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Before Taking Out a High-Cost Cash Advance, Talk to Your Employer About a Salary Advance

Written by
Alex Huntsberger
Alex Huntsberger is a personal finance writer who covered online lending, credit scores, and employment for OppU. His work has been cited by, Business Insider, and The Motley Fool.
Read time: 4 min
Updated on April 16, 2024
young man talking to his employer about a salary advance
Salary advances aren't common, but it never hurts to ask—especially when the alternative is a costly cash advance or payday loan.

Oh no! You just had a financial emergency and you don’t have the money to cover it!

Hopefully, the previous sentence is not true, but if it is, what do you do?

Ideally, you would have an emergency fund. If not, your next best bet would be to reach out to a friend or family member who might be able to help you.

If your credit is good, you may be able to get a personal loan from your bank. If your credit is bad or non-existent, then you may have to choose between the best of bad options.

You could take out a credit card cash advance.

One option you might consider is a cash advance loan. This is a loan taken out with your credit card, and it tends to have higher interest and fees. Unlike using your credit card regularly, there’s no grace period, so the higher interest rates begin immediately. For information about the broader concept of cash advances, read our What is a Cash Advance? article.

Beyond the higher rates and lack of a grace period, you also need a credit card to get a credit card cash advance, and if your credit is in a bad place you may not have access to one. If you do, however, it might be a viable solution, depending on your situation, especially if you’re able to pay it off before too much interest accumulates.

You can ask your employer for a salary advance, but be prepared to hear 'no.'

What if you could ask your boss for an advance on your paycheck? Assuming this financial emergency is immediate but small enough, that could be exactly what you need, but how realistic is this option?

Speaker and business expert Heather Monahan offered this insight: “While every company is unique, I don’t see it as the norm for companies to provide advance funds for employees. However, I do believe it is always a good idea to ask for something that you want. Getting in the habit of asking for things is ultimately a practice that will pay dividends over time. Realizing that the worst thing that can happen is you are told no is a great expectation to move forward with. I would simply ask for help. Oftentimes asking for help will cause the other person to feel more inclined to help and get you what you need.”

As long as you have a good relationship with your employer, it probably won’t hurt to ask, but it shouldn’t be something you rely on.

A better course of action is to start building an emergency fund now to avoid taking out a high-cost cash advance.

Article contributors
Heather Monahan

Heather Monahan (@_heathermonahan) is a business expert, mentor, and speaker. She works to empower women to succeed by celebrating their strengths and utilizing what makes them unique.

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