The process can be quick, if more complex, than securing a credit card cash advance. To obtain a payday loan, you write a postdated check made out to the payday lender for the amount you plan to borrow, including the fees. The lender immediately issues the borrowed amount but waits to cash your check until the payday arrives. Some electronically minded lenders now have borrowers sign an agreement for automatic repayment from their bank accounts. Lenders usually ask that you provide personal identification and proof of income when you apply.
Some employers offer payday loans or advances on paychecks as a service to their employees. Terms vary, but often no fees or interest are charged.
A cash advance can be helpful to someone who needs cash fast and has a solid plan for paying it back quickly. But cash advances can be disastrous if the borrower is about to declare bankruptcy, needs to pay off a credit card or other bills that have interest rates, or just wants the money to buy more products.
Taking out a cash advance has no direct impact on your credit or credit score, but it can affect it indirectly in various ways.
First, if you take the advance using a credit card, it will raise your outstanding balance, which will raise your credit utilization ratio, a measure that credit scoring models use to calculate your score. If you owe $500 on a $1,500 limit card, for example, your credit utilization ratio is 30%. However, if you take out a $300 cash advance on that card, the balance will jump to $800, resulting in a credit utilization of more than 53%. High utilization rates are a big indicator of credit risk; when your ratio exceeds 40%, it can adversely impact your credit score.
It is, for example, a better option than a payday loan or a car title loan, due to the exorbitant triple-digit interest rates those loans typically carry and the greater payoff flexibility that comes with credit card debt
As noted earlier, a cash advance usually has a high-interest rate. If this affects your ability to pay the monthly charges promptly, that also could affect your credit score. And if the cash advance puts you over the card’s credit limit, your credit score can be dinged. Even after the balance is paid down, your credit report will show the highest balance reported, and other potential lenders will see that you were over the limit at one point, which could hurt your ability to get new credit.
Cash Advance Pros and Cons
A credit card cash advance could be a reasonable option for someone who has an emergency need for money and limited resources for getting it, especially when that person has a clear and reasonable plan for paying back the money in a short period.
- Just before declaring bankruptcy – New credit card debt does not magically disappear in bankruptcy. Your creditors and a judge will examine your debts, including the dates and types. Once you know or have a strong inclination that you’ll soon file for bankruptcy, credit card use of any kind may be considered fraudulent. A cash advance immediately prior to filing is very likely to be challenged by the card issuer, and that account may be excluded from the debts that are forgiven in a bankruptcy.
- To pay a credit card bill – A cash advance is a very expensive way to pay bills, and the risk of falling into revolving debt cannot be ignored. The potential to pay many times the amount of the original advance (in interest charges) is very real. Furthermore, in addition to the higher interest rate, there are those additional fees that everyday credit card purchases are not subject to.