Do you use your credit card to make withdrawals for your business? If so, you might be making an expensive mistake.
Whether it’s a business card or a personal credit card, it’s time to think twice about using your credit card as a debit card. Here’s what you need to know.
4 Costs of Taking Cash From Your Credit Card
Withdrawing money via your credit card could be costly for these four reasons.
1. Cash Advance Fee
It costs more to borrow cash from your credit card than to make a purchase using your card because of what’s known as a “cash advance fee.” Depending on the terms in your agreement, credit card issuers could charge you either a flat rate fee or a percentage fee of the withdrawal amount — whichever is greater.
2. No Grace Periods
Like personal credit cards, business credit cards usually offer a grace period. A grace period is the time period between the end date of a billing cycle and your next credit card due date. Cash advance transactions typically do NOT have a grace period. Instead, interest begins accruing immediately upon withdrawal, resulting in a higher total interest charge on cash advances than you’d see on a purchase transaction.
3. Higher Borrowing Rates
Another expense to consider with a credit card cash advance are the potentially higher interest rates. Interest rates on cash advances may be higher than the rate charged for purchases on the card. Refer to the fine print in your credit card agreement or contact your card issuer for more information.
4. Potential Unlimited Personal Liability
Does your business credit card have a personal liability clause?
If you’ve provided a personal guarantee for your business credit card, you’re personally on the hook for paying off that credit card debt if your business fails. That debt could include all the cash advance withdrawals from that credit card. This is the case even if the way you’ve incorporated your business (for example as an LLC) protects your personal assets against business litigation.
How to Calculate Your Credit Card Cash Advance Cost
If you’re wondering just how much a credit card cash withdrawal could cost, here’s how to figure it out
- Calculate the initial cash advance fee based on the withdrawal amount. For example, the fee on a $3,000 withdrawal from a card with a 3% cash advance fee is $90.00.Next, calculate the interest charges. Divide the annual percentage rate (APR) for cash advances on your card by 365. Then multiply that figure by the number of days you’ll carry the balance and the withdrawal amount. Based on the example above, a $3,000 advance at an APR of 21% for seven days, the calculations look like this: 21/365 = 0.00274 daily interest x 7 days = 0.019178 x $3,000 = $75.53.Add the interest charge to the credit card advance fee for a total cost of $165.53 (90 + 75.53) in charges and interest to take a $3,000 cash advance for seven days.
Alternatives to Business Credit Card Cash Advances
Luckily, there are less expensive ways to borrow money for your business.
- A business credit line gives access to funds as needed, and you’ll only pay interest when and if your business uses it.
- Short term loans and equipment financing often have comparatively low rates, especially when they’re secured against collateral such as real estate, equipment, or machinery.
- Other business financing options include borrowing against your accounts receivables and invoices through revenue-based financing or invoice factoring.
Look into the other business financing options available to you before taking a credit card cash advance. Doing so could save your business a bundle.