Why You Should Lower Your Cash Advance Limits

Credit cards have two types of limits: purchase limit and cash advance limit.

What is a purchase limit?

A purchase limit is how much you can spend on a credit card. As long as you pay off the full balance before the statement due date, you will not owe any interest. 

What is a cash advance limit?

A cash advance is when you withdraw cash from your credit card, typically using an ATM or bank transaction. The limit to how much cash you can withdraw from the credit card is a cash advance limit.

The main issue with a cash advance is that you're instantly charged 10-35% interest (per your card agreement) on the amount you withdraw. 

If you're trying to optimize for points using your credit card, I do not recommend using the cash advance feature at all.

Cash advances and minimum spend

Cash advances do not count towards minimum spend requirements on a new card. You're also paying high interest in advance, so there's no upside to doing a cash advance.

I recommend lowering your cash advance limit to as low as possible on new cards to avoid accidentally triggering it.

How to lower your cash advance limit

You can request a lower your cash advance limit by sending a secured message when you login to the credit account. 

What transactions might count as a cash advance?

If you use Plastiq to pay your bills, some cards may trigger a cash advance warning. A red warning banner should appear if this happens. I recommend switching the card to one that doesn't trigger the warning.

RoomiPay is another example that may trigger a cash advance if you pay your rent with a credit card. 

When you lower your cash advance limits, the transaction will not go through if it exceeds the amount. 

Some gift cards that may be seen as a cash equivalent might code as a cash advance for some credit issuers. These purchases will not count towards the minimum spend requirement.