5 Credit Card Cash Advance Tips

A cash advance is a service provided by many credit card issuers that allows cardholders to withdraw a certain amount of cash, like a short-term loan. Think of it as using your credit card to “buy” cash rather than goods or services.

1. High Fees and Interest: One thing to remember about cash advances is that they often come with a pretty hefty price tag. Here’s the scoop: the transaction fee for a cash advance can be a flat rate, say $10 or $20, or a percentage of the transaction, typically around 3-5%. So if you take out a cash advance of $200 at a 5% fee, you’ll be paying $10 just to get the money. Ouch! But that’s not all – the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for cash advances is often higher than the APR for purchases. We’re talking Clark Kent by day, Super APR by night!

2. No Grace Period: Now, when you make a purchase on your credit card, you typically have a grace period of at least 21 days to pay it off before you start accruing interest. But with cash advances, it’s like being at the front of the concert – there’s no grace! Interest starts piling up immediately from the date you take the cash advance.

3. ATM Withdrawals: Just like you’d withdraw cash from your bank account using a debit card, you can also use your credit card at an ATM to take out a cash advance. But before you can start getting cash like you’ve found an ATM jackpot, you’ll need a Personal Identification Number (PIN) from your credit card issuer. Don’t have one? No worries! Just call up your credit card’s customer service line and they’ll help you out.

4. Credit Limit: Just as your credit card has a credit limit, there’s also a limit to how much cash you can take out as an advance. This is called your cash advance limit. It’s usually a portion of your total credit limit. So if your credit limit is $5000 and your cash advance limit is 20%, then you could get a cash advance of up to $1000.

5. Impact on Credit Score: If you take out large cash advances and can’t pay off your balance quickly, your credit utilization ratio can skyrocket, which could ding your credit score. It’s like having a super clean room and then throwing clothes all over the floor – it doesn’t look good!

While cash advances can be a lifesaver in a pinch, they should ideally be your last port of call due to their high costs. If you find yourself tempted to take a cash advance, it might be a Bat-Signal that it’s time to reassess your financial situation or chat with a financial advisor.



example 1: Regular Purchase

Let’s say you make a purchase of $500 on your credit card with an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 18%. If you pay off the full $500 within the grace period (typically around 21-25 days), you won’t incur any interest charges.

However, if you carry a balance on your card and don’t pay off the full $500 by the due date, interest will start accruing. Let’s assume you make a minimum payment of $25. The remaining balance of $475 will accrue interest at the APR of 18%. Here’s a simplified calculation:

  • Balance: $475
  • APR: 18%
  • Time: One month (30 days)

Interest calculation: ($475) x (0.18/365) x (30) = $8.22

So, in this example, if you only pay the minimum amount due, you’ll be charged approximately $8.22 in interest for the month.

Example 2: Cash Advance

Let’s consider a cash advance of $300 made on a credit card with an APR of 24%. Cash advances typically have higher interest rates and may not have a grace period.

Assuming the APR of 24% and a one-month time frame, here’s a simplified interest calculation:

Interest calculation: ($300) x (0.24/365) x (30) = $4.94

In this case, if you don’t pay off the cash advance within the grace period (if applicable) and continue to carry the $300 balance, you would be charged approximately $4.94 in interest for the month.



The credit limit for cash advances is typically lower than the overall credit limit on a credit card due to several factors:

  1. Higher Risk: Cash advances are considered riskier for credit card issuers than regular purchases. When you request a cash advance, you’re essentially borrowing cash directly from your credit line, which poses a greater risk for the issuer. Unlike purchases, there is no tangible item or service to recover if you fail to repay the debt.
  2. Costs and Fees: Cash advances come with higher costs and fees compared to regular transactions. Credit card issuers often charge transaction fees for cash advances, which can be either a flat fee or a percentage of the amount advanced. These fees are charged upfront and can eat into your available credit limit.
  3. Higher Interest Rates: The interest rates for cash advances are typically higher than the rates for regular purchases. Credit card issuers apply a higher interest rate on cash advances due to the increased risk involved and the immediate accrual of interest without a grace period. The higher interest rates mean more potential liability for the card issuer, so they may set lower credit limits to mitigate their risk exposure.
  4. Limited Cash Availability: Cash advances provide cardholders with the ability to access cash directly, which can be used for various purposes. However, this direct access to cash can be more tempting for individuals facing financial difficulties or those who may misuse the cash for non-essential purposes. Setting lower credit limits for cash advances helps to manage the potential risk associated with misuse or excessive cash advance usage.



Q1: What exactly is a cash advance on a credit card?

A: Think of it as your credit card’s secret “cash dispensing” power! A cash advance allows you to withdraw cash directly from your credit line, turning your card into a magical money-making machine. But remember, it comes at a cost!

Q2: How much cash can I get with a cash advance?

A: It depends on your credit card’s cash advance limit, which is usually a percentage of your total credit limit. It’s like having a secret stash of cash, but keep in mind that it’s not a bottomless pit!

Q3: Why are cash advances so expensive?

A: Ah, the price of convenience! Banks charge high fees for cash advances because they’re essentially giving you a short-term loan in cold, hard cash. Plus, they turn on the interest faucet right away, with no grace period to enjoy a cash-free honeymoon.

Q4: Can I use an ATM to get a cash advance?

A: Absolutely! Just picture yourself at the magical ATM, performing a cash-advancing spell with your credit card and PIN. But beware! The ATM may charge its own fees, so keep an eye out for those lurking charges.

Q5: How does a cash advance affect my credit score?

A: Think of it as your credit score’s equivalent of a rollercoaster ride. Taking a cash advance can increase your credit utilization ratio, which might leave your credit score feeling a bit queasy. So, it’s wise to use cash advances sparingly and pay them off as soon as possible.

Q6: Are cash advances a superhero’s secret weapon in financial emergencies?

A: Well, not quite! While cash advances can save the day in certain situations, they should be reserved for true financial emergencies. Remember, there may be alternative options like personal loans or reaching out to your friendly neighborhood financial advisor.