8 Alternatives to Credit Card Cash Advances

If you need money, you probably think about the credit card cash advances. At first glance it seems like a quick and easy way to solve your problem.

But nevertheless, credit card cash advances have many costs and limitations. So before you make your decision, be sure to research other financing alternatives, like the ones listed below. First, we will analyze the terms of a credit card cash advance, so you can compare it with other options.

Key information:

  • A cash advance from a credit card it is a loan from the credit card issuer.
  • Advances do not usually come with an interest-free grace period, have a higher interest rate than regular card purchases and they also carry a transaction fee.
  • The amount of the advance is usually limited to a percentage of your credit limit.
  • Alternatives include various types of loans: from family or friends, from your 401(k), a payday advance, a guarantee or personal loan from a bank, among others.

How credit card cash advances work

A credit card cash advance is a cash loan from the credit card issuer. As with any purchase, the cash advance will appear as a transaction on your monthly card statement and will accrue interest until paid.

However, it is important to note that the terms of cash advances are different from ordinary purchases and are not designed to benefit you. There is generally no grace period for cash advances; interest begins to accrue from the day of the transaction. Also, the interest rate is usually somewhat higher for cash advances than for everyday purchases.

Credit Card Cash Advance Terms

Details on the rates and terms of cash advances can be found in the Schumer Box (Schumer Box) of the credit card, this box is a summary of the costs of the credit card in the United States and must appear on the card statement or the original credit card agreement.

When a credit card has different types of balances due, the payments are applied in whatever way the credit card issuer decides. Therefore, it will not necessarily be to the balance of the card that you prefer to pay first.

These terms mean that even if you make your payments regularly and diligently, it can be difficult to pay the advance, especially if you continue to use the card to make purchases. Being sucked into a spiral of ever-increasing debt is very easy.

In some cases, cash advances can only be made for a percentage of the cardholder’s credit limit. Each credit card issuer has its own policy and formula for setting limits on cash advances.

The company of your credit card is the one who decides in which part of your balance applies any payment that is above the minimum monthly amount. In this way, the company seeks to reduce low-interest balances before high-interest balances.

8 Alternatives to Credit Card Cash Advances

Because of the high cost of a cash advance, it’s worth investigating other sources of money. Depending on your credit capacity and your assets, these eight options may be better than a credit card cash advance. Each one has advantages and disadvantages.

Loan from friends or relatives

Consider asking people nearby for a free or low-interest short-term loan. You should keep in mind that asking for it can be embarrassing and the loan could include many emotional complications.

Keeping things straight is key: Use a properly executed written agreement that outlines all the terms, so both parties know exactly what to expect in terms of cost and payment.

401(k) loan

Most 401(k) administrators allow participants to borrow for themselves. Interest rates and fees vary by employer and plan administrator, but are generally competitive with personal loan rates.

Loan limit is 50% of funds up to a maximum of $50,000 and repayment term is five years or less. There is no credit check and payments can be set up as automatic deductions from the borrower’s paychecks. Keep in mind that while you’re using funds from your 401(k), they won’t be earning any investment returns, which could affect your retirement.


Although not highly recommended because these funds are supposed to be for your retirement, there is a way to use your Roth IRA as an emergency fund. Because contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars, the rules of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS or Internal Revenue Service) they allow you to withdraw that money at any time without penalty and without paying additional taxes. However, if you’re under the age of 59.5, make sure you don’t withdraw more than you’ve actually contributed, even if the account has grown a lot. Earnings from your contributions are subject to taxes and penalties.

bank personal loan

If you have a good credit history, a personal loan from a bank can be cheaper than a cash advance from a credit card. In addition, the payment will be faster compared to the credit card minimum payments, which will further reduce the amount of interest paid.

Collateralized loan

Any loan secured by real estate is a collateralized loan and is generally, has less stringent credit requirements than an unsecured loan. Home equity loans and lines of credit are backed by your residence. Some banks also make loans against the value of a trust or a certificate of deposit (CD).

salary advance

Many employers offer low-cost payroll advances as an alternative to more expensive payday loans. Fees can be as little as $8, but watch out for interest rates. They range from 10% to 165%, which can be extremely expensive. It can be established that installment payments are automatically deducted from your payroll.

peer to peer lending

The P2P loan, as it has come to be known, is a system in which stakeholders borrow money from investors, not banks. Credit requirements are less stringent and the probability of approval is higher. The most expensive loans reach a 30% annual interest rate (APR or Annual Percentage Rate), plus a 5% commission for the loan.

Payday or title loan

The loan with guarantee of your car should be considered as a last resort, due to its astronomical cost. Just like car title loans, payday loans typically charge interest rates of 300% to 500% and more, these payday loans require the repayment of the total borrowed plus interest in a single payment and in a very short term.

The rates on both types of loans can be so unaffordable for borrowers that in many cases they renew their loans multiple times, at a final cost of several times the original loan amount. These two are probably the only loans that offer worse conditions than the credit card cash advance.

In conclusion

Each short-term loan option has its pros and cons. A liquidity crisis is a high-stress situation, but that doesn’t mean you should panic. Take the time to consider all your options.

Short-term loan terms are often difficult, both financially and emotionally. However, depending on your exact needs and schedule, there are other types of financing that may be a better option than borrowing from your credit card. The credit card cash advances they are so expensive that they should only be considered in a true emergency.

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