Cash advances vs. payday loans: What's the difference? | finder.com

Credit card cash advances vs. payday loans: What’s the difference?

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Cash advances and payday loans may appear similar, but they’re different in many respects.

If you find yourself short on cash, you may need to borrow money quickly to stay current on bills or pay for an emergency expense. When this happens, you may consider a credit card cash advance or payday loan. Credit card cash advances and payday loans have at least one thing in common: You can use both to obtain money quickly. But before deciding on either option, it’s helpful to understand key differences between the two.

  • A cash advance is a short-term cash loan you take out through your credit card.
  • A payday loan is a short-term loan that typically comes with just a few application requirements and a quick turnaround time. Lenders can be online or in-store.

Let’s talk about a few more areas where cash advances and payday loans diverge.

Check into Cash Payday Loan

Check into Cash Loans

Check into Cash allows you to directly apply for a payday loan and have your cash when you need it.

  • Min. Loan Amount: $50
  • Loan Term: Varies by state
  • Turnaround Time: 1–2 business days
  • Total Costs: Varies depending on the amount and your state of residency.
  • Must be 18+
  • No security deposit needed
  • Confidential and secure

    Cash advances vs. payday loans: How much can you borrow?

    Cash advancePayday loan
    Percentage of your credit limitTypically $100 to $1,000

    Payday loans can sometimes trap consumers in heavy debt. Because of this, state governments have stepped in to protect borrowers. You’ll often see limits on how much you can borrow through a payday loan — typically $100 to $1,000, depending on your state of residence.

    The amount you can borrow through a cash advance is typically limited to a percentage of your credit card’s limit. Usually, this comes out to a few hundred dollars. Don’t be surprised if your credit card has daily, weekly and monthly cash advance limits in place. It’s very common to see a maximum daily cash advance limit of less that $500.

    Bottom line: How much you can borrow depends on your credit limit and your state’s laws.

    Compare your options for short term loans

    Rates last updated December 10th, 2018
    Unfortunately, none of the short term loan providers currently offer loans in your state. Learn more about short term loans in your state to find an alternative.
    Name Product Product Description Max. Loan Amount Turnaround Time Requirements
    CashUSA Installment Loans
    A connection service for quick cash loans up to $10,000.
    $10,000
    As early as 1 business day
    Must have a monthly income of $1,000+ after taxes and valid checking account.
    Jora Installment Loans
    Installment loans with repayment terms up to 30 months, depending on your state.
    $2,600
    1–2 days
    Must have an active checking account, regular source of income and email address.
    Check into Cash Payday Loan
    With 1,000 branches in 30 states, get $50 to $1,000 in days from this direct lender.
    $1,000
    1–2 business days
    You must be at least 21 and an American citizen and have a bank account, email address and phone number.
    OppLoans Installment Loans
    Installment loans with competitive rates from a top-rated direct lender.
    $5,000
    1 business day
    Must have direct deposit and meet minimum income requirements.
    LendYou Short-term Loans
    Apply online with this loan-connection company offering unrestricted short-term loans at high maximums — fast turnaround.
    $15,000
    1 business day
    You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, age 18+ and have a regular income.
    CashNetUSA Loan
    Apply for a short-term loan with an easy online application and dedicated customer service.
    Varies by state
    1 business day
    You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, be at least 18 years old and have regular income and a bank account.
    ACE Cash Express Short-term Loans
    Quick payday, installment and title loans with no prepayment penalty and a 72-hour satisfaction guarantee. Funds can be loaded on an ACE Elite™ Visa® Prepaid Debit Card.
    Varies by state
    Generally receive the money the next business day
    Must be 18+ years old, have a steady source of income and a checking or savings account. Must not be a debtor in bankruptcy.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    What are the repayment terms?

    Cash advancePayday loan
    Accrues interest immediately; can carry debt long-termAccrues interest immediately; pay back in fixed timeframe

    Unlike credit card purchases, a cash advance will typically start accruing interest immediately. In other words, there’s no interest grace period like you get for normal purchases.

    Similarly, a payday loan comes with immediate interest. The key difference is the time horizon for repayment. Some lenders require repayment as early as your next payday while others will be more flexible with the repayment dates. But with a cash advance, you can carry debt long-term, if you wish.

    Bottom line: Repayment for a payday loan is due much sooner than for a cash advance.

    Can I repay the balance from my cash advance first, before paying for the purchases I made on my credit card?

    Yes, as a general rule, credit card issuers have to allocate your payments to the amounts that have the highest interest first. Since cash advances typically have higher interest rates than credit card purchases, the money you pay toward your bill will automatically go towards your cash advance balance first.

    What are the interest rates?

    Cash advancePayday loan
    24% average APR (without calculating additional fees)Typically 400% APR and up (calculated from finance fees)

    For a cash advance, you need to pay an upfront fee — for example, $10 or 5% of the amount you take out. Then you pay interest on your cash advance, usually around 24% APR. For a payday loan, you’re charged an upfront fee based on how much you borrow — typically $15 to $30 per $100 you borrow. Since the repayment window of a payday loan is around two weeks, that works out to an APR of about 400% and up.

    That creates a distinct difference between cash advances and payday loans. Theoretically, you could take out a cash advance today and pay it back tomorrow, accruing very little interest. But regardless of when you repay a payday loan, you still pay the same amount in finance charges.

    Bottom line: You’ll pay a set amount in interest for a payday loan. For a cash advance, the interest you pay depends on how long you carry your debt.

    Credit card cash advance tip

    When choosing a credit card, if you plan on using the cash advance feature numerous times, it’s a good idea to look for a card that offers the same interest rate for purchases and cash advances. Sure, you’ll still have to pay a cash advance fee, but it’ll be easier to track your interest charges and you may save some money on interest in the process.

    How much are the fees?

    Cash advancePayday loan
    $10 to $20 or 3% to 5% of the transaction, whichever is greaterFinance charge of $15 to $30 per $100 borrowed

    You’ll be charged a fee as soon as you take out a cash advance. You’ll typically find the cash advance fee written in your credit card terms like this: “Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.” With a payday loan, you’ll pay a finance charge of around $15 to $30 for every $100 you borrow.

    Bottom line: Upfront fees for cash advances are often cheaper than those for payday loans — but remember that you still need to pay interest on a cash advance.

    What are the requirements?

    Cash advancePayday loan
    Credit card that allows cash advancesBank account and ID

    To take out a cash advance, you need to be approved for a credit card that allows them. Meanwhile, all you need to obtain a payday loan is a bank account and an ID. Payday loan centers usually don’t run deep credit checks, so payday loans are typically easier to get than cash advances.

    Bottom line: There are usually fewer requirements to get a payday loan.

    Cautions to keep in mind with cash advances and payday loans

    Now that you understand the differences between cash advances and payday loans, it’s important to consider the drawbacks of both. One drawback is they’re very expensive. In particular, payday loans are notorious for pulling borrowers into endless debt. Because payday loans cost so much, borrowers often have to take out more loans to pay off what they owe.

    Cash advances can cost a pretty penny too. Not only do you have to pay an upfront fee to get one, but you also immediately start accruing interest on the amount you’re advanced. What’s worse is the APR will likely be substantially higher than your credit card’s purchase APR.

    Most people take out cash advances and payday loans in financial difficulty — but they can find themselves in deeper debt afterward. We recommend turning to a cash advance or payday loan only in a true financial emergency. Read more about alternatives to payday loans and cash advances.
    Important things to know before getting a cash advance on your credit card

    Bottom line: Which is the better option?

    If you’ve decided that short-term lending is the route you’d like to take to solve your immediate need for cash, your ultimate choice between a cash advance and payday loan will depend on several factors. These factors include: whether or not payday loans are legal in your state, the amount you want to borrow and how soon you’re able to pay the money back. You can also check out our guide on short-term loans to further compare your options.

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    2 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      janiceMay 9, 2018

      what is the maximum I can borrow. I need around 100,000.00 or would I be able to borrow from more than one lender at a time

      • finder Customer Care
        AshMay 9, 2018Staff

        Hi Janice,

        Thank you for visiting finder.

        If you are looking to borrow around $100,000, you may apply for a Personal Loan which you may find the list of Banks on this page. The maximum loanable amount is $100,000 in which it will still depend on the Bank’s assessment of your financial capability. You may also check this page for Secured Personal Loan options that you may apply for.

        With regards to having multiple loans, yes you may apply for it given that you will be meeting the Lender’s/ Bank’s eligibility requirements.

        I hope this helps.

        Let us know if there is anything else that we may assist you with.

        Cheers,
        Ash

    US Payday Loans Offers

    Important Information*
    Slam Dunk Loans

    Potentially get approved for a short-term loan through this lender-connection service, even with poor credit history.

    LendUp Payday Loans

    LendUp offers $250 loans for first-time borrowers. Good credit is not required. Visit the site to see if available in your state.

    Check into Cash Payday Loan

    With 1,000 branches in 30 states, get $50 to $1,000 in days from this direct lender.

    OppLoans Installment Loans

    Installment loans with competitive rates from a top-rated direct lender.

    Go to site