About Western Union Cash Advances

In 2015, only 3.5% of credit cards were used to make cash advances. This fell in 2019, when only about 2.5% of credit cards were used for the same thing, and it’s not really surprising. Cash advances aren’t typically the most financially sound method of getting your hands on extra cash, but it may be your only option if your business is struggling while waiting for payments to come in. Thankfully, if you’re in a pinch, Western Union offers a lot of different ways to get cash advances.

What Is a Cash Advance?

Cash advances are akin to taking out a small personal loan, except your lender is your credit card company. You can even get a cash advance from an ATM if your credit card has a PIN, but most times, you’ll have to go to a place like Western Union.

Typically, you can pull out a few hundred dollars via a cash advance, but that’s about it. Most credit card companies don’t let you use your entire line of credit. This means you’ll still have to get a traditional loan to pay off a larger expense if your business does not have enough money in the bank. Cash advances should be considered a last resort because they’re notoriously expensive.

Racking Up the Fees

As one of the most costly ways to acquire some physical currency, cash advances rack up fees at three separate points:

  1. The fee from your credit card company, which is often around $5 or $10 per advance or a percentage of as much as 5% per transaction. Sometimes, you’re charged a fee or percentage depending on whichever is greater.

  2. A fee from the ATM, bank or financial establishment.

  3. The credit card interest, which is much higher for cash advances than regular purchases and starts accruing immediately rather than having any sort of grace period. 

For this reason, you should reevaluate your business plan if you find yourself constantly relying on cash advances to keep your business afloat.

Western Union Payday Loans

As a business owner, you probably won’t be getting a payday loan through Western Union unless you have a side gig. This type of high-interest, short-term loan is seen as a type of cash advance and is typically due on the date of your next paycheck.

Several companies offer payday loans through Western Union, but it should only be used in an emergency due to the high interest rates. You’ll also have to visit a Western Union station to pick up the cash.

Western Union Online Services

Western Union offers cash advances online or via their mobile app through their money transfer service called "money in minutes." You can use a Visa or Mastercard credit card to send money to a recipient’s bank account or to another Western Union for pickup, but you’ll need basic information like bank routing and account numbers for the latter. Like all cash advances, you’ll likely be charged a fee from your credit card company, but you can sometimes avoid this if you’re using a debit card.

The cost of a Western Union cash advance varies based on the country, currency and amount. In the United States, Mexico and Canada, it costs $9.90 to advance $45 or less, but 4% of the cash amount to advance $1,000.01 to $3,000. You cannot advance more than $5,000.

Western Union Telephone Transfer

Like the online services, you can also get a cash advance via telephone. In the U.S., call 1-800-CALL-CASH with your credit card handy. You can send the money to a bank or the Western Union mobile app or collect the cash in person at a physical Western Union location.

Western Union Agent Location

Physical Western Union locations also offer cash advances. Simply go to your local Western Union, fill out the required paperwork and pay with a Visa or Mastercard credit card. You’ll also need identification.

Western Union Loan Payment

While you can typically pay your business’s phone or utility bill with a credit card, you most likely won’t be able to pay some of your larger bills with credit, like a mortgage on a retail space and certain loans. In this case, you can use Western Union as a loan payment or bill payment option.

Western Union loan payment (also known as Western Union bill pay) lets you use your business’s credit card to pay your bills, and for many, it’s more convenient than mailing a check, especially because you can make payments around the clock. Cash advance fees may apply, so check with your credit card company first.

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About the Author

Mariel Loveland is a small business owner, content strategist and writer from New Jersey. Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous startups creating content to help small business owners bridge the gap between technology and sales. Her work has been featured in publications like Business Insider and Vice.