Cash advances are convenient, but they're also expensive. If not used wisely, cash advances can cost you more than you can comfortably manage. Before you take a cash advance, know what you're getting into.
A cash advance is not a regular credit charge–it is a short-term loan that you must pay back as soon as possible. You may be required to pay a one-time transaction fee (sometimes as much as 5% of the advance) in addition to interest charges that start to accrue immediately. The APR for cash advances is often higher than for purchases. That's why you should not use a cash advance to pay ordinary living expenses, buy now rather than waiting, make a down payment or cover other credit card bills.
Part of the overall credit limit for your credit card account includes a separate cash advance limit. These amounts are shown on your monthly statement. At any given time, the total of your cash advances and any interest on them cannot exceed this or your overall credit limit.
Your APR for cash advances may be the same as it is for card purchases or you may have a separate cash advance rate. Check the APR on your card statement or Card Agreement. Many credit card companies begin adding interest charges as soon as you take a cash advance. By the time you get your bill, you will owe more than you advanced yourself in cash. You may not have to repay the cash advance in full the first month, but if you carry a balance, more interest charges will be added.
How to get cash advances:
- At a bank:
You can use your card to charge a cash advance at virtually any bank, including those in many foreign countries.
- Through an ATM:
You can use your card and Personal Identification Number (PIN) to request a cash advance at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) throughout the U.S. and abroad.
- With a check:
Many credit card issuers provide special "convenience" checks so their customers can use them when paying with their card is not an option.