Does withdrawing cash with your credit card affect your credit score?

Also known as a "cash advance", withdrawing cash on your credit card is visible on your credit record and can hurt your credit score.

Withdrawing cash using a credit card is worth avoiding for several reasons: it can hurt your credit score, put off prospective lenders who see “cash advances” in your credit report, and cost you money in fees and higher interest rates.

If you’re worried you may have damaged your credit through cash advances, you can check your credit score and report for free, through Finder.

Each cash withdrawal appears on your credit report and remains there for up to seven years. When applying for a mortgage or a high-value loan, it’s likely that the lender will complete a detailed review of your credit report, and lots of cash withdrawals (especially if they’re recent) could be perceived as a red flag. Lenders have to be cautious when assessing mortgage applicants, and they may assume that you’re relying on credit card cash withdrawals to cover everyday purchases.

Also, when you withdraw cash from a credit card, you’ll be charged interest immediately rather than after the typical 56-day grace period that occurs with regular credit card purchases. In most cases, cash advances incur a higher interest rate too.

Will credit card cash withdrawals be visible on my credit file?

Yes. Like most of the information on your credit report, cash withdrawals could remain on your file for up to seven years.

Will credit card cash withdrawals damage my credit score?

Potentially, yes. Recent and numerous withdrawals are more likely to hurt your score. This means your ability to be approved for loans in future can be affected.

How can credit card cash withdrawals affect my chances of securing credit in the future?

There is some grey area here (but it certainly won’t help). For mortgages and larger loans, lenders may conduct a thorough assessment of your credit report and your financial accounts before making a decision on your application. Because they’re generally an expensive way to borrow, credit card cash withdrawals can be interpreted as irresponsible or desperate financial behaviour and may, therefore, affect your chances of being approved for these loans.

If you fail to repay the amount withdrawn quickly, this is also likely to affect your chances of securing credit. Lenders will monitor your credit card balances and the interest you’re paying on outstanding debt, and this will play a big role in your perceived affordability.

As such, it’s best to avoid the temptation to make cash withdrawals on your credit card in the months before applying for a mortgage or large loan.

Tips for making cash advances with a credit card

Do

  • Explore cheaper options for getting your hands on cash first.
  • Check the summary box for your credit card to quickly understand its terms.
  • Repay the amount withdrawn as soon as possible.

Don’t

  • Withdraw cash using a credit card unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Apply for a loan while you’re close to your credit limit.

The bottom line

As well as hurting your credit score, credit card cash advances may be a red flag to would-be lenders, and make it harder for you to get approved for competitive loans, credit cards or mortgages in the future. And because cash advances can also be an expensive way to borrow, they should be avoided if possible.

Frequently asked questions

Read about how different factors can affect your score

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