Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser disclosure

What is a cash advance?

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

Most credit cards give you the ability to get cash or a “cash equivalent” using your account, and this action is defined as a cash advance. Cash advances usually have a higher interest rate than purchases.

Generally speaking, you want to avoid cash advances whenever possible. Aside from a higher interest rate, they often require a sizable fee to perform and come with other restrictions, such as no eligibility for interest-free days or rewards points. Here are some common transactions that count as performing a cash advance.

The 6 most common cash advance transactions

Credit card providers have individual terms of the transactions that they define as “cash advances,” and these cash advance definitions will be clearly outlined in the Terms and Conditions of your card.

Here, we’ve outlined the range of transactions that may be classified as cash advances and attract the cash advance rate and fees.

  • 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.
  • Overdraft protection. If you fund your overdraft with a credit card, know that it will be considered as a cash advance. This comes with the usual cash advance fees and a high APR.
  • Gambling transactions. Purchasing lottery tickets, placing bets and paying for gambling at a casino or online are considered cash advances (or are outright illegal in states). 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.
  • Credit card checks. Certain credit card issuers send checks to cardholders that they can use to withdraw money from their accounts as and when they like. While using such cheques can be tempting, you may want to reconsider to avoid the cash advance rate.
  • Buying foreign currency or traveler’s checks. Using your credit card to buy foreign currency or traveler’s checks 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

  • Cryptocurrency purchases. In February 2019, Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, alerted its customers that some credit card providers started treating cryptocurrency purchases as cash advances.
  • Transferring between accounts. When you use your credit card account to transfer funds to another account, your card issuer may view it as a cash advance. Instances of this include repaying a loan taken from a friend and transferring money into your everyday banking account. If you do plan to use your credit card for electronic transfers, review the fees and charges at the onset.

What is a cash advance fee?

A cash advance fee is when your credit card issuer charges a fixed dollar value or a percentage of each cash advance. This normally applies to all ATM withdrawals, transfers, and cash equivalent transactions.

How much does a cash advance generally cost?

You’ll typically pay the higher of a percentage of the amount you’re withdrawing or a flat fee. For example, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card has a cash advance fee of either $10 or 5% of the amount you’re withdrawing.

Assuming you take out a $400 cash advance, that means your fee comes out to $20.

Check out our cash advance calculator to determine how much you can expect to pay on your cash advance.

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. If you want to know your charges, you can usually find these details in the card’s terms and conditions under “Interest fees and interest charges”.

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.

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 conditions when traveling overseas? If you’re considering using your credit card for cash advances when traveling overseas, take into account that you could have to pay extra in the form of ATM fees and international transaction fees. There are some 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 cash advance credit cards

1 - 3 of 4
Name Product Filter values Cash advance rate Cash advance fee Minimum credit score
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
30.74% variable
$3 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 5% on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply). See rates & fees
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
30.74% variable
$3 or 3% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
New to credit
A no-annual-fee secured card that separates itself from the pack with a $200 credit limit after making a more affordable than average deposit of $49, $99 or $200. See rates & fees
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
22.64% variable
$6 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Apply for this card with no credit check if you're new to credit or have bad credit.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the limit to how much I can get as a cash advance?

Expect your credit card to come with minimum and maximum cash advance limits. The minimum could be around $20, and the maximum would depend on your card’s credit limit and your card issuer’s discretion.

I’ve used my new credit card to make purchases and for cash advances. How do I repay the balance from the cash advance first?

As a general rule, your credit card issuer has to allocate your payments to amounts that attract the highest interest first. Since cash advances attract higher interest than purchases, expect your payments to automatically go towards the cash advance balance first.

Back to top

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    markSeptember 22, 2017

    If I get cash back from a shop when I get my groceries is that treated the same as cash from atm?

      Default Gravatar
      GruSeptember 22, 2017

      Hello Mark,

      Thank you for your query.

      As you on the page about cash advances, I would just want to clarify if it is cash back that you are asking about or cash advances?

      Please know that cash back and cash advances are two different things.

      Cash Advances:
      “cash equivalent” using your account. These transactions often attract a higher interest rate than purchases. Cash advances also come with other restrictions, such as not being eligible for interest-free days or rewards points. Along with the higher interest rate and restrictions, these transactions can also attract additional cash advance fees.

      Cash Back:
      When you get a percentage of the amount spent paid back to the card holder

      – if you are referring to a cash advance, using your card in a shop to get your groceries will not be considered as a cash advance but instead treated as a retail purchase.
      – If you use your card to draw money to pay for your groceries, that will be considered as a cash advance.
      – if your card has a cash back reward feature on it, you will get a percentage of the amount you spent back on the card

      Hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    MurhuriSeptember 21, 2017


      Default Gravatar
      LiezlSeptember 22, 2017

      Hi Murhuri,

      Thanks for visiting Finder. We are a comparison website and we do not offer loans ourselves. You may, however, reach out to any of the lenders listed on this page who offer $500 short-term loan.

      Please make sure you confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria before you submit your application, as rejected credit applications can have a negative impact on your credit score.

      Kind regards,

Go to site