You can get cash back rewards on your credit card with every purchase you make, redeemable for a statement credit, check, bank account deposit and more. Some cards give you the same amount of cash back for every dollar you spend, regardless of where you spend it, while others reward you more for certain types of purchases. You can also get cash from your credit card at an ATM by doing what’s known as a cash advance. You might even be able to get cash back at the register, much like with a debit card, but this is only an option with a few cards.
Those are the two main ways to get cash back with a credit card: cash back rewards and cash advances. But they have opposite effects on your wallet. Cash rewards come at no extra cost to you and add up to extra money in your pocket. Cash advances, on the other hand, are very costly and penalize you for taking them out.
So you want to maximize cash rewards and minimize cash advances. In fact, high cash advance fees and interest rates are likely to cost you a lot more than you benefit from rewards if you aren’t careful. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at these two different methods for turning credit card use into cash.
Here’s how to get cash back on your credit card:
Pick the Right Rewards Card: Cash back rewards are one of three major types of rewards, points and miles being the other two. If your card has cash back rewards, all you need to do to earn them is use your credit card. Typically, you’ll earn at least 1% cash back on all purchases, and many cards offer higher rates for some or all categories of purchases. For example, you might get 2% cash back on travel, gas, groceries or another type of purchase while earning 1% for everything else.
If you’re unsure where to start your search, take a look at WalletHub’s picks for the best cash back credit cards. Some of the most prominent include Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Spend Wisely: Cash back cards may reward certain purchases (e.g. gas, groceries) more highly than others. Some cards have bonus categories that always stay the same, and others have ones that rotate each quarter.
Redeem Regularly: Once you earn cash back, you can redeem it for a check, statement credit or bank account deposit. You may have other options, such as gift cards, but they’re not as versatile and often provide less value than cash back.
Another much costlier way to get cash from your credit card is a cash advance. This type of transaction lets you use your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM, like you would with a debit card.
Here’s how to get a cash advance from your credit card:
- Call your issuer and ask for a PIN.
- Once you get the PIN, you can use it to get money from ATMs. You can withdraw up to your “cash advance limit,” which is listed on your statement.
- The credit card issuer charges you a “cash advance fee,” usually at least 3% of the amount you withdraw.
- Your balance starts to accrue interest immediately, at an APR that is likely to be well over 20%.
So it’s not a good idea to do a cash advance unless it’s an emergency situation. And if you do have to get one, make sure you pay it back as quickly as possible to minimize the interest.
Some credit card issuers might allow you to get cash back at the register as well, but it’s very uncommon. In almost all situations, you’ll need a debit card to do that. One exception, is Discover’s “Cash Over” benefit, which allows you to withdraw up to $120 every 24 hours when checking out. This doesn’t trigger a cash advance fee and the balance is subject to your normal APR. The Walmart Store Card offers the same thing.