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I'm having a hard time understanding how money works in Payday 2, it was way more simple in the first opus.

In a mission's preview, you can find different amounts of money:

  • pay grade (which seems to be some sort of gauge)
  • day rate
  • contract pay
  • something that looks like potential bonuses (in yellow, on the right side of the amounts)
  • the payday which looks like the total of all that

Mission description and its different amounts

Once the mission is complete, you get a debriefing screen with two sections:

Mission debriefing and its rewards

The day rate and contract pay don't differ from the first screen, even if I have no idea of what it is exactly. Then there are the bag loot items (if looted all the bags during the mission) and more I-have-no-idea-what-it-is stuff like the instant cash, the offshore account.
And, finally, the only amount that is revelant to me, the spending cash (in green) which is what you actually get in your wallet after the mission.

In addition to all that, my friend and I are receiving different rewards at the end of each mission (I always receive a few thousands more than he does): we checked and we don't have skills that impact missions rewards... I just have a few more levels.

Sooooo... Any idea what are all these stuff and how the final instant cash is calculated ?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

So far, from what I could read online (in this guide and on the wikia, among other sources):

Briefing screen

Pay grade

The pay grade for a mission indicates how much cash players can expect to get out of a mission -- source.

Also this thread suggests it can go up to 10 stars.

Day rate

The dayly income rate is a cash reward with a multiplier for the day a heist takes (e.g. 1x in The Bank Heists and 3x in the Rats Heist) -- source.

Contract pay

The contract payment is a flat amount of cash reward based on the number of white stars (pay grade) -- source.


The overall payday is the sum of the other two cash rewards (pay grade and contract pay) and will be shown on the map if you select a heist -- source.

Yellow bonuses
These bonuses come directly from the difficulty (or "risk") of the mission, pictured by the yellow skulls on this very same screen. Normal = no skull -- overkill = 3 skulls.

Debriefing screen

Instant cash and bag loot items
The instant cash it the one you loot and put in your pockets directly during the game (jewels, cash bundles, ...) The bags are those heavy packs of money, jewels or even drug you'll have to carry in order to achieve a mission.

This section contains the sum of all the amounts contained in the Income section ($332,400 in the example given in the question) distributed between two type of accounts: the offshore account and the spending cash.

Offshore account

The offshore account consist of most of the money players steal during the course of their heisting career. The player has no way of interacting with their offshore account and is only used to show off how much the player has stolen -- source.

Since August 30 2013, you can use your offshore account to directly buy specific missions from Crime.net.

Spending cash
The cash you get, finally. In the given example, it's 10% of the total amount, but so far I couldn't find any precise calculation to know if that percentage can vary or not.

This is the offshore account money and 10% of that becomes you spendable cash. -- source.

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3 skulls is overkill, not 4. –  3ventic Aug 13 '13 at 5:56
Fixed, thanks ! –  Anto Aug 13 '13 at 8:17
As of update 12, the spending cash percentage seems to be more around 25% of the total. I haven't done any calculations on that number, however. –  Unionhawk Sep 29 '13 at 0:22
Day rate is always 0$, they must've changed something –  Sentry Jul 12 at 22:45

I'm aware this question already has an answer, but as this is the top link when googling "Payday 2 Cash Earnings" I thought I'd throw in a bit of info on the current state of the Change in available Spending Cash (Patch 25.1)

enter image description here

I've just completed a Normal Difficulty Bank Heist: Cash mission, leaving with:

  • $50,000 Contract Day Rate
  • $18,750 Bag Loot
  • $7,700 Loose Items

This netted me:

  • $61,160 Offsore
  • $15,290 Spending Cash

This totals $76,450.

76,450 / 15,290 = 5

or (76,450/100)x20)

Which equals a 20% Cut of total earnings.

So it would appear they've tweaked the Spending Cash further since previous answers.

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A little addendum for Spending cash

You're right Anto, the rate is currently ~5% (from off-shore cash to "normal" cash).

In the Baine's guide, Baine suggested that the rate could vary in the future.


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I've found that the higher the level you are, the more your income is at the end of a heist.

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Welcome to Arqade. This does not really constitute an answer to this question. Please take the time to read the tour located under the help section. –  David M Jan 8 at 0:46

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