Cash advance fees

The cash advance fees charged by the major banks, the interest rate you'll pay on the amount and common cash-equivalent transactions.

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When you use your credit card to withdraw cash, gamble or buy traveller's cheques, you'll immediately attract the cash advance interest rate and fee. The interest rate can be as high as 22% and the fee is often 2% to 3% of your transaction or a flat fee. To understand how much you'll have to pay, you can see a list of the cash advance interest rates and fees charged by 9 card issuers in Australia.

How much does a cash advance cost?

Check out the cash advance fee and interest rates charged by major financial institutions in the following table. These rates may vary between cards, so it’s still important to check the details of your individual credit card for specific fees that will apply to you.

Credit card issuer Cash advance interest rate Cash advance fee
American ExpressCash advances are largely unavailableFor enrolled cardholders only: $2.50 or 2% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
ANZ 20.24% p.a.The greater of 2% of cash advance amount or a minimum of $4.00
Bankwest 21.99% p.a.2% of transaction amount or $4 (whichever is greater)
Citi22.24% p.a.3.5% of the transaction amount
Commonwealth Bank 9.9% p.a.–21.24% p.a.$3 or 3% of the transaction value, whichever is greater
HSBC 21.99% p.a.The higher of $4 or 3.0% of the total transaction amount
NAB21.74% p.a.2% or $2.50, whichever is greater
St.George21.49% p.a.2% of each cash advance amount (minimum of $2.50 capped at $150 per transaction)
Suncorp Bank 21.99% p.a.3.5% of the transaction amount, with a minimum fee of $3.50
Westpac 21.49% p.a.2% or $2.50 (whichever is greater)

* Table details are current as of 9 September 2019 (excludes business credit card rates and fees).

This table gives you an idea of how expensive cash advances can be, with most interest rates between 17-21.99% p.a. While the lowest fee is just $2.50, generally you’ll pay a percentage of the total transaction amount, which ranges from 2–3.5%. To put that in perspective, if you withdraw $1,000 from an ATM with a credit card that charges a 3.5% fee, you will pay a fee of $35 in cash advance fees alone.

When would I be charged a cash advance fee and the cash advance rate?

Some of the most common transactions that attract cash advance interest rates and fees include:

  • ATM withdrawals. Using your credit card to withdraw cash at an ATM attracts cash advance interest and fees. ATM fees can apply as well. Some credit card companies allow you to preload your own money on your credit card so you can avoid interest and fees when you withdraw cash.
  • Gift cards. Using your credit card to buy gift cards can be considered a cash advance because the money loaded onto the card is equivalent to cash.
  • Prepaid cards. As a prepaid card gives you access to funds you can use for almost anything, buying or loading money onto one with a credit card will typically attract the cash advance fee and interest charges.
  • Balance transfers. If you have a credit card with 0% on balance transfers for an introductory period, the rate will often revert to the cash advance interest rate at the end of the promotional period.
  • Gambling purchases. Using your credit card for gambling purchases such as online poker may be treated as a cash advance. Find out if you can use your credit card for gambling purchases and whether it will incur charges.
  • Foreign currency. Financial institutions treat the purchase of foreign cash or travellers cheques as a cash advance.
  • Online transfers. Online money transfers from your credit card account to your transaction or savings account is a cash advance.
  • Utility payments. Some credit card companies apply cash advance rates and fees to payments for utilities such as gas, electricity, phone and Internet accounts.
  • Government payments. Government charges such as payments to the ATO are sometimes processed as cash advances.

You can see Finder's guide to which transactions are considered a cash advance for more information.

Compare credit cards with lower cash advance rates

Name Product Interest-free period Cash advance rate Purchase rate Annual fee
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
Up to 55 days on purchases
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 11.99% p.a.
$45
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (with a 2% BT fee).
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Compare up to 4 providers

Other important facts about credit card cash advances

Before you use your credit card to make a cash advance, you should consider the following factors:

  • Higher rates than purchases. Cash advance interest rates are often higher than purchase interest rates and apply immediately, rather than at the end of the statement period.
  • No interest-free days. Unlike purchases, cash advance transactions are not eligible for interest-free days. The transaction accrues interest at the cash advance rate of interest from the time it is made until you pay it off in full.
  • Overseas cash advances. If you use your card for cash advances while you’re overseas, a higher cash advance fee may apply from your bank. Plus, local ATM fees may also apply to international cash advance transactions.
  • Cash advance limits. Your credit card issuer may impose a limit on how much cash you can withdraw in one day. This could be a set amount (such as $800–$1,000 per day) or a percentage of your credit limit.
  • Repayments. If you have multiple balances accruing interest on one card (such as purchases, cash advances and a balance transfer), those that attract the highest interest charges will be paid first when you make a repayment to your credit card. This usually means cash advances are repaid first, purchases second and balances eligible for low-interest promotions (such as a balance transfer) last.
  • No points. If you have a frequent flyer or rewards credit card, cash advances are ineligible for earning points.

Using your credit card at the ATM is significantly more expensive than using it to purchase goods and services. If you regularly use your card for cash advance transactions, you may want to consider looking for ones with a promotion on cash advances. You can use these credit cards to withdraw cash for less during the promotional period. Cash advance fees can still apply.
Images: Getty

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