What credit card transactions are considered cash advances?

From getting cash out to buying foreign currency or gift cards, discover all the transactions that are considered cash advances.

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Most credit cards give you the ability to get cash or a “cash equivalent” using your account. Known as “cash advances”, these transactions often attract a higher interest rate than purchases, as well as additional cash advance fees. Cash advances come with other restrictions as well, such as not being eligible for interest-free days or rewards points.

Here, you’ll find out more about credit card cash advance transactions, including examples of payments that may be defined as “cash advances”, how to check the rates and fees that apply and what to think about before using your card for a cash advance.

What is considered a cash advance on a credit card?

Credit card providers have individual terms of the transactions that they define as “cash advances”. Here, we’ve outlined the range of transactions that may be classified as cash advances and attract the cash advance rate and fees.

The 5 most common cash advance transactions

  • ATM withdrawals and cash out. Using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM or at the checkout is a cash advance. Additional fees could also apply if you use your credit card at a non-network ATM.
  • Gambling transactions. Purchasing lottery tickets and scratchies, placing bets and paying for gambling at a casino or online are considered cash advances. Don’t be surprised if you also have to pay the cash advance rate even on money you spend eating and drinking while at a casino.
  • Gift cards and prepaid cards. Most issuers consider the purchasing or loading value onto a gift card or other prepaid card as a “cash equivalent” transaction that is subject to the cash advance fee and interest rate.
  • Buying foreign currency or traveller’s cheques. Using your credit card to buy foreign currency or traveller’s cheques is not a good idea, because such transactions attract your card’s cash advance rate. Instead, if you’re going overseas, you should look into a card specifically designed for travel.

Other transactions that may be defined as cash advances on your credit card

  • Bill payments. Many credit card providers classify some or all bill payments as cash advance transactions. Depending on the provider, this could include government charges such as tax payments, utility payments and some GIRO payments. Check with your issuer and the business you’re paying to find out when
  • Balance transfers. A number of Singapore credit cards come with balance transfer offers, giving cardholders the ability to save money in the form of interest. In many such instances, outstanding balances from balance transfers start attracting the card’s cash advance rate at the end of the promotional period. As a result, if you don’t repay the balance completely before the introductory period ends, you could end up paying more than you initially expected.
  • Transfers between accounts. When you use your credit card account to transfer funds to another account, your card issuer will view it as a cash advance. Instances of this include repaying a loan taken from a friend, transferring money into your everyday banking account, and in some cases, even transferring funds using phone banking. A good way to avoid paying interest on such transactions is to use your debit card instead. If you do plan to use your credit card for electronic transfers, review the fees and charges at the onset.

Where can I find the cash advance fees and charges for my credit card?

Most credit card issuers will charge both a cash advance fee and cash advance interest rate for applicable transactions. Details of the cash advance interest rate are also included in the product disclosure statement that credit card issuers have to provide when you’re looking at a new card.

If you already have a credit card and want to know what you’ll be charged, you can usually find these details in the product disclosure statement or terms and conditions under “fees and charges”. But if you’re unsure or can’t find this information, contact your credit card issuer to confirm what rates and fees apply before choosing a credit card or using one for cash advances.

Credit card cash advance tip

If you often use your credit card for cash advance transactions, you may want to look at credit cards that charge the same interest rate for purchases and cash advances. While you’ll still have to pay the cash advance fee, these types of cards make it easier to keep track of the interest charges and sometimes offer lower rates than other credit cards.

Compare credit cards with competitive cash advance rates

Name Product Reward Annual Fee Cash Advance Rate Cash Advance Charge Min Income - Singaporean and PR
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Earn 3 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 when you spend with Singapore Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir or KrisShop.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year for principal card
Free for the first supplementary card, S$96.30 subsequent card - S$192.60 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$100 in cash credits and 3,000 KrisFlyer miles.
UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, agoda and UOB Travel.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$256.80 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$100 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
UOB PRVI Miles World Mastercard Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, agoda and UOB Travel.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$256.80 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$100 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
UOB Lady's Card
10X UNI$ (or 20 miles) per S$5 spent on one category with no min. spend required. Choose from Beauty& Wellness, Dining, Entertainment, Family, Fashion, Transport and Travel.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year for principal card
Free for the first supplementary card, S$96.30 subsequent card - S$192.60 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$180 in cash credits. S$100 cash credit when you apply for a new Credit Card and S$80 cash credit when you open an account online.
UOB Delight Credit Card
UOB Delight Credit Card
Up to 8% rebate at Cold Storage, Market Place, Jasons, Giant and Guardian
10% off over 4,000 house brands at Cold Storage, Giant and Guardian
Up to 3% rebate on contactless transactions and recurring bills
0.3% rebate on all other spend
S$0 annual fee for 1 year for principal card
Free for the first supplementary card, S$53.50 subsequent card - S$85.60 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, agoda and UOB Travel.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$256.80 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$100 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
UOB Yolo Card
Enjoy up to 8% cashback on dining, travel, shopping and entertainment. Plus, a further 3% cashback on online travel bookings and fashion shopping.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to 8% cashback on dining, travel, shopping and entertainment. Plus, a further 3% cashback on online travel bookings and fashion shopping.
UOB One Card
Up to 10% cashback on Grab and UOB Travel transactions; 6% for your Singapore Power bill; and 5% back on all other spending.
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$192.60 thereafter
28%
6% of cash advance amount subject to a minimum fee of S$15
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to 10% cashback on Grab and UOB Travel transactions, including up to 24% off fuel at SPC and up to 20.8% off at Shell.
American Express True Cashback Card
1.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend and no cap
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$171.20 thereafter
26.9%
5% of the amount withdrawn
S$30,000
Receive 3% Cashback bonus and up to S$150 Cashback when you spend S$5,000 in the first six months.
HSBC Visa Platinum Card
5% cash rebate on groceries, fuel and dining
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$192.60 thereafter
28%
S$15 or 6% of the amount withdrawn, whichever is higher
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage with built-in scale worth S$560 or S$150 cash back when you spend S$800 in qualifying transactions from card approval to the end of the following month. Receive an additional S$20 worth of grab rides when you apply online with MyInfo via SingPass. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 March 2020.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card
For every S$1 spent, get up to 1.1 KrisFlyer miles on all eligible purchases, 2 miles in foreign currency spent overseas (June and December) and 3.1 miles on Grab Singapore transactions (up to S$200 spend in each calendar month).
S$0 annual fee for 1 year - S$176.55 thereafter
26.9%
5% of the amount withdrawn
S$30,000
Earn 8,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles when you spend S$5,000 in the first 3 months of card membership and additional 8,000 KrisFlyer miles with minimum spend of S$5,000 in the 4th to 6th month of membership. Ends 30 April 2020.
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
Up to 5X Rewards points (2 miles per S$1 spent) on online, dining and entertainment purchases
S$0 annual fee for 2 years - S$160.50 thereafter
28%
S$15 or 6% of the amount withdrawn, whichever is higher
S$30,000
Get free Samsonite T5 68cm Spinner luggage worth S$560. Simply make S$800 in qualifying transactions in the first month of your account. Ends 31 March 2020.

Compare up to 4 providers

What else should I consider before getting a cash advance?

If you plan on using your credit card for cash advances, consider the following questions to help keep costs to a minimum:

  • Will you earn reward points? Typically, you won’t earn reward points for cash advances, unless a credit card comes with some kind of a promotional offer.
  • What are the cash advance conditions when travelling overseas? If you want to use your credit card for cash advances overseas, keep in mind ATM fees and international transaction fees could make it even more expensive. But if you still want this option, you can compare cards that offer lower foreign transaction and currency conversion fees.
  • What other options are there? If you want to use your credit card, see if there’s a way to make a purchase instead of a cash advance. For example, if you can pay with your card instead of cash, you won’t need to withdraw money from your account. You could also use your debit card, consider getting a personal loan, or ask your bank if it can provide a line of credit or an overdraft facility.

Credit cards generally aren’t designed to be used as an ATM card. So if you think that you’ll regularly perform cash advances, you may want to consider another option to avoid accruing high fees. Regardless, make sure to read the terms and conditions before applying to ensure that you’re not confronted with any nasty surprises when you get your hands on the card.

Compare low cash advance rate credit cards

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