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Whether it's because money's tight or just out of curiosity, consumers sometimes wonder how to get cash from a credit card. You can use a credit card for most purchases, but there are also bills that can only be paid in cash.
Most credit card companies let you withdraw cash with your card. This feature is called a credit card cash advance, and it's like taking out a loan against your credit limit. There are some notable drawbacks, specifically high interest rates and fees, so it's generally not recommended if you have other options.
In this guide, we'll go over how cash advances work in case you ever need to use one, and then go over some of those other options you could consider first.
Here's how to get cash from a credit card through an ATM:
An ATM is usually the easiest way to get a cash advance, and the process is similar to how a debit card withdrawal works. However, you need to have your credit card's PIN for this method. If you don't have this or your card didn't come with a PIN, you can contact the card issuer to set it up.
Before you get a cash advance, confirm that your card offers this feature and check what its limit is. Credit cards have a separate cash advance limit that's smaller than the credit limit.
Here are a few other ways to get cash advances:
Keep in mind that none of those options will get around cash advance fees. Since they're still considered cash advances, they have the same drawbacks.
Credit card cash advances have three significant drawbacks:
To put this all into perspective, let's break down the typical costs of a $1,000 cash advance. The fee would cost you $50 right off the bat. There's also the immediate interest charges. With a 25% APR, one month would add about $21 in interest.
Learn more: How Does Credit Card Interest Work?
That's a total of $71 in fees and interest, assuming you pay off the cash advance in a month. If you need more time, that cash advance APR will keep costing you more.
Cash advances may be your best option in emergencies. They're certainly better than borrowing money from a predatory lender, such as a payday lender that charges extremely high interest rates.
But before you go with this option, it's worth seeing if any alternatives work for your situation. There are apps that offer a free cash advance with no credit check. Or, you could potentially get money from your credit card without paying cash advance fees and interest.
Depending on what you need the money for, it might be possible to get cash from your credit card and have it processed as a purchase, not a cash advance. Here are the best ways to do this.
A popular method is to use a credit card to buy a prepaid gift card, and then using the prepaid card to buy a money order. Some websites and stores sell these cards for a small fee, such as $5.95 for a $500 gift card.
The tricky part is buying the money order. Not every merchant will let you purchase a money order with a prepaid card, but many major retailers and grocery stores do. Once you have the money order, you can make yourself the recipient and convert it to cash.
For an example of how this works, imagine you use your credit card to buy a $500 prepaid gift card. With the fee, it costs you $505.95. After that, you buy a money order, which costs about $1.
You end up with $499, and all it took was one purchase of $505.95. That's a small price to pay, and since it was a purchase, you don't get charged the cash advance APR. With rewards credit cards, it can even be possible to break even or come out ahead on fees because of the rewards earned on the purchase.
Several of the top payments apps let you send money to family and friends with a credit card for a fee, which is usually 3% of the transaction. You can do this with the following apps:
If you know somebody who doesn't mind helping you out, you could pay them through an app and ask them to withdraw the money for you. For example, you send your best friend $300 through Venmo, and then they withdraw $300 from their bank account to pay you back. With a 3% credit card fee, this would cost you $9.
This technically isn't how these payment apps are supposed to be used, as they're not intended for cash advances. But it's unlikely to be an issue when you're sending money to someone you know first, especially if it's a one-time thing.
Plastiq is a service that lets you pay almost any bill using your credit card. How it works is simple:
While Plastiq doesn't let you send money to yourself, you can use it to cover bills that don't accept credit card payments. Many people use it to make their rent or mortgage payments this way.
Even though credit cards aren't intended to be a way to get cash, you can use them like this in a pinch. Whichever method you choose, make sure you only borrow as much as you need, and aim to pay it back as quickly as possible.
Some other questions we've answered:
A cash advance is the only direct way to get cash from a credit card. But there are alternatives, such as buying a prepaid card with your credit card and then using it to buy a money order. These alternatives are more complicated than cash advances, but they can also be more affordable.
You can get cash from a store credit card if it offers cash advances. Closed-loop store cards can only be used with a specific store and don't offer this feature. Store cards that can be used with other merchants, such as those issued by Visa and Mastercard, may offer these advances.
You can get a cash advance, which is similar to a loan, from a credit card. These transactions have fees and higher APRs. They also start accruing interest charges immediately.
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