It can be so tempting: you need a little extra cash and there seems to be an easy way to get it. Credit card companies want to turn your unused credit line into cash that you can borrow for things like a vacation or unexpected expenses. But accepting this loan offer may not be the best choice for your wallet or your credit score. Credit card loans are fast, convenient and cheaper than cash advances. But personal finance experts say the loans are still costly and can lower your credit scores, making it more difficult to obtain credit with low interest rates in the future. Before you accept this seemingly simple way to get cash, consider the risks and compare your alternatives. 7 tips to help you keep track of your cash and never end up broke How a credit card loan works Some bank customers don’t have to request a loan – or even apply. The companies promote their “flexible financing offering” or new “loan feature” via email, direct mail or on account log-in pages. “It’s very tempting because it’s so fast and easy, with no application,” says David Rae, a certified financial planner based in Los Angeles. “If you’re already in debt, it can cause that debt to snowball and become a big problem.” The amount you can borrow depends on how much credit line you have available. Once you choose a loan amount and repayment term, the issuer transfers the cash to your bank account within a couple of days, or will alternatively mail a cheque. The loans have payback terms of one to five years, and monthly repayments are added to your card’s minimum payment due. Having different types of credit on your reports can positively affect your scores. In this case, “there’s no added benefit to your credit score, beyond just having a credit card and making a payment,” Rae says. You can continue using your credit card, but you’ll want to track your balance and stay under the credit limit to avoid costly fees. Some banks won’t give you cash back, miles or points. The costs and risks Rae advises the loans should only be considered for emergency expenses if you don’t have savings, rather than for things that are not crucial. “If you’re trying to book a vacation or shopping for clothes, I wouldn’t recommend this product,” he says. Credit card loans may cost less than cash advances, but they aren’t cheap. How to ditch your credit card debt: take it personally Taking the loan also increases your credit utilisation rate – how much of your credit limit is used. Most financial experts recommend keeping your total utilisation below 30 per cent. This loan can push you above that threshold and lower your credit score, says Bruce McClary, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counselling. Compare alternatives Whenever you borrow, compare interest rates on multiple loan options and consider features that build your credit or offer flexible payment schedules. ● Personal loans may offer lower rates, especially if you have excellent credit, and higher loan amounts. They also show up as separate accounts on your credit reports, helping to diversify your accounts and indicate you can handle different types of credit, ultimately lifting your score. ● If you qualify, a 0 per cent annual percentage rate credit card, known as an APR , is an interest-free loan, as long as you pay the balance before the introductory offer period ends. Also, you may earn cash back or travel rewards with this credit card. “If you’re able to get a credit card with no interest, and you pay it off within the time frame, you’re going to be way better off financially,” Rae says. This article was curated by Young Post .