Australians are hooked on credit card cash advances

Peter Terlato 31 May 2016 NEWS

cash advance atm credit card

Withdrawals are at their highest levels in six years.

Australians are routinely withdrawing money on their credit cards, with new figures showing an alarming rise in the number of cash advances over the past six years.

In March 2016 one in seven credit card holders took cash from their credit accounts, tallying 2.3 million transactions, a level not seen since November 2010, according to RBA data analysed by

The number of cash advances in March 2016 was about 9% higher than a year earlier and has risen almost 20% over the last six years, equating to an additional 384,209 cash advances per month.

The overall amount Aussies withdrew in March was the highest it's been in a year, totalling $881.8 million. That's about $54 per card.

In the 12 months to March 2016, there were $9.7 billion in cash advances. Given the average credit card cash advance rate is about 19.49%, that’s an interest bill of $1.89 billion per year.

Cash advances represent about 1.1% of all monthly credit card transactions. The rise comes despite the fact that overall use of ATMs in Australia is declining.

There are many different credit card transactions that are considered cash advances and there are varying fees associated, depending on your bank. It's important to understand the interest rate structure and debate the pros and cons of cash advances.

It's smart to compare low cash advance rate credit cards and while you're much better off using your credit card to make purchases, there are things you can do to avoid paying high interest.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site