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What Is a Cash Advance and When Should I Use One?

What Is a Cash Advance and When Should I Use One?

A cash advance lets you use your credit card to get a short-term cash loan. Learn all about cash advances and when to use them in this guide.

https://www.firstfinancial.com/cash-advance/

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43 million Americans have bad credit, with the bulk of these being young consumers.

While student loans and tough economic times can be blamed for this, poor planning and a low comprehension of credit facilities are partly to blame as well.

Cash advance loans are very convenient and can be hard to resist, but they can also put you in trouble.

How do these loans work, and how can you ensure to get the most out of them?
Here is an in-depth cash advance guide.

What is a Cash Advance?

Your credit card lets you use your credit card to get a short term loan at an ATM or a bank. This is then paid back in the same way you pay for anything you put on your credit card.

In a way, this is like using your credit card to ‘purchase’ hard cash, which you then use to buy goods and services. In this way, you get to borrow cash against your credit card limit.

The same way you use your debit card to get cash from an ATM, you get cash from a credit card to be repaid with interest.

The difference between a credit card advance and a payday advance loan is that the latter is not dependent on your credit card.

When to Get Cash Advance

If you typically do not carry paper money for your day to day spending, you might run into trouble when you need to pay for something at a business that only accepts cash payments.

In such cases, being allowed to convert your credit card limit into cash becomes very convenient.

Advance Limits

Most credit card companies allow their clients to convert a percentage of their credit limit into cash, as opposed to the entire amount.

For most people, this translates into a couple of hundred dollars. This is therefore useful for smaller emergencies purchases and should not be dependent on for larger purchases.

Interest on Cash Advances

While getting a credit card advance is easy, the interest rates can be a bit high.
Here are some of the associated costs that make it so:

ATM or Bank Fees

These are determined by the financial institution that processes a transaction. This can be a bank or an ATM where you get your cash advance from.

If you use a bank outside your card issuer’s network, expect the fees to be higher.

Cash Advance Fees

These are determined by the company that issues your credit card.
These are charged in three different ways.

The first is by charging a percentage of the amount advanced. This can be as high as 5%.

The second way is by charging a flat fee per cash advance. For example, you can be charged $5 to $10 per advance, irrespective of the amount.

The third one is by charging the higher figure between the percentage or the minimum amount. An example of this is $5 or 10% of the withdrawal amount; whichever amount is higher.

Interest

To begin with, the interest charged on credit card loans is always higher than that charged on a credit card purchase.

Secondly, while you get a grace period with credit cash purchases, interest on cash advances starts accruing immediately.

Credit Card Advance Tips

It might be impossible to avoid this loan facility altogether.

For this reason, it’s key to know how to keep the costs low and avoid getting into unmanageable debt.

Here are a few tips.

1. Know Your Limit

The amount available for you to convert to cash is lower than your credit card limit. Exceeding this amount can result in higher interest rates and other over-limit charges.

Ensure to find out your card limit when you get a new card so you can adhere to a safe limit.

2. Understand your agreement

The key information to look out for is the one-off payable cash advance fee and the applicable APR as well.

If you are unclear on any terms of your contract, ensure to engage your service provider’s customer care representative.

3. Use It for Emergencies Only

Limit the use of this facility to emergencies you cannot use your credit cards on. It’s also important to create an emergency fund to draw from when needed.

If used without caution, credit card advances can spiral out of control making it difficult for you to make timely repayments. Consequently, this has the potential to lower your credit score.

4. Limit the Amounts

Aside from only using this facility as a last result, limit your withdrawals to only what you need.

Resist the temptation to take out more because the higher you take, the higher the interest you will pay.

While this might seem like much, these amounts add up to a significant figure over time.

Credit Card Advance and Credit Score

Taking out this facility does not directly impact your credit score, but it might have some indirect consequences.

The first one is that it raises your credit utilization ratio. This is among the benchmarks used to calculate your credit scoring. A high utilization ratio positions you as a high-risk borrower and may lower your scoring.

The other one is tied in with the costs of repaying a credit card advance. If you are not able to afford the high-interest rate, you may resort to late payments or even default.

When this information makes its way into the credit bureaus, it can negatively affect your scoring as well. As a rule of thumb, avoid making payments 30 days past the due date. Timely payment could help improve your credit score.

Ensure you understand all processing costs, the applicable APR and your ability to repay before taking out the loan.

How to Keep Cash Advance Costs Low

Because cash advance interest rates can start accruing on the first day, the borrower’s best strategy is paying the amount off as soon as possible. If that means two days, at least this loan is behind you. Thank it for:

  • Allowing you to pay other bills on time with no penalties.
  • Preventing any late payment notices from going to the credit bureaus Experian, TransUnion or Equifax.
  • Helping you get your car or computer fixed so you can keep earning money.
  • Your freedom to jump on a cash-only purchase you’re competing for.

Pay off the online cash advance fast by linking it with the checking account where your paycheck gets deposited. That way, the minute that paycheck goes in, the cash advance gets paid off. If you use your checking account as the hinge between your income and your loan, highest interest payments come out first. Borrowers can thank the CARD act of 2009 for that backup.

The second way to save on cash advance costs is to borrow as little as absolutely possible. With interest accruing daily, the smaller the amount, the less the interest.

Finally, if you don’t pay the cash advance off within days, you must pay it off on the date you initially agreed to. Rolling over a cash advance sets you up for additional fees on top of the interest rate you get charged daily. The worst situation to get into is if you’re only paying off the cash advance’s interest month after month. Have more questions? Get answers to the most common on our cash advance FAQ page.

Think you can manage a cash advance responsibly? Apply today!  

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What personal loan amount can I get?

Happy merchant avoiding EMV chargebacksIn general, personal loan amounts range from $2,000 to $50,000.  Borrowers with credit scores over 680, low debt utilization and robust income win amounts toward $50,000. Those not hitting those marks tend to get less. What are the criteria for determining personal loan amount?

It’s certainly not what you need, no matter how much you need it. Your wedding expenses bill of $30,000 or your remodel estimate of $50,000 doesn’t win you that amount automatically. The amount you can borrow with a personal loan depends on your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio and the purpose for the debt. Lenders evaluate how much you’re most likely to pay off, not what you need. Of course, those with higher credit scores will get better rates, but even those with fair, poor and bad credit can qualify for personal loans should their DTI and borrowing purpose warrant it.

Since 2012, lenders have been assertive about asking the purpose of the loan. Unlike with a quick cash advance, lenders are more generous when the purpose may strengthen the borrower’s financial health. A remodel or debt consolidation put a twinkle in lenders’ eyes.  Lenders actually consider some purposes frivolous these days. They’ve been known to turn down vacations, hot tubs, and other non-essentials, particularly if DTI is high. In the end, however, most consider the purpose of the personal loan an “influencing” factor rather than a primary one.

The debt-to-income ratio measures the amount going to debt service every month compared to the income coming in. A good debt-to-income ratio is 35 percent or below. At just eight points higher—43 percent—most lenders will not approve a borrower for a loan. Debt includes personal loans, student loans, car loans, mortgages and credit card bills. Your cable bill, rent, and car insurance do not figure into this debt calculation. Calculate your debt to income ratio and know your credit score so you can understand whether your loan amount offers are the best you can get.

A+ Rated First Financial Specializes in Low-Credit-Score Personal Loans

You may be surprised to learn that different lenders like to specialize in niche loans and borrowers. Some go for very short-term loans with high amounts. Others want to write only loans for borrowers with excellent credit. They create loan “products” that work well for the needs of that audience and don’t want to spend the time and money finding clients in other niches.

Rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, First Financial has developed a specialty in serving those with fair, poor and bad credit scores—also known as “subprime” borrowers. We get you the money you need, all in the comfort of your home. You will know whether you qualify in five minutes or less with NO IMPACT to your credit. Apply today!

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Know the 4 Most Common Auto Loan Mistakes Before you Go to the Dealer

cash and car for auto loan
Be aware of auto loan pitfalls and save! 

 

Want to hear something scary? “The big mistakes are made in the financing office,” explains Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com, the auto research website. “Making the right decisions can save thousands over the life of the loan.”

A car is a big purchase with a lot of moving parts. Dealers makes their profits between the gaps in buyer’s knowledge and they may try to confuse by unleashing lots of terms like “negative equity” and “origination fees.” Use these recommendations from experts to save thousands over the life of your car loan.

Don’t let the dealer define your credit score or credit “worthiness.”

Walk into the showroom with your credit report snugly in your back pocket. Otherwise, you run the risk that the salesperson leaves your negotiation only to come back with bad news about your credit. And of course that score isn’t high enough to get you the best rates. Who knows if he or she was checking your scores or playing a quick game of hacky sack? Dealers know that most consumers do not check their credit before being lured in by deals. Don’t make yourself vulnerable to this unethical treatment.

We discuss how to find your credit score easily in our previous blog post on rebuilding your credit (LINK). Just go to Annualcreditreport.com, fill out a few fields and your report arrives in you inbox instantly. Trust these results from the only free site authorized by the U.S. government’s Federal Trade Commission. Typically, anyone with a credit score of 720 or higher gets the lowest interest rates as they’ve demonstrated the most responsible money management. Still high 600s to low 700s is considered a “good” score. Those with lower scores can still get loans, but they will pay more in interest and fees.

Another way to check your credit is to get pre-approved from an outside lender like your bank or by applying for an online auto loan.  If you can manage to shave just 1 percent from your car loan, you’ll pay hundreds less over the next five or six years.  

Don’t make the wrong choice between a loan interest rate and a cash rebate.

Sure, the cash rebate feels enticing. And it might be the right choice if you use it to pay off other, higher interest loans like cash advances or credit cards. Basically, you need to decide if you want a lump sum up front or lower monthly payments over the next five or six years. Of course, not every car buyer is offered low-interest car financing, only those with the best credit scores. Again, know your score before you go to the dealership.

Don’t roll negative equity forward.

Some like to get new cars every two years. Often, they walk into the dealership with their auto loan “upside down.” That means they still owe more on the car than it’s worth. While those loving shiny new cars can get their next ride even if their loan is upside down, they’re putting themselves on a downward financial spiral.

Dealers don’t care what financial shape the car buyer puts themselves in. They will just add the negative equity–what you owe–into the purchase price of the new car. Chances are, this frequent buyer will just roll even more negative equity into the next new car, too.

Rather than enter this vicious cycle, consider buying a used car. A car loses much of its value in the first two years off the lot. And today, most cars are built to last 250,000 miles. Consider keeping the car longer and buying used to get the most for your car budget.

Don’t finance costly add-ons.

Just as movie theaters make most of their money on the popcorn, 37% of auto dealer’s profits come through aftermarket add-ons. These add-ons include  extended warranties, fabric protection and paint sealant and they are always less expensive from vendors other than the dealer. These costs feel like a no brainer when amortized over the life of the loan. The salesperson is quick to tell you that they add just a few dollars to every payment. Still, even $20 more over 60 payments is an additional $1200–real money.  

Don’t hesitate to question all fees.

With the deal wrapping up, a buyer’s guard is down. Salespeople know this well. The deal takes so long for a reason. It’s at the end that a salesperson may bring up unusual fees that may have official sounding names. Review all of the legitimate fees here and don’t hesitate to push the salesperson to drop anything that sounds suspicious.

A+ Rated First Financial Approves Auto Loans Up to $45,000

Better Business Bureau A+ rated First Financial has helped arrange over 1,000,000 auto loans, some with approved amounts of up to $45,000. We have loans for borrowers with all credit scores, even fair poor and bad credit. Take three minutes to apply here for a new or used car loan and get your answer fast!

 


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