Best credit card cash advances in Canada
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Updated: April 03, 2023
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Credit is a nearly universal way to pay these days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean cash is completely dead. Cash is still accepted virtually everywhere and can be the best type of tender for emergencies.
When facing a cash-preferred situation, those with only a credit card may be tempted to make a cash advance using an ATM or a nearby bank. But many credit card cash advances come with complications that informed consumers need to be aware of. And if you take cash advances regularly, it’s best to make sure that your card offers you friendly terms.
|Card name||Annual fee||Cash advance fee||Cash advance interest rate|
|Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card||$29||$5.00 on cash advances (1% on balance transfers during promotional period)||0% introductory interest rate on Cash Advances, including Balance Transfers, for the first 6 months (12.99% after that; annual fee $29).¹ Plus no annual fee in the first year.¹ Offer ends October 31, 2023.|
|HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®||$25 (First Year Rebate)*||$2.00-$5.00 (does not apply in Quebec)||11.9%|
|BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®*||$29 (Waived the first year)*||$5.00||15.99% regular cash advance rate|
|Desjardins Modulo® Visa||$50||$2.50||10.90% regular cash advance rate|
*Terms and conditions apply
Best Canadian cash advance credit cards
Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card
Purchase APR: 12.99%
Annual fee: $29
Recommended credit score: Fair/Good
Cash advance: 12.99% (0% offer for the first 6 months until October 31, 2023)
The Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card offers the best promotional cash advance rate in Canada, at 0% interest charged on cash advances for the first 6 months. Afterwards, cash advances have a still-competitive 12.99% interest rate.¹ Plus no annual fee in the first year.¹ Terms and conditions apply. With both the bonus and the regular rate helping so much to save, it’s logical that there’s an annual fee, though it’s a reasonable $29.
The Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card charges $5.00 per cash advance fee / 1% on Balance Transfers transferred during the Promotional Period, but savings on interest will likely eclipse these fees for most cardholders. Scotiabank offers 25% off base rates at participating AVIS locations and at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S. when you pay with your card as well.
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Scotiabank Value® Visa card review.
¹ Conditions Apply. Visit here for the Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card to learn more.
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
Purchase APR: 11.9%
Annual fee: $25 (first year annual fee rebate*)
Cash advance: 11.9%
The 11.9% fixed cash advance interest rate offered by the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® is very competitive given the card’s relatively low $25 annual fee. Fees per cash advance vary depending on whether the advance was executed via an ATM or an HSBC branch inside Canada ($2 and $3 respectively) or an ATM or HSBC branch outside Canada ($4 and $5 respectively). Aside from cash advances the card is unusual in that it combines low interest rates with the potential to earn rewards, nabbing 2 HSBC Rewards points for every $1 spent on dining and entertainment* and 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases* (though take note that a cash advance is not an eligible transaction for rewards). There’s also a Welcome Offer: Get up to $200 in total value* for the first year! Conditions apply. It also offers a very valuable feature called Price Protection, which refunds up to a $500 price difference in the amount you paid for an item charged to the HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® if you find a lower price for it within 60 days of purchase (max. $1,000 in refunds per year).
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard® review.
This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec (Quebec residents eligible for separate offer).
*Terms and Conditions apply.
®/TM Mastercard and World Elite are registered trademarks, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Used pursuant to license.
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®*
Annual fee: $29
Purchase APR: 13.99%
Cash advances: 15.99%
For a $29 annual fee, which is waived the first year*, the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* provides cardholders with a low interest rate on purchases of 13.99% (and 15.99% on cash advances). It also has a nice promotion which cardholders who have other balances may appreciate: 0.99% introductory interest on balances transferred to the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* for the first none months*. There’s a 2% balance transfer fee*, and a $5.00 fee for each cash advance*. BMO also offers purchase protection against theft and damage for 90 days, and extended warranties up to an additional one year*.
Click here to apply for the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* .
*Terms and conditions apply
Desjardins Modulo® Visa
Annual fee: $50
Purchase APR: 10.9%
Cash advances: 10.9%
At $50.00, the Modulo Visa has the highest annual fee among the cards featured in this article, but also the lowest regular cash advance rate among the non-Amex cards. Its regular cash advance interest rate is a competitive 10.90%, which also applies to purchases and balance transfers. The card also collects BONUSDOLLAR rewards at a rate of 1.00% on all purchases and offers mobile device insurance as well. This insurance alone is worth the card’s annual fee, as it provides $1,000 worth of coverage for tablets and smartphones purchased with the card.
Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Desjardins Modulo® Visa review.
What Is a cash advance?
Cash advances are when you use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, or from a bank that offers cash advance services through Mastercard, Visa, or other card issuers. Think of it this way; every time you buy a cup of coffee with your credit card, you essentially borrow money to pay for it. A cash advance replaces purchases like coffee with the cash you need instead, meaning that you’re borrowing cash against your credit.
- Access to fast cash with your credit card
- Does not require cash in the bank
- Pay monthly minimums on the cash advance like with purchases
- Interest charged, sometimes immediately after the advance
- Maximum cash advance amount might be lower than the card’s credit limit
- Miss a monthly minimum payment and your rate may increase
Some transactions may be considered cash advances, even if they’re not intended as such. This can apply to overdraft transfers to a chequing account, for example, which use your credit to cover you when a recurring bill or charge puts you beyond the balance of your chequing account.
Cash advance fees
Your credit card lists its cash advance fee online, which will be either a flat percentage rate (2.00% of the amount withdrawn for instance) or a flat charge (e.g. $3.00) per cash advance. ATMs may charge an additional ATM fee, as will some banks if you’re not already their client. The interest rate should also be considered, and it’s usually similar to the rate you pay on your purchase balance.
Alternatives to a cash advance
Credit card balance transfer
A credit card balance transfer traditionally facilitates the transfer of high-interest debt onto a credit card with a low promotional interest rate. But some balance transfer cards also permit a kind of ‘balance deposit,’ in which a cash transfer up to the new balance transfer card’s limit can be made to a bank account. The transferred cash is then subject to the card’s low promotional interest rate (which can sometimes be as low as 0%). This lesser-known option ultimately accomplishes something quite similar to a low-interest cash advance.
Line of credit
Opening a line of credit is another cash advance alternative. Lines of credit may be superior for those who prefer cash exclusively (disregarding the other benefits of a credit card). They offer you a set amount of cash that you can always withdraw, and often at a low interest rate, without the per-advance fees and with the benefit of a more forgiving grace period.
Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
A HELOC is a line of credit like any other, but secured by your home. Using home equity as leverage is a solution suitable for those who need a large amount of cash, and not usually for smaller cash needs. HELOCs can be opened at the same time as a mortgage or even within the same agreement, allowing borrowers to expand their line of credit as the mortgage is continually paid down.
Personal loans can be preferable for people who have a good credit score and healthy payment history, and might yield a lower interest rate than what they’d pay for a cash advance from their card. Personal loans don’t penalize borrowers for how they use their money, and as long as it’s paid back, the entire loan can be withdrawn as cash if necessary.
Your inner circle
Many would be surprised at the generosity of their closest friends and family. Financial needs are very personal, and so only those who are most familiar with you will be comfortable getting you the cash you need, but they might be be happy to help.
Credit card cash advance summary
Many financial advisers and money bloggers suggest people stay away from credit card cash advances entirely. The fact is, we can all find ourselves in a short-term money crunch, and the cards above offer the best low-rate cash advance options in Canada for those emergencies. In fact, we’d argue they’re some of the cheapest ways to access cash period, as their interest rates are better than most unsecured installment loans. The trick is, they’re meant to be short term and used sparingly, which you should always keep in mind before you avail of them.
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