Best Credit Card Cash Advances in Canada

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Last updated on June 1, 2022 Comments: 3

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 NameAnnual FeeCash Advance FeeCash Advance Interest Rate 
Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card$29.00$5.000.99% bonus cash advance rate (6 mo.)Read more
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®$25 (First Year Rebate)*$2.00-$5.00 (does not apply in Quebec)11.9%Read More
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®*$20.00
(Waived the first year)*
$5.0015.99% regular cash advance rateRead more
Desjardins Modulo® Visa$50.00$2.5010.90% regular cash advance rateRead more

*Terms and conditions apply

Best Canadian Cash Advance Credit Cards

Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card

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The Scotiabank Value® Visa* Card offers the best promotional cash advance rate in Canada, at 0.99% interest charged on cash advances for the first 6 months. Afterwards, cash advances (and purchases too) have a still-competitive 12.99% interest rate. 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 $29.00.

The Value Visa charges $5.00 per cash advance, but savings on interest will likely eclipse these fees for most cardholders. Scotiabank offers 25.00% off base rates at Budget and AVIS rental car locations through its Visa card as well.

Click here to apply or learn more by reading our complete Scotiabank Value Visa card review.

HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®

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Who’s Eligible?
– Minimum Income: N/A
– Age: Age of majority in province or territory
– Residency: Canadian resident

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! Must apply by October 31, 2022. 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®*

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For a $20.00 annual fee, which is waived the first year*, the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* provides cardholders with a low interest rate on purchases of 12.99% (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 9 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 1 year*.

Click here to apply for the BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®* .

*Terms and conditions apply

Desjardins Modulo® Visa

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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.

Advantages

  • 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

Limitations

  • 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

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.

Loans

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.

* This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

Author Bio

Nate Siegel
Nathan Siegel has a professional and educational passion for finance, and is a long-time writer for GreedyRates. He follows trends in the Canadian banking sector, compares competing products, and pores over fine print to make personal finance choices easier for Canadian consumers. In his spare time he loves running, swimming, and dogs of all kinds.

Article comments

3 comments
Mazin says:

The information on Dejardens credit card is all false. They charge 19.9% for cash advance per day.. something that I have never heard of, as in the entire 19.9% for every day you if do not pay back. So if I take $100 out then I have to pay 119 in 24 hours and $138 in in 48 hours!!!!! I was shocked when I heard that while I was trying to apply for the card. This is the worst cash advance card I ever heard of, though the 10.interest rate on purchases and cash back are great features, in addition to basic travel insurance for a $50 per year fee are not too bad. But for sure this is not a good cash advance choice.

Brett says:

The Amex Essential credit card, while at 8.99%, requires 6 months of active use before ANY cash advances are allowed.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Brett,

Interesting comment, thanks for coming to GreedyRates and posting. We were a bit concerned to hear that you need to use the Essential card for 6 months before being able to do a cash advance, and so we called Amex Canada to inquire about it for you. Apparently, there is a slight delay between when one gets the card and when they can make a cash withdrawal, so you’re on the right track.

However, the representative we spoke with told us that regarding the period of time before you’re approved for cash advances, 6 months isn’t anywhere near the standard. We expect that with regular use, meaning employing the card for purchases and making minimum payments, you should be able to do cash advances by your second or third month, and this was confirmed by the Amex representative we chatted with. Strange, and definitely a point in the negatives column for this card, though it’s still worthwhile for other reasons (namely it’s low rates and great balance transfer deal).

Let us know if you’re dropping it from consideration and if you need a new array of suggestions. Send over some criteria if you like (for more personal details email us at [email protected]) and we’ll be happy to detail some cards that fit your needs. Thanks again.

GreedyRates