Cash Advance

Financial Dictionary -> Banking -> Cash Advance

In today's age of credit cards, the term cash advance refers to the opportunity some cardholders have to obtain a loan against their current balances on the card. For the majority of card holders, the amount of money on offer for a cash advance is only a small portion of their overall credit card limit. The statements sent by the bank will usually provide two columns of figures; the regular credit limit and the new cash advance amount.

Getting a cash advance is very simple and may just require a journey to the closest cash point as a lot of automated teller matches (ATM) offer card holders cash advances and numerous other options; the machine will simply dispense the required money as long as it doesn't go over the set limit. In some cases if the keyed in amount exceeds the current limit it might still eject the cash but the institution will be flagged and the situation will be dealt with at a later date.

Because some services require immediate physical cash and do not accept credit or debit cards a cash advance might be your only option; it may also be a case that the person needs a small amount of cash for personal reasons but taking out a regular loan wouldn't be feasible and debit cards can only supply what currently exists in the bank account. Cash advances are often used in emergencies when the person didn't consider that they might need physical cash, such as emergency dental work or to help a family member at breaking point.

There are some disadvantages when using a cash advance option, as they often prove to be expensive, so keeping savings or having other emergency funds might be a better option. Also any money obtained from a cash advance will be added to the outstanding balance owed to the bank, which includes interest amounts and other fees and charges. Interest from some credit cards can reach a whopping 23 percent, which can quickly make the cash advance system seem like a bad idea. This is why you should only ever use a cash advance to resolve the current problem and make a strong effort to pay it back quickly to avoid pointless debt.