PayPal Working Capital Review: Convenient, but Still a Cash Advance
If you’re an active PayPal merchant, you might be able to qualify for a business loan through PayPal’s working capital program. And unlike loans from other lenders, your PayPal sales history matters more than your credit score. Sounds perfect, right?
Well, you know how they say if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is? That might be the case here. Yes, you can get financing based on your PayPal sales―but it will likely cost you more than other types of business loans would.
So should you get a PayPal Working Capital loan? We’re here to help you decide. We’ll tell you about the pros and cons of Paypal’s working capital, give you the details about its loan, and warn you about some important information.
PayPal Working Capital is best for users who will pay for convenience
First things first: If you’re not already using PayPal as your credit card processing company, then PayPal Working Capital won’t be the right fit for you.
You need to have had a PayPal Premier or PayPal Business account for at least three months to qualify for a PayPal Working Capital Loan. Plus, you have to process a substantial amount of sales through your account―at least $20,000 in annual PayPal sales for a Premier account, or $15,000 for a Business account.
If you don’t meet those qualifications already, we suggest you look elsewhere (our list of the best small-business loans can help). Because, to be blunt, PayPal Working Capital loans aren’t good enough that you should work toward getting one. There are much better options out there. So don’t start using PayPal just because you hope to get working capital.
What if you already can qualify, though?
Qualifying for PayPal Working Capital financing
Min. credit score
Min. time in business
$15,000/yr. in PayPal sales
$20,000/yr. in PayPal sales
Data effective 7/14/20. At publishing time, requirements are current but subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
In that case, we’ll admit that PayPal loans have some appeal. You don’t need to have a great credit score to get one because there's no credit check. The other borrower requirements are pretty low too. Plus, PayPal doesn’t require you to submit tons of additional documents or paperwork, so the application and funding process is fast and easy.
That may sound great, but it doesn’t necessarily make up for the elephant in the room: PayPal Working Capital works just like a merchant cash advance (MCA), even if PayPal calls it a loan.
And like any merchant cash advance, that means it’s pricey and uses a percentage-based repayment structure that can cause big problems for cash flow.
Now, PayPal Working Capital has the benefit of coming from a company that we trust more than most merchant cash advance providers. And we’ve seen reports that you can get surprisingly low fees as a repeat borrower. Plus, PayPal might fund you when other lenders won’t.
Put simply, PayPal Working Capital probably won’t get you the best loan deal out there. But given its low borrower requirements and convenience, you might decide it’s worth using anyway.
PayPal Working Capital loan options
Assuming you still like the sound of a PayPal loan, what can you expect to actually get?
PayPal Working Capital offers only one loan product. The loan amounts, fees, repayment terms, and retrieval rates can vary, but you won’t get to choose between a term loan and a line of credit, for example.
Unfortunately, PayPal prefers to leave a lot to the imagination. It doesn’t provide many specifics about its loans.
Min./max. loan size
Lowest listed rate
Get a Loan
Data effective 5/14/22. At publishing time, pricing is current but subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
PayPal provides the most detail about loan amounts. PayPal loans start pretty small, ranging from $1,000 up to $125,000.
Your loan amount will depend on your sales volume. The more you sell with PayPal, the more you qualify for. More specifically, you can get up to 35% of your annual PayPal sales amount.
Note that PayPal doesn’t charge any interest rate on your loan. Instead, you pay set loan fees, calculated as a percentage of your total loan amount. That means you won’t accrue interest over time, but you can’t save money by repaying your loan early.
PayPal doesn’t publicize its fees (a frustrating lack of transparency). But in our research, we’ve seen business owners report a wide range of fees―everything from 2% to 25%. For context, the lower end of that range would be a shockingly good deal for a merchant cash advance.
You will have some ability to influence your fees. PayPal will give you a choice of retrieval rates (which we’ll cover in just a moment). If you choose a lower rate, you’ll pay more in fees. Opt for the higher rate, and you get lower fees.
Also, if what we read from borrowers was correct, you may get offered lower fees on a second loan than on your first loan.
You’ll have to pay back those fees plus your loan amount within a specific loan term. But again, PayPal doesn’t advertise what those terms are. It instead refers to terms that are less than 12 months long and more than 12 months long.
By the way, PayPal Working Capital gets away with calling its products loans (instead of merchant cash advances) because they have set terms. A merchant cash advance has repayment timelines but not a designated term.
Of course, PayPal’s term won’t benefit you as a borrower. As we said above, you don’t get any discount for repaying your loan early. It just gives PayPal a guarantee that it will get paid, even if your sales drop.
Which brings us to the most important detail of PayPal Working Capital Loans: repayment.
Like a merchant cash advance, PayPal Working Capital loans get repaid by automatically taking a percentage of your credit card sales (usually called a retrieval rate).
As you can probably guess, PayPal doesn’t list its typical retrieval rates. In one example loan on its website, the repayment percentage is 20% (on the high end for a merchant cash advance). So if you make a sale for $10, PayPal automatically takes $2.
Remember that your retrieval rate is a percentage of your sales, not your profits. So that repayment percentage includes tax and shipping costs (but not PayPal processing fees). If a customer gets a refund, you should know that PayPal keeps the percentage it took.
We’re sure you wouldn’t try this, but we’re giving you a heads up anyway: Don’t try to get out of your loan by switching to a different payment processor. PayPal will keep a close eye on your account. If you have a sudden drop in sales, they may say that you’ve defaulted on the loan.
So you should think carefully about whether percentage-based loan repayment will work well for your business. For example, if you regularly have customers return products and request refunds, you’ll end up making lots of payments and getting little revenue. Likewise, if you collect a lot in taxes and shipping, you could lose more of each sale than you expect.
We also want to warn you that PayPal requires you to pay either 5% or 10% of your loan every 90 days (your percentage will depend on your loan term). Hopefully, you make that percentage through credit card sales. But if sales drop, you’ll still be on the hook for that percentage. You’ll still have to pay the full loan amount at the end of your term even if your sales didn’t cover it.
PayPal Working Capital customer reviews
It’s hard to say what customers think of PayPal Working Capital.
Our usual sources for customer reviews don’t differentiate PayPal Working Capital from PayPal as a whole, making it difficult to figure out if a given review is talking about PayPal as a credit card processor or PayPal as a lender.
Overall, PayPal doesn’t have great reviews. It’s got just a 1.2 out of 5 on Trustpilot.1 That’s really low, even when compared to other lenders.
On the other hand, we were able to find PayPal borrowers talking about their reviews across the internet. And in most cases, they seemed pretty happy with the service. They noted that it was easy to apply and convenient to repay. And several people seemed pleased with the low fees they got.
We found some reviews complaining about the high fees. And as you’d expect, we saw people who were annoyed that they didn’t get approved.
So while the numbers look bad, our overall impression is that customers generally seem to like PayPal Working Capital.
PayPal Working Capital isn’t our favorite lender by a longshot. It doesn’t provide tons of details about its financing―and the details that we do have, make it seem like they're just another costly and confusing merchant cash advance.
At the same time, it does make financing more accessible than other lenders do. It offers a convenient application and low borrower requirements. So we can see why you might choose to borrow from PayPal, even with its downsides.
Just make sure that if you choose to apply, your budget can handle the percentage-based repayment.
Want an alternative to PayPal Working Capital that’s still quick and accessible? Find one on our list of the best fast and easy business loans.
PayPal Working Capital Loan FAQ
Will a PayPal Working Capital loan affect my credit?
PayPal doesn’t do a credit check when you apply, and it doesn’t report to any credit score―but you won’t be able to improve it either.
Can you have multiple PayPal Working Capital loans?
No, you can have only one PayPal loan at a time. After you repay it in full, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for another one.
How do I apply for a PayPal Working Capital loan?
If you want a PayPal business loan, you can start an application on PayPal’s website (assuming, of course, that you meet the borrower qualifications we discussed above). Here’s how:
- Log into your PayPal account
- Answer a few questions about yourself and your business
- Submit your loan application
- Wait to get approved.
PayPal doesn’t say how long this takes. Typically, though, online lenders get back to you within a few days at most. So you won’t take a hit to your credit
Once you’ve approved, you can get money in your PayPal account in just a few minutes. Your loan repayment will start 72 hours after that.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.
1. Trustpilot, “PayPal” Accessed July 10, 2022.