Cash Advance Definition

man viewing his funds rising on his phone

A cash advance is a short-term loan that usually comes from one of the following lenders:

  • Credit card companies
  • Payday lenders
  • Other financial institutions

We'll cover cash advance definitions and answer common questions consumers have about this lending option.

Credit Card Cash Advance

Credit card companies often offer cash advances to cardholders who need cash in hand immediately. The amount lent in cash comes from the customer's available credit line with the card, so no approval process is required. The borrower can usually withdraw the cash directly from an ATM.

However, cash advances aren't usually treated like other credit card purchases. The specifics depend on the credit card terms, but these are pretty typical:

  • The credit card company charges an upfront fee for the cash advance, either a flat rate or a percentage of the total amount.
  • Cash advances tend to accrue interest at a higher rate than regular credit card purchases.
  • There is no grace period as there are with credit card purchases. Interest begins to accrue the day the money is withdrawn.

Payday Lender Cash Advance

Payday loans can be classified as cash advances because they're short-term loans that offer cash quickly. However, these loans stipulate that they're intended to be paid in full within a couple of weeks, with the borrower's next paycheck.

Depending on the state that you live in, you may have seen payday loan branches driving around town. You can also apply for a payday loan online.

man taking money in a bag

Other Financial Institution Cash Advance

You may not think of receiving a cash advance loan from another financial institution, but you can pursue a short-term loan for quick cash from a number of lenders. In fact, it's possible you can find a lender online via the Lightning Money Loans lender connection service where we attempt to connect you with one of many lenders that can offer you a loan, all with one quick online loan request that you can complete as fast as just a few minutes.

Cash Advance FAQ

Do cash advances hurt your credit?

Not always. Any loan hurts your credit score if you don't pay it back as agreed. A new loan will probably hurt your debt-to-income ratio, which is one of the criteria that credit agencies use to determine your score. Aside from that, a cash advance loan can actually help your credit as you steadily pay it back according to your loan terms.

Why would someone get a cash advance?

A cash advance can be a convenient way to receive money quickly. If you have credit available on an existing credit card that allows cash advances, it can be as easy as visiting the ATM. Even short-term loans that offer funds as quickly as the next day may not be able to match that speed.

Do you pay back a cash advance?

Yes. Every lender expects their loans to be repaid, and a cash advance is no exception. Whether you receive a cash advance from your credit card company at the ATM or you apply for and receive a short-term loan online, both lenders will insist on repayment.

couple celebrating money in their wallet

What is an example of a cash advance?

Here's an example:
Cheryl's car is in the shop. The mechanic gives her an estimate of $1000 but she only has $700 in her bank account. Cheryl can go to a cash advance store near her to borrow the rest or find a lender online via a service like Lightning Money Loans.
Cheryl will be expected to repay that money in scheduled installments or all upfront during her next paycheck, depending on what she agrees to with the lender.

Submit a Loan Request to Multiple Lenders at Once Through Lightning Money Loans

Whether you need a cash advance or another type of loan, Lightning Money Loans has the solution. All it takes is a five-minute online form to submit your loan request to multiple lenders within our broad network.

Submit your loan request now

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