What is a cash advance?

A cash advance is when you withdraw money from your credit card. It's basically a convenient (and expensive) short-term cash loan.

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Most credit cards give you the ability to get cash or a cash equivalent using your account. Known as cash advances, these transactions often attract a higher interest rate than purchases, as well as being subject to cash advance fees. Cash advances come with other restrictions as well, such as not being eligible for interest-free days or rewards points.

Here, you'll find out more about credit card cash advance transactions, including examples of payments that may be defined as "cash advances", how to check the rates and fees that apply and what to think about before using your card for a cash advance.

What is considered a cash advance on a credit card?

Credit card providers have individual terms of the transactions that they define as "cash advances". These are some examples of transactions that may be classified as cash advances and attract the cash advance rate and fees.

The 5 most common cash advance transactions

  • ATM withdrawals and cash out. Using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM or at the checkout is a cash advance. Additional fees could also apply if you use your credit card at a non-network ATM.
  • Gambling transactions. Purchasing lottery tickets and scratchies, placing bets and paying for gambling at a casino or online are considered cash advances. Don’t be surprised if you also have to pay the cash advance rate even on the money you spend eating and drinking while at a casino. See our guide on which credit cards you can or can't gamble with.
  • Gift cards and prepaid cards. Most issuers consider the purchasing or loading value onto a gift card or other prepaid card as a “cash equivalent” transaction that is subject to the cash advance fee and interest rate.
  • Credit card cheques. Certain credit card issuers send cheques to cardholders that they can use to withdraw money from their accounts as and when they like. While using such cheques can be tempting, you may want to reconsider to avoid the cash advance rate.
  • Buying foreign currency. Using your credit card to buy foreign currency or traveller’s cheques is not a good idea, because such transactions attract your card’s cash advance rate. Instead, if you're going overseas, you should look into a card specifically designed for travel.

Other transactions that may be defined as cash advances on your credit card

  • Bill payments. Many credit card providers classify some or all bill payments as cash advance transactions. This could include government charges such as ATO payments, utility payments and some BPAY payments. Check with your issuer and the business you're paying to find out if your transaction will be considered a cash advance.
  • Balance transfers. A number of Australian credit cards come with balance transfer offers, giving cardholders the ability to save money in the form of interest. In most cases, outstanding debt from balance transfers start attracting the card’s cash advance rate at the end of the promotional period.
  • Transfers between accounts. When you use your credit card account to transfer funds to another account, whether your own or someone else's, your card issuer will view it as a cash advance. A good way to avoid paying interest on such transactions is to use your debit card instead.
  • Buying cryptocurrency. If you have a credit card that allows you to buy cryptocurrency it will be considered a cash advance transaction.

Credit card cash advance tip

If you often use your credit card for cash advance transactions, you may want to look at credit cards that charge the same interest rate for purchases and cash advances. While you'll still have to pay the cash advance fee, these types of cards make it easier to keep track of the interest charges and sometimes offer lower rates than other credit cards.

Where can I find the cash advance fees and charges for my credit card?

Most credit card issuers will charge both a cash advance fee and cash advance interest rate for applicable transactions. Details of the cash advance interest rate are also included in the "Key Facts Summary" that credit card issuers have to provide when you're looking at a new card.

If you already have a credit card and want to know what you'll be charged, you can usually find these details in the product disclosure statement or terms and conditions under "fees and charges". But if you’re unsure or can't find this information, contact your credit card issuer to confirm what rates and fees apply before choosing a credit card or using one for cash advances.

Compare Credit Cards With Low 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.
Save with 0% p.a. interest on purchases and balance transfers for up to 12 months, with a one-time 2% balance transfer fee.

Compare up to 4 providers

What else should I consider before getting a cash advance?

If you plan on using your credit card for cash advances, consider the following questions to help keep costs to a minimum:

  • Will you earn reward points? Typically, you won’t earn reward points for cash advances, unless a credit card comes with some kind of a promotional offer.
  • What are the cash advance conditions when travelling overseas? If you want to use your credit card for cash advances overseas, keep in mind ATM fees and international transaction fees could make it even more expensive. But if you still want this option, you can compare cards that offer lower foreign transaction and currency conversion fees.
  • What other options are there? If you want to use your credit card, see if there's a way to make a purchase instead of a cash advance. For example, if you can pay with your card instead of cash, you won't need to withdraw money from your account. You could also use your debit card, consider getting a personal loan, or ask your bank if it can provide a line of credit or an overdraft facility.

Credit cards generally aren’t designed to be used as an ATM card. So if you think that you’ll regularly perform cash advances, you may want to consider another option to avoid accruing high fees. Regardless, make sure to read the terms and conditions before applying to ensure that you’re not confronted with any nasty surprises when you get your hands on the card.

Frequently asked questions

Is there a limit to how much I can get as a cash advance?

Expect your credit card to come with minimum and maximum cash advance limits. The minimum could be around $20, and the maximum would depend on your card’s credit limit and your card issuer’s discretion.

What is a cash advance fee?

Your credit card issuer can charge a fixed dollar value or a percentage of each cash advance as cash advance fee. This normally applies to all ATM withdrawals, transfers, and cash equivalent transactions.

Does using my credit card at a newsagency count as a cash advance?

While newspapers and stationery would be everyday purchases, most credit card providers would classify buying lottery tickets or scratchies as cash advances on your credit card. This is because lotto and other forms of gambling give you a cash equivalent, rather than a tangible item like a newspaper.

And if you tried to buy your lotto ticket with a credit card that doesn't allow gambling – and the merchant has correctly classified your purchases as a gambling transaction – the transaction would be declined.

I’ve used my new credit card to make purchases and for cash advances. Can I repay the balance from the cash advance first?

As a general rule, your credit card issuer has to allocate your payments to amounts that attract the highest interest first. Since cash advances usually attract higher interest than purchases, you can expect your payments to automatically go towards the cash advance balance first.

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24 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    IanApril 9, 2019

    I recently paid a $600 deposit on a cruise in Portugal by credit card. The merchant in Portugal used Hipay (a European version of Paypal I believe). My bank here (and the bank of another couple from the USA travelling with us) treated the payment as a cash advance, with fees and interest charges. My bank has subsequently refunded the fees as a one off goodwill gesture but our bank, the merchant and Hipay all say it is not their problem. The $1400 balance to be paid will presumably be treated the same. Can you shed any light on what is going on? Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniApril 10, 2019Staff

      Hi Ian,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Sorry to hear your confusion on this matter.

      In Australia, some credit card companies might also consider your BPAY payments – like Hipay, as cash advance. If it is something new to you it is recommended that you keep in touch with your bank/credit card issuer on this matter. As per this page you’re looking at, it is a good practice to always check with your issuer and the business you’re paying if your credit card transaction would be charged as a cash advance or purchase.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    AdrianJune 8, 2018

    Sometimes I overpay my credit card and have excess funds in my account i.e. a positive balance for example $100.00 CR. Would I be charged a cash advance fee to withdraw the $100.00 of what is essentially my own cash from an ATM?

      Default Gravatar
      ArnoldJune 8, 2018

      Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      No, it will not be considered as a cash advance and you will not be charged for it.

      Depending on your credit card company, as soon as an overpayment on a completely paid down balance is received, that amount is often credited immediately to your account. If you didn’t get a credit (or if you did, but haven’t used it), write to your credit card company to request a refund. Also, some companies may allow you to request a refund by phone, so be sure to check with your issuer.

      If you prefer to leave the overpaid amount in your account, it’s like having a credit in your favor. Any new charges, up to the amount you overpaid, will be covered.

      Hope this information helps


    Default Gravatar
    DanMarch 27, 2018

    Are there any credit cards that DO NOT have the option for cash advance? I want a credit card that does not have this facility.

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiMarch 27, 2018

      Hi Dan!

      Thanks for your message and for contacting finder.

      All credit cards have the option of cash advances. You may opt not to use this if you think its not of any use to you. :)

      Have a great day!

      Best regards,


    Default Gravatar
    NormanJuly 14, 2016

    Is there any form of cash advance fee or other fees associated with a direct debit plan from a credit card, ie for health insurance, telstra bills etc?

    I have traditionally used a debit card for my direct debit plans and did not receive a fee, but recently I got a home loan so i am finding it easier to use the credit card and pay it off prior to my billing period (so i can put all my money into the loan as i don’t have an offset account). So I just wanted to grantee that I would not cop any extra associated fees using a credit card?


      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJuly 15, 2016Staff

      Hi Norman,

      Thanks for your question.

      The transaction that can be treated as a “purchase” or a “cash advance” will actually differ from one credit card to another. But usually, if the payment, for instance, for your bills or loan was directly debited by the merchant/company from your card, that will not be considered as a cash advance but rather as a purchase, so no cash advance fees will be charged to your card.

      It may be best to directly contact your merchant on how they charge their bill to your card. A piece of advice from your card company will also help.


    Default Gravatar
    brianMarch 13, 2016

    When you pay interest on cash advance how is it treated in future statements?

    Lets say I have $1000 cash advance. It probably has a 1.75% cash advance fee so about $17.50. And one months interest might be around $20.

    Then I make $20 minimum repayment. It goes to highest interest first. So I now have $980 in cash advances. Is the $17.50 and $20 rolled into that amount and charged cash advance rates? Or are interest and fees considered as purchase rate?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanMarch 14, 2016Staff

      Hi Brian, thanks for your inquiry!

      Since the charges mentioned are under cash advances, your repayment of $20 will go towards the total outstanding cash advance amount. If you make purchases a separate interest amount is charged on the total amount of outstanding purchases. Using your example with a $1000 cash advance and a cash advance interest amount of $17.50, your total cash advance debt is $1017.50. A repayment of $20 will bring the new total to $997.50.

      I hope this helps.



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