay Reward Points

Similar to nearly every rewards credit card, reward points can be redeemed for awards in addition to PayPal credit.

Reward points can be redeemed for the following award categories:

  • $50 PayPal Cash (deposited in cardholder’s PayPal account)
  • Air Travel*
  • Hotel Awards*
  • Car Rental*
  • Vacation Awards*
  • Gift Cards and Merchandise

*Travel awards must be redeemed at least 21 days before the reservation is scheduled.

Redeeming award points are where the decision to determine if the eBay credit card is the best option for you becomes rather difficult.  This is mostly because no redemption amounts are published.  Many hotels and airlines will often publish the price of a ticket or stay and how many points can be redeemed if you do not want to spend cash.  If you routinely use a particular hotel or airline, it’s fairly easy to determine if the reward accumulation rates justify the redemption rates.

With the eBay credit card, it can be difficult to choose.  The reward program terms & conditions simply state that the cardholder must call a toll-free 1-800 number to determine how many rewards points are required for a particular award and to redeem the points.  It is understandable that award amounts often fluctuate for every credit card rewards program.  Although eBay does not disclose point minimum point values required to redeem for awards, existing card users on various forums have stated that the award redemptions begin at 2,500 points for a $15 restaurant gift card, 6,000 points for the $50 PayPal credit, and 15,400 points for a $100 travel voucher.  These are not the officially published rates provided by eBay and are subject to change.

With these redemption rates as a baseline, the eBay rewards program definitely isn’t the most robust as you will have to spend at least $2,000 (assuming 3% reward rate gas & restaurant purchases) to earn the 6,000 points necessary to redeem for $50 in PayPal cash so that amounts to a 2.5% redemption rate.  That redemption rate decreases if you need to rely on a combination of eBay/PayPal or other MasterCard purchases to reach the redemption requirements.  This is better than some cash back credit cards that only offer a 1% redemption rate, but other credit cards have better redemption rates.

The “Fine Print”

Reading the terms & conditions of the eBay Mastercard provides more pros & cons of the credit card.  A definite positive is that there is no annual fee.   Besides that, this is a no-frills credit card.  There is a 3% foreign transaction fee and interest rates range from 20.24% to 24.24%.  Those that need a cash advance will pay an interest rate of 27.24% plus a $5 or 3% fee, whichever is greater.

If you pay your balance off each month & rarely travel abroad, the interest rates & fees might be a non-issue.  If that is the case, the eBay MasterCard can be a good option for eBay & PayPal aficionados that are looking for a no annual fee credit card.  But, if they plan on redeeming reward points for something other than a $50 PayPal cash credit can find better rewards programs with other credit cards like the Discover It or Capital One Quicksilver credit cards.

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Are Mobile Payments the Way of the Future?

With a smart phone or tablet in the hands of nearly everyone you see, and the thousands of apps that are appearing every day, it seems like only a matter of time before interacting with real people becomes obsolete. Between texting, email and the plethora of apps that we use each day, our smart phones and tablets seem to be taking over.

Although this might be a problem when it comes to interpersonal communication, it really has become quite a benefit when it comes to staying organized, managing money and generally keeping track of one’s life. One thing that seems to be emerging as a strong positive for the digital world is the option of making digital payments to credit cards, banks, or online merchants. Whether at a physical store or while shopping online, paying for purchases without ever laying hands on bills or coins is becoming the norm.

New Habits are Forming

As people become more and more attached to their mobile devices, they are relying heavily on using them to access everything. From checking email and social media, to using scannable coupons and QR codes, to taking pictures of desired items in a physical retail location and then shopping online when they get home, smart phones and tablets are becoming something most people cannot imagine living without.

Online Payment Options Increase Convenience

Everybody is looking for convenience these days. If something can be made simpler, then it is very attractive. Making payments using your mobile phone or tablet, through an app, is something many people are interested in. With a couple clicks, you can easily transfer money or make payments to nearly anyone you do business with. Just about every bank has mobile apps now, as well as nearly every credit card company.

Major banks, such as Bank of America, Citibank and even many local banks are offering mobile banking apps for customers to track their accounts and make payments and transfers, right fro their mobile devices. Credit card companies, like Capital One, Discover and American Express offer mobile apps for the same types of transactions. For those who like to stay on top of their finances, mobile banking is truly a gift and a major convenience.

When you can make a payment to anyone, from anywhere, at any time, it becomes something that will definitely take hold. It is highly unlikely that the trend toward mobile banking and mobile payments will slow anytime soon.

Younger Generation Even More Likely to Use Mobile

Although digital technology technically knows no age limits, older adults (even those embracing technology) are more likely to continue to write the occasional check or use the customary electronic banking options offered through the internet, but the younger generations are becoming more and more connected to mobile devices, with some using only these devices to access the internet without even ever opening a laptop or firing up the desktop PC. Sales of paper checks are way down, because most people write only a few per month and rarely re-order them because they last so long.

Mobile Apps at Retail Locations

Many retail locations are taking advantage of this trend, like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Home Depot, Walgreens and Best Buy allowing customers to take advantage of the ability to pay with a mobile phone online or even at a register, check for stock and make appointments for service. Even most of the main department and chain stores are getting on the bandwagon with mobile payments and apps, allowing customers the opportunity to shop, check stock, order and even make payments on their accounts or make payments for purchases, right from their mobile device.

The Way of the Future?

There is no reason to think that mobile apps are not going to continue to rise, with payment options and the other features offered, particularly as it relates to the younger demographic segments of the population. Anything that can make a transaction easier is going to be highly attractive, for both shoppers and merchants. As our world becomes more and more digital, mobile payments are only one way that people are going to be using their smart phones and tablets to take care of their business.

At this point, growth in this area is still new and the future is still a bit mysterious. Just think, who would have dreamed up the idea of smart phones only twenty years ago? Most people would have never believed the technology that would be available today. So, the answer to the question of whether or not mobile payments are the way of the future is a solid “Yes!” with the additional comments that it is only the beginning of the mobile generation and there are plenty more exciting things to come.