Payday Loans vs Credit Card Cash Advance

Payday loans and credit card cash advances: Which one is better, and more importantly, which one is worse.

Last updated:

If you find yourself in a situation where you need quick cash, you might find that you have a couple of options to choose from.
If you have a credit card you can simply withdraw cash from an ATM. You also have the choice of applying for a payday loan to have the money transferred to your account on the same day, or sometimes within the hour. Find out which one is better for your needs in this guide.

Financial hardship

If you're experiencing financial hardship and would like to speak to someone for free financial counselling, you can call the Financial Counsellors hotline on 1800 007 007. It is open from 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. When comparing short term loans, ensure you take into consideration any fees, charges and rates you may be charged. It's important to weigh up all your options before applying for any form of credit.

⚠️ Warning about Borrowing

payday-warningDo you really need a loan today?*

It can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and borrowing may not solve your money problems.

Check your options before you borrow:

  • For information about other options for managing bills and debts, ring 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor
  • Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan
  • If you are on government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink: Phone: 13 17 94

The Government's MoneySmart website shows you how small amount loans work and suggests other options that may help you.

* This statement is an Australian Government requirement under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.


Nimble Short Term Loan

Finder Exclusive:
50% discount on the establishment fee (now 10% of the loan amount) and monthly fee (now 2% of the loan amount)

Nimble offer a fast and easy online application. You can apply today to get approved for up to $2,000.
  • Loan amount: $2,000
  • Loan term: 62 days to 9 months
  • Turnaround time: 1 hour - conditions apply
  • Fees: 10% of loan amount + 2% of loan amount each month
  • Quick and easy Approval
Nimble Short Term Loan
  • Borrow up to $2,000
  • 100% online application
  • SMS payment reminders
Go to site More info
Updated October 21st, 2019
Name Product Maximum Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround time Arrears Fee Costs Fortnightly Repayment (for $1500 Loan)
62 days to 9 months
1 hour - conditions apply
10% of loan amount + 2% of loan amount each month
Finder Exclusive: 50% discount on the establishment fee (now 10% of the loan amount) and monthly fee (now 2% of the loan amount)
A loan up to $2,000 with terms up to 62 days to 9 months. Centrelink cannot be your primary source of income.
9-12 weeks
30 minutes - conditions apply
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
A small loan up to $2,000 that you repay over 9-12 weeks. Loans approved and funded in as little as 30 minutes. Centrelink must not be your primary income
Up to 2 years
3 hours - conditions apply
Apply for up to $2,000 and be able to access your approved loan as a convenient line of credit.
22 - 52 weeks
Same day - conditions apply
Up to $2,000 - 20% establishment fee + 4% monthly.

Above $2,000 - $400 + from 8.7% to 48% APR
Borrow from $1,000 to $5,000 with same-day funding and no early repayment fees.
6-12 months
Same day - conditions apply
20% of loan amount establishment fee + 4% of loan amount monthly.
Credit24 offers this loan up to $2,000 and gives you 12 months to repay.
3-12 months
1 business day
Establishment fee from 10% of loan amount + monthly fee from 2%
A small loan between $500 and $2,000 that can be funded in 24 hours.
3 to 12 months
1 business day
10% of loan amount + 2% of loan amount each month
A small loan up to $2,000 from a lender backed by NAB. Transparent eligibility criteria and competitive costs.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated October 21st, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
9.89% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

How does a payday loan and credit card cash advance work?

Both payday loans and credit card cash advances are types of credit that can be used for whatever you need or want. There are no specific restrictions on how you use the funds, making them suitable for a sudden car repair, groceries or even a weekend getaway.

Payday loans involve you applying with a lender for a specific loan amount. You will be sent the funds, if you're approved, generally within 24 hours. You then make repayments according to the repayment scheduled outline in your contract, with usual terms ranging from 16 days to one year.

Cash advances are where you withdraw cash from your credit card or transfer money from your credit card to an account. As this is not a purchase you are charged a higher rate, which is usually above 20% p.a. It becomes part of your outstanding balance, of which you have to make a minimum payment monthly to keep the credit account in good standing.

Which is more expensive?

Both credit card cash advances and payday loans are costly forms of credit. Receiving an advance from your credit card will set you back between 20-24% p.a. A payday loan of less than $2,000 will cost you an establishment fee that is 20% of the amount you borrow and a 4% monthly fee.

Keep in mind the cash advance rate is an annual rate whereas the payday loan is not.

If you pay the cash advance back quickly it can be cheaper, but if you only make the minimum repayment then you may want to consider a payday loan. This is because your ongoing repayments will pay the money back entirely in that set term, whereas the cash advance could be an ongoing debt.

The differences between payday loans and cash advances

FeaturesPayday loansCash advance
Fees20% establishment fee + 4% monthly feeApproximately 1.5-4%
InterestInterest is charged as fees as aboveApproximately 19-22% p.a.
TermsVary between 14 days and 12 monthsOngoing line of credit, no set terms
EligibilityFlexible criteria. Bad credit, Centrelink, unemployed accepted.Need to be employed and have good credit.

Weighing up your options

Pros and cons of applying for a payday loan

  • Availability
    Most payday loans require a minimal amount of criteria needed to be approved. This includes income, age and residency requirements.
  • Fast turnaround
    You will usually receive an answer instantly or within 5 minutes, and the money within a day or two.
  • Short-terms
    The requirement for these loans is that you pay them back quickly, leaving you with no extra debt to worry about.
  • Fees
    Although the rates are mandated by the government, they still are higher than a typical personal loan would be. Plus the fees can mount up if you are late on a repayment.
  • Overall cost
    In general, the overall amount of money you will spend for this service makes it a non cost-effective way to handle your finances.

Pros and cons of withdrawing cash with your credit card

  • Accessibility
    There are no additional applications needed with a credit card cash advance. You only need to find an ATM and withdraw the cash you need.
  • Concise billing
    As the cash advance is part of your credit card billing, you won't have the worry of a new account.
  • Flexible repayments
    So long as you don't mind the accrued interest, you can pay off a credit card cash advance at your convenience.
  • Interest rates
    The interest rate charged for a credit card cash advance is considerably higher than what you would pay for your standard personal loan. You'll also accrue interest from the moment you make the cash advance.
  • Overall cost
    Like the payday loan, the overall cost of the cash advance makes it an option you should think twice about before using.

Credit cards with low cash advance rates

How to know what to apply for

Even after understanding both products, you still might wonder which one is right for you. Asking yourself the following might help you decide which is the right application to submit:

  • Do you have bad credit? If your answer is "yes" and you don't already have a credit card, then you may not be eligible to be approved for another one. Review the eligibility criteria of the products you are interested in before submitting your application, but if you are weighing up your options of a credit card and a payday loan and you have bad credit, you may find you are only eligible for the latter.
  • Do you already have a credit card? If you do, check what interest rate you will be charged for taking out the cash advance. Also check how much credit you have left in your account and if it will be sufficient for what you need. You can then use this information (the interest rate) to compare it with your payday loan options and see which one will be more expensive based on when you can repay the money.
  • When will you be able to repay the money? This is an important factor to consider. Payday loans are designed to be paid in the short-term, so before you apply make sure you can afford the repayments set out by the lender. If you aren't sure when you can repay, remember that a credit card cash advance can easily get out of hand if you don't repay it quickly – there is no fixed repayment term and the interest can just keep rolling over costing you a lot of money.

It’s always important to compare your options before applying for a payday loan or taking cash out on your credit card. Many financial experts advise to explore other avenues before applying for a payday loan or withdrawing money on your credit card. Due diligence is a must with both products.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

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.

4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    kennethMarch 21, 2016



    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethMarch 21, 2016Staff

      Hi Kenneth,

      Payday loans are usually for smaller amounts, below $2,000, and there are no loans currently available for comparison on of this size.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance,


  2. Default Gravatar
    angieJune 12, 2015

    just wondering how and where you apply online to receive a credit card cash advance can you use your personal bank?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethJune 15, 2015Staff

      Hi Angie,

      Thanks for your question.

      A credit card cash advance involves you withdrawing cash from an ATM using your credit card. To do this, you’ll need to hold a credit card or apply for a card and then withdraw the cash. If, however, you were looking for a cash advance loan, you can compare and apply for one on this page.

      I hope this has helped.



Ask a question
Go to site