When emergencies arise and you're in dire need of cash, a cash advance can be one quick and easy way to get the money you need without a lot of hassle.
But that convenience can come at a high cost.
Most financial professionals agree that a cash advance should be one of the last options you consider when you need cash fast because most credit card companies will not only charge you a high-interest rate but also charge fees on top of that interest.
That being said, life is what happens when you're making other plans, so if you're going to use a credit card for a cash advance, it makes sense that you choose one with little or no fees.
You should know, however, that interest starts accumulating right away on a cash advance, so if you need money urgently and can't get it any other way, then a cash advance is an option.
In some cases, getting a cash advance from your credit card can even be cheaper than taking out a personal loan from a bank.
However, you shouldn't let the ease of getting a cash advance lead you to rely on them, especially since there are so many terrible ones out there.
Mixed in with these troublemakers are credit cards available that have no or low introductory fees on cash advances as well as many other benefits like rewards points, travel perks and more.
Even if you've gotten a cash advance before and been eaten alive by fees and charges, you'll want to see this list.
We'll show you the best cards for cash advances and how to use them responsibly.
Cash advances come with dangerously expensive terms
Pay it off — fast. Because interest starts accumulating the moment you get your money from your cash advance, it's important to pay off your debt quickly or else you risk being eaten alive by interest fees.
If you let cash advance debt build up, it can easily surpass the initial amount you needed for emergency funding, so don't procrastinate when it comes to paying down this particular type of debt.
Cash advances have no grace period. You should avoid thinking that just because you have a grace period with your credit card issuer that it also applies to cash advances.
Depending on the terms, it very well might not.
Under the 2009 CARD Act, your credit card issuer is required to offer you a grace period of at least 21 days.
This timeframe allows you to pay your bill without interest accruing.
But this grace period usually doesn't apply to cash advances.
Even if you pay your cash advance in full by the due date, you'll still need to factor in any interest charges and fees that apply.
We picked cards that offer cash advances with much more than simple "no fees" promises
Having no fees on top of getting emergency cash fast can be a welcome relief for cardholders, but we also asked a few other questions to determine if these cards were useful beyond getting a cash advance.
How easy is it to apply for? Since many of these cards are offered on behalf of an association or credit union, membership requirements may be tricky.
For example, one of our runners-up, the Fort Knox Platinum Visa, offers some lucrative deals but requires you to be a member of their federal credit union.
If you're not a member, you must join a separate organization and make a donation.
Since many of these cards come from credit unions, you probably should take a quick peek at my article, 8 Reasons Why Credit Unions Are Better Than Big Banks.
I think it'll help you better understand these cash advance cards as well as banking in general.
With so many hoops to jump through, there are simply easier cards to apply for that give you the same, if not more, benefits.
Does it offer any welcome or sign-on bonuses? Having a lucrative welcome or sign-on bonus can be icing on the cake beyond getting the cash you need quickly.
It also demonstrates that a company values your business.
We looked at whether or not these cards had any sign-up bonuses, and if so, how easy they were to apply for and use.
What are the rates? A credit card with no introductory cash-advance fees is good, but what about in the long-term?
Is there a 0% introductory APR?
No balance transfer fees?
All of these things matter to cardholders, which is why we made each a priority.
How good are the rewards? Many credit cards that have no fees for cash advances also offer rewards points or other perks.
This question was often used as a tiebreaker between cards that were similar in all other respects.
Cards that tended to make our list were those that offered valuable rewards or perks in addition to no cash advance fees.
Take a look at our list and get started (cautiously) with the best cards for cash advances
We've researched the best credit cards for cash advances and came up with five great options you'll want to seriously consider if you're looking to get a good deal on a cash advance from a credit card issuer.
See our top picks below.
1. The Odyssey Rewards Card
This is the best overall card for its flexible rewards points and fantastic travel bonus
Typically, cards that offer no or low cash advance fees carve out benefits from other areas, like cashback or points.
The Odyssey Rewards World Elite Mastercard, issued by First Tech Federal Credit Union, manages to bundle in some of the best and most popular credit card features, all in one easy-to-use card.
If you want a travel credit card that lets you enjoy rewards that are beyond the ordinary, the Odyssey Rewards World Elite Mastercard is definitely worth your attention.
Get a middle-of-the-pack sign-up bonus. With the Odyssey Rewards World Elite Mastercard, you'll enjoy 30,000 bonus rewards points (approximately a $300 value) if you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
Although the rewards points threshold isn't as high as other travel credit cards, it's still a very reasonable amount that can go a long way toward making your next trip more affordable.
Rack up points quickly for travel purchases. When you make travel purchases with this card, you'll enjoy 3x the points, making it fast and easy to rack up points.
You'll also get 2x points on dining and 1x points on other purchases, so if you travel and dine out frequently, you'll find that you're practically swimming in points.
Save hundreds on ATM fees. The Odyssey Rewards card doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees either, whereas most other cards charge a percentage of your total in USD.
This allows you to potentially save hundreds of dollars on ATM fees when traveling overseas.
Personalization is great for busy travelers. The Odyssey Rewards World Elite Mastercard also comes with personalized concierge service which works on your behalf to arrange travel, dinner reservations, secure event tickets, and more.
With perks like these, it's easy to see how this card can make your travel experience unforgettable in all the right ways.
People love the flexibility of the rewards points system
Since you can earn 3x points for travel purchases along with special offers and world-class upgrades at hotels, cruises, and resorts, this is an attractive credit card that lets you rack up points quickly.
Because there's no limit to the number of points you can earn and your points never expire, it's a great opportunity to enjoy the kinds of luxury experiences most people only dream about.
You can even pay the $75 annual fee with your rewards points.
But you should know there's a high spending threshold you'll need to meet
In order to get the most out of this card, you'll typically need to have "Good" or "Excellent" credit, pay off your balance every month, and are comfortable putting, according to Odyssey's own site, about $3,000 per month on the card.
This is a pretty high threshold for many people to reach, which can be off-putting if you're looking for a card that has no cash advance fees but also doubles as a reliable travel credit card.
Keep it for a year, then switch to a long-term rewards credit card
If you only take a few trips a year and tend to keep a balance on your card, there are better travel credit cards out there (albeit they do have cash advance fees).
Still, the annual fee of $75 is waived for the first year with this card, so it may be worth keeping around for that time period just to get the bonus and the 3x points on travel purchases.
After that initial period, you can always apply for a travel credit card that offers more long-term rewards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which gives you 50,000 bonus points (around $625 when used for travel).
The smartest way to apply
You can apply directly online through the First Tech Federal Credit Union website. The application process is fast and takes only a few minutes.
2. The Platinum Rewards Mastercard
This card is great for anyone who wants a no-fee cash advance card together with a lucrative rewards program
Another First Tech credit card occupies a spot on our top list.
If you want a credit card that includes a rewards program as well as a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, the Platinum Rewards Mastercard is worth a closer look.
You also get other benefits such as extended warranties, price protections, identity theft resolution services, and more.
Pay down high balances with no transfer fee. In addition, you'll enjoy a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months as long as you transfer the balance within the first 90 days of opening the account.
Reasonable APR makes even large purchases more affordable. With an APR as low as 10.24% on purchases (depending on creditworthiness) and no annual fees, even larger purchases can be more affordable when you use this card.
Doubles as a great travel credit card. With added perks like Airport Concierge and expedited processing at select airports as well as travel assistance services, this is a great card to have on hand whether you're traveling across the country or around the world.
Protection in all the right places. Enjoy price protection, rental insurance, extended warranties, and identity theft resolution services, which can provide valuable peace of mind in the event of an emergency.
A decent sign-up offer for the lower-end spender. Receive 10,000 rewards points (approximately $100) when you spend $2,000 in the first two months.
Plus earn rewards points for every dollar you spend.
You can redeem your points for a wide range of items, including travel and merchandise, or make a contribution to your favorite charity.
People love the Platinum Rewards Mastercard because of its versatility at home and while traveling
This is one of those rare credit cards that not only boasts a reasonable APR even after the initial period but also stands as a serious contender as a top travel credit card as well.
Use your points for a priceless experience. Because there's no limit to the number of points you can earn and your points never expire, you can earn points on everyday purchases and redeem them for unique travel excursions.
These excursions include MasterCard's Priceless Cities program, which promotes unique entertainment, food, sports, and other "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences.
But this amazing card comes with hit-or-miss customer service
Prior to becoming First Tech Federal Credit Union, the company was the Hewlett-Packard Credit Union, formed to help employees of technology companies and their subsidiaries.
However, since becoming First Tech, many once-thrilled customers have changed their tune.
Technical glitches and sudden charges are the word on the street. From overseas call-centers to sudden payments being made without authorization even when the account is closed, complaints abound.
Many customers also report technical glitches in the online system – not exactly the best endorsement for a company with "Tech" in its name.
If you can handle the occasional technical hiccup and want a card that's handy for travel and everyday use, the Platinum Rewards Mastercard provides a solid balance of rates and rewards.
The smartest way to apply
Theonline applicationis easy and straightforward. You can find out in minutes if you're approved.
3. The Ring Mastercard from Barclaycard
This card is great for "social spenders" and offers excellent financial management tools
The Ring MasterCard has one of the lowest APRs of all cash advance credit cards, and the fee for cash advances is just $3.
Unique "crowdsourced" style is a refreshing approach to traditional credit cards
One of the more unique features of the Ring credit card is that it bills itself as a "crowdsourced" credit card.
This means that cardholders drive some aspects of the card, including the Giveback Profit Sharing Program.
This is where cardholders vote each year on the card's policies.
They also get a profit and loss statement every month to see how the card is doing.
Rewards program gives a portion of the profits back to the community. Users are further incentivized to use their cards since they can receive part of the card's profits based on overall community financial performance.
While not a traditional "rewards program," you can opt to get your reward in the form of a statement credit or donate it to a charity, or a combination of the two.
Low APR if you have excellent credit. The APR (around 8-15.99% depending on your creditworthiness and other factors) is the same whether you take out a cash advance or make a purchase.
This makes it a highly attractive option if you need emergency cash or about to make a long-term purchase.
Monitor and strategize about your credit score. As part of your membership with the Barclaycard Ring Mastercard, you can access your FICO score for free.
That way, you can see precisely where your credit profile stands as you work to pay down your balance.
Join a thriving online community– The community that Barclaycard has built up focuses on financial health, management, and card basics to name a few, and there's also a blog with helpful educational resources.
So, it's a great card for first-time credit card users as well as those who want to create and stick to a budget.
Even with good credit, customers are seeing lowered credit limits
If you're expecting a certain credit limit on this card, you may be surprised at what you see on the Barclaycard.
Lower than normal credit limits can limit returns. Some users with credit scores of 700+ (in the "Good" to "Excellent" range) were shocked to discover that they received a lower credit limit with the Barclaycard than what they may have received with other credit card issuers.
"How is the profit sharing handled?"
It's understandable to have questions about the Barclaycard Ring's "give-back" program.
Many prospective customers wonder just how much profit they'll actually see from this card.
The amount you get depends on several factors, such as your card activity and how many people you refer to Barclaycard.
As an added bonus, you can choose to have your earnings provided as cash, donated to charity, or split evenly down the middle.
Come for the low APR, stay for the helpful community
The low APR and 0% on balance transfers made in the first 60 days were enough to tip our review scales in favor of the Ring Barclaycard, but the helpful community is icing on the cake.
With everything from helpful budgeting and financial planning tools to a motivational community of cardholders ready to answer questions, this card truly stands out thanks to its give-back approach.
The smartest way to apply
Not surprisingly, applying online is quick and easy and can be done by going to the Barclaycard Ring's online platform.
Be sure to check out the comprehensive help section which clearly explains everything you need to know before, during, and after the application process.
4. The Platinum Mastercard
This is great for people who don't want to be nickel-and-dimed by constant fees
Cash advance fees. Balance transfer fees. Inactivity fees…
Most credit card companies are nothing if not innovative about coming up with new ways to nibble away at your money.
But the Platinum Mastercard by Idaho State University Credit Union, in addition to supporting the Idaho State Alumni Foundation's higher education goals, is designed to help you keep more of your money in your pocket.
No fees for cash advances, balance transfers, or inactivity. Pay down larger, higher-interest balances from other cards thanks to having no balance transfer fee.
You also won't be charged for cash advances or no/low card activity
Extended warranty benefit helps keep your purchases working longer. If you make a purchase with this card and the item comes with a one year warranty or less, you'll enjoy up to an additional 12 months extended warranty with this perk.
You can even use it on gifts!
Purchase insurance if an item is stolen or damaged. If you've purchased something that ends up damaged or stolen within 90 days from the day you bought it and you have your receipt, you could be covered under the MasterCard purchase insurance program.
Roadside and travel assistance for the nervous driver. Whether you're traveling at home or abroad, you may be covered under emergency roadside or travel assistance.
Although you are responsible for charges, things like towing, tire changes and jump-starts can give you peace of mind and reassurance while you're on the road.
And if you're abroad, emergency services can help provide assistance in case of accidents or illness.
HOT TIP: Purchase your next ticket on a major airline carrier with this card and get up to $250,000 in free travel accident insurance.
Watch out for added and penalty fees that could cost you if you're forgetful
Have you ever sent out a payment late or forgotten to send it at all?
Don't have enough in your account to cover the cost of a returned payment?
This card has a late payment penalty fee and a returned payment penalty fee of $25 each.
You may also be subject to a high penalty APR of 18% if your payment is 90 days or more past due.
If that happens, you'll pay the penalty APR for six consecutive months. Ouch.
No 0% introductory APR. Another complaint that knocked this card further down on our list is the fact that it doesn't offer a 0% introductory APR as other cards featured here too.
Instead, the APR is 2.99% for 12 billing cycles.
The APR thereafter ranges from 8.25-5.50% so if you don't have much of a balance or you pay your balance off every month, it may still work out in your benefit to apply for this card.
"Do I have to be an ISU student or alumni to apply for this card?"
No, but each swipe of your card will help benefit the Idaho State University Alumni Association.
The smartest way to apply
Send in the application form to apply. It has to be printed out and mailed in. There is no online application which means you may have to wait some time to know if you're approved or not.
5. The CapEd Platinum Card
This is great for people who want no cash advance fees as well as a low APR beyond the introductory period
The Visa Platinum credit card by CapEd Federal Credit Union has no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, and you guessed it — no cash advance fee.
This card also lets you earn reward points at a 1:1 ratio through its program known as Scorecard Rewards.
With Scorecard Rewards, you can redeem your points for prizes that range from Apple Watches to The North Face apparel.
Low intro APR and more make leaving a balance a possibility. Although it doesn't have a 0% introductory APR, the CapEd FCU card does offer a 4.9% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles.
After that, your APR will be 8.59% or 13.59% depending on your creditworthiness.
The lack of a 0% intro APR pushed this card further down our list, but the potential of an 8.59% regular APR could be just what you need to help pay down larger balances over time.
No balance transfer fees and no cash advance fees. The lack of fees makes, this a great card for emergency cash as well as paying down your balance from higher interest rate cards.
There's also no annual fee.
Friendly, helpful customer service. Many customers have remarked that doing business with CapEd is a refreshing alternative to big banks.
Customer service is attentive, experienced , and friendly which is a rare find in the world of finance.
But the rewards program is a bit lackluster compared to the competition
Scorecard Rewards is neither extensive in terms of its inventory nor truly as worthwhile as other programs, such as Ultimate Rewards from Chase.
Earning points can be a slow process compared to other rewards cards. Flashy electronics and apparel aside, items tend to be plucked from your average infomercial.
"Do I need to be a resident of Idaho or in the education field to obtain this card?"
CapEd is a grant program designed for Idaho Higher Education personnel, however, you don't have to be an Idaho resident or even in the higher education field to apply for this card.
Simply become a sustaining member volunteer of the Idaho CapEd Foundation – which takes a single $20 donation.
The smartest way to apply
The online application process is easy and takes just a few minutes to complete.
Depending on where you bank, these 4 cards also have no fees for cash advances
There are a handful of other cards that offer no fees for cash advances, but the benefits you get are meager compared to the others we've profiled here.
Since many of these cards come from credit unions, you probably should take a quick peek at my, 8 Reasons Why Credit Unions Are Better Than Big Banks piece.
I think it'll help you better understand these cash advance cards, as well as banking in general.
The Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards from Stanford Federal Credit Union. Show your Stanford pride by getting 3% cashback at all Stanford bookstores (including online), plus 1% cashback on all other purchases.
There's also no balance transfer fee and no foreign transaction fee. Apply and learn more here.
The Digital Credit Union Visa Platinum Rewards card. Although this card has no cash advance fees and a points program, your points expire after four years and don't transfer to other loyalty programs.
You'd need to spend approximately $1,3025 every month to get just $159 worth of value from the rewards this card offers. Learn more and apply here.
The Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum card. With 5% cashback at U.S. gas stations and 1% cashback on all other purchases, this card is ideal if you typically spend $250 or more per month on gas purchases.
You don't need to be a member of Fort Knox Federal Credit Union, but non-members may have a hard pull done on their credit history.
Membership in Fort Knox FCU is fairly straightforward to obtain — you'll need to pay a one-time $10 fee to join and also become a member of the American Consumer Council, which costs $5. Learn more and apply here.
The PenFed Promise Visa card. This card promotes itself as a "no fees" credit card, and it lives up to that distinction by offering no balance transfer fees, no cash advance fees, no annual fees, and no foreign transaction fees.
The downside is that you must be a PenFed Federal Credit Union member to apply, and membership is restricted to individuals who are affiliated with the U.S. government or are employees of select financial, healthcare, or education facilities.
You may also be able to obtain membership by donating to a select charity or living or working at an eligible location. Learn more and apply here.
Cash advances can provide welcome funding fast in an emergency when you've exhausted all other options
If you meet the eligibility requirements (if any), apply for the one that best suits your needs and spending habits.
Although you hope you never have to get a cash advance to provide emergency funding, it's nice to know that there are organizations that can help you out in a pinch when you need money quickly.
Have you found a great credit card for cash advances?
Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below.