January 5, 2024

How to Get Cash from a Credit Card Without a Cash Advance

Working through the complexities of personal finance can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when unexpected expenses pop up. Sometimes, you need cash in a pinch, and you don’t want to take on hefty interest fees. That’s when it pays to know how to get cash from a credit card without a cash advance.

Picture this: You're on a trip in a remote location, and your debit card isn’t accepted everywhere like you'd hoped. Or maybe an unforeseen expense crops up, and your savings aren't enough to cover it.

Credit cards are primarily used to make purchases, but they can also be a lifeline. But before you consider tapping into your credit card for some quick cash, you should understand the nuances of this decision, making sure you're well-informed and prepared for any repercussions.

How credit card cash advances work

Can you get cash from a credit card? Yes, but there are some essential facts to remember before turning credit into cash.

Using your credit card at an ATM feels almost identical to using a debit card, but the underlying mechanics are pretty different. A credit card cash advance is a loan from your card issuer, and instead of deducting money from your bank account, you're borrowing against your credit line.

This borrowed money starts accruing interest immediately, often at a higher APR than regular card purchases. Unlike purchases, there's usually no grace period, meaning interest starts piling up right after the transaction.

The process might seem straightforward — insert your card, enter your PIN, and receive your cash. But behind the scenes, several factors are at play.

Your card issuer limits how much cash you can withdraw — often a fraction of your total credit line. This limit makes sure cardholders don't overextend themselves, but it also means you might not be able to access as much cash as you'd like.

Keep in mind: Cash advances typically don't earn cash back, points, or any other credit card rewards. In other words, if you're thinking of boosting your credit card reward points via a cash advance, think again.

The downside of credit card cash advances

Getting a cash advance might seem like a good idea, but it comes with significant drawbacks.

The most glaring is the interest rate. Cash advances often have a higher APR than standard card purchases, and there’s no grace period to pay it off. This rate can quickly accrue interest that inflates the amount you owe, especially if you're only making minimum repayments.

Then, there's the fee. Most card issuers charge a transaction fee for cash advances, which can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the loan. For instance, if your issuer charges a 5% fee and you withdraw $200, you'll pay an extra $10 immediately.

Another factor to consider is the impact on your credit score. Lenders and credit score models often view high card usage as a sign of potential financial distress. High credit line utilization, especially if you're close to maxing out, can negatively affect your credit score. This can have long-term implications, making it harder to get approved for loans or other lines of credit.

In personal finance, it's crucial to weigh the convenience of a cash advance against these downsides. There are often better avenues to explore — from personal loans to (ahem) Earned Wage Access apps — which might offer a more cost-effective way to access cash and make payments.

The best way to get cash from a credit card

Getting a cash advance from a credit card is an easy solution, but it’s not ideal. What might seem like a quick fix comes with high interest rates and additional fees that accumulate quickly.

Cash advances from a credit card generally don't have grace periods, unlike typical credit card purchases, which give purchasers a 30-day grace period before interest will accumulate. With cash advances from a credit card, interest begins accumulating immediately. Relying on cash advances can lead to a cycle of debt that's hard to break, as the growing balance can become challenging to handle.

Here’s the best way to get cash from your credit card if you’re in a pinch:

1. Locate an ATM. Find a nearby ATM where you can use your credit card for a cash advance. Make sure it accepts your card type, like Visa or MasterCard.

2. Check your limit. Be aware of the cash advance limit on your credit card. Even if your credit limit is high, you might not be able to withdraw that much in cash, so check beforehand.

3. Withdraw cash. Insert your credit card into the ATM, enter your PIN, and select the cash advance option. Withdraw the amount you need, within your limit.

4. Acknowledge fees and interest. Remember that cash advances come with immediate interest charges and possibly a fee, impacting the total amount you'll owe. The ATM will usually alert you of any fees, but doing some research beforehand will help you make a more informed withdrawal.

5. Plan for repayment. Create a repayment strategy to quickly pay off the advanced amount. This minimizes the interest that could build over time. Our credit card payoff calculator can help you create a personalized plan to pay off your balance quicker.

10 ways to get money without using a credit card

If you’d rather avoid limits and fees, there are other (better) ways to receive money without using a credit card. Here are some examples:

1. Borrowing from friends or family. It might be uncomfortable, but borrowing money from someone you trust with a clear repayment plan is a no-interest way to access cash.

2. Prepaid debit card. Load money onto a prepaid card and use it like a regular debit card. It's a straightforward way to budget and avoid the temptation of a cash advance.

3. Salary advance. Some employers offer salary advances. It's an early withdrawal of your hard-earned money, often with no interest. Or better yet, try Earned Wage Access with EarnIn (see below).

4. Peer-to-peer lending. Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms connect borrowers with individual lenders, often providing competitive interest rates and flexible terms. It's a modern approach to borrowing that’s more personalized than traditional bank loans.

5. Home equity line of credit (HELOC). If you own a home, a HELOC can increase your liquidity. This line of credit allows you to borrow against the equity in your home, often at a lower interest rate than credit card cash advances. However, your home secures the loan, so there's a risk involved.

6. Rent out a room or property. If you have spare space in your home or own additional property, consider renting it out on platforms like Airbnb. This is a more consistent way to earn extra income.

7. Sell personal items. Generate cash by selling items you no longer need. Use online marketplaces, local community boards, or yard sales to quickly turn your junk into cash.

8. Freelance or gig work. If you have in-demand skills, take up a few freelance tasks or gig jobs. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or local job listings can offer opportunities to earn money without a credit card.

9. Microloan organizations. Consider microloans from non-profit organizations. These loans are typically designed for small business owners or people who minor financial assistance, with more accessible terms than traditional loans.

10. Online surveys and market research. If you have some time on your hands, you could participate in online surveys and market research studies. Some websites and apps offer compensation for your time and opinions, usually in cash or gift cards.

Skip the credit, use EarnIn

In recent years, many financial tools and apps have emerged to help folks make ends meet. EarnIn is one of the safest, easiest options available.

With EarnIn, you can access your pay before payday to cover unexpected and everyday expenses.

The EarnIn app features our Cash Out tool that lets you access your money as you work — up to $100 a day and up to $750 every pay period — with no credit checks, no mandatory fees, and unlike a credit card, no interest. So you’ll have what you need to keep moving forward, whatever life sends your way.

Download the EarnIn app today and discover money at the speed of you.

Please note, the material collected in this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or services.

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EarnIn is a financial technology company not a bank. Subject to your available earnings, Daily Max and Pay Period Max. EarnIn does not charge interest on Cash Outs. EarnIn does not charge hidden fees for use of its services. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply. EarnIn services may not be available in all states. For more info visit earnin.com/TOS.

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