If you’re wondering whether you can use your credit card to take out a little cash in an emergency, the short answer is: yes, you can. Most credit cards have a cash advance option for holders in good standing that allows them to withdraw money from a credit card.
There are, however, a few things to consider when it comes to using your credit card at an ATM.
Yes, You Can Withdraw Money From a Credit Card — But It’s Expensive
Credit card cash advances are one of the more expensive ways to take out a short-term loan. Most card issuers charge far more in interest for withdrawing money from a credit card than they do for making purchases.
Currently the average interest rate for cash advances is around 24 percent.
Earning Cash Back on Purchases Is a Better Idea
Instead of paying exorbitant interest rates and fees on a cash advance, have you considered using a credit card with cash back rewards?
Many issuers today offer credit cards that will give you up to 5% cash back on your purchases, not to mention 0% interest rate introductory period on purchases those purchases. Some even give a cash bonus of $100 or more in the first few months of owning the card.
Here are the top cash back credit cards you could get approved for today:
- Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- No minimum to redeem for cash back
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
|Intro Purchases||0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months|
|Intro Transfers||0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months|
|Regular APR||16.74% - 25.49% Variable|
- Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
- Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
- No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
- Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
- 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.74%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
|Intro Purchases||0% for 12 months|
|Intro Transfers||0% for 12 months|
|Regular APR||14.74%-26.74% (Variable)|
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
- Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
- Receive FREE Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
|Intro Purchases||0% for 14 months|
|Intro Transfers||0% for 14 months|
|Regular APR||13.74% - 24.74% Variable|
- Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on all other purchases
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-24.99% variable APR after that
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-24.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
- No annual fee
|Intro Purchases||0% for 15 months|
|Intro Transfers||0% for 15 months|
|Regular APR||16.24% - 24.99% (Variable)|
|Credit Needed||Excellent, Good|
- Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- Named "Best Rewards Card for Small Business Owners" by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
- Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year
- Earn 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
- Earn 1% cash back on all other card purchases with no limit to the amount you can earn
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
|Intro Purchases||0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months|
|Intro Transfers||0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months|
|Regular APR||14.99% - 20.99% Variable|
|Credit Needed||Excellent Credit|
4 Things to Know About Cash Advances
So how do you go about withdrawing money using a credit card? Here are four things you should know about cash advances:
1. You’ll Need a PIN
If you’ve never withdrawn money from an ATM using your credit card, you first need to contact your card issuer to ensure that your account is set up to allow cash withdrawals. They will then issue you a PIN number that you can use at an ATM.
2. You Can Get Cash Immediately at a Bank Branch
If you need cash immediately and have access to a bank branch, you can usually take out a cash withdrawal on the spot. However, you still need to have a PIN assigned if you later want to use your card at an ATM.
3. Using Your Credit Card for Cash is Different Than Using It for Purchases
In addition to the higher interest rate for cash advances, there are fees that can equal as much as 3 to 5 percent of the amount withdrawn. Also, some cards begin accruing interest on the cash withdrawal as soon as it’s made — in other words, no grace period.
4. Cash Advances Have Limits
Lastly, credit card cash withdrawals are almost always limited to a set amount, called the cash credit limit — usually around $300 to $500. That’s because this type of loan should be considered only in a true emergency.
Consider a Cash Advance Only as a Last Resort
As you can see, it is fairly easy to withdraw money from a credit card. As long as you have the right type of account, are in good standing with your payments, and contact your bank to make sure your account is set up properly, it should be no problem. Just remember this type of loan can be quite expensive and should be considered only as a last resort.
In a non-emergency situation, consider borrowing from someone you know. An alternative to a cash advance from a credit card is to have a friend or family member wire money to you, which can usually be done in a fairly short amount of time. As long as you have the ability to pay them back, this can be a much lower cost option to withdrawing money from a credit card.