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Problematic Credit Card Cheques and Cash Advances
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Once you have got a credit card, you will find that you can do more with it than just pay for things with the card. You might be sent a credit card chequebook, for those times in those you are paying someone who can't accept your card.
You might also be offered cash advances – a way of withdrawing cash directly from your credit card, either to your bank account or from a cash machine. This is designed for situations where you need cash in an emergency. You really shouldn't overuse either of these features, and here's why.
It Marks You Out
If you use a credit card cheque or accept a cash advance, you show that you are not just using a credit card for convenience – you really need the money. This marks you out in the credit card company's records as someone who shouldn't be given a good deal. After all, you won't be going anywhere.
Try to Spend With the Card Instead
Instead of using cash to pay for small things and finding you have to take advances or use cheques to pay for bigger things, it's better to do it the other way around. If you are in a situation where you rely on advances, you should start using your card for smaller things where you wouldn't usually bother, just to avoid taking the advances and paying more interest. Be strategic in how you spend.
Remember that there are very few bills now that must be paid for by cheque, so there are not many reasons to ever use credit card cheques. If you are willing to call them up and wait in their queue for a while, the chances are you can get them to accept a credit card payment just by you reading the number.
Look Out for Advance Limits
If you start relying on cash advances, sooner or later you will probably run into an advance limit. The credit card companies do not advertise it, but many of them have limits on how much of your balance can be cash advances and how much must be in purchases. Try to find out these limits before you start taking advances.
Remember They Get Left For Last
When you pay back your credit card debt, most lenders will put your payments towards the lowest-interest money (your purchases) first, and then towards other lending. That means that you keep paying that high interest on the cash advance or cheque until you get your balance all the way down to zero.