Skip to main content
Quick Payday Loans Up To $5,000

What is a Cash Advance and How Do I Use One?

Lorraine Roberte
Lorraine Roberte

Lorraine is a freelance writer who specializes in digital marketing and personal finance. She has written for well-known sites such as Thrive Global, Elephant Journal, Red Tricycle and Tweak Your Biz.

A cash advance is a short-term loan that enables borrowers to quickly access cash through a payday loan, merchant cash advance, or credit card cash advance. Borrowers are required to repay the loan quickly, typically within a few weeks. Cash advances can be an excellent alternative if you need money asap, but because they frequently have exorbitant rates and costs, you should only use them as a last resort in an emergency.

How Cash Advances Operate

A cash advance is a quick and easy way to obtain cash in your hands if you need it right now. However, borrowers should know that cash advances frequently come with high charges. Cash advances can be among the most expensive borrowing options available due to fees associated with the cash advance, bank fees, and interest. The majority of the time, cash advances come in the form of pricey short-term loans that must be repaid by the borrower within a few weeks or within the agreed loan term.

Laws and Rules Applied to Cash Advances

When it comes to cash advances and payday loans, many states have different laws and regulations. And the majority of the time, rules and laws are lenient to high-interest rates and fees, despite the fact that these laws are designed to protect customers from unscrupulous lenders. Cash advance laws may have restrictions on the maximum loan amount, maximum loan term, finance fees, and interest rates. Payday loans are completely outlawed in some places, including Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, New Mexico, and North Carolina.

Why Cash Advances Cost So Much

Cash advances are one of the most costly types of borrowing due to the numerous fees and costs attached. Borrowers frequently spend hefty sums of money on fees, interest, and other expenses in addition to repaying the money. As a result, cash advances have to be considered a last alternative and reserved for times of extreme need. The following expenses are related to cash advances:


Depending on the sort of cash advance, there may be some fees associated with borrowing the funds. Depending on how much you borrow, credit cards frequently impose a flat fee per cash advance or a percentage-based fee. Additionally, payday loans can have high costs.


No matter what form of a cash advance you get, the interest rates on the money you borrow will probably be sky-high. Even if you only borrow the money for a few weeks, interest can build up quickly.

Bank and ATM Fees

You’ll probably have to pay bank and ATM fees if you withdraw money from an ATM or bank using a credit card cash advance fee. Even though they are typically only a few dollars for each transaction, they can add an unexpected expense if you are already short on money.

Types of Cash Advances

Various slightly different financial instruments can be mentioned when someone mentions “cash advances.” Payday loans, cash advances, and merchant cash advances fall under this category.

Payday Loans

For borrowers in short-term financial distress, payday loans provide temporary respite. However, this type of borrowing can also be risky, putting customers in a debt cycle from which they might find it challenging to break free. Payday loans often have terms of two weeks or less, and to avoid additional penalties, borrowers must repay the loan by their next payday.

Credit Card Cash Advances

Cash advances allow consumers to access money from their credit lines like payday loans. A credit card cash advance might be a good choice if you need money quickly and already have a credit card. Even if their credit limit is much higher, most borrowers would only be able to borrow a little amount of money through this approach. Similar to payday loans, these cash advances have hefty fees and interest rates and are only be resorted to in extreme cases.

Merchant Cash Advances

Payday loans and credit card cash advances are comparable to merchant cash advances, but with one key distinction: small business owners are typically the only ones who can access them. In essence, merchant cash advances let company owners borrow money upfront in exchange for promising a lender a percentage of their future profits.

Cash Advance Online Requirements

There are a few conditions to be aware of if you apply online for a cash advance. You must also submit some personal information about yourself when requesting a cash advance, such as:


Generally speaking, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a cash advance. And this is not only applicable to a cash advance but to most loans in the bank or any lender.


Although citizenship criteria vary, in most situations, you can only apply for cash advances with lenders legally permitted to do business in the state where you now reside.


Cash advances often demand evidence of a reliable source of income. This is one of the ways for the lenders to trust that you will be able to pay the money in the agreed loan term.

Personal information

You can be requested to provide more personal information, such as your name, address, banking details, or even your Social Security Number.

What Are My Options for Cash Advances?

There are numerous banks and alternative lenders that offer cash advances. These consist of:

Online Loans

Borrowers can apply for a cash advance from an internet lender using online loans. Borrowers may receive an approval within a few days or even hours of submitting their application, which is typically straightforward. To be eligible for the best rates, make sure to shop, conduct thorough research to find reliable lenders, and compare prices.

Credit Union Loans

If you need cash asap, payday alternative loans from some credit unions are a suitable choice. Though applicants would need to become members of a credit union to be approved, these loans are frequently more affordable than pricey payday loans.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-peer lending is a type of borrowing that enables borrowers to obtain funding from several people as opposed to a bank or other financial organization. Compared to traditional borrowing options, peer-to-peer lending may offer lower interest rates and greater accessibility.

Borrow from Friends or Family

Make sure to look into your options before utilizing pricey options like payday loans or cash advances. While it could be awkward to ask relatives or friends for money, doing so could wind up saving you a sizable sum of money in the long run. It’s not unusual for people to run into financial difficulties at some point in their lives; this is nothing to be ashamed of.

How to Get a Cash Advance

There are a few phases to the procedure if you want to apply for a cash advance. Applying for a cash advance should be done by:

  • Fill Out the Loan Application Form – you must submit an application to each lender, whether you do it online or in person. Keep your financial information and other vital personal information close to reaching.
  • Receive And Compare Offers – when applying for a financial product, it is usually a good idea to evaluate different offers to ensure you are getting the best bargain. Try to select a lender with the most affordable rates and charges.
  • Sign the Agreement – once you decide on a lender, you’ll have to sign the agreement before you receive the cash.
  • Receive the Money – cash advances are known for their quick turn-around times, and you’ll likely receive your money soon after you sign the agreement.

Online Cash Advances: Benefits and Drawbacks

When faced with an urgent need for money, cash advances are frequently the only option for borrowers. Borrowers can typically obtain money for cash advances within a few days or even a few hours after applying. Since cash advances don’t require any security, they might be a better choice than loans like title loans that do.

Although there are certain benefits to cash advances, in general, you should only consider them as the last choice after exploring all other possibilities. This is due to the fact that cash loans are very pricey, with high fees and interest rates that might make it difficult to repay the loan if you’re already having financial difficulties. The worst-case scenario with cash advances and payday loans is that they can keep you stuck in a vicious cycle of debt that is impossible to break and will only make your financial position worse.

If you decide to get a cash advance, pay it back as soon as you can to avoid paying more interest and fees. Even if some monetary emergencies are unavoidable, you should make an effort to prevent needing cash advances in the future by creating a safety net for your finances, reducing your expenditure, and borrowing sensibly.