An important feature of credit cards is that they allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs or through EFTPOS terminals in the form of cash advances. When compared to standard purchases, these transactions typically attract a higher interest rate and a cash advance fee. However, there are a selection of credit cards that charge a more competitive interest rate for cash advances, which can make it more affordable to withdraw money using your credit card.
Here, we compare low cash advance rate credit cards, explain how they work and look at the other factors to consider before choosing and using a credit card for cash advances.
How do low cash advance credit cards work?
Low cash advance rate credit cards offer similar features to other credit cards but charge a more competitive interest rate on cash advances. Many of these cards actually charge the same interest rate for both purchases and cash advance transactions.
Note, even with the lower interest rate, you still have to pay a cash advance fee every time you use a credit card for a cash advance. These transactions also won’t be eligible for any interest-free days your card may offer for standard purchases, which means interest will accrue from the time the transaction is made until it is paid off in full.
What are the benefits of low cash advance rate cards?
Low cash advance rate credit cards give you a more affordable way to use your credit card for a cash advance transaction. This can be particularly useful if you need access to extra funds but can’t use your credit card to make a payment. For example, if you are overseas or shopping somewhere that only accepts cash.
What exactly is a cash advance?
A cash advance is when you use your credit card to access money, for example, if you get cash out at a supermarket or ATM. Cash advances can also include “cash equivalent” transactions, such as using your credit card to buy gift cards, foreign currency, travelers’ cheques or for gambling transactions.
As these transactions give you access to actual money or an equivalent, they typically attract a higher interest rate, as well as a cash advance fee worth 2 to 4% of the total transaction.
What is the difference between cash advances and purchases?
While a cash advance refers to using your credit card to access money, purchases refer to instances when you use your credit card to pay for products and services. Most credit cards charge a different purchase and cash advance rates and cash advance rates are typically higher.
How to compare low cash advance credit cards
Not all low cash advance rate credit cards are the same, so when you consider applying for one take some time to compare the following aspects:
- Interest rates. Remember that the standard variable cash advance rate may not be the same as the purchase rate, so it is important to look at both.
- Cash advance fee. This fee is charged every time you make a cash advance transaction. It is usually represented as the greater of a fixed dollar amount or percentage. For example, “$3 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater”.
- Annual fee. Credit card annual fees can range from $20 to $400 or more. When considering this cost, weigh up the features of the card and consider whether they will offset the annual fee so you can choose a product that is affordable for you.
- International transaction fee. Most credit cards charge a fee of 2to 4% for transactions made in a foreign currency. If you plan on using a low cash advance rate credit card for transactions overseas or online (such as foreign ATM withdrawals or Internet gambling), make sure you also consider this fee and how it could impact on the overall cost of a cash advance.
- Introductory offers. A range of credit cards offers signup bonuses and introductory 0% interest rates for purchases or balance transfers. These offers can add short-term value to the card you choose, but it is important to note that the benefits usually don’t apply to cash advance transactions. Always read the terms and conditions to make sure you will be able to take advantage of this type of offer based on the way you plan to use your card.
What else should I keep in mind?
Using a credit card for a cash advance is not at the top of most people’s list as it is relatively expensive, but there are instances when you may have no other option. If you end up getting a cash advance using your credit card, consider the following:
- Budget for repayments. The longer you carry a balance on your credit card, the more interest you will pay. Factoring repayments into your budget or using savings to clear the balance can help keep these costs to a minimum.
- Make a payment as soon as possible. While credit card interest is charged monthly, it is actually calculated daily. This means each day you carry a balance from a cash advance, you will be paying a little bit more for the privilege. However, by making payments before your statement is due, you can reduce the overall cost of a cash advance. You can do this any time by transferring money from your everyday bank account, or by logging into your credit card’s Internet banking facility and reviewing the payment options available. This will also help you keep track of the balance.
- Overseas fees for cash advances. If you use your credit card to get cash out while traveling overseas, you could have to pay ATM fees and international transaction fees. These costs would be in addition to the cash advance fee and interest charges. Note, international transaction fees can also apply when you use your card to make purchases through international websites.
- Rewards. If your credit card comes linked to a rewards programme, any cash advances you make won’t be eligible for rewards. This is also the case for balance transfers.
How do I apply for a low cash advance credit card?
Applying for a low cash advance rate card is simple and can be completed online in around 10to15 minutes. After comparing cards and choosing one that suits your needs, just click the “Go to Site” button. Before that, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for the card. These can vary from card to card, but generally include the following criteria:
- You must be over 18 years of age
- You must be a permanent resident of New Zealand, a New Zealand citizen or meet the temporary resident requirements
- You must have a good credit rating
If you meet the application requirements, you can begin your application. Have the following documents and details ready to speed up the process:
- Your name, date of birth, marital status and number of dependents
- Your residential status, home address, email address and phone number
- Your employer’s name and contact details
- Details about your income, expenditures, assets and liabilities