Everything You Need to Know About Credit Card Holds

Everything You Need to Know About Credit Card Holds

If you’re someone who swipes your credit card for pretty much anything and everything, you know just how disruptive it can feel when a hold has been placed on your card. This could happen at any time — when you fill up your tank at the gas station, or when you pay for hotel reservations during a weekend getaway — and it can feel like the cash flow equivalent of the water getting shut off in your home.

The good news is that credit card holds are only temporary. And chances are, you’ll be able to tap into your credit card in no time. Let’s shine a light on what a credit card hold is, the different types of credit card authorization holds, and how long a credit card company can hold your payment.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

What Is a Credit Card Hold?

A credit card hold is a two-part scenario during which the merchant and credit card issuer communicate to one another electronically. On one end, a merchant checks with your card issuer ahead of time if you’re good for a specific, preset amount. On the other end, the card issuer locks in that amount on your credit card balance. That way, the merchant ensures it is paid for the purchase.

In turn, due to how credit cards work, you won’t have access to that amount that’s set aside until either the transaction or the issue gets resolved and the hold is released.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

Types of Credit Cards Holds

Let’s take a closer look at the two main types of credit card holds: authorization holds and administrative holds.

Credit Card Authorization Hold

A credit card authorization hold is usually the more complex of the two types of holds. They’re also known as “pre-authorizations,” and you can think of them as a security deposit.

A credit card authorization usually happens when you’re using a credit card to make a larger purchase, or when the final amount of the transaction is unknown. Merchants in industries such as car rental companies, gas stations, and hotels commonly use authorization holds. Other industries where a card isn’t present may also make a request.

How Does An Authorization Credit Card Hold Work?

Here’s how it works: When an authorization hold on a credit card is requested, the card issuer makes a portion of your credit card balance unavailable until the transaction is finalized.

For example: Let’s say you book a hotel room and the grand total is $1,000. The hotel asks the card issuer for a hold. In that case, the issuer will make that $1,000 of your credit limit unavailable. Once the transaction goes through, the authorization hold will be lifted.

Depending on the situation, there might be two authorization holds placed on your credit card. For instance, if you used your credit card to pay for a hotel stay, the first hold would be for accommodations. The second might be for the tab at the mini-bar in your room or for the restaurant bill.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

How Long Does an Authorization Credit Card Hold Last?

An authorization credit card hold can typically last anywhere from one to 30 days. Some holds might be released the same day, while others last for a few days after the transaction is settled. For instance, a hotel hold is usually released a few days after you checkout, while a hold placed by a gas station might be lifted the day you spend money at the pump.

If the transaction doesn’t settle before a hold reaches its expiration, the hold will fall off, and the amount that was held will become available again.

Credit Card Administrative Hold

The other main type of credit card holds are administrative holds. Administrative holds can be broken down into two types:

•   Over-the-credit-limit administrative hold: As the name implies, if you go over your credit card limit, an administrative hold will be placed. And yes, you’ll be barred from using your card until you pay down your card so it falls below the credit limit. This is why it’s important to follow the credit card rule of spending within your limit.

•   Late-payment administrative hold: If you’re behind on your credit card payment, your credit card issuer may place a late-payment administrative hold on your card. In this case, one of two things can happen. If you have a solid credit history, the card issuer might only report the late payment to the credit bureaus, and allow you to continue using your card. But if you keep making late payments or your credit is less-than-stellar, a late-payment hold might be placed until you make several months of on-time credit card payments.

When to Use an Authorization Hold

As a cardholder, an authorization hold isn’t really something you have control over. That’s because the merchant is the party that reaches out to the credit card issuer and requests a hold. This is done as a form of security to ensure the merchant gets paid for a purchase.

That being said, there are things you can do to prevent an authorization hold from happening in the first place. (We’ll get into that in just a little bit.)

When Not to Use an Authorization Hold

It’s up to the merchant whether or not to use an authorization hold. This might be requested if there’s a big question mark hovering over the final amount of the transaction.

Such holds are also requested when it’s worthwhile for a merchant to request a hold, given what a credit card is and how they work. This could include if the purchase is for a larger amount, or if the merchant works in an industry where there’s a high rate of non-payment for purchases.

Tips to Avoid Credit Card Holds

You can avoid credit card holds by doing the following:

•   Use a card in-store. To avoid authorization holds, go inside the store and pay at the counter instead of paying online or at the pump.

•   Check the policy beforehand. If you’re concerned about a hold being placed on your account, reach out to the hotel or car rental company ahead of time. See what their authorization hold policy is, and what the typical amount and length of the hold is.

•   Check your credit card balance. If you plan on booking a hotel room or car rental, do a quick check of your credit card balance and your card limit. If you’ve already used a lot of your current balance and might go past your limit, consider using another card, or looking for less-expensive options so you can stay within your limit.

•   Pay your card balance. To keep your credit card limits low, aim to pay off your credit card balance. To stay out of late-payment territory and avoid late-payment holds, always make the credit card minimum payment.

Steps for Removing an Authorization Hold

While the merchant can release an authorization hold at any time, as the card holder you’ll need to jump through a few additional hoops to do so. Here’s what you need to do to lift an authorization hold:

•   Request that the hold get lifted right away. As some holds linger a few days after the bill is paid, ask the merchant if the hold can get released as soon as the bill is paid and the transaction settled.

•   Ask the credit card issuer if the hold can be removed. You can also reach out directly to the card issuer to see if a hold can be lifted. In this case, the issuer would contact the merchant and make the ask on your behalf.

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The Takeaway

A credit card hold can be a nuisance, but you can also avoid one by taking a few steps. This includes checking your available balance beforehand, and always making sure to make the minimum payments. And if a hold is lingering for longer than you’d like, you can always request that the hold is removed.

If you’re in the market for a credit card, consider the SoFi Credit Card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

How do I remove a credit card hold?

You can remove a credit card hold by reaching out directly to the credit card company or to the merchant.

How long does a pending authorization hold take?

It depends. If it’s an authorization hold from a gas station, the hold can get lifted the same day. If it’s a hold from a hotel or car rental, where the amount you’ll be putting on the card is unknown, it can take several days after you’ve settled the final bill for the hold to be lifted.

What can go wrong with an authorization hold?

There’s a chance that a hold can remain on your card after it’s been canceled or settled. In that case, the funds you have available through your line of credit will be limited. If this happens, you should reach out to the credit card issuer to have the hold released.

Can authorization holds prevent chargebacks?

A benefit of authorization holds is that they can prevent chargebacks for the merchant. (If you’re unfamiliar, a chargeback is when the consumer disputes a charge and requests a refund, in which case the credit card company would withhold the funds from the retailer until the dispute is resolved.) Placing a hold would allow the merchant to avoid this scenario because they can delay processing the transaction.


Photo credit: iStock/Alesmunt

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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Getting a Credit Card With No Job: What to Know

Getting a Credit Card With No Job: What to Know

If you’re currently without a job — either temporarily or permanently — you may be wondering: ‘Do you need a job to get a credit card?’ While the answer will depend on your unique financial situation, know that it is possible to get a credit card with no job.

But even if you can get a credit card with no job, there are potential risks in borrowing money without a steady source of income. Here’s how you can get a credit card with no job, as well as the pros and cons to consider before you do.

Can You Get a Credit Card With No Job?

If you don’t have a full-time or regular job, you may still be able to get approved for a credit card. However, you may need to show other means of being able to pay your credit card obligations due to how credit cards work.

When applying for a credit card, credit card issuers are required to consider your ability to repay your debts when considering whether to approve your application. To determine whether you meet this credit card requirement, they’ll typically look at your income from a job or other sources. If you’re attempting to get a credit card with no job, this could include unemployment benefits, self-employment income, shared household income or retirement income.

What Does the Credit Card Act of 2009 Say?

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (also known as the Credit CARD Act) is the federal law that governs many interactions between credit card issuers and applicants. One thing that the Credit Card Act of 2009 did was prevent credit card companies from issuing new cards to applicants under 21 years of age unless they have an adult cosigner or have proof of income. This makes it more difficult for young adults without a job to get their own credit card.

Guide to Listing Income on Your Credit Card Application

One of the biggest credit card rules is that you should always be completely truthful on your credit card application. If you don’t have a job or income, you should state that rather than inflating or lying about your total income.

If your issuer finds out that your application was not completely accurate, they may close your account. In turn, this could damage your credit.

Types of Income That You Can Report on a Credit Card Application

Now that you know the answer to the question, ‘can you apply for a credit card without a job?’, you’ll need to know how to fill out your application. You can use a variety of different types of income on your credit card application. Here are a few of the most common:

•   Employment income: Money you earn from employment is the most common source of income on credit card applications. This can include money from a seasonal or irregular job.

•   Self-employment income: If you have your own business, you can also include that on a credit card application. This can include money from contract or freelance work.

•   Unemployment benefits: Another potential source of credit card application income is unemployment benefits. If you’re temporarily out of work and receiving unemployment insurance benefits, you can include that on a credit card application.

•   Shared household income: The Credit CARD Act of 2009 states that you can include as income any money that you would reasonably expect to have access to. This could include a spouse’s income or an allowance provided by a family member.

•   Retirement income: Retirement benefits like a pension or Social Security are also considered an acceptable form of income for credit card applications. This also includes distributions from a retirement account.

Guide to Getting a Credit Card With No Job

If you don’t have a job and your other sources of income aren’t enough to get a standard credit card, then you do have a few other options you can consider.

Opt for a Secured Card

One option to consider is applying for a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, you generally make a refundable initial deposit. This deposit then serves as your total credit line. It is generally easier to get approved for secured credit cards than traditional, or unsecured, credit cards.

Become an Authorized User

Another possibility is to become an authorized user on a credit card. When you’re an authorized user on someone else’s account, only the primary account holder is legally and financially responsible for all purchases on the account. And if the primary account holder uses the card responsibly, it can help raise your credit score, even if you’re only an authorized user.

Consider a Cosigner

If you have a trusted friend or family member, you might also look at getting a credit card cosigner. Some credit card companies may not approve you for a new credit card on your own, but they may approve you if you have someone who will co-sign your application.

Keep in mind that a cosigner will be legally and financially on the hook for your purchases, so it may be difficult to find someone willing to cosign for you.

Look Into a Student Credit Card

Many card issuers offer a type of credit card marketed toward students. If you’re a student with a limited credit history and no income, you may stand a better chance of getting approved for a student credit card than a traditional credit card. Plus, these cards may have low fees and offer rewards tailored to students’ typical spending habits.

Pros and Cons of Getting a Credit Card When Unemployed

It is possible to get a credit card if you’re unemployed since you can list unemployment benefits, among other income sources, in your application. While there are certainly upsides to securing a credit card, you should carefully consider the downsides as well before applying for a credit card without a job.

Pros

Cons

Responsibly using a credit card can help improve your credit score It may be difficult to get approved
Having a credit card makes it easier to make some types of purchases If you are approved, you may not be approved for a very high credit limit
You may earn rewards and/or cash back with your credit card purchases You may have trouble repaying your purchases without a steady source of income

Tips for Using a Credit Card Without a Job

While the answer to whether you have to have a job to get a credit card is technically no, there are some caveats attached to swiping your card without a steady income. Still, just because you don’t have a job doesn’t mean you can’t build your credit in your meantime. Here are some tips to keep in mind to use your credit card wisely:

•   Shop around for a card with a competitive rate: Especially if your financial situation has some uncertainty, you may end up carrying a balance at some points. To avoid paying any more than you need to in interest, make sure to take your time to shop around for the card that offers you the lowest rate.

•   Don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back: Before you use your credit card for any purchases, make sure that you’ll have the money to pay your bill off at the end of the month. If you won’t, you may need to reevaluate your overall spending habits to make sure you don’t fall into debt.

•   Pay each month in full to save on interest: One of the best things that you can do for your overall financial health is to reliably pay your bills in full, each and every month. If you do this, you won’t end up paying interest on your purchases.

•   Set alerts so you don’t miss your monthly payments: If you’re already tight on funds because you’re without a job, the last thing you want to deal with is late fees. Plus, aside from this cost, your credit score will also suffer. To make sure you remember to make payments on-time, consider setting an alert to remind yourself, or even autopay.

The Takeaway

It is possible to get a credit card with no job, but it may not be easy. And many premium or luxury credit cards may not be available to you. Make sure to account for all sources of income on your credit card application. Remember that in addition to income from employment, you can consider other forms of income like self-employment, retirement, or household income. Alternatively, you can consider options like a secured card, a student card or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account.

If you do have good credit and a reliable source of income, you might consider the SoFi credit card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Can you get a credit card if you have no income?

Yes, it is possible to get a credit card if you have no income, but it may not be easy. Credit card issuers are required to consider your ability to pay your bills before approving you for a card. Keep in mind that you can use more than just money from employment as income. You can also use retirement, self-employment, or shared household income.

Do credit card companies know if you are unemployed?

Credit card companies do not directly know if you are unemployed, but your employment status is usually asked as a question on most credit card applications. However, if you already have a credit card account and then later become unemployed, that information is not generally shared directly with your credit card company.

Can you get a credit card when you’re on unemployment benefits?

Yes, it is possible to get a credit card if you’re on unemployment benefits. Credit card companies are legally required to consider your ability to pay all of your bills when deciding whether to approve you for a card. But this consideration can include income from many sources, not just income from employment.

What is the minimum income required to get a credit card?

There is not a set minimum income credit card requirement. Instead, different credit card issuers will consider your overall financial situation (including income) when deciding whether to approve you for one of their cards. While it is possible to get a credit card with no or low income, you may not be able to get approved for all credit cards.

Does unemployment affect credit?

If you lose your job and start receiving unemployment benefits, it won’t directly affect any credit cards that you already have. However, if your job loss starts to impact your ability to make your payments on-time, your credit card issuer may charge fees and/or raise your interest rate.


Photo credit: iStock/damircudic

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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Does Closing a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

If you’re thinking about closing a credit card, you may be wondering: Does closing a credit card hurt your credit? Like most financial questions, the answer is that it depends.

If you already have good to excellent credit, closing one credit card generally won’t have a huge impact on your credit score. However, there are a few scenarios where closing a credit card can hurt your credit score. We’ll explore the potential consequences of closing a credit card, as well as alternatives to explore to avoid possible impacts to your credit score.

Ways Closing Your Credit Card Can Affect Your Credit Score

If you’re worried about whether it hurts your credit to close a credit card, you should know that there are two main ways that canceling a credit card can indeed affect your credit score.

Through Credit Card Utilization Ratio

The first way that canceling a credit card affects your credit score is by lowering your credit card utilization ratio. Your utilization ratio (sometimes called your utilization percentage) is the total amount of available credit that you’re actually using. If you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and you regularly spend $5,000 on that card each month, you’d have a utilization ratio of 50% ($5,000 divided by $10,000).

Having a low utilization ratio is generally considered a positive factor in determining your credit score.
Lenders prefer when you’re not using all of your available credit, since doing so can be an indicator of financial distress. When you cancel a credit card, you lower the total amount of your available credit line, which will generally raise your credit card utilization ratio.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit

Impact on the Length of Credit History

Another way that canceling a credit card can affect your credit score is by impacting the average length of your credit history. Your average age of credit accounts is another factor in determining your credit score, with an older average being better. You’ll especially see an impact on your score if you close a card that you’ve had for a very long time — and the impacts of a bad credit score are myriad.

When Canceling a Credit Card Might Make Sense

There are several scenarios when canceling a credit card might be the right financial move, such as when:

•   Your card has a steep annual fee that isn’t worth it. One of the most common reasons for when to cancel your credit card is if you have a card with an annual fee and you’re no longer getting enough in benefits to justify paying that cost. It doesn’t make sense to pay an annual fee of $100 or more a year if you’re not getting much benefit from having the card — and there are plenty of credit cards that come with no annual fee.

•   You have multiple credit cards and want to streamline your finances. Another scenario is if you have multiple credit cards and want to simplify your finances. With how credit cards work, missing a payment can have a big negative impact on your credit score. So if you’re in a situation where you have too many credit cards and are having trouble keeping payments straight, it may be a good idea to simplify your life and cancel some of your credit cards.

•   You have a high interest rate on a card. Particularly if you need to carry a balance for whatever reason, ditching a card with a high interest rate might be in your best interest. That will save you from paying more than necessary in interest charges.

•   You want to replace a basic or secured credit card. Another reason you might consider canceling your card is if you have a very basic starter credit card, or if you have a secured credit card and want to upgrade to an unsecured card. Especially if your credit score has dramatically improved since you opened that card, you could secure better terms and potentially the opportunity to earn rewards as well.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due

When It Might Make Sense to Keep the Credit Card Account Open

On the other hand, there can be good reasons to keep your credit card accounts open as well. This includes if:

•   Your card doesn’t have an annual fee. If the card has no annual fee, you could always keep the card open and not use it rather than closing the account. When you close an account, the next time the credit bureaus are updating your credit score, your score may decrease. Keeping your credit card open instead will prevent that.

•   You don’t have many accounts open. One of the factors that’s used to determine your credit score is your mix of accounts. If you don’t have many accounts open, closing one of your few accounts could ding you in this area, possibly dragging down your credit score. Plus, it could cause your available credit to take a big hit, which would increase your credit utilization.

•   Your only reason for canceling is not using your card very often. Given the potential impacts to your credit, if you don’t have much reason to cancel a credit card, you’re likely better off keeping it open due to the importance of good credit. That way, you won’t risk driving up your credit utilization or lowering the average age of your accounts, both of which can cause your score to drop. Plus, there aren’t any penalties for not using a credit card frequently.

Guide to Closing a Credit Card Safely

To close a credit card safely, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind before canceling your card.

Automatic Payments

If you have any automatic payments being charged to the card, you’ll want to contact the vendors and change them to another card, if you own multiple credit cards. Once you close your credit card account, if a vendor attempts to charge your account, the charge will likely be denied. This could lead to interruptions in other areas of your life, especially if it’s for something crucial like rent or utilities.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card

Paying Your Balances in Full

Simply closing your credit card account does not eliminate your responsibility for any charges already on the account. You’re still just as responsible and liable for the total balance on your account, so you should pay off your balance in full, if possible. If you don’t pay the full balance when you close the account, your card issuer will still issue you monthly statements, and interest will continue to accrue.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Redeeming Your Rewards

If you have a credit card that allows you to earn cash-back, travel, or other rewards, you’ll want to redeem those rewards before you close your account. Once you close your account, you may not be able to access them, and it’s possible that you will lose some of your hard-earned rewards. To avoid that possibility, you should redeem your rewards before canceling your credit card account.

Alternatives to Canceling a Credit Card

If you’re worried about how closing a credit card can hurt your credit, there are alternatives to explore.

Downgrade to a No-Fee Card

If one of the reasons you’re considering canceling your credit card is to avoid paying an annual fee, you may be able to downgrade the card instead. Many credit card issuers offer a variety of different cards, and only some of them come with annual fees. Downgrading to a no-fee card will keep your account open without having to pay the annual fee.

Negotiate With Your Credit Card Company

Another option is to negotiate with your credit card company. Most credit card issuers do not want you to cancel your card, so you may be willing to negotiate for better terms. This might include waiving the annual fee, lowering the interest rate, or getting additional rewards — it never hurts to call your credit card company to ask what they might be willing to do.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Put Your Card Away

If you’re considering canceling your credit card because you’re worried about overspending on the card, you also have the option to just take it out of your wallet. Depending on your situation, simply placing the card in your sock drawer, for instance, might prevent you from overspending without having to actually close the account.

Check Your Credit Report Before Closing an Account

If you’ve decided to close your credit card account, you’ll want to check your credit report both before and after canceling your card. If you’re concerned about how checking your credit score affects your rating, remember that it won’t affect it.

Also keep in mind that you have different credit scores, so take some time to check each one before and after closing your account. That way, you’ll have an accurate idea of how closing your credit card affected your credit score.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score

The Takeaway

While closing a credit card likely won’t have a huge impact on your credit score, it can lower it, especially in certain situations. Unless you have a good reason for closing your account, you may want to consider keeping your credit card open. Instead, you could consider downgrading to a no-fee card, negotiating with your credit card company, or just taking your card out of your wallet.

FAQ

Is closing a credit card bad?

Closing a credit card isn’t usually bad, but it also won’t help your score in most situations. Instead, consider alternatives to closing your credit card like downgrading your card or negotiating with your card issuer.

Is it better to cancel unused credit cards or keep them?

In many scenarios, it’s preferable to just keep your credit card accounts open, even if you don’t regularly use them. This allows your average age of accounts to increase and also lowers your utilization ratio by having access to a higher total of overall available credit. Both of these factors can help raise your credit score.

Does closing a credit card with a zero balance affect your credit score?

If you close a credit card, even if you have a $0 balance, your credit score might drop. This is because closing your card could lower your average age of accounts and/or increase your credit utilization ratio. Instead of canceling your credit card, consider negotiating with your card issuer for a lower interest rate or lower fees.

How much does your credit score drop if you close a credit card?

If you already have good or excellent credit, closing a credit card generally won’t have a huge impact. If you have a bad credit score already, however,it’s possible that closing a credit card can hurt your score even more. This is especially true if the card you close is one you’ve had for a long time or one with a high credit limit.


Photo credit: iStock/wichayada suwanachun

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

New and existing Checking and Savings members who have not previously enrolled in direct deposit with SoFi are eligible to earn a cash bonus when they set up direct deposits of at least $1,000 over a consecutive 25-day period. Cash bonus will be based on the total amount of direct deposit. The Program will be available through 12/31/23. Full terms at sofi.com/banking. SoFi Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.

SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.00% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 3/17/2023. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet

Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details, please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

SoFi cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back rewards when redeemed to save, invest, a statement credit, or pay down eligible SoFi debt.

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What to Know about Credit Card Cash Advances

What to Know about Credit Card Cash Advances

Sooner or later, most of us hit that moment where we need some cash — and fast. Maybe a major car repair or medical bill arrives, you get laid off, or you simply overspend for a period of time: All are ways that you can unfortunately find yourself in a hole financially.

A particularly expensive (or unlucky) month might make a credit card cash advance seem appealing. But before you go ahead and get a bundle of bills from your credit card issuer, read up on the consequences of doing so.

Here you’ll learn:

•   How to get a cash advance from a credit card

•   Why people use cash advances

•   The costs involved in getting cash from your credit card

•   How personal loans vs. cash advances compare

Can You Get Cash Back from a Credit Card?

Yes, it’s possible to get a cash advance on a credit card. But just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should.

A credit card cash advance is a stopgap for a financial emergency that can come with high costs to a person’s immediate financial situation. Furthermore, if not paid back quickly, it may also affect their credit history in the long term.

While a cash advance is certainly easy (it’s similar to making an ATM withdrawal), there are typically better and more affordable options for most financial needs.

A credit card cash advance is used to get actual cash against a credit card account’s cash limit, which might be different from the credit limit. It’s essentially a loan from the credit card issuer. Here’s how it usually works:

•   You put your credit card into an ATM, enter the card’s PIN, and choose an amount to withdraw. The cash is then dispensed for you to use as you see fit.

•   If you don’t know the card’s PIN, a cash advance can be completed by going into a bank or credit union with the credit card and a government-issued photo identification.

•   A cash advance check directly from the credit card company — sometimes included with mailed monthly billing statements — can also be used to get a cash advance.

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Why Do People Use Cash Advances?

Why use a cash advance from a credit card? The bottom line: convenience and speed. ATMs are plentiful in most towns, and it takes just a few minutes to complete the process of getting a cash advance at an ATM. There’s no approval process required either.

Some people may assume they don’t have enough time to access other kinds of credit. This isn’t always true, however. For instance, funds obtained through an unsecured personal loan are sometimes available in just one to five days after approval of the loan.

As fast and simple as a credit card cash advance may seem, however, there are significant costs involved. We’ll go into those costs next. Realizing the financial impact of these withdrawals may encourage a person to look elsewhere for funds.

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Cost of Withdrawing Cash from a Credit Card

A cash advance is an expensive way to borrow money. To put it in perspective, they’re just a step up from payday loans (which typically have much higher interest rates than credit card cash advances, extra fees, and short repayment terms).

The cost of getting a cash advance from a credit card can be quite high because they are treated differently than regular credit card purchases. Here’s a closer look at how these expenses can pile up.

Cash Advance Fee

It’s typical for credit cards to have a fee specifically for cash advances. This fee can be anywhere from 3% to 5% of the total amount of the cash advance. This fee is added to the account balance immediately — there is no grace period.

Higher APR

The average APR, or annual percentage rate, a credit card issuer typically charges for a cash advance is quite a bit higher than normal purchase charges. Currently, the average credit card interest rate on purchases ranges from 15% to 19%. But what is the APR for a cash advance? The rate is likely to be between 17% and a whopping 29%, according to recent research.

What’s more, unlike interest charged on regular purchases, there is no grace period for the interest to start accruing on a cash advance. It starts accumulating immediately and increases the account balance daily.

ATM Fee

Getting a credit card cash advance from an ATM may also mean incurring an extra fee charged by the ATM owner, if that’s not the financial institution that issued your credit card. These fees can range from $1.50 to $3.50 or even up to $10. As you see, the ATM fee can increase the charges for a cash advance, which often add up quickly.

Payment Allocation Rules

If you’re thinking that a cash advance can be paid off first and then the interest rate will revert to the lower rate charged on regular purchases, guess again. While federal law dictates that any amount more than the minimum payment made must go toward the highest interest rate debt, the minimum payment amount is typically applied at the credit card issuer’s discretion. This might well work in the card issuer’s favor, not yours.

A Hypothetical Scenario

You might be wondering just what a cash advance looks like in actual dollars and sense, so let’s consider this scenario. Say a person is carrying a credit card balance of $1,000 with an APR of 20%.

Perhaps they are trying to financially survive a layoff and need funds, so they find out how to get a cash advance on their credit card and take out $1,000 with a 25% APR. When they receive the billing statement, they pay $1,000 toward their credit card balance.

The minimum payment due amount of $35 is applied to the regular purchases that are accruing interest at a rate of 20%. The remainder, $965, is applied to the cash advance balance that’s getting charged a 25% interest rate.

In order to completely get rid of that 25% APR, the account holder would have to pay the full $2,000 balance.

The cash advance will only be paid off when the entire credit card balance is paid in full, which means they could be setting themselves up with higher interest charges for a long time to come.

Waiting until the next monthly statement is available will just increase the amount due. Every day the cash advance accrues interest, it costs the cardholder more money. The faster the balance is paid off, the less interest will accrue.

Using a credit card interest calculator can be enlightening when figuring out how much purchases or cash advances will really cost with interest applied and how much time it might take to pay them off.

Personal Loans vs Cash Advances

Now you understand how to get a cash advance from a credit card and the expenses involved. So what are the alternatives to this kind of a cash advance? Ask friends or family for a loan? Find ways to make money from home?

While those options are certainly acceptable, an unsecured personal loan might also be an option for some people. These loans can allow you to get funds at a lower interest rate that you can use to pay off your high-interest debt. Here’s how they usually work:

•   An application for a personal loan online can typically be completed in minutes and, if approved, the borrower may possibly get the funds within a couple of days. Personal loans can be used for a variety of reasons.

•   Some common uses for personal loan funds are debt consolidation, wedding expenses, unexpected medical expenses, and moving expenses, to name a few. It’s even possible to use a personal loan to pay off that credit card cash advance, which may cost you a lot less in the long run.

There are several benefits to personal loans that are worth knowing about:

•   Personal loans are likely to offer a more manageable interest rate on the money borrowed than the typical interest rate on a credit card cash advance. Of course, the personal loan’s interest rate will depend on the borrower’s creditworthiness, but it’s likely to be lower than the one tied to a credit card cash advance.

•   When personal loans are used to pay off a cash advance, they can simplify a person’s debt. With a single personal loan, there is only one interest rate to keep track of, as opposed to juggling two high interest rates: one for the cash advance and one for regular purchases charged to the credit card.

•   Credit card debt is revolving debt, which means that the borrower’s credit limit can be used, repaid, then used again, as long as the borrower is in good standing with the lender. A personal loan, however, is installment debt, and has fixed payments and a fixed end date. Unlike the revolving debt of a credit card, the funds from a personal loan can only be used once, and then they have to be repaid.

Personal Loans and Credit Scores

Another upside of choosing a personal loan over a credit card cash advance is that responsibly managing a personal loan might positively impact the borrower’s credit score.

One factor that goes into calculating a FICO® Score is the percentage of available credit being used, the credit utilization ratio, and it accounts for 30% of a person’s total score.

In the hypothetical scenario above, if the borrower had a $3,000 credit limit on their credit card, by using $2,000 of their total available credit, their credit utilization rate would be a whopping 66% (if that one credit card was the only account appearing on their credit report).

It’s fairly typical that credit card users continue to make charges on their accounts, which is likely to keep their credit utilization ratio high.

Installment debt, such as a personal loan, is looked at in a slightly different way in credit score calculations. Making regular payments on an installment loan may carry slightly greater weight than might someone’s credit utilization rate in calculating their credit score. Thus, making regular payments on a personal loan is likely to demonstrate responsible borrowing as the balance is paid down.

As you’ve now learned, considering a variety of funding sources when you need money fast is a smart money move. When you do so, a credit card cash advance may well be seen as a last-resort maneuver.

The Takeaway

Life can certainly deliver some unexpected financial challenges now and then — moments when you need cash quickly, for instance, but don’t have any available. While a cash advance from your credit card may seem like a fast, simple solution, tread carefully. There are significant costs associated with this withdrawal which could leave you with more long-term debt than you’d like. It’s probably wise to explore your options first.

While money management can be tricky at times, partnering with the right financial institution can help improve your financial life. For example, when you open an online bank account with SoFi, you’ll find convenient tools to track your spending and grow your savings (which might help you build an emergency fund). What’s more, when you open a Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll enjoy a competitive APY and you won’t have to pay any account fees.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall. Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

What is a credit card cash advance?

A credit card cash advance is a quick, convenient way to access cash using your credit card. You insert it into an ATM or visit a bank branch to obtain the cash. However, this will likely involve your owing significant fees and being assessed a considerable interest rate on the money you have borrowed.

What are the costs of a credit card cash advance?

A credit card cash advance will involve a fee that’s typically 3% to 5% of the total loan amount. In addition, there may be an ATM fee of several dollars. The money that you are advanced begins to accrue interest right away, and this usually is at a higher rate than your rate on purchases. What is a cash advance APR usually? Between 17% and 29%.

What is the difference between a credit card cash advance and checking account withdrawals?

A credit card advance is significantly different from a checking account withdrawal. With a credit card advance, you are quickly getting access to cash from your credit card issuer. It is a form of a loan, and your interest rate will likely be between 17% and 29% until it’s fully repaid. With a checking account withdrawal, you are accessing your own money, so there’s no interest fee involved, though you might be charged a few dollars if you use an out-of-network ATM for the transaction.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

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Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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How Long Do Late Payments Stay On a Credit Report?

One of the most important factors in your credit score is your payment history. New lenders want to make sure that you’ll pay them back on time, and your past payment history is an indicator that many lenders look at. Because of this, in most cases, credit bureaus will keep any late payments on your credit report for seven years.

Late payments only make it onto your credit report if they’re late for more than 30 days. Once a payment is late for 30 days, the creditor will likely report it to the credit bureau, where it will stay for seven years from the date of the first delinquent payment. Because late payments can have a negative impact on your credit score, it’s best to avoid them when possible.

What Is Considered a Late Payment?

Most accounts have a grace period after the due date where the lender will accept payment without any penalty. The exact length of a grace period will depend on the terms of your credit card or other account, but 15 days is common.

After the grace period, your lender may charge a late fee or make other changes to your account. Once your account is 30 days or more past due, your lender will typically report it to the major credit bureaus.

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When Do Late Payments Fall Off a Credit Report?

In most cases, it will take seven years for a late payment to fall off a credit report. Even if you bring your account current after the late payment has already been reported to the credit bureaus, it will still show up on your credit report for seven years after the first late payment. This is why one of the top credit card rules is to make payments on-time whenever possible.

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How Late Payments Affect Your Credit Score

One of the consequences of a credit card late payment is that it will have a negative impact on your credit score.

Your past payment history is one of the biggest factors in what affects your credit score. As such, if you have a significant amount of late payments on your credit report, it will be tough to have an outstanding credit score.

How to Remove Late Payments From a Credit Report

It’s difficult if not impossible to remove a late payment from your credit report — unless it was reported in error.

However, the only way to find out if a late payment is reported in error is if you regularly review your credit report. If you have documentation that shows that you made the payment on time, you can contact the credit bureau and ask them to update your credit score and credit report.

What Can You Do to Minimize the Impact of a Late Payment?

If you’re willing to do the legwork, there are a couple steps you can take that could potentially minimize the impacts of a late payment.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Negotiate

One option you have for minimizing the impact of a late payment is to negotiate with your credit card issuer. This will generally be more effective if it’s only been a short time since your payment was due or if you have not had late payments previously. For example, your lender may be willing to waive any late fees or penalty interest if you enroll in autopay and/or pay any past-due balance.

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Dispute Errors on Your Credit Reports

If it’s been more than 30 days and your lender has already reported the late fee to the credit bureaus, it can be difficult to remove it from your credit report. However, if you have documentation that you made the payment on time, you can contact the credit bureaus to have them update and correct your credit report.

This is why it is important to understand how checking your credit score affects your rating — generally when you are reviewing your own credit report, it does not impact your credit score. Regularly reviewing your credit report for errors and discrepancies is a great financial habit to have.

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Guide to Avoiding Late Payments

Since it is difficult if not impossible to remove late payments from your credit report once they’re there, the best course of action is to avoid late payments in the first place. Here are a few tips on some of the best ways to avoid late payments.

Set Up Autopay

One great way to avoid late payments is to set up autopay from a checking or savings account. That way, you know that your payments will be made each and every month.

You can customize your autopay payments to cover the minimum amount, the full statement balance, or anywhere in between. You’ll just want to make sure you have enough funds in the attached account to cover the balance.

Set Payment Reminders

If you can’t or don’t want to set up autopay on your accounts, another option is to set up payment reminders. That way, you can get an email or text message a few days before your payment is due. Getting a reminder can help you remember to make the payment on or before its due date.

Change Your Payment Due Date

Sometimes the due date for a particular loan or credit card doesn’t line up conveniently with when you have the money to pay it. You might find that your due date always seems to come a day or two before payday. If that’s the case, many lenders allow you to change your payment due date to one that’s more convenient for you.

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The Takeaway

Paying your credit card and other debts on time is one of the best ways to ensure that your credit score stays strong. Late payments can be reported to the credit bureaus as soon as 30 days after the due date. Once they’re on your credit report, they will stay there for seven years from the date of the first late payment.

If you’re looking for a credit card with great cash back rewards and other features, consider applying for the SoFi Credit Card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Can I get late payments removed from my credit report?

Typically, once they’ve been reported to the credit bureaus, you can only get late payments removed if you didn’t actually pay late. If you have documentation that shows that you made the payment on time, you can submit that to each credit bureau and ask that they update your credit score.

Is it true that after 7 years your credit is clear?

Late payments and some other negative factors do remain on your credit report for seven years. That means that if you have not had any negative marks or late payments for seven years, you’ll be starting with a fresh slate.

Is payment history a big factor in your credit score?

Yes, payment history is a big factor in how your credit score is determined. While each credit bureau calculates your credit score differently, payment history is typically listed as one of the biggest factors in what affects your credit score.


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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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