PayPal Smart Connect Review

I applied for the Paypal Mastercard a few days ago, but was approved for the PayPal Smart Connect line of credit instead. My credit is not that great, but I’ve been able to gradually bring my scores up with the aid of two secured cards (CapOne and BOA). I’ve been approved for an Ally Auto Loan and now this line of credit since I started rebuilding about a year and a half ago.

Why I chose Paypal? I’ve been active as an occasional eBay buyer and seller for the past ten years and I use PayPal every month to pay for different services (from domain name renewals and online memberships to sometimes accepting payments associated with my occupation). I thought either the Paypal Mastercard or PayPal Smart Connect would be a great option for me to continue rebuilding. It would also help my credit mix as I currently do not have any retail cards and I didn’t want to get just any retail card for the sake of having one.

For those of you who haven’t heard about this card before, PayPal Smart Connect is a credit line offered through GE Capital Retail Bank (GECRB). It is not a physical credit card, but a line of credit linked to your PayPal account. However, if you have a Paypal debit card you can set this line of credit as your backup fund and pretty much use your debit card as a regular credit card. It has no annual fee and can be used anywhere PayPal is accepted. Additionally, your PayPal debit card will earn you a 1% cash back from every purchase (not a lot, but it’s something).

PayPal Smart Connect has a pretty high APR (26.99%), but as I said before, I will use this credit line for rebuilding. I will pay my balance in full every month, so I don’t really care about the APR. Also, I’ve read comments from other people using PayPal Smart Connect saying you can request credit line increases every four statements. This is an automated request done through the phone with no hard pull, so I’m looking forward to that. I appreciate when banks let you grow and reward you for being responsible.

Now for the details:

Application Date: Late May, 2012
Account Type: Retail Card/Credit Card
Credit Report Pulled: TransUnion
My Score when Approved: 656 (Experian)
Line of Credit Approved: $500
Current Line of Credit: $3500

2012 Timeline

  • June: Applied for PayPal’s Mastercard.Approved for PayPal Smart Connect instead. $500 CL.
  • August: Received $300 automatic increase after using it a lot during first 2 statements. New credit limit: $800.
  • December: Requested a credit line increase through their automated phone service. Received a $500 increase for a new credit limit of $1300.

2013 Timeline

  • April: Requested a credit line increase through their automated phone service. Received a $200 increase for a new credit limit of $1500.
  • August: Requested a credit line increase through their automated phone service. Received a $2000 increase for a new credit limit of $3500.

PROS: Got an automatic credit line increase after only two statements. After this, I’ve been approved for credit line increases every 4 statements. GE is known to be generous about giving credit line increases and apparently you can request one every 4 months/statements. This is all done through their customer service number. It’s automated, painless and they only do a soft pull.
CONS: No physical credit card given, but line of credit can be linked to your PayPal debit card which can then be used as a regular credit card.

OVERALL REVIEW: I was initially approved for a $500 credit line. This was my first unsecured credit approval in years. I’ve had this line of credit for a little over a year and my credit line is currently at $3500. Along with a couple of other credit cards, this PayPal card offered by GE has helped me rebuild and re-establish my credit. I use PayPal Smart connect often for eBay purchases and other PayPal payments. I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to product change this card to a PayPal Mastercard (but at the moment it looks like this is not possible).

I will update this review again when or if I have something new to add. Please feel free to ask questions, add comments or share your experience with this line of credit.


  1. ed says

    Do not get pay pal connect card it is a rip off. used it once payed off balance and then cancelled. Then I got a bill for 25.00 as a late charge because I paid my balance 3 days late.

  2. says

    Ed, sorry to hear about your late charge. I haven’t had any problems with Paypal. I’ve learned my lesson and I always pay my credit cards on time. Any credit card company will eat you alive if you pay late. Also, opening and closing credit accounts like that can hurt your credit score. I think PayPal Smart Connect is a good option for people who use PayPal a lot and don’t have great credit.

  3. says

    I have been very fortunate to use PayPal Smart Connect for many of my business and personal transactions. They are easy to deal with and seem to always be there when I run into any snags. I’m sure they would still charge me obnoxious late fees if I ever was late but that is why I use an automatic payment system.

    Overall, I like what they do for me and I would endorse their services.

  4. LMM says

    I got a smart connect card too with an 800.00 credit limit. I have not been able to make purchases with anyone who accepts PayPal. I spent over two hours on the phone being bounced back and forth between PayPal and GE trying to figure it out. I was told that the card could not be used anywhere PayPal was accepted. Can someone tell me how to use the card?

    Thanks in advance

  5. says

    Hey LMM,

    There are two ways you can use PayPal Smart Connect:

    1. If you are buying anything online and paying with PayPal, you can chose Smart Connect to be your funding source. If PayPal Smart Connect is not showing up as a payment option go to PayPal Smart Connect->View Card Details->Update Account Preferences and chose the option: “When available, PayPal Smart Connect is your preferred way to pay with PayPal”. I use it all the time. But you need to proceed as if you are going to pay with PayPal, then select Smart Connect to pay, just like you would select say your credit card or checking account…

    2. If you have a PayPal debit card, you can link your PayPal Smart Connect to your debit card and pretty much use it as a credit card at any store accepting Mastercard or online (even if PayPal is not accepted). You need to make sure you do not have any money in your PayPal account, otherwise it’ll use your available balance first. To select Smart Connect as your back up fund: go to PayPal Debit MasterCard®-> and select Backup payment method: Line of Credit for your PayPal Smart Connect. I’ve done this so I know it works! If you don’t have a debit card and are interested in doing this, you need to request a debit card from PayPal.

    Hope this helps.

    • Nancy H. says

      Be very careful using your PayPal Debit MasterCard. I have a PayPal Smart Connect account with a zero balance and my back-up funding source for my PayPal Debit MasterCard is the Smart Connect account. However, 3 times when I made a purchase using the Debit account, it came directly from my checking account. Thank God I had the funds in there or else I could have had a bunch of bounced checks. I just cancelled both the PayPal Debit MasterCard and the PayPal Smart Connect. If I wanted to pay with”cash” I would have just used my checking account debit card. I think this is a scam.

    • Delores says

      GE Capital Retail & Pay Pal Are now being investigated by The United States Postal Inspector for using the US Post Office to commit fraud by charging late fees amongst other things. You can go to You Tube & type in GE capital retail pay pal & read the rebuttal that was sent in by this employee of ge capital look for green snakes

      • TAD says

        Thank you for this information regarding investigation of GE and Paypal regarding latefees. My particular Smart Connect does NOT allow for automatic monthly payment drafts like all my other credit cards. I run a large animal rescue and often forget to may payments, each time lining their pockets with a $25 late fee because they do not offer auto payments like the rest of the world. SCAM and ripoff!!

  6. andy says

    We applied for the smart connect and was approved S well. We started out with a 500$ line of credit ( 6 months ago) and the raised to 700 then 1700. With out us even knowing. I am curious to why they raise it soo ofter? We do use it alot but only for small purchases

  7. says

    Hey Andy,

    From what I’ve read online GE seems to be very generous about giving credit line increases (if you pay on time and don’t max out your credit). They must like that you are using it a lot and by extending your credit line, they probably hope that you use it even more.

  8. DPM says

    Everyone needs to wrap their minds around this. I got penalized for paying my bill early. Think about that for moment… Now here is the full story. For my very first payment I knew would be due late December 2013-Early January 2014, I paid on December 13, 2013 so I would not have to think about it during the holidays and figured that’s what responsible people do. PayPal does not acknowledge the payment because it was received 2 days before the billing cycle. As a “reward” for being responsible, they charged a late fee and said I am past due because they did not receive a payment on January 5 (even though they quickly posted my payment 12/13/13 that was to go to my first payment due). I do not recommend Paypal Smart Connect to anyone. It has turned out to be not so smart on my part. Their billing practices are appalling!

  9. Danny says

    I would think that it would be easier to have an automatic payment being release on the actual DUE DATE of the card.

    • says

      No. Like with any other credit card, all payments need to be made by the customer. GE Capital and not PayPal owns your account, so whatever you owe, you owe to GE and not PayPal.

  10. Ed P says

    PayPal Smart Connect is a ripoff. They will charge you for bull shi#t. Worthless credit for nothing. DO NOT SIGN up for this scam.

    • says

      I’ve had PayPal Smart Connect for over two years. Never had a problem with them. What did you get charged for?

  11. steve says

    I just found out that I have a fraud cc through syncb/paypalsmartconn. I am getting an unbelievable run around from the co. I have talked to 3 people and no one can help and they send to phone number First source 1/888/270/2281 and the phone does not answer. Has anyone else had this experience? This happened 03/24/2013 . Pulled my credit report.

  12. dualsportvet says

    This Paypal credit line is a fraud! I didn’t apply for a line of credit. I applied for a Master Card. I didn’t ok an application for a line of credit. While I had a chapter 7 two yrs ago, my score never fell below a 640. I’m at 700 now. I’ve got a line of credit at the CU for 14% and a CC from another CU for 8% and a motorcycle loan for 3%. There is no reason for my denial of a CC, except they don’t want you to have one. They’d rather you have the line of credit. It’s more money for PAYPAL. They better hope there is some VERY FINE print that I didn’t see that states IF they don’t except a CC that they will/can issue a line of credit.
    The problem with any loan, is once it’s open, if you close the account it WILL ding your score. And now I have an account that is at 26% and I will NEVER USE IT! That is highway robbery at it’s best! I only applied for the diversity of my existing accounts. The different type of accounts the better the score. But not at 26%. I will be contacting a consumer attorney.

  13. Mary says

    They do state that they first try to qualify you for the Mastercard if not qualified then they try to qualify you for the smart connect. Also, it is reported as a credit card (revolving) you are more then welcome to close it and it doesnt really hurt your score. When you close out any revolving line of credit it is factored into your AAoA for 10 years so it will not hurt your AAoA at all. The only thing it will affect is your utilization.

  14. nani says

    I had a very negative experience with Paypal smart connect. DO NOT EVER USE THIS!!!!! I used my paypal smart connect to make a few purchases without any incidents so I figured this would be no problem also. I check the website the day before just to make sure I can use Paypal smart connect anywhere Paypal is accepted. so after doing my due diligence I decided to purchase tickets through Stubhub. Mind you my payment preference in Paypal is to connected to the Paypal smart connect. why is it that I proceed with the transaction and the entire amount is removed from my checking account. of course I was not happy about this. I then call Paypal customer support or lack there of and was told if I wanted a refund I would have to go through Stubhub, ok I can see this point. I then asked the customer service person if Paypal smart Connect is accepted everywhere Paypal is accepted. she proceeds to tell me I can only use smart connect is that payment option is available during the transaction. huh? I checked the website, so I decided to cut and paste the exact verbage is as follows:

    Where can I use PayPal Smart Connect?
    You can use PayPal Smart Connect to fund purchases on eBay listings that accept PayPal and anywhere else PayPal payments are accepted.

    No where in this statement does it say only if Paypal smart connect appears as an option for payment. THIS IS FALSE ADVERTISEMENT IN EVERY WAY SHAPE AND FORM. Needless to say I will pay off my account and use them little to none at all if possible.

  15. jeano says

    Paypal Smart Connect is SHIT!!!! I have been a member for years and i HATE everything about them!!!! THIS IS ALSO MY FIRST REVIEW EVER!!!! THEY ARE THAT BAD! ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE!!!!

  16. susan says

    I have paid off my paypal smart connect, and the account says closed, but because it is still on the pay pal account site. I can not make any purchases. It blockes me everywhere I go. I called Paypal Smart Connect who has been acceepting my payments ment to go to bill me later which is now Paypal Credit. Nothing is linked, nothing tells you what to do and since the statements are electronic, I cant even see them anymore. And because Bill me later is no longer there I can’t even sign in. I am totally screwed by the system. Somehow Syncronisity, GE an Whoeever bought pieces of PayPal and no one is playing nicely. What used to be a good system no is a NIGHTMARE of DISPARE. there is no way I can remove PayPalSmartConnect from my PayPal Account. How do you like that….
    Please don’t fall into the same hole

  17. Nancy says

    I have used mine for years. I love it. It allows my clients to pay me and the money goes straight on my PayPal debit card. When cash flow is low, I use the line of credit. To the people who freaked out because money came out of their checking accounts –come on, it is not PayPal s fault if you cannot be bothered to read the fine print.

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