Cash Advance Interest Rates: Things you need to know

Information verified correct on September 26th, 2016

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Your credit card can give you quick access to money through a cash advance, but do you know of all the costs involved in taking one?

Your credit card can be a great way to make purchases when you don’t have the money to pay upfront and need the funds in a hurry. Most credit cards allow cardholders to withdraw funds up to a particular limit, which they refer to as cash advances. Just how you use this money is completely your prerogative, but there are certain aspects you should take into consideration before you use your credit card for a cash advance. Taking one, after all, comes with its share of costs, which can increase considerably over time.

What is a cash advance?

A number of Australians use their credit cards for cash advances, mainly because this gives them quick and easy access to money during different kinds of emergencies. Put simply, you can think of a cash advance as taking a loan from your credit card issuer. You can access this money using an ATM or by visiting a branch, depending on your convenience.

What you have to remember is that the interest a cash advance attracts is typically higher than a card’s interest rate on purchases, and cash advance rates of Australian credit cards typically hover around the 20% mark. This can be a problem for many credit card users, because they aren’t aware that there are transactions beyond getting cash from ATMs that qualify as cash advances.

What else is classified as a cash advance?

Using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM or a branch clearly qualifies as a cash advance, and to the surprise of many, so do the following:

  • Getting cash out at grocery stores
  • Using a non-BPAY registered billing service to pay bills
  • Purchasing foreign currency or travellers cheques
  • Transacting at physical or online casinos, which can include money spent on food and beverage
  • Transferring funds from your credit card account to any other bank account
  • Cashing in blank cheques sent by your credit card issuer
  • Outstanding balances from balance transfers at the end of promotional interest rate periods can attract the card’s cash advance rate

Why do banks charge higher interest rates for cash advances?

Credit card issuers tend to publish their cash advance rates and fees as part of the fine print because these are often on the higher side. Card issuers tend to charge higher cash advance rates when compared to purchase rates, because in their opinion cash advances present higher risks. While cardholders can use cash advances at any time, responsible credit card issuers recommend that you use this feature in emergencies only.

What is the best way to use a cash advance?

There is no telling when you might need money in a rush, and as much as you’d like to avoid it, you might have to use your credit card for a cash advance. If you do, paying attention to the following can help:

  • Avoid ATMs. Using an ATM to get a cash advance can involve paying an ATM fee. You can avoid this fee by using your credit card to transfer money into your bank account, over the phone or online. If you have to use an ATM, try using your own bank’s ATM or one that is part of its ATM partner network.
  • Withdraw money from a teller. Withdrawing money in person, by visiting any of your bank’s branches, gives you the ability to avoid additional ATM fees.
  • Use cheques. If you have cheques linked to your credit card account, using them for cash advances is another way to avoid ATM fees.
  • Low rate credit card. If you foresee yourself turning to cash advances in the future, consider getting a low rate card that charges a low rate on purchases as well as cash advances.
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Cash advances and credit card reforms

Certain credit card reforms made in 2012 worked in the favour of cardholders with respect to cash advances. Before this period, card issuers applied payments that cardholders made to transactions with the lowest interest first, which allowed them to keep charging high interest on cash advances for the longest possible period. With the reforms in place, any payment you make towards your credit card account now goes towards high interest transactions first.

The reforms require credit card companies to limit how much cardholders can exceed their credit limits by, so you know you won’t go way over the top. What also helps is card issuers can no longer increase your card’s credit limit without your approval.

About credit card reforms

What should I be wary of when using a cash advance?

Using your credit card for a cash advance should be a last resort, and if you do end up taking this path, remember the following.

  • Paying high interest. The cash advance rate of your card, almost certainly, is higher than its purchase rate. What you should also know is that cash advances start attracting interest from day one, and interest-free days never apply on cash advances. You should, as a result, try to repay the borrowed amount as soon as possible.
  • Cash advances overseas. Using your credit card for cash advances overseas is possible and best avoided. This is because you would have to pay international transaction fees and you could also have to pay ATM fees.
  • Cash advance fee. The money you borrow through a cash advance attracts interest, and certain card issuers require that you pay an additional cash advance fee. This fee can vary from one card to the next, thereby requiring your attention.

Alternatives to cash advances

There are alternatives to cash advances, and just which one you can turn to depends on your financial situation and the urgency of your requirement.

  • Use your debit card. Using your debit card to withdraw money from your bank account normally does not attract any fees, especially if you stick to your own bank’s or a partner bank’s ATM. You don’t have to pay any interest either. In such a scenario, you can still use your credit card to pay bills via BPAY and for everyday purchases.
  • Get a loan. If you have some time on your hands you can consider getting a payday or a personal loan, both of which tend to charge lower interest when compared to cash advances. Some payday loan issuers can give you access to approved funds on the same day or by the next business day.

Cash advances can prove to be beneficial when you need money in a hurry and have no other option, but if you can avoid it, it’s best that you do. Remember at all times that cash advances have high costs associated with them, and the longer you take to repay a cash advance, more you will have to pay in the form of interest. If you plan to turn to cash advances, it’s in your best interest to look for a card that does not charge an exorbitant cash advance rate, and comparing your options is the ideal starting point.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I have a new credit card that comes with a six months 0% p.a. interest rate offer. Does this apply on cash advances?

The possibility of this is slim, and it’s best that you go through your credit card’s terms and conditions or speak to a customer service representative to confirm the same.

I have a $1,000 debt on my credit card because of a cash advance. Can I transfer this balance to a new card?

This is possible, but you would have to qualify for a new card that comes with a balance transfer offer.

How much do I have to pay as cash advance fees?

Cash advance fees vary from one card issuer to the next. It can be a percentage of the cash advance or a fixed amount.

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50 Responses to Cash Advance Interest Rates: Things you need to know

  1. Default Gravatar
    Ravi | June 16, 2016

    Hi, I have paid my college fees from my credit card, and due to an emergency I have to get some cash out from atmosphere around $300.

    So, my question is, do I have to pay extra interest on the money I have used for paying my fees or just on the $300.

    Thanks
    Ravi

    • Staff
      Anndy | June 16, 2016

      Hi Ravi,

      Thanks for your question.

      Generally college tuition payments are classified as purchases. However, to be sure that you won’t be attracting a cash advance rate for paying your tuition fees, I suggest that you contact your university to inquire.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    Adam | May 27, 2016

    I took an advance of 4000 out and have a 6.7% interest rate on my credit card. Is this 6.7% per day? The teller seemed to be alluding to this.

    • Staff
      May | June 1, 2016

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for your question.

      Generally, cash advance interest rates are per year/annum. The moment you make a cash advance on your card, you’re automatically charged with fees and interest. The interest will then be computed daily based on the average interest rate per year (divided by 365 days) your card charges.

      For more information, you may like to read our article on how much cash advance fee would cost you. On the same page, you can also compare the different cash advance rates charged by credit card companies.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      May

  3. Default Gravatar
    Julia | May 13, 2016

    I have RM130,000.00 credit limit of my Citibank credit card. How much can I withdraw as a cash advance from the ATM machine?

    • Staff
      Sharon | May 17, 2016

      Hi Julia, thanks for your inquiry.

      Using your Citi Credit Card, you can withdraw cash up to $1,000 per day at any ATM that displays the Visa or MasterCard symbol. Please note that standard cash advance fees and charges may apply.

      When overseas, you can access cash from any ATM that displays the Plus, Star or NYCE symbols. For transactions overseas, currency conversion fees may apply.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks,

      Sharon

  4. Default Gravatar
    Chris | April 15, 2016

    If I load my credit card up with cash, can I withdraw from an atm overseas without paying interest? I have had trouble with travel cards in the past. After all, I will be using my own money.

    • Staff
      May | April 15, 2016

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your question.

      Loading with funds onto your credit card is actually possible. But the question is, what happens if we do this? Let’s figure it out in two scenarios:

      1. If your card is updated and it has no outstanding balance – Say your card is current, the excess funds you loaded onto it will increase your spending limit – in effect, you’ll have more funds to use on purchases. However, if you withdraw the funds, it will be treated as a cash advance and you’ll be charged with fees and interests. Aside from that, depending on the brand you hold, there are also other fees that’ll be charged to your credit card (for making overseas cash withdrawals) like foreign currency conversion fees, ATM withdrawal fees, and other overseas transaction fees.

      2. If your card has an outstanding balance – The funds you deposited onto your card, will only be treated as payments.

      Unlike loadable travel money or debit cards where you spend your own cash, credit cards let you borrow money at the time you use them on purchases or cash withdrawals.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

    • Default Gravatar
      Sarah | April 22, 2016

      Scenario:

      I am travelling to the US next week and want to load up my credit card with an addition $2k as funds to ‘cash withdraw’ as required.
      I have a Westpac Visa – Platinum.

      Assumptions:

      I have a zero balance owing on the account
      I have a credit surplus of $2k on the account
      I understand that a cash advance of $500 automatically triggers a cash advance interest rate.

      Question:

      If my balance owing remains zero, but the card now holds a credit surplus of $1500, upon which amount is the cash advance interest rate calculated?

      I have made a number of phone calls to Westpac in this regard and to be honest, I’m more confused now than ever – given I have always expected to pay interest on the debt owed, but not on my credit held.

      Please put me out of my misery.

      Thanks

    • Staff
      May | May 4, 2016

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for your question.

      Sorry for the delayed reply. Please keep in mind that different companies differ on their credit card terms and conditions. With Westpac Visa Platinum card, you won’t be charged interest on a cash advance with a surplus in the account, you will just be charged with $2.50 cash advance fee.

      However, in a scenario like you got $15,000 credit limit (assuming you did not load your card with funds yet) then you have already spent $2,000 to make your remaining balance at $13,000, by the time you do a cash advance, you will be automatically charged with interest and a cash advance fee.

      Hope this clarifies your confusion.

      Cheers,
      May

  5. Default Gravatar
    karthik | April 8, 2016

    Actually, I have withdrawn a cash advance of 3000 and 8000 in between two days in the same month, so I have been charged two times charges. Please reply how does it work?

    • Staff
      May | April 12, 2016

      Hi Karthik,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Withdrawing funds from your credit card – either through ATM, visiting your branch, transferring cash to your bank account or issuing cheques linked to your credit card – is a form of cash advance. Starting from day one, your card already incurred interest just like for the two cash withdrawals you made on your card. As a result, you have to try to repay the borrowed amount as soon as possible as the interest applied for cash advances are higher. You can find more information on cash advances when you visit this page.

      Hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      May

  6. Default Gravatar
    sheshagiri | January 24, 2016

    i had withdrawn 18000 from my titanium card what is the interest will be charged for it??

    • Staff
      Ally | January 25, 2016

      Hi Sheshagiri,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Kindly note that finder.com.au is an online comparison service and does not represent any credit card issuer; therefore, we are not in the position to specifically answer that question.

      Nonetheless, we can still lead you to a review page of the credit card you’re using if it is being featured on our site. May we know which one you’re referring to so that we can check if we have a review page for it? Is it the Intech Credit Union Titanium 55 Credit Card?

      If not, you can try searching for it by typing in the credit card name on the search box at the top of this page to see if there are any results for it.

      Otherwise, you can always get in touch with your credit card issuer by visiting their website and by clicking on the ‘Contact’ button on their page for direct assistance.

      Cheers,
      Ally

  7. Default Gravatar
    Nick | January 21, 2016

    Hi I was wondering at a rate of 21.94% – if I was to withdraw a cash advance of $6000 on my credit card, at the end of 30 days what would I owe in total??

    • Staff
      Debbie | January 25, 2016

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      This will depend on the minimum amount due of the credit card that will also be provided to you on your statement account each month. You must pay your minimum or full payment before due date to avoid any interest or late payment fee charges.

      You may wish to check our guide to understand more about credit card minimum repayments.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Debbie

  8. Default Gravatar
    michael | September 21, 2015

    we are using an architect who does not have a credit card facility.
    we pay all our bills with an emirates platinum credit card,then repay into it from our own account.
    if i take a cash advance from the credit card to pay the architect,then put the cash straight back into the credit card from our cash account,will i still pay charges, we use our points for overseas flights?

    thanks.

    • Staff
      Jonathan | September 22, 2015

      Hi Michael, thanks for your inquiry!

      The cash advance fee is charged on a daily basis. As long as you repay the amount within the same business day there will be no interest charged.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

  9. Default Gravatar
    nanaji | July 21, 2015

    sir, how to calculated the future loans in industrial , i wont the information about it, so give me opportunity .

    • Staff
      Sally | July 22, 2015

      Hi Nanaji,

      Thanks for your inquiry.
      Unfortunately we do not have any calculator specifically for credit card payments for industrial workers. You may want to check this page for credit card repayments that will give you monthly pay schedules.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  10. Default Gravatar
    Glenn | May 30, 2015

    If I take out a $200 cash advance, and pay it back immediately, do we still have to pay cash advance interest on the entire balance. It is a commonwealth credit card, thank you

    • Staff
      Jonathan | June 1, 2015

      Hi Glenn, thanks for your inquiry!

      If the cash advance is repaid within the same day and the payment is cleared bringing the transaction to a $0 balance then no interest will be accumulated. Otherwise depending on how many days has transpired between when the transaction is made and the payment has been cleared, the interest would be the cash advance rate per annum/ 365 multiplied by the number of days.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

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Rates last updated September 26th, 2016
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Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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