Experts recommend against getting cash from a credit card thanks to high fees and interest — but here’s how to do it, if you have to

Getting cash from your credit card is called a cash advance, and it’s a way to borrow cash against your credit limit. Apply this.
Experts generally recommend against taking a cash advance, which is one of the most expensive ways to borrow money thanks to high fees and a high interest rate on the money you borrow.
If it’s truly the only option available, though, you can take cash from your credit card by visiting a bank branch or an ATM.
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Despite our best intentions to save diligently in an emergency fund, sometimes life happens.

When events cause a need for immediate cash and you don’t have an emergency fund, or anywhere else to get money from, getting cash from your credit card could be an option.

Cash advances — borrowing cash against your credit card — are notoriously expensive, and experts generally recommend against them. Unlike debit cards, credit cards aren’t generally used to take out cash, so on top of fees — which vary by card — the interest rate on money borrowed through a cash advance is more than 23%, compared to the average interest rate for regular credit card balances, which is about 17% as of May 2019.

Credit bureau Experian recommends asking the following questions before getting cash from your credit card:

Is the cash advance an emergency to take care of a bill or expense?
Can you pay the money back in a month or in a few months?
Can you borrow money from a friend or family member?
Do you really need to buy what you are about to buy?
Do you need help improving your personal finance habits?
If you know that getting cash from your credit card is your best option, and that you’ll be able to pay it back before it earns interest, here’s how to get a cash advance.

How to get cash from a credit card
1. Gather together your information
Before you can move forward with any cash withdrawal, you’ll need to make sure you have your physical card, as well as your account and PIN number.

2. Determine if your card offers cash advance options
Before you can borrow cash against your credit card, you’ll need to know if your particular card allows you to do so. Most do these days, and a quick check of your last statement, visit online, or call to your bank can help you verify.

3. Understand the terms
Borrowing money from your credit card this way will likely come with some fees and interest, and it’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting into before taking the money out. Creditcards.com has found that typically, the fee to take money from your credit card is 5% of the amount you’re withdrawing, or $10, whichever amount is greater.

4. Find out how much you can borrow
The amount of cash you can get from your credit card will vary depending on the type of card you have. Again, you can usually find this information on your latest statement or online, but a call to your bank will also help sort it out.

5. Determine how you want to physically get your money
Your main options include visiting your bank branch in person or heading to the ATM.

If you decide to go into a bank instead of withdrawing from an ATM, make sure the bank you visit offers advances from your specific credit card company. You can call ahead and ask, or run a quick Google search to find out.

If you head to an ATM, make it an ATM that is affiliated with your bank or credit card, or one that takes your credit card, to avoid any additional fees. Again, this information is usually available online.

6. Insert your card and select withdrawal
When asked if you want to make a withdrawal from checking, savings, or credit, pick «credit.»

7. Keep your receipt
Remember to keep track of how you’ll repay the cash back to your credit card company. Remember, this money comes with high interest, so the sooner you can pay it back, the better.

Related coverage from How to Do Everything: Money:
How to get a loan
How to open an Ally high-yield savings account
How to send money on PayPal
How to invest in a 401(k) for retirement
Personal Finance Insider offers tools and calculators to help you make smart decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to buy or sell stocks or other financial products. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of the recommendations listed in the calculator, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners.

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