Although convenient to use your credit card at an ATM, it comes with fees, interest rates, and other concerns, cash advances should be your last resort. And like taxes, people often have a second thought about the payment and would prefer to get cash from credit card without charges. Fortunately, there are several ways to obtain cash from your credit card without a cash advance, or at least at a low fee and interest.
We have completed the research on your behalf and discovered real-life methods where people get around paying the fees or only paying low fees.
How to get cash from credit card without charges
While some of the methods will attract no fees at all, others will only take a little fee, compared to the traditional fees that come with getting cash from a credit card. Below are methods to get cash from credit card without charges:
1. Buy a prepaid gift card
Use your credit card to purchase a prepaid gift card, and then sell it for cash. You might have to sell the card for slightly less than its face value to incentivize someone to buy it, but you can make use of online marketplaces like Giftcard Granny or Raise for the sale. Ensure the discount you offer is less than the amount you would incur in cash advance fees and interest.
Some gift cards also function like cash. Hence, if you need to shop at a specific store, you can buy a gift card with your credit card and use it to make purchases.
2. Pay for a friend and get their cash
If a friend or relative is planning a large cash purchase, offer to make the purchase with your credit card. They can then give you the cash or transfer the funds to your bank account, potentially via a peer-to-peer payment service.
Bear in mind, though, many popular peer-to-peer payment platforms like Venmo caution that transferring money to a friend via credit card might attract a cash advance fee. Moreover, credit card transactions on these platforms might involve additional charges. Hence, conducting such transactions offline with a friend or relative might be a more reasonable way to get cash from credit card without charges.
3. Try retail arbitrage
The idea of retail arbitrage is to buy items at discounted prices, using sales, discounts, or credit card rewards, and then sell them at a higher price. The profit can provide you with the necessary cash and potentially cover your interest charges if you require some time to settle your credit card balance. However, be aware that you might not make a profit or sell the item quickly (or at all). That’s why you should only buy a product that will attract quick buyers. Or if you know a retailer who buys with cash, you can reach out to them and offer to make the payment for their cash.
4. Cover your bills with credit card
Use your credit card to cover expenses you’d normally pay with cash or from your bank account to free up some cash. This could be especially useful if you have a new credit card offering a zero-interest introductory period, giving you time to recover without incurring interest.
Some service providers and landlords may impose a convenience fee for credit card payments though. Compare your total costs before deciding the most cost-effective way to acquire cash. Even if the fee is slightly higher than a cash advance fee, avoiding the higher cash advance interest rate might make this strategy worthwhile.
5. Use mobile transfer apps
Sign up on digital payment applications such as Venmo or PayPal to get cash from your credit card. These platforms allow you to link your credit card to your account.
You can send money to someone you trust with a PayPal account and get the cash from them once the transaction is done. Alternatively, you can create multiple PayPal accounts and transfer money between accounts and withdraw it yourself.
This approach includes a small one-time transaction fee is charged, and the transaction is treated like a standard credit card purchase, preventing immediate interest accumulation until your next billing cycle.¹
Alternatively, you can use Venmo. Just Venmo the funds to someone and they can deposit and withdraw the cash. That is often considered a cash advance + a 3% fee.² Not for all cards though, it depends on the bank. Capital One doesn’t charge a cash advance fee but you will pay the 3% fee to Venmo. Discover and US Bank may not also trigger a cash advance fee.
6. Opt for a balance transfer check
You could request a check for balance transfer payments. While most credit card companies prefer sending this check directly to the account from which you’re transferring money, you can request the check be given to you directly.³ This route usually comes with lower fees. Balance transfer fees are typically either $5 or five percent of the borrowed amount, whichever is higher.
The advantage of this method is the potential for a temporary reprieve on interest rates. Companies often offer promotional low APRs for the first year, so planning to repay within that time frame is beneficial.
7. Use cash back rewards
While this method is not immediately helpful during emergencies, it does allow you to gradually build up a fund. If you’re going to use your credit card regularly, pick one with cash back rewards for your purchases.
The cash back percentage is determined by your card’s offer and factors such as your credit history. Certain purchases might even offer higher cash back percentages.
Some cards offer 2-3% cash back on specific purchases like gas or utility payments, while others offer 1% back on all other expenses. This cash back may not be immediately accessible, but it accumulates over time. Ideally, save up to a particular amount (e.g., $250) and keep it ready for any emergency.
Also, consider credit cards with introductory bonus offers. These often give cash back rewards if a certain amount is spent within the first few months. You could strategically use your card for large purchases (e.g., paying utility bills for friends) and then repay the amount before receiving the reward.
8. Pay for people at the restaurant
This one is an unpopular little trick to get cash from credit card without charges. If you work in a restaurant or have someone working in one, the best way to get cash from your credit card is by swiping it whenever guests pay cash. Go ahead and pocket the cash and deposit it in the bank. You will also earn reward points through this method.
9. Con the credit card company
Try calling the credit card company after using funds from your credit card. They might remove the fee if you claim that you accidentally used the wrong card. This trick is a risky business, so give it a shot at your own risk.
A standard cash advance isn’t always friendly
While tempting, credit cards for cash advances can lead to financial drawbacks, including the following:
1. Upfront costs
Credit cards generally charge a fee of 3-5% for cash advances, in addition to potential interest rates and other charges.⁴ For instance, when you withdraw $100, you’re effectively borrowing $105 as that’s the sum you’ll need to repay.
2. Higher interest rates
Cash advances are subject to higher interest rates compared to normal credit card transactions, and the interest starts accruing from the moment you withdraw the cash, not from the next billing cycle. This means, even if you repay promptly, you’ll still accumulate some interest.
3. Credit limit
Credit card companies often impose lower limits for cash advances compared to purchases. For instance, if your card limit is $10,000 for purchases, it may only be $1,000 for cash advances. Thus, if your requirement exceeds $1,000, you might find yourself in a bind.
Be on the lookout
While it’s relieving to get cash from credit card without charges, cash through your credit card via purchases of money orders or conducting wire transfers funded by your credit card is often categorized the same as cash advances by many card issuers. This means that you’re likely not avoiding the elevated charges and higher interest rates that come with a cash advance by opting for these alternatives.
The best move is to review your credit card agreement to understand how these cash-equivalent operations are classified.
These options may be more economical than a cash advance, yet remember that you’re borrowing money with your credit card. If you are unable to clear your credit card debt each month, you’ll be subjected to finance charges, though these will be at the regular interest rate for purchases, not the higher cash advance rate.
Does cash advance affect credit score?
Cash advance doesn’t inherently affect your credit score but can cause future credit issues. Suppose you use too much of your available credit or pay the cash advance back late; your credit score can get dinged.
Why is it a bad idea to get a cash advance on your credit card?
It is a bad idea to get a cash advance on your credit card because you may end up paying more in fees and interest than you would if you used your credit card (or other payment methods) for purchases.
Read also: no credit card PIN, no problem
- Do I get charged a cash advance fee when using my debit or credit card to make a payment? PayPal
- Fees & Venmo. Venmo
- Should You Use a Credit Card Balance Transfer Check? Experian
- How Does a Credit Card Cash Advance Work? The Motley Fool
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