A cash advance is a service provided by most credit card and charge card issuers. The service allows cardholders to withdraw cash, either through an ATM or over the counter at a bank or other financial agency, up to a certain limit. For a credit card, this will be the credit limit (or some percentage of it).
Cash advances often incur a fee of 3 to 5 percent of the amount being borrowed. When made on a credit card, the interest is often higher than other credit card transactions. The interest compounds daily starting from the day cash is borrowed.
Some “purchases” made with a credit card of items that are viewed as cash are also considered to be cash advances in accordance with the credit card network’s guidelines, thereby incurring the higher interest rate and the lack of the grace period. These often include money orders, prepaid debit cards, lottery tickets, gaming chips, and certain taxes and fees paid to certain governments. However, should the merchant not disclose the actual nature of the transactions, these will be processed as regular credit card transactions. Many merchants have passed on the credit card processing fees to the credit card holders in spite of the credit card network’s guidelines, which state the credit card holders should not have any extra fee for doing a transaction with a credit card.
Under card scheme rules, a credit card holder presenting an accepted form of identification must be issued a cash advance over the counter at any bank which issues that type of credit card, even if the cardholder cannot give their PIN.
Ofer Abarbanel is a 25 year securities lending broker and expert who has advised many Israeli regulators, among them the Israel Tax Authority, with respect to stock loans, repurchase agreements and credit derivatives. Founder of TBIL.co STATX Fund.