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I'm in a situation where I need $2500 (USD) in cash (for a money order/cashier's cheque). I'm considering taking out a cash advance on my new US credit card.

My credit card agreement says the "APR" is 19.99% for cash advances. I'm guessing that this is the interest rate.

I have no clue of how to calculate this. Is it compounded monthly? Say I could pay it all off two weeks later - what would the total charge be? Do I accumulate interest for the full month?

I also hear it can hurt my credit score if I take out a cash advance. Would it still hurt if I paid it off before the end of the month? Apparently it can hurt depending on the location - what if I just took it out from a bank ATM? The cash is needed to pay initial rent while I start a new job.

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    You need to read your card agreement carefully. Cash advances sometimes come with a fee or service charge of 1 or 2%, and they almost always are charged interest from the date of issue till they are repaid in full. In your case, the interest will be charged at 19.99%/12 per month, and yes, it will compound if a billing statement date is within your two-week window. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 27 '15 at 22:14
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It's calculated from the day you take it to the day it's paid in full, and as Dilip noted, there's usually a fee of a percent or two for cash advance.

Given the situation, the new job and need for cash, I'm not so worried about a few hundred dollars interest, nor the very short term minor ding on your credit. Credit scores have components that are long term, such as missed payments, and those that are nearly real time, like utilization.

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