You can access cash through your American Express credit card, but it’s a costly option. Here’s what you should know before you do.
If you need a little cash, your American Express card has the option for you to pull some out of an ATM. It’s convenient, but it’s very costly. Pulling out cash from your credit card can bury you in fees and interest charges that make it harder to pay off your card. You’ll pay for ATM fees, cash advance fees and be charged a high interest rate that starts accruing immediately. In other words, your money won’t go as far by taking a cash advance from your American Express credit card. If you have other options, it would be best to exhaust those first.
Still, sometimes a cash advance can be the only option you have. If that’s the case, and you’re an American Express cardholder, here’s how you can get a cash advance with American Express.
What is a cash advance?
A cash advance is a type of transaction that allows you to borrow cash from your credit card, usually up to the credit limit. You could compare it to taking out money from your debit card, but with a cash advance, you’re borrowing it – which makes it subject to interest and fees.
Cash advance terms aren’t cardmember friendly. They include their own APR, and interest starts accruing right away.
If you urgently need cash, consider other ways you might be able to get it. For instance, a personal loan may provide much better terms, or you may ask your family or friends for help.
What to consider before getting a cash advance
A cash advance should be seen as a last resort solution due to terms that make them extremely costly and create the potential for dangerous debt.
The interest rate you pay on cash advances is different from your regular purchase APR and is typically much higher. The cash advance fee is also incredibly high.
American Express Cash advance fee
When you take out a cash advance on your Amex credit card, you’re required to pay $10 or 5% of the amount, whichever is greater. Here’s how expensive that is.
Let’s say you need some cash for dinner at a venue that doesn’t accept your Amex. When you withdraw $30 in cash from a nearby ATM, the cash advance fee would be $10. This means American Express will charge you $40 for just $30 in cash.
Note that this doesn’t include the ATM fees or the interest that accrues before you pay your credit card bill. You could easily add another $3 to $5 in ATM fees, bringing your total to a $45 charge on your credit card for $30 in cash. That’s before you add in the high interest rate, which is calculated from day one.
Higher interest rate
Currently, the cash advance APR on certain Amex cards varies based on the prime rate. Some cards charge $10 or 5% fee of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that there’s no grace period when you get a cash advance, meaning interest is charged and begins accruing immediately. This is the main reason to avoid using the cash advance option. Unless you pay it off right away, it can turn into snowballing debt that’s detrimental to your financial health.
How to get a cash advance with American Express
An American Express cash advance allows you to request a cash advance with your credit card. Unlike other credit card issuers, Amex doesn’t offer that many ways to get a cash advance – you can only withdraw cash from a participating ATM.
To do that, you’re going to need a PIN. Some cardmembers can view and change their PIN in their online account in the Card Management section. If you don’t see the option in your online account, you can request a PIN by calling Amex at 1-800-227-4669.
American Express cash advance limit
American Express cards don’t have a set credit limit like other credit cards, but it doesn’t mean you can get any amount of cash with a cash advance. In fact, the cash advance limit is usually a bit lower than your credit limit.
For instance, here are the cash advance limits on some popular Amex credit cards:
- American Express® Green Card* – $3,000
- American Express® Gold Card – $6,000
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – $8,000
A cash advance can be a helpful option when you have an urgent need for cash and credit cards aren’t accepted. If you have an Amex credit card, you can get a cash advance from a participating ATM using your PIN. But think twice before you do so – a cash advance can quickly turn into extremely expensive debt if you don’t pay it off quickly.
*All information about the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.