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Can You Get a Cash Advance With No Job?

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: 5 min
Updated on July 27, 2023
young man in white t-shirt wondering can you get a cash advance with no job?
The answer to this question entirely depends on what type of cash advance you're talking about.

If you’ve ever applied for a loan from a bank, they’ve likely asked you to put your income or even your job title on the application. This makes sense, as a person is going to need some sort of income in order to make their loan payments.

But what if you don’t have a job or an emergency fund and you need some quick cash? You may not be able to get a personal loan from a bank, or really from any traditional lender. However, you may still have some options available to you, like a cash advance.

Be careful though, the kinds of bad credit loans and credit lines you can secure when you don’t have a job can come with some pretty severe financial risks. Even if you’re desperate for cash, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into before you take one out. 

What is a cash advance? The answer is complicated.

The annoying thing about the term “cash advance” is that it can refer to two entirely different types of lending products. We’ll go over both of them because whether you have a job or not will possibly affect your eligibility for one kind of cash advance far more than the other. (For our most detailed explanation on cash advances, check out the OppU article What is a Cash Advance?)

The principal type of cash advance you'll see is a feature on most credit cards. While your standard credit card transaction involves you using the card to make a purchase and adding that dollar figure directly to your balances, credit card cash advances work a little differently.

With a credit card cash advance, you use your card to take out cash, usually from an ATM, and whatever dollar amount you withdraw is then added to your balance. Cash advances usually come with an additional fee—something in the range of $5-$10 or 2-4% of the amount withdrawn, whichever is higher.

Cash advances almost always come with a higher interest rate than traditional transactions. If you take a look at your credit card statement, most will state the difference between them. For instance, your standard APR might be 16% for regular purchases but the APR for cash advances could be 24%.

Traditional credit card transactions come with a 30-day grace period before interest starts to accrue. Cash advances, on the other hand, have no such grace period. Interest starts to accrue immediately once the money is added to your balance.

All in all, it's clear that getting a cash advance on your credit card is going to be much more expensive than just using your card to make a purchase.

The other type of cash advance is basically a payday loan.

The name “payday loan” comes from the idea that these short-term, small-dollar loans are only meant to tide the borrower over till their next payday. Similarly, some short-term no credit check loans will refer to themselves as “cash advances” since all they’re really doing (or so they say) is giving you an "advance" on your next paycheck.

The terms that you receive on these cash advance loans will vary depending on where you live, as these types of financial products are regulated at the state level. Still, the average length of a payday cash advance is approximately two weeks, and the average annual percentage rate is well over 300%.

In the long term, payday cash advances are much more expensive than cash advances from a credit card. And in the short term, you might have a hard time paying off that payday cash advance on time.

Payday cash advances are designed to be paid back all at once. Combining that lump sum repayment with their short repayment terms can make these loans quite hard for some people to pay back. In many states, lenders will give these borrowers the option of rolling over their loan or immediately borrowing a new loan once the old one's paid back.

This is how costs quickly add up and folks find themselves constantly throwing money at the interest on their cash advance loan without ever getting closer to pay off the loa itself. This is what’s commonly referred to as a “cycle of debt,” and it can spell financial ruin.

So do you need a job to get a cash advance? 

For the first type of cash advance, the kind you take out on your credit card, you don’t need a job in order to get one. So long as your credit card is operational, you can take out as much cash as you want—within reason. Most credit cards have a daily limit on how much cash you can withdraw.

With credit card cash advances, there isn’t any application process where a lack of a job might disqualify you. There is simply pressing the “cash” button on the ATM and waiting for your bills to appear. So long as your unemployment doesn’t lead to your card being shut off for nonpayment, you’ll be good to go.

With payday cash advances, however, not having a job might become a bit of an issue.

It’s hard to make big generalizations about payday loans because terms can vary wildly from state to state and from lender to lender. (With online loans, the terms will depend on your state of residence.) But while payday lenders certainly have lower lending standards than traditional lenders—most won’t even run a soft check on your credit score—many payday lenders will still require that you have a job before they lend to you.

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