Why it’s stupid for PayPal to send you an unsolicited debit card

I was surprised to get the offer shown here in my mailbox. PayPal is sending me a debit card unless I actively stop them. I’m no security expert, but I can count at least a half dozen ways this is a terrible idea:

  1. The only security in place to ensure that the person who receives the card is actually the intended recipient is the call that you would have to make to authorize it. Whatever they ask for — say, a social security number — is likely information that’s easily accessible from any of the hundreds of reported security breaches. There’s no other safeguard.
  2. I think this is the first piece of physical mail I ever received from PayPal. If it was sent to the wrong address, the debit card would be as well.
  3. Even if it is sent to the right address, someone else at my address — a spouse, child, or tenant — could receive the card and start making charges, especially if they know enough of my personal information to authorize it.
  4. If I don’t notice this piece of mail or the card that subsequently arrives, and I throw it in the recycling bin, somebody could pick it up and start using it (after accessing my stolen information to authorize it).
  5. Since so many of these cards are being sent out, this increases the effectiveness of subsequent phishing emails. If I receive an email that says “Final authorization for your PayPal Business Debit Card,” I might think it’s legit and not realize that it’s actually a phishing email intended to steal my PayPal credentials.
  6. To stop the card being sent, I needed to go to PayPal.com/NoThanks, where it asked for my PayPal user ID and password. If I mistype that web address, I might easily end up at Paypl.com/Nothanks, Papal.com/NoThanks, or any number of other spoofed accounts. A phishing site set up at that location is well positioned to receive my PayPal credentials and run up false charges.

Putting all that aside, why is it my responsibility to stop PayPal from sending me a card I never asked for? I have enough credit cards. Forcing me to take action to stop one being sent is an offensive abuse of my relationship with PayPal.

Even if it’s possible to block fraudulent charges on a card like this that’s used in an unauthorized way, it would take time and effort and likely damage my credit rating. I don’t need any more sources of financial liability that I didn’t ask for.

If I have a financial relationship with a company and it wants to offer me a credit or debit card, I can live with that. But no company should send cards unsolicited and require me to opt out. That’s just rude, and potentially dangerous.

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  1. PayPal also prompts users to enable single-click functions that bypass regular security steps. This is supposed to make the service easier to use, of course, which the company must assume will generate more fee revenue. But it’s a terrible idea. I have to decline this offer of convenience at least as often as I have to enter a password, and have accidentally activated the feature while consciously trying to avoid it. The whole strategy seems irresponsible.

    1. I’ve done the same thing. Keep getting these “you have activated touch” figure. No, I haven’t and I won’t. Sigh.

  2. PayPal Credit didn’t even report to the credit bureaus until it was eaten by Synchrony Bank, which can quite possibly be characterized as a deal with the devil. I am not sure they had any idea what they were doing.

  3. Paypal and Ebay just think that that they can do whatever they want. I attempted to make sure that I would not receive the card by going to Paypal.com/nothanks that did not acknowledge I did not want the card. I called Paypal and they said that I have no card coming. Hundred to one that I still get the card. I will go ballistic. I so tried of these financial companies and their bullshit.

  4. I agree – this is unacceptable that PayPal is making its customers take an ACTIVE step (using their own free time!) to NOT receive this stupid debit card. I don’t use debit cards and I don’t WANT a debit card, and yes – total bullshit that I have to deal with this or else I will just GET one! I am looking for a different service like PayPal, since I use it for my business, so if you know of any friendlier ones that won’t pull this sort of s***, let me know!

  5. i have received two of these cards, EVEN AFTER i already cancelled one immediately upon receipt, which of course was NOT requested. Extremely unprofessional of PayPal

  6. PayPal wants to send me a business cc I DID NOT ASK FOR. Who comes up with this bright idea? Who is the IDIOT who did this? I am instructed to go to your “No Thanks” webpage to OPT-OUT, to prevent you from sending me a fucking debit card. I DO NOT WANT TO log on to anything to CANCEL something I did not place an order for. Especially, I do not want to log onto something that ends with NO THANKS, I do not want to thank for something forced upon me. How DARE they. I complained to the Indiana State. If they can do it it means ANY bank can send you a valid unwanted debit card. Shame.

    1. Hi Don,

      I just received the PayPal letter too. I wanted to OPT-OUT but couldn’t found the way to cancel. Did you ignored to cancel it? Should I just ignored it, do no action at all?


  7. I just got the same letter (Feb 2020). I am going to send PayPal an invoice for $100 for the time I am spending to say “NoThanks.” I wonder where I should mail it?

  8. In addition to all the comments above, in order to use a debit card you first have to give PayPal money in order to use the card. Complete BS.

  9. I as a lot of others did not ask for any debit card. Debit cards are very insecure and have very poor security. I find it ridiculous to have to call and cancel a card I did not want or order

  10. I too am not happy with this form that Paypal has decided on. I am also second guessing using the web address to decline it. How do I know its not phishing scam? I don’t want the card, and should not have to tell them that. If I wanted one I would have applied for one!

    1. Also, when I log into my regular Paypal account there is no where there that you can decline it. Which further makes me suspicious. I just received this today 4/13/20

  11. Completely agree with all of the above — idiotic approach, full of security flaws, and unsolicited in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic at that. Makes me want to switch to Square and other payment-received options.

  12. For years, I’ve discarded junk mail without opening it. Yesterday, I received a plain white white envelope and could tell there was a card in it — opened it up and it was an unsolicited PayPal debit card. I don’t know if I got a “heads up” letter or not because I wouldn’t have opened it anyway. I thought maybe it was a rebate card but jumped online to research it a little since those usually at least give you a clue where they’re from. I’m glad I found the information I did, because this sucker is getting cut up into tiny pieces and then burned. Received April 20, 2020.

  13. As far as I can tell this is a DEBIT CARD and you must put money on it with EBAY through sales or deposits. This gives them free money to use and make interest on while giving you nothing in return but a warm and fuzzy feeling. I don’t use debit cards as they can be hacked and the banks will not stand good for them like credit card companies. They get hacked , you lose, so sorry, tough stuff. Sick of this ” simple banking” that’s a pain in the butt. I would just as soon use cash and forget all the BS fees etc. they stick you with. Sick of all of it. Go through all my junk mail as you never know what’s in it. I have fixed more than one shredder for friends that had jammed by coins, plastic cards dollar bills, pens in junk mail.

  14. I only made one payment through PayPal as a non-member and immediately kept getting emails and they sent me a card. I thought that I might have made an account without realizing it but I only have one email and when I tried to log in to cancel them sending me cards or to just close the account it said that there was no account attached to the email address I used. So long story short I don’t have an account and they still targeted me and I have no way to stop them sending anything without first making an account. none of this really adds up to me so if there is something I’m missing please let me know :’)

    1. I had the same issue, and I’ve spent two days trying to get a human on the phone. I had to do the same, create a damn account to just report what I consider to be fraud. I had a human for 3 minutes and then was disconnected and they didn’t bother to call back. Horrid, I will never use their service.

  15. I do not have a PayPal account but I have received 4 PayPal debit cards from different addresses. I have destroyed every card but I am annoyed that I would receive a card when I have never done business with them. Not sure what to do. I got a card yesterday and another today!!!! I would never do business with PayPal

  16. I also received a PayPal debit card without requesting one. Since I was a recent victim of identity theft I was very concerned. I tried to contact PayPal and their first response was “Debit card are GREAT and I should just activate it“. Second time around the asked me for additional identification information including my drivers license and a current bank statement. I sent them a copy of my current driver license and told PayPal that I have only been using my PayPal account (for the last 18 years!) with a credit card, I would send the a copy of the relevant credit card statement but since I was concerned about fraud with respect to THEIR debit card I would not send them a bank statement. The PayPal response was to close my account and a “promise” to send me any outstanding balance from my account after 180 days.

  17. My wife received this same letter today (8/30/20). The letter is dated April 7, 2020, and says she needs to go to that link to Decline by May 11, 2020!!!
    I am reporting this to the Texas Attorney General.

  18. The last time I received mail from PayPal I wrote refused return to sender on the envelope (I made sure I didn’t open it) and I haven’t received another debit card.

  19. I have frozen my accounts, never activated the unwanted debit card, spent 3 days trying to contact PayPal with no avail and am totally disgusted! If another one arrives I will write refused on it.

  20. I’m am so annoyed, I don’t think I have screamed as much profanity at an automated system in my life. I think they are automatically rejecting calls regarding these cards. I’m all for a group action against them, this is unacceptable. You can’t send a card to people who don’t even have an account, why do they have the last 4 of my SS#, they didn’t even have to do a credit check so that they were able to bypass my credit locks and alerting. This is horrid and should be completely illegal!

  21. Received a card for my husband, who is recently deceased. I still haven’t figured out how to cancel it and as far as I know, he didn’t even have a PayPal account. I called, and they told me they would text to his cell phone, and gave last four digits of no phone that we have. Then it sent me to a site where I could pay $1.00 to get my answers. I would love to know how to safely cancel this card.

  22. As I stated earlier I wrote refused on the envelope (didn’t open it) and returned to mailbox. I have not heard from them since.