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When you're in a tight circumstance, a cash advance on your credit card can be a helpful (if costly) way to get fast cash. But this is usually an expensive proposition, for three reasons:
Cash advance fees. These may be a flat fee of around $5 or $10 per cash advance, or as much as 5% of the amount advanced. Sometimes it's a percentage with a minimum dollar amount — such as 3% or $10, whichever is greater.
ATM or bank fees. These are imposed by the financial institution that handles the transaction — the owner of the ATM or the bank where you get your advance.
Interest. Some credit cards charge a higher interest rate for cash advances than they do for purchases. Plus, there’s no grace period, meaning the interest begins to accrue the moment you get that cash.
There aren’t many credit cards that don't charge cash advance fees, but they do exist. Some cards also charge the same APR on advances as on purchases, which is helpful because they still begin charging interest on your cash advance immediately. If you need an advance, a card with these features will certainly be a better deal — but remember, this is a method of last resort. Before you take your credit card to an ATM, consider alternatives to cash advances, like cards with low interest or 0% APR promotional offers, cards that offer the ability to convert purchases to monthly installment plans, or personal loans.
» MORE: Are cash advances a good idea?
Here are a few options for credit cards with no cash advance fee.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card does not charge a cash advance fee, but it will charge the card’s highest interest rate. Otherwise, the $0-annual-fee card boasts a sign-up bonus and impressive ongoing rewards:
5 points per $1 on gas at the pump and electric vehicle charging stations.
3 points per $1 spent on supermarket purchases, restaurants and dining, and cable, satellite and other pay television/radio/streaming services.
1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
There are a few drawbacks. Points are redeemable for travel, gift cards and merchandise, but not cash back. The card requires excellent credit to qualify. Also, you must join PenFed to be eligible for the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, which isn’t difficult but does present an extra hurdle. To join, you can open a PenFed savings account with a $5 minimum deposit.
Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card
The Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card is another possibility for those who want to build credit, and it functions differently from more conventional credit cards. Instead of a security deposit, you use the card in tandem with a Chime Spending Account, which you open first.
From there, you move money from your Spending Account to your Credit Builder secured account, which essentially allows you to create a budget for your credit card spending. When the bill is due, the funds are withdrawn from the Credit Builder secured account. The card charges no interest because it makes it impossible to spend more than the amount you moved into the account.
You can use your Chime Credit Builder Visa Secured Credit Card at any ATM without paying interest. If you use an in-network ATM, you won’t be charged fees, either. You can find in-network ATMs in your area in the Chime app.
DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card
The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card offers both no cash advance fee and the same APR on cash advances as it charges for purchases. (The ongoing APR is 11.50%-18.00% Variable.) As a secured credit card, this is an option for applicants who are looking to build their credit. It charges a $0 annual fee, but offers no ongoing rewards and requires a $500 minimum security deposit, which is high compared to other secured credit cards.
» MORE: 19 ways to find fast cash