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 additional 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 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.
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
Updated April 3rd, 2020
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
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.
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.
As a general rule, your credit card issuer has to allocate your payments to amounts that attract the highest interest first. Since cash advances attract higher interest than purchases, you can expect your payments to automatically go towards the cash advance balance first.
Amy is an editor and writer at finder.com.au with more than 10 years experience covering credit cards, personal finance and various lifestyle topics. When she’s not sharing her knowledge on money matters, Amy spends her time as an actress.
* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit
cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative
of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular
order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are
subject to our disclaimer.
You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own
personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
Important information about this website
finder.com.au is one of Australia's leading comparison websites. We compare from a wide set of banks, insurers and product issuers. We value our editorial independence and follow editorial guidelines.
finder.com.au has access to track details from the product issuers listed on our sites. Although we provide information on the products offered by a wide range of issuers, we don't cover every available product or service.
Please note that the information published on our site should not be construed as personal advice and does not consider your personal needs and circumstances. While our site will provide you with factual information and general advice to help you make better decisions, it isn't a substitute for professional advice. You should consider whether the products or services featured on our site are appropriate for your needs. If you're unsure about anything, seek professional advice before you apply for any product or commit to any plan.
Products marked as 'Promoted' or 'Advertisement' are prominently displayed either as a result of a commercial advertising arrangement or to highlight a particular product, provider or feature. Finder may receive remuneration from the Provider if you click on the related link, purchase or enquire about the product. Finder's decision to show a 'promoted' product is neither a recommendation that the product is appropriate for you nor an indication that the product is the best in its category. We encourage you to use the tools and information we provide to compare your options.
Where our site links to particular products or displays 'Go to site' buttons, we may receive a commission, referral fee or payment when you click on those buttons or apply for a product. You can learn more about how we make money here.
When products are grouped in a table or list, the order in which they are initially sorted may be influenced by a range of factors including price, fees and discounts; commercial partnerships; product features; and brand popularity. We provide tools so you can sort and filter these lists to highlight features that matter to you.
We try to take an open and transparent approach and provide a broad-based comparison service. However, you should be aware that while we are an independently owned service, our comparison service does not include all providers or all products available in the market.
Some product issuers may provide products or offer services through multiple brands, associated companies or different labelling arrangements. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare alternatives or identify the companies behind the products. However, we aim to provide information to enable consumers to understand these issues.
Providing or obtaining an estimated insurance quote through us does not guarantee you can get the insurance. Acceptance by insurance companies is based on things like occupation, health and lifestyle. By providing you with the ability to apply for a credit card or loan, we are not guaranteeing that your application will be approved. Your application for credit products is subject to the Provider's terms and conditions as well as their application and lending criteria.