How to Use VLOOKUP in Excel

Have you ever had a large spreadsheet with data in Excel and need an easy way to filter and extract specific information from it? If you learn how to use VLOOKUP in Excel, you can do this lookup with just a single, powerful Excel function.

The VLOOKUP function in Excel scares a lot of people because it has a lot of parameters and there are multiple ways to use it. In this article you’ll learn all of the ways you can use VLOOKUP in Excel and why the function is so powerful.

VLOOKUP Parameters In Excel

When you start typing =VLOOKUP( into any cell in Excel, you’ll see a pop-up showing all of the available function parameters.

Let’s examine each of these parameters and what they mean.

  • lookup_value: The value you’re looking for from the spreadsheet
  • table_array: The range of cells in the sheet you want to search through
  • col_index_num: The column where you want to pull your result from
  • [range_lookup]: Match mode (TRUE = approximate, FALSE = exact)

These four parameters let you do a lot of different, useful searches for data inside of very large datasets.

A Simple VLOOKUP Excel Example

VLOOKUP isn’t one of the basic Excel functions you might have learned, so let’s look at a simple example to get started.

For the following example, we’ll use a large spreadsheet of SAT scores for schools in the United States. This spreadsheet contains over 450 schools along with individual SAT scores for reading, math, and writing. Feel free to download to follow along. There is an external connection that pulls the data, so you’ll get a warning when opening the file, but it’s safe.

It would be very time consuming to search through such a large dataset to find the school that you’re interested in.

Instead, you can create a simple form in the blank cells on the side of the table. To conduct this search, just make one field for School, and three additional fields for reading, math, and writing scores.

Next, you’ll need to use the VLOOKUP function in Excel to make these three fields work. In the Reading field, create the VLOOKUP function as follows:

  1. Type =VLOOKUP(
  2. Select the School field, which in this example is I2. Type a comma.
  3. Select the entire range of cells that contain the data you want to look up. Type a comma.

When you select the range, you can start from the column you’re using to look up (in this case the school name column), and then select all of the other columns and rows that contain the data.

Note: The VLOOKUP function in Excel can only search through cells to the right of the search column. In this example, the school name column needs to be to the left of the data you’re looking up.

  1. Next, to retrieve the Reading score, you’ll need to select the 3rd column from the leftmost selected column. So, type a 3 and then type another comma.
  2. Finally, type FALSE for an exact match, and close the function with a ).

Your final VLOOKUP function should look something like this:

=VLOOKUP(I2,B2:G461,3,FALSE)

When you first press Enter and finish the function, you’ll notice the Reading field will contain an #N/A.

This is because the School field is blank and there is nothing for the VLOOKUP function to find. However, if you enter the name of any high school you want to look up, you’ll see the correct results from that row for the Reading score.

How To Deal With VLOOKUP Being Case- Sensitive

You may notice that if you don’t type the name of the school in the same case as how it’s listed in the dataset, you will not see any results.

This is because the VLOOKUP function is case sensitive. This can be annoying, especially for a very large dataset where the column you’re searching through is inconsistent with how things are capitalized.

To get around this, you can force what you’re searching for to switch to lowercase before looking up the results. To do this, create a new column next to the column you’re searching. Type the function:

=TRIM(LOWER(B2))

This will lowercase the school name and remove any extraneous characters (spaces) that might be on the left or right side of the name.

Hold down the Shift key and place the mouse cursor over the lower right corner of the first cell until it changes to two horizontal lines. Double click the mouse to autofill the entire column.

Finally, since VLOOKUP will try to use the formula rather than the text in these cells, you need to convert them all to values only.  To do this, copy the entire column, right click in the first cell, and paste values only.

Now that all of your data is cleaned up in this new column, slightly modify your VLOOKUP function in Excel to use this new column instead of the previous one by starting the lookup range at C2 instead of B2.

=VLOOKUP(I2,C2:G461,3,FALSE)

Now you’ll notice that if you always type your search in lower case, you’ll always get a good search result.

This is a handy Excel tip to overcome the fact that VLOOKUP is case sensitive.

VLOOKUP Approximate Match

While the exact match LOOKUP example described in the first section of this article is pretty straightforward, the approximate match is a little more complex.

The approximate match is best used to search through number ranges. To do this correctly the search range needs to be properly sorted. The best example of this is a VLOOKUP function to search for a letter grade that corresponds to a number grade.

If a teacher has a long list of student homework grades from throughout the year with a final averaged column, it would be nice to have the letter grade corresponding to that final grade come up automatically.

This is possible with the VLOOKUP function. All that’s required is a lookup table off to the right that contains the appropriate letter grade for each numerical score range.

Now, using the VLOOKUP function and an approximate match, you can find the proper letter grade corresponding to the correct numeric range.

In this VLOOKUP function:

  • lookup_value: F2, the final averaged grade
  • table_array: I2:J8, The letter grade lookup range
  • index_column: 2, the second column in the lookup table
  • [range_lookup]: TRUE, approximate match

Once you finish the VLOOKUP function in G2 and press Enter, you can fill in the rest of the cells using the same approach described in the last section. You’ll see all of the letter grades properly filled in.

Note that the VLOOKUP function in Excel searches from the bottom end of the grade range with the assigned letter score to the top of the range of the next letter score.

So, “C” needs to be the letter assigned to the lower range (75), and B is assigned to the bottom (minimum) of its own letter range. VLOOKUP will “find” the result for 60 (D) as the closest approximate value for anything between 60 to 75.

VLOOKUP in Excel is a very powerful function that has been available for a long time. It is also useful for finding matching values anywhere in an Excel workbook.

Keep in mind, however, that Microsoft users who have a monthly Office 365 subscription now have access to a newer XLOOKUP function. This function has more parameters and additional flexibility. Users with a semi-annual subscription will need to wait for the update to roll out in July 2020.

How Does Audible Work & Should You Cancel It?

The Amazon Audible service gives you access to a massive library of audiobooks including fiction, non-fiction, self-help and much more.

Unless you take advantage of any special offers, Audible normally costs $14.95 each month. For that price, you receive 1 credit to download a single audiobook at any price each month. Many of the audiobooks have a market price of anywhere from $15 to $40. 

From a financial standpoint, Audible seems like an excellent deal. But is it right for you? In this article, we’ll take a look at how Audible works once you subscribe. We’ll also explore scenarios where you may want to to end your membership, and how to cancel Audible.

How Does Audible Work?

Signing up for Audible is fairly straightforward. First, sign up for a free 30 day trial with your credit card. You’ll also need to download the Audible app for Android or for iOS.

Once you launch Audible, you’ll see lots of suggestions for audiobooks you may enjoy. These are organized across a number of categories like:

  • Recommended for you.
  • Popular In Your Top Genres.
  • Free for Members.

And a variety of other categories that update regularly. 

Once you start listening to audiobooks, at the top of the Home page you’ll also see your current audiobooks and your progress in each one. It’ll also show you the status of available credits to use.

It’s worth noting that you don’t have to use your monthly credit for all audiobooks. Audible has a collection of audiobooks in its library that you can listen to free of charge with a subscription.

When you tap the menu icon at the upper left of the home screen, you’ll see the full Audible menu with lots of options.

Navigating Audible

  • Select Originals from the menu to browse Audible originals that you can listen to for free.
  • Select My Library from the menu to view all of the audiobooks you’ve purchased. Purchasing an audiobook means that it’ll stay in your library permanently and you can listen to it as often as you wish.
  • Select Recommended from the menu to see what audiobooks Audible recommends, based on your recent listening history.

This area is especially useful considering the Audible library of audiobooks is so large, it can be difficult sometimes to find audiobooks that you’ll find interesting.

  • If you select Stats from the menu, you’ll see your listening history visualized in different ways.
  • Listening Level: Earn higher ranks the more hours you listen to audiobooks.
  • Badge Collection: You can win badges for listening to audiobooks in a row, listening at certain times of day or the week, and more.
  • Listening Time: See a history of your total listening time.
  • Audible Titles: View a total of the number of audiobooks you’ve listened to over time.

Just like fitness apps help you see how well you’re maintaining your physical fitness, Audible stats help you monitor how well you’re keeping up with your intellectual fitness!

Finding New Audiobooks To Listen To

When you select Store from the main menu, you’ll see different approaches to finding new Audible audiobooks to buy. You can build a Wish List, search for Best Sellers or New Releases, or simply select Browse to browse top selections.

The Categories option is the best way to dive into the entire Audible library. You’ll see a main Categories page breaking all audiobooks across 26 categories.

These should cover just about any area of topical interest you may have.

Select any one of them to browse by Recommended titles or by subcategories of each topic area.

Once you see an Audible title that you’d like to listen to, just tap the audiobook title. You’ll see the option to buy the audiobook at a price that’s typically discounted off retail price for subscribers.

However, most of the time you’ll use one of your monthly credits by tapping on Buy Now with 1 Credit. If you don’t want to buy now, you can select Add to Wish List so that anyone else with an Audible account could buy it for you by selecting Give as a gift.

One thing you can be confident about if you have an Audible account is that you’ll never run out of audiobook options to listen to. The library is truly massive.

Is Audible Worth The Cost?

Deciding whether Audible is right for you isn’t simple. A lot depends on your lifestyle and how much time you actually have to listen to that can range from 8 to 15 hours.

There are a lot of other considerations as well:

  • Do you enjoy hearing stories told to you out loud?
  • What part of your daily schedule allows for listening to audio for long periods of time?
  • Can you listen to an audiobook while focusing on other work?
  • Do you normally spend a lot of money on audiobooks anyway?

Audiobooks aren’t ideal for people who prefer the experience of reading physical books. It also isn’t cost-effective for people who only listen to them during long trips, and only take long trips infrequently.

To determine whether it’s worth the cost, consider that the monthly cost of an Audible subscription is $14.95.

  • Most subscriber prices for audiobooks average about $20 to $25 each.
  • You can purchase any audiobook with your monthly credit regardless of price.
  • You have access to an entire library of free audiobooks with your monthly subscription

Keep in mind there are plenty of places online where you can get free audiobooks to listen to. However the library of free audiobooks is typically much smaller than the library you’ll find at Audible.

How To Cancel Audible

If you’ve subscribed to Audible but have decided that it isn’t cost-effective, understanding how to cancel your subscription isn’t entirely obvious.

You do need to dig a little in the menu system to find where you can cancel your Audible subscription.

  1. From the Audible Home page, select My Account from the menu. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select Help.
  1. Under the What can we help you with? section, select My Account.
  2. On the next page, select Change or cancel my membership.
  3. On the next page, select Cancel my membership.
  1. Select the Cancel membership button to complete the membership cancellation.

You do have other options rather than outright cancelling your subscription. If you want, you could place your account on hold for up to three months. This will pause any monthly charges.

During that time, you won’t be charged the monthly subscription rate, but you also won’t accumulate any new monthly credits. This can be helpful if you’ve accumulated a lot of credits and haven’t had a lot of time to listen to audiobooks.

However, to do this, you’ll need to contact customer care via phone or email.

Should You Keep Your Audible Subscription?

The decision to keep paying for your monthly Audible subscription boils down to how much you use it. If you just don’t have the time to listen to audiobooks very often, an Audible subscription may not be cost-effective for you.

However, if you travel a lot and need entertainment during your long travels, or you find that listening to stories helps you stay more productive – an Audible subscription may be perfect for you.

Your Amazon Order Not Received? What To Do About It

You’ve ordered something on Amazon and wait excitedly for your package to arrive. Weeks go by with your Amazon order not received. What do you do?

Amazon has an excellent track record with getting orders to customers in record time. But problems always happen. And when they do, you need to know how to quickly resolve the issue.

Thankfully, Amazon offers lots of resources to help out in this situation.

Research Your Amazon Order Status

If you’ve ordered something on Amazon but haven’t received it yet, it can be nerve-racking. You spent your hard earned money on something online and the last thing you want to happen is not receiving what you bought?

If you’re at all concerned about the status of your order, you can always see what’s going on with the shipment by logging into your Amazon account and selecting Returns & Orders in the menu.

In this section, under the Orders link, you’ll see all of your orders sorted by how recent the order took place.

Each order shows the status. If it was delivered already, it’ll show the date the item was delivered. Under the delivery date, you’ll also see a note as to where exactly the item was delivered. 

If it was delivered at your door or inside your mailbox, this status will say so.

If the status is delivered by your Amazon order was not received, you can select Track package to get more details.

On the details page, you’ll see the delivery address, and more importantly the tracking ID with whatever shipping service was used to track the package.

You can use this Tracking ID on the USPS or UPS website (depending which was used) to get more details about the delivery.

The tracking details on the UPS or USPS website will detail any delivery issues. 

If you select the See all updates link under the Delivered address, you’ll see a more detailed timeline of the delivery process for this package.

Often, if the initial delivery attempt has failed, this detailed shipping update list will provide the date that the issue occurred and a brief reason for the failure. 

Again, you can get more details by using the Tracking ID at the postal service’s website.

Amazon Order Not Shipped

If your Amazon order has been in a processing status for a long time and not delivered, there could be several reasons.

3rd Party Seller Delivery Times

One of the most common reasons a delivery can take longer than usual is if you’ve bought an item where delivery isn’t fulfilled by Amazon.

If a 3rd party seller (an Amazon Marketplace seller) is fulfilling the order, you may experience extended shipping time.

This shouldn’t be a surprise since when you place your order, since the estimated arrival date appears just under the price. 

If the delivery date goes beyond the estimated date, you can select Contact Seller on your order detail page and ask about the status of your shipment.

If the order is eligible for Amazon Prime (again it would have stated this on the order page), then you can contact Amazon Customer Service to ask about why your Amazon order hasn’t been received yet.

Amazon Is Prioritizing Certain Items

In times of national crisis where Amazon’s delivery services are stretched thin, you may notice that your orders stay in “Pending” status longer than expected. 

This was the case during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, when Amazon experienced a dramatic increase in online shopping orders. During that time period, Amazon prioritized items like household staples, medical supplies, or other critical items. 

This led to other items experiencing extended delivery times.

Natural Events Preventing Delivery

Another issue that can affect Amazon deliveries is during a regional crisis. For example hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages, and ice storms can all impact the ability of delivery services to bring packages to your doorstep.

Amazon recommends estimating an increase of 2 to 3 business days if you live in an area expecting these kinds of service delays. You should see this new delivery date on your order status page if this is the case. If not, contact Amazon Customer Service to confirm.

Amazon Order Delivered But Not Received

If your Amazon order status states “Delivered” but you haven’t received the package, there could be a number of legitimate reasons for this. Items can be returned back to Amazon as undeliverable under the following circumstances.

  • Small P.O. Box: Your delivery address is a P.O. box that’s too small for the package.
  • Incorrect Address: If the delivery address is missing an important piece of information, like apartment number.
  • Previous Address: You mistakenly chose your old address as the delivery address.
  • Insecure Location: Your house or apartment isn’t a safe place to leave a package, either facing threat of weather or a hidden location where the package is easy to steal.
  • Unable to Access: If delivery requires going through a buzzer or security gate and the delivery driver can’t access your apartment or house to make the delivery.
  • Penitentiary: Penitentiary restrictions don’t allow the delivery to complete.
  • Failed Delivery Attempts: Packages worth more than $1300 require a signature and after three failed attempts, the delivery driver was not able to obtain one.
  • Transportation Problems: Sorting issues or label damage could cause the delivery to fail.
  • Refused by Recipient: If someone at the address wasn’t expecting a package and refused delivery. 

Any one of these situations could have caused the delivery to fail. In these situations, the package will be delivered to Amazon and you’d be issued a refund.

Usually you’ll see one of the above statuses on your order status page, and you’ll need to wait for the package to arrive back to the Amazon location to get your refund.

Actions To Take With Amazon Or The Seller 

What do you do if your Amazon order was not received? You aren’t out of luck. There are several actions you can take to find out where your package is.

Click Seller Link And Ask a Question

On your order status page, you can see a link to the seller page next to “Sold by” under the item title.

On the seller page, you’ll see a number of options. You can select Ask a question and post a question about your item directly to the seller.

You can also select Returns & Refunds, Shipping, Policies, or Help links to get more information about shipping, refund, and return policies. You may also find some additional customer service links to contact the seller.

Cancel Or Change Shipping Speed

If you don’t want to deal with all of the hassle at all, you can just go back to the order status page and select Cancel items to cancel your order.

This is only possible if the order status doesn’t show “Delivered” yet. 

You can also Change shipping speed to get the item sooner. However, this will only work if the status doesn’t show Delivered, and if the item hasn’t already been shipped by the seller. This is usually the case if the status still shows Pending. 

Why Is Buying “Fulfilled By Amazon” Safer? 

One of the best ways to protect yourself is by trying to buy items on Amazon where the delivery is “fulfilled by Amazon”.

On a third party seller page, you will see this under the Shipping tab. The information here should report that “This item is Fulfilled by Amazon.com”.

What does this mean?

If an item delivery is fulfilled by Amazon, that means third party sellers store their products at the Amazon fulfillment centers. Amazon staff handles packing and shipping the item to you. 

This also means that the shipments are guaranteed by Amazon to be delivered on the date listed on the order page. It also means Amazon Prime customers can get free shipping.

How do you know if an item is fulfilled by Amazon when you’re buying? You’ll see this under the Add to Cart section. This shows who the seller is and whether shipment is going to be Fulfilled by Amazon.

If you see this status, then all of Amazon’s delivery guarantees and protections apply to the order.

Amazon Guarantees And Protections

There are two varieties of protections you get when Amazon fulfills the order. The A-to-Z Guarantee and Guarantee Delivery.

A-to-Z Guarantee

This guarantee means that you’ll receive the produce within the date range specified on the order page. It also guarantees that the products will be in good condition when you receive it. 

If either of these aren’t the case, you can report the issue to Amazon and get a refund. Amazon provides refunds under this guarantee for the following situations:

  • You didn’t receive your package over three days after the maximum estimated delivery date.
  • Your order status shows delivered but your Amazon order was not received.
  • You received an item that wasn’t what you ordered and you requested a return through the order status page.
  • You returned the item but the seller didn’t send you a refund.

Under this guarantee, you have 90 days after the maximum estimated delivery date to request your refund.

You’ll see the estimated delivery date when you complete your purchase of your item or items from the cart.

What this means is that so long as the item was fulfilled by Amazon, you can always trust that you’ll be protected.

Note: Digital products aren’t covered under this guarantee so use special caution and buy directly from Amazon when purchasing electronics.

Guaranteed Delivery

Amazon’s Guaranteed Delivery means that your shipping fees could be refunded if Amazon delivers the item after the maximum estimated delivery date.

There are a few conditions to get your shipping fees refunded.

  • The shipping method you chose matched the shipping option provided on the produce page.
  • You entered an eligible, real address.
  • You placed your order before the “order within” countdown on the checkout page was done.
  • The confirmed delivery date is in your email confirmation from Amazon after you ordered.

Keep in mind that if Amazon missed the delivery because of a natural disaster or some other event out of Amazon’s control, the Guaranteed Delivery fee refund doesn’t apply.

To get a refund, visit the Amazon Contact Us page and click Start chatting now. Mention that you want to apply for the Guarantee Delivery fee or the A-to-Z Guarantee refund, whichever applies. 

Samsung Gear S3 Google Maps Tips and Tricks

The Samsung Gear S3 is a versatile watch. It can help you stay on top of your schedule, track your health, and track the weather. 

But one thing the Samsung Gear S3 does best is it helps you navigate wherever you need to go.

This is thanks to a combination of a watch app, a phone companion app, and Google Maps. All three combine to integrate your Samsung Gear S3 and Google Maps into an effective navigation companion.

How To Set Up Samsung Gear S3 and Google Maps

To get started, you’ll need to install the Navigation app on your Samsung Gear S3. You can do this by following these steps.

  1. Make sure your Samsung Gear S3 is paired with your phone.
  2. Use the Galaxy Wearable app on your Android to install the Navigation app to your Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch.
  3. Install the companion Navigation Pro app on your Android.
  4. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your Android, and paired with your Samsung Gear S3.

You are now ready to get started with Google Maps navigation using your Samsung Gear S3.

First, launch the Navigation Pro app on your Android. Make sure there aren’t any connection errors with your smartwatch. Also, select Settings and make sure the setting Autostart watch app is enabled.

This setting will ensure that when you launch Google Apps and start navigation, that the Navigation app on your phone and your smartwatch will automatically launch. 

There are a few other settings you can configure in the Navigation Pro app, depending how you plan to use navigation on your Samsung Gear S3.

  • Show current time: Displays the time during navigation, since the navigation app takes up your entire watch face.
  • Show time of arrival: Whether the navigation app on your watch should show arrival time, duration, or total distance.
  • Vibration: Configures the length of vibrations that signal an upcoming turn.
  • Voice output on watch: Use your watch speaker for voice navigation instructions.
  • Dim watch screen: This is useful for when you’re using your watch navigation in low-light conditions.
  • Always display watch app: This keeps navigation on top of notifications or any other watch activity.
  • Rotate watch display: Enables you to use the watch bezel to control the angle of the watch display.

All of these settings can help you fine tune your experience when using your Samsung Gear S3 for map navigation.

Using Samsung Gear S3 For Google Maps Driving

The most common use for Google Maps is for driving navigation. This is also where the Samsung Gear S3 and Google Maps shines. 

It’s a perfect solution for safe driving because it lets you put your phone away and focus on driving. Your watch provides turn-by-turn driving directions, with just a quick glance at your wrist.

Once you’ve set up the Navigation Pro app on your phone and on your smartwatch, everything works seamlessly. You simply type your route into the Google Maps app on your phone, and once you start navigation it’ll launch the Navigation app on your smartwatch automatically.

Tapping Directions in Google Maps launches the navigation app on your smartwatch. It doesn’t matter what layers you have selected on your phone, but this could come into play later if you use transit or walking directions instead of driving (see below).

The navigation instructions on your watch face are very simple. 

First, if you don’t have bluetooth enabled on your phone yet, you’ll see a screen on your watch that it’s trying to establish a connection with your phone.

Make sure to enable bluetooth and pair the phone with your watch. Once you do, the navigation screen will launch, showing you the next upcoming turn and its distance. 

Depending on how you configured Navigation Pro settings, you’ll also see the current time, arrival time, duration of trip, and total distance.

For driving direction, using your Samsung Gear S3 with Google Maps is fairly straightforward. Just glance at the next upcoming turn on your watch face and follow the directions.

Using Gear S3 and Google Maps For Biking and Transit

If you think driving with directions on your wrist is pretty convenient, imagine how useful it can be when you’re biking.

No need to fumble around with your phone while you’re cycling, just glance down at your wrist for turn by turn directions.

Triggering navigation for this is no different, just select the biking icon when you’re searching for directions and the turn by turn directions will be based on biking routes rather than streets or highways.

Enabling the biking layer in Google Maps can make the directions in this navigation mode much more clear.

Your Samsung Gear S3 will provide you with turn by turn directions for that bike route.

If you’re taking the subway or a bus, then choose the transit icon instead. 

You might be wondering why you’d need to use the Samsung Gear S3 navigation app while you’re riding a subway or a bus. Well, if you enable arrival time to display in the Navigation Pro app on your phone, you don’t have to worry about watching for when your next subway or bus stop is coming up.

Just keep an eye on your watch and you’ll know when you’re almost there!

Samsung Gear S3 and Google Maps for Walking or Hiking

Going for a walk or a hike presents a unique opportunity when it comes to using the Samsung Gear S3 Navigation app. 

This is because the ability to put your phone away into your purse or pocket means you can focus more on the hike and less on worrying about directions.

It also lets you take advantage of Google Maps new offline maps feature for going on hikes off the grid.

To use this, just open the Google Maps app and open the menu. Select Offline maps from the menu.

Use the Offline maps feature to select a map of any area that you want to download to your phone for offline use. 

Scroll the map to any hiking trails or other areas you plan to walk and save it as an offline map. 

Then, when you’re in that area, you can enable navigation in walking mode just like you would with an online map. 

Using your Samsung Gear S3 and Google Maps for walking or hiking is very useful. It lets you focus on the hike and the scenery. Just make sure your Samsung Gear S3 battery is fully charged before you head out.

It’s especially useful if you configure the Navigation app settings as follows:

  • Display brightness: Increase the brightness for outdoor walks so you can see the display easier.
  • Voice output: If you enable bluetooth and use earbuds, you won’t even have to look at your watch while navigating city streets. Just listen to the turn-by-turn voice instructions.
  • Vibration: Enable vibrations so that you’ll know when an upcoming turn is near.

Using your Samsung Gear S3 with Google Maps makes owning a smartwatch a truly useful thing. You’ll find that you’re using it all the time, whether driving, riding the subway, or walking through the city.

How to Use PayPal on Amazon

If you’re a frequent user of PayPal, then the odds are pretty good that you usually have some funds tied up in your PayPal account. Wouldn’t it be convenient to just use PayPal on Amazon directly?

Unfortunately, Amazon has never integrated PayPal into its payment system. This may be because eBay owns PayPal and is a direct competitor. Or it may be because Amazon wants people to use its own payment system called Amazon Pay instead. 

Whatever the reason, you can’t make direct payments to Amazon with PayPal. However, there are some creative ways to workaround that issue.

How To Use PayPal On Amazon

Just because you can’t pay for something directly on Amazon with PayPal, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your PayPal funds to buy things.

By using third-party gift cards, credit cards, or money transfers, you can still use PayPal on Amazon.

Use A PayPal Cash Card

One of the best ways to use PayPal on Amazon is by signing up for a PayPal Cash Card. 

This is essentially a debit Mastercard that works just like any other credit card you might use on Amazon. The upside is that it is no different than a debit card that you might have with your bank to buy things from funds with your checking account.

To Amazon, it just appears like you’re using a regular bank debit card. However, when you make payments for your purchases, the funds come directly out of your PayPal account.

The benefits of using a PayPal debit Mastercard include:

  • No credit check required to obtain the card
  • Money comes directly out of your PayPal account without a bank account required
  • You get a routing and account number so you can have your employer deposit your checks directly into your PayPal account
  • Can be used at any merchant that accepts Mastercard, not just Amazon

You can sign up for a PayPal Cash Card for free and get your debit Mastercard to start making Amazon purchases.

There is a catch. When you sign up for a PayPal cash card, you also need to apply for a PayPal Cash Plus account. There is no extra fee for this, but you will need to verify your identity by providing PayPal with:

  • Name
  • Physical address
  • Birthday
  • Taxpayer identification number

Once you are confirmed for a PayPal Cash Plus account, it will be linked directly to your Paypal personal account and used to fund all card purchases.

Add Your PayPal Cash Card to Amazon

To add the PayPal Cash Card as a payment option in Amazon, sign into Amazon and hover the mouse over Account & Lists in the menu. Select Your Account.

In the Ordering and shopping preferences box, select Payment options.

On the payment options page, scroll down to Add a New Payment Method and select Add a card

Fields will appear where you can enter the card details from your Paypal Cash Card, and then select Add your card

Your Paypal Cash Card will then appear under the Your credit and debit cards section. You’ll be able to select the PayPal Cash Card as a payment option any time you make an Amazon purchase.

Use A PayPal Mastercard

Unlike a PayPal Cash Card, a PayPal Mastercard is nothing less than an actual credit card. The card is actually issued by Synchrony Bank, and will require a credit check to get approved for one.

Like the PayPal Cash Card, the PayPal Mastercard is accepted at any online or offline retailer that accepts either PayPal or Mastercard.

There are two types of PayPal Mastercard:

  • PayPal Cashback Mastercard: Earn 2% cash rewards whenever you make certain purchases that qualify. That earned cash can be transferred to your PayPal account. 
  • PayPal Extras Mastercard: You’ll earn points when you make qualified purchases, and can use those points at select merchants on the PayPal Extras Reward Redemption Servicing website. 

You can sign up for either the PayPal Cashback Mastercard or the Paypal Extras Mastercard. Approval is fairly quick if you have good credit. 

So why get a PayPal Mastercard rather than a PayPal Cash Card? There are a few extra benefits.

  • You can pay your PayPal Mastercard balance with either your PayPal account or any other bank account.
  • You’ll build credit the more you use the card.
  • You aren’t limited to the balance you have in your PayPal Cash Plus account.

The most important benefit is that having a PayPal Mastercard lets you use PayPal on Amazon even though Amazon doesn’t accept PayPal payments directly.

It’s also dangerous – because you could potentially spend more than you have in your PayPal account, so use with caution! Make sure PayPal credit is right for you.

You can add your new PayPal Mastercard as a payment choice to your Amazon account using the same procedure in the last section above.

Purchase Amazon Gift Cards

Another trick many people use to buy things on Amazon with their PayPal account balance is by purchasing Amazon gift cards at online vendors that accept PayPal payments.

This is a useful loophole, but it does require the extra step of buying the gift cards. The benefit is that all of the gift card vendors below offer digital Amazon gift card codes that you can start using immediately for Amazon purchases.

A few digital Amazon gift card vendors that accept PayPal payments include:

You could also buy a Visa or Mastercard gift card at GiftCards.com using your PayPal account, and use that to make Amazon purchases. And if you only care to buy Audible audiobooks from Amazon, you can buy an Audible gift card straight from Paypal.

Transfer Money To Your Bank Account

While it may seem obvious, one of the easiest ways to use PayPal on Amazon is to simply move the funds to an account that Amazon accepts.

You may be thinking that it’ll take far too long to transfer money from PayPal to your bank account. When you’re looking to do it for free, this is true. The process can be tedious and includes:

  • Linking your bank account (checking or savings account)
  • Waiting for PayPal to deposit some funds for account verification
  • Waiting up to 10 days for a money transfer out of your PayPal account

Noone wants to wait 10 days to buy something on Amazon. But what if you could do it instantly?

You can, if you’re willing to pay the fee. An instant balance transfer fee is 1% of the transferred amount, up to a maximum of $10. But if you’re only transferring $100, that’s just a $1 fee for an instant transfer. And if you use a debit card, there’s no waiting for account verification.

Here’s how it works. Log into your PayPal account and select Transfer Money.

On the next page, select Transfer to your bank. On this page you have two options. You can select the standard (free) transfer that can take several days, or go with the instant option.

If you haven’t linked a debit card for the free option yet, then select Link an eligible debit card or bank

On the next screen, choose Link an eligible debit card. Don’t choose the bank account, since that will require deposits for verification. On the Link a card page, just fill out your debit card details and select Link Card

Once your debit card is linked, you can go back to the money transfer screen again and perform an instant transfer of the amount you need to make the Amazon purchase. Then go to Amazon, and buy the item you want!

As you can see there are plenty of ways to use PayPal on Amazon. Do you know of any other workarounds? Share your ideas in the comments section below.