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American Express Updating Cash Advance Language

American Express is making changes to its cash advance terms, effective November 2020. Here’s what you need to know about the new Amex cash advance terms, including what will now qualify as a cash advance.

New Amex Cash Advance Terms Begin November 2020

Starting November 1, 2020, American Express is adding “precious metal products” as an acceptable form of cash advance on cards that use their payment network. Precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, are covered under currency code ISO 4217. Digital currencies, such as the popular Bitcoin, are also covered under the terms.

The official wording of American Express’ new cash advance terms reads as follows:

“A cash advance is a charge to get cash or cash equivalents, including travelers’ cheques, gift cheques, foreign currency, money orders, digital currency, casino gaming chips, race track wagers, similar offline and online betting transactions, and digital precious metals products.”

Many banks, credit unions, and payment networks classify digital currency as an acceptable form of a cash advance, so it makes sense that Amex, the third-largest payment network, follows suit.

What Is a Cash Advance?

Cash advances are a common feature of most credit cards. A cash advance is a form of short-term loan. Cardholders can borrow money from their credit limit, with higher-than-average interest rates. Lenders typically restrict the total amount of cash a cardholder can receive in advance and charge a fee per transaction. This fee is usually either a flat amount or a percentage of the transaction. The greater amount between these two is usually being the chosen fee.

Beyond credit cards, other popular forms of cash advance include:

  • Borrowing from a 401(k) retirement fund
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC)
  • Liquidation of certificates of deposit (CDs)

Cash advances are advantageous thanks to their ease of access, but they have several potentially negative aspects. The high interest rates, often around 24%, are much higher those of a personal loan, for example. Cash advances also reduce access to credit by lowering your overall available credit. Morever, the fees charged add extra costs. Even though a cash advance is always an option when you’re running low on funds, there are typically more convenient – and cheaper – alternatives that you can consider.

Related Article: What’s the Difference Between a Credit Card and a Charge Card?

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.