Cash advance interest rates: Everything you need to know | finder.com
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What you need to know about cash advance interest rates

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A credit card cash advance gives you quick access to money but it often comes at a high cost.

While credit cards are mainly designed to pay for purchases, you can also use them to get cash or a cash equivalent. Known as a cash advance, these transactions generally attract higher rates and fees when compared to regular purchases. So it’s important to consider whether the convenience of using a credit card for cash advances is worth it.

Use this guide to learn what transactions are defined as cash advances, the reasons credit card providers usually charge a higher interest rate and the fees and charges you may pay when you make a cash advance. We also look at your alternatives to making cash advances and answer frequently asked questions so you can use your credit card in a way that works for you.

Our pick for no-fee cash advances

PenFed Gold Visa® Card

  • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months now through March 31, 2019. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 9.24% to 17.99%. APR will vary w/the market based on prime rate. 3% balance transfer fee per transaction. Subject to credit approval. $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • Rate and offers current as of March 1, 2019 and subject to change.
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No cash advance fees
  • Chip enabled for added security
  • Federally insured by NCUA
  • Variable rate as low as 9.24% APR
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Compare cash advance credit cards

Name Product Filter values Cash Advance Rate Cash Advance Fee Annual Fee
27.24% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
27.24% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
27.24% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$95
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
27.24% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees
14.24% variable
$3
$0
A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
27.49% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$195
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Plus $100 after making a Delta purchase in the same time. Rates & Fees
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$450
Earn 75,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Rates & Fees
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
27.49% variable
$5 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
26.24% variable
$0
When you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $150 cash back bonus.
12.99% to 17.99% variable
$5 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
Earn 25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 90 days from account opening.
11.99% to 17.99% variable
$5 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with your card.
11.99% to 17.99% variable
None
$0
Earn 5x points on gas at the pump and 3x points on groceries. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.
27.24% variable
$10 or 4% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
27.24% variable
$10 or 4% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
An 18 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
27.24% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0
1% cash back to the nonprofits, K-12 schools, colleges and religious organizations of your choice.
27.49% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
27.49% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
27.49% variable
$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
$0
Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score over 620.
$5 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
See terms
The First Access Card is a true Visa® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.
9.24% to 17.99% variable
None
$0
Low APR on all purchases including cash advances.
11.99% to 17.99% variable
None
$0
Earn a $100 bonus after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.
26.24% variable
$10 or 8% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases.
26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV.
26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore.
29.9% fixed
$5 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$0 to $99
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card is specifically designed for those with less than perfect credit.
9.99% fixed
$5 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$48
This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
19.64% variable
$6 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$35
A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
20.74% variable
$10 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$39
No minimum credit score and no credit history required.
19.74% variable
$10 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
$49
Build or rebuild your credit with this secured card.

Compare up to 4 providers

What is a cash advance?

A cash advance is a type of transaction that allows you to access funds in the form of cash or a “cash equivalent”. For example, using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, pay for gift cards or buy foreign currency are all commonly defined as cash advance transactions.

Cash advances typically have higher interest rates than standard credit card purchases, with most APRs ranging from 19% to 22%. They also attract a fee worth 2-3% of the transaction and are not eligible for features such as interest-free days or reward points. There are also some credit cards that charge the same interest rate for purchases and cash advances, although the cash advance fee still applies.

What transactions are classified as a cash advance?

Using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, bank branch or at the checkout clearly qualifies as a cash advance. Other transactions considered as “cash advances” may vary depending on your issuer, but could include:

  • Buying foreign currency or traveller’s cheques
  • Gift card or prepaid debit card purchases and top-ups
  • Using a non-BPAY registered billing service to pay bills
  • Utility and government charges
  • Transactions at physical or online casinos (which can include money spent on food and beverages)
  • Other gambling transactions, such as buying lottery tickets or scratchies
  • Transferring funds from your credit card account to any other bank account

Can I transfer money from a credit card to my bank account?

For a full list of what your credit card issuer considers a cash advance and the charges that will you’ll incur, please see your card’s Product Disclosure Statement.

Cash-card-895x278

Why do banks charge higher interest rates for cash advances?

Cash advances are similar to short-term loans in that they provide you with funds on short notice. The cash you get can then be used for anything you want, including transactions you wouldn’t normally be able to use a credit card for (such as paying other debts). As such, these transactions are considered as being a greater risk than standard credit card purchases.

A higher standard interest rate can help lenders offset this risk by providing them with more potential profits when you use your card for a cash advance. The rates and fees applied can also help deter you from regularly using a credit card for cash advance transactions, which also reduces the potential risk for lenders.

Balance transfers and cash advances

If you’re comparing balance transfer credit cards, check the rate of interest that applies after the introductory period. Often the low or 0% interest rate will revert to the cash advance rate for any outstanding balance at the end of the introductory period. In extreme cases, this could mean you go from paying 0% interest on a debt during the promotional period, to paying 22% p.a. for it once the rates revert.

What fees and charges apply when using a credit card for a cash advance?

Using your credit card for a cash advance should be a last resort, and if you do end up taking this path, remember the following.

  • atm cash withdrawalCash advance fee. Cash advance fees are usually charged as a percentage of the total cash advance amount. For example, if you withdrew $1,000 on a credit card with a cash advance fee of 3%, you would pay a fee of $30. This fee will add to the balance on your card and increase your interest charges.
  • Interest charges. Interest applies from the day you make the cash advance transaction and quickly adds up. For example, if your credit card had a cash advance rate of 21.99% p.a. and you made a cash advance transaction worth $1,030 (with a 3% cash advance fee), you would be charged $18.64 for the first month you carried this debt. If you only paid the minimum off it each month, it would take you around 9 years to pay it off and cost a total of $1,274 in interest.
  • ATM fees. Some providers and third-party companies will charge an additional fee when you withdraw money from an ATM outside your provider’s network. These charges will add to the overall cost of your cash advance. You may be able to avoid these fees by using an ATM that’s part of your provider’s network. For example, if you have a Westpac credit card and get cash out at a Westpac ATM.
  • Cash advances overseas. If you use a credit card for a cash advance overseas, you could attract other charges, including ATM fees and currency conversion fees. These will be added to the total cost of the cash advance, leading to even higher interest charges.

Cash advances and credit card repayments

Following the credit card reforms in 2012, banks now have to allocate your repayments to the debt that is accruing the highest interest first. So if you’ve used your card for both purchases (which might accrue interest at 14%) and cash advances (which collect 22% interest), your repayments will go directly to your cash advances. If you’re trying to repay your purchases without collecting interest, it’s important to remember this and where your repayments are actually going.

What are the alternatives to cash advances?

If you want to avoid the extra fees and high-interest rates that come with using your credit card for a cash advance, you can consider the following alternatives:

  • Debit cards. Using your debit card to withdraw money from your bank account won’t attract cash advance fees. In fact, it’s likely to be fee-free if you stick to your own bank’s ATM network.
  • Direct bank transfers. If you need to make a payment straight away, you could consider a direct transfer from your bank account. This allows you to pay anyone using your own money instead of funds from your credit card, which means you won’t be charged interest or a cash advance fee.
  • Loans. If you need extra funds, you may also want to consider getting a short-term loan or a personal loan to cover the costs. These options could have lower interest rates than credit card cash advances. Plus, some short-term loan issuers can give you access to approved funds on the same day or by the next business day.

Cash advances can be convenient when you need money in a hurry and have no other option, but the rates and fees they attract mean that cash advances should only be considered as a last resort. If you still think you may use your credit card for a cash advance, you may want to compare credit cards with low cash advance rates to see if there is an option that will work for you.

Frequently asked questions about credit card cash advances

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