When emergencies arise and you're in dire need of cash, a cash advance can be one quick and easy way to get the money you need without a lot of hassle. But that convenience can come at a high cost. Most financial professionals agree that a cash advance should be one of the last options you consider when you need cash fast because most credit card companies will not only charge you a high-interest rate but also charge fees on top of that interest. That being said, life is what happens when you're making other plans, so if you're going to use a credit card for a cash advance, it makes sense that you choose one with little or no fees.
You should know, however, that interest starts accumulating right away on a cash advance, so if you need money urgently and can't get it any other way, then a cash advance is an option. In some cases, getting a cash advance from your credit card can even be cheaper than taking out a personal loan from a bank. You shouldn't let the ease of getting a cash advance lead you to rely on them, though, especially since there are many truly terrible ones out there.
Mixed in with these troublemakers are credit cards available that have no or low introductory fees on cash advances as well as many other benefits like rewards points, travel perks and more.
Cash advances come with dangerously expensive terms
Pay it off—fast. Because interest starts accumulating the moment you get your money from your cash advance, it's important to pay off your debt quickly or else you risk being eaten alive by interest fees. If you let cash advance debt build up, it can easily surpass the initial amount you needed for emergency funding, so don't procrastinate when it comes to paying down this particular type of debt.
Cash advances have no grace period. You should avoid thinking that just because you have a grace period with your credit card issuer that it also applies to cash advances. Depending on the terms, it very well might not.
Under the 2009 CARD Act, your credit card issuer is required to offer you a grace period of at least 21 days. This timeframe allows you to pay your bill without interest accruing. But this grace period usually doesn't apply to cash advances. Even if you pay your cash advance in full by the due date, you'll still need to factor in any interest charges and fees that apply.
We picked the cards above because they offer cash advances with much more than simple "no fees" promises
Having no fees on top of getting emergency cash fast can be a welcome relief for cardholders, but we also asked a few other questions to determine if these cards were useful beyond getting a cash advance.
How easy is it to apply for? Since many of these cards are offered on behalf of an association or credit union, membership requirements may be tricky. For example, one of our runners-up, the Fort Knox Platinum Visa, offers some lucrative deals but requires you to be a member of their federal credit union. If you're not a member, you must join a separate organization and make a donation.
With so many hoops to jump through, there are simply easier cards to apply for that give you the same, if not more, benefits.
Does it offer any welcome or sign-on bonuses? Having a lucrative welcome or sign-on bonus can be icing on the cake beyond getting the cash you need quickly. It also demonstrates that a company values your business. We looked at whether or not these cards had any signup bonuses, and if so, how easy they were to apply for and use.
What are the rates? A credit card with no introductory cash-advance fees is good, but what about in the long-term? Is there a 0% introductory APR? No balance transfer fees? Low interest rate? All of these things matter to cardholders, which is why we made each a priority.
How good are the rewards? Many credit cards that have no fees for cash advances also offer rewards points or other perks. This question was often used as a tiebreaker between cards that were similar in all other respects. Cards that tended to make our list were those that offered valuable rewards or perks in addition to no cash advance fees.
Consider the cards above, which we believe are five great options if you're looking to get a good deal on a cash advance from a credit card issuer.