Cash Advances from Credit Cards: What You Need To Know

Written By
Julija A.
July 09,2023

When you're in a bind and need some quick cash, one option is to take out a cash advance with your credit card. Still, before you do that, there are some things you need to know.

This article will explain what credit card cash advances are, how they work, and the pros and cons of taking one out. We'll also give you some tips on using a cash advance responsibly and alternatives to consider if you're not sure this is the right option.

What Is a Cash Advance?

A cash advance is a service provided by most card issuers that allows cardholders to withdraw cash from their credit card account.

How Does a Cash Advance Work?

When you get an advance, you're still borrowing money from your line of credit, and will have to pay it back with interest on the amount borrowed.

The amount you'll be able to borrow via cash advances depends on your card's limit. Each bank has its own rules about this amount, typically capping it at a percentage of your credit limit.

Cardholders should also be aware that credit card cash advances do not usually earn rewards, points, or cashback on your credit card as regular purchases do.

How To Get a Cash Advance From Credit Card

Different issuers offer specific terms, but there are three main methods:

  1. Bank: You can get an advance from a bank teller at a physical branch; you'll have to provide identification, so don't forget to bring that with you.
  2. ATM: You can use your credit card to withdraw money at an ATM, as you would with a debit card associated with your checking account. All you have to do is enter your PIN and receive cash from your credit card.
  3. Check: Some credit card issuers will also provide you with convenience checks. To get cash using a check, fill it out yourself, and cash it at your bank. However, these checks also come with fine print, so get familiar with all the terms and conditions before you use this to get an advance.

Pros and Cons of Taking a Cash Advance

So if you're considering a cash advance, it's crucial to fully understand the meaning of a credit card cash advance, how it works, and carefully weigh the pros and cons.

On the plus side, a cash advance can give you access to quick cash when you need it most. If you need to cover some urgent medical expenses or fix your car, taking out some money from an existing line of credit might be quicker and easier than applying for a personal loan.

Furthermore, if used responsibly, a cash advance can help you avoid costly overdraft fees or late payments. Just be sure to repay the loan as soon as possible to avoid high-interest charges. Overall, a credit card with a cash advance can be a helpful tool - but it's essential to use it wisely.

Speaking of using things wisely, there are a few things to consider here. First, keep in mind that taking out a cash advance will likely hurt your credit score in the short term, because it’s essentially a mini-loan impacting your credit utilization ratio. Secondly, this quick cash is not without fees and interest, so it can be more trouble than it’s worth.

How Much Does it Cost To Take a Credit Card Cash Advance?

Here are some of the fees associated with taking out a cash advance:

Cash Advance Fee

This advance fee is charged by the credit card issuer and is typically a percentage of the amount you borrow, but it can also be calculated as a flat fee. Typically, it ranges between 3% and 5% of the total amount borrowed. A flat fee will likely be either $5 or $10.

Credit Card Cash Advance APR

Interest and APR are often thought of as the same things. However, you will likely find that cash advance rates are higher than those for other credit card purchases, sometimes even doubled, and don’t fall under APR calculations.

Other Fees to Consider

Most credit cards, even those with zero-interest purchases, do not have a grace period for cash advances, which makes them start accruing interest immediately. On top of that, you should also calculate bank fees and any transaction fees that might be associated with using an ATM.

If you're considering a cash advance to get money fast, be sure to weigh all of your options carefully. It is advisable to use a credit card cash advance calculator to see how much taking a cash advance will cost you in the end. With some credit card companies, an alternative solution might be the cheaper option.

Alternatives to Cash Advances

If you're not sure if a credit card cash advance is right for you, here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Personal loans: Personal loans can be a good option if you need cash for a larger expense and can qualify for a low interest rate.
  • Start a new credit line: Instead of taking out an advance, you can get another credit card with a higher limit. This way, if an emergency ever does arise and you need to access cash quickly, you have the option to do so and avoid surpassing your credit card cash advance limit or getting high interest rates.
  • Home equity loans: If you own your home, you may be able to take out a home equity loan or line of credit. This can be a good option if you need a large amount of cash and have good credit.
  • Borrow from friends or family: Borrowing money from friends or family is usually interest-free and can be a good option if you need cash for a short period.
  • Dip into your emergency fund: If you have one, it is always better to tap into that than get another loan.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are a few things to consider before taking out a cash advance on your credit card. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully and evaluate the offer provided by the credit card company. If you decide a cash advance is right for you, be sure to use it responsibly, and make at least a minimum payment each month.


Does a Cash Advance Hurt Your Credit?


Cash advances can hurt your credit score in the short term, as they are considered a high-risk form of borrowing. This is because cash advances are usually used for emergencies, and if you're unable to repay the loan quickly, you could end up paying a high cash-advance-interest charge.

Is Using a Credit Card at an ATM a Cash Advance?


Yes, using your credit card at an ATM to withdraw cash is considered a cash advance. This is because you're borrowing money from your credit card issuer and will have to pay it back with interest.

How Can I Get Cash From My Credit Card Without Advance?


There are a few different ways to get cash from your credit card without taking out a cash advance on a credit card. One option is to use your card to purchase something at a store or online. Another option is to transfer your credit card balance to another card with a 0% intro APR period. And finally, you can also ask your issuer for a cash advance through your online account.

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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