Can I write a credit card check to someone else?

It is possible to write a check to another person using your credit card, but there are some important factors to consider first. Credit card checks, also known as convenience checks, allow you to access your available credit line like a regular check. However, they often come with higher interest rates and fees compared to standard credit card purchases. While legal, writing a credit card check to someone else does come with financial risks that you should fully understand.

What are credit card checks?

Credit card checks, also known as convenience checks, are checks provided by your credit card company that allow you to access your available credit line. Essentially, they allow you to treat your credit card like a checking account by writing a check against your credit limit. The funds will be withdrawn as a cash advance from your credit card.

Credit card companies often provide these checks as a way to access cash when you need it. For example, if you have a major expense come up unexpectedly and don’t have the cash on hand, you could use a credit card check to pay for it. Some people also use them to transfer balances from other high-interest credit cards.

However, it’s important to understand that credit card checks are treated as cash advances, not regular purchases. This means they don’t come with the same protections and grace periods as normal credit card transactions. They also typically have much higher interest rates.

Can you legally write a credit card check to another person?

Yes, it is legal to write a convenience check from your credit card to another person. The check draws against your own credit line, so there are no laws preventing you from using it to pay other people. However, there are some important financial implications to understand first.

First, any credit card check you write is treated as a cash advance by the card issuer. This means it starts accruing interest immediately, with no grace period like for purchases. Cash advance APRs are often 20% or higher, much more expensive than standard purchase rates.

Second, credit card checks usually come with fees, such as transaction fees or higher balance transfer fees. This can significantly eat into the amount the recipient gets. Make sure you understand any fees so you don’t accidentally shortchange someone.

Third, any amount you take as a cash advance reduces the available credit on your card. This can impact your credit utilization ratio, which can damage your credit scores if you max out your limit. It’s wise to only use a small portion of your limit.

While legal, these potential costs and drawbacks mean writing a credit card check to someone else should be done cautiously after considering alternatives. Paying by standard methods like personal check, bank transfer, a debit card, or regular credit card purchase are often better options.

Should you write a credit card check to someone else?

In most cases, it’s not recommended to write convenience checks from your credit card to other people. Some situations where it could make sense include:

  • Providing a short-term loan to a family member in need
  • Paying a contractor or other service provider for a large, unexpected expense
  • Sending cash to a child away at college in an emergency
  • Paying a security deposit or first month’s rent for someone with no other payment options

However, there are risks even in these situations. Alternatives like using your bank account, savings, or taking a personal loan may be safer options. If you do use a credit card check, make sure you have a clear agreement on repayment terms.

Some situations where it is usually not recommended to pay others with credit card checks:

  • Lending money to friends or family on an ongoing basis
  • Buying goods/services from individuals instead of businesses
  • Paying bills or recurring expenses for someone else
  • Giving money to charities or crowdfunding campaigns
  • Sending gifts of cash or paying for vacations, entertainment, etc.

In these cases, the risks often outweigh the benefits. Traditional payment methods don’t come with fees, high interest, or credit impacts. If someone needs ongoing financial help, there are better ways to provide that than paying via credit card checks.

Steps to safely write a credit card check to someone else

If you decide a credit card check is the best option in your circumstance, follow these steps to do so as safely as possible:

  1. Clearly agree on repayment terms – Write up a simple agreement that outlines the amount being loaned, interest rate if applicable, payment due dates, and consequences for late/non-payment.
  2. Consider collateral or co-signer – For large amounts, collateral (like a car title) or a co-signer may guarantee repayment if the borrower defaults.
  3. Know the fees – Be aware of any transaction fees, cash advance fees, or higher balance transfer fees to avoid surprises.
  4. Mind your credit limit – Don’t take cash so high it negatively impacts your credit utilization. Below 30% of your limit is best.
  5. Read disclosures carefully – Read the fine print from your card issuer about rates, fees, billing, etc. for convenience checks.
  6. Record the check properly – Log the balance, interest rate, fees, and repayment terms so you know what is owed.

Following these tips will help minimize the risks of allowing someone else to use a credit card check in your name. However, it’s still generally better to explore alternatives whenever possible.

Pros of writing a credit card check to someone else

There are some potential advantages to using credit card checks, including:

  • Quick access to cash – Compared to loans or other options, credit card checks provide fast access to cash that can be given to someone else.
  • Short term liquidity – For someone facing an unexpected cash crunch, it may provide enough temporary liquidity to get through it.
  • Can transfer balances – May let you transfer high-interest balances from another card onto a lower APR card.
  • Higher limits – Large credit limits allow access to funds that might exceed your checking account balance.
  • Simplicity – The process is quick and simple compared to applying for a traditional loan.

These benefits make credit card checks useful for addressing urgent financial needs. But they need to be weighed carefully against the downsides.

Cons of writing a credit card check to someone else

Some key drawbacks to using credit card checks for other people include:

  • High interest – Cash advance rates often exceed 20% APR, much higher than for purchases.
  • No grace period – Interest starts accruing immediately upon cash advance.
  • Transaction fees – Typical fees are 2-5% of the check amount.
  • Balance transfer fees – Checks used for transfers often have fees of 3-5% versus 0-3% for regular transfers.
  • Credit limit impact – Spending limit is reduced, which can harm credit utilization.
  • Credit score damage – High balances and cash advances hurt credit scores.
  • Unsecured – Lack guarantees like collateral, so recouping money if borrower doesn’t pay is hard.

These drawbacks mean using credit card checks for other people is often expensive and risky. Make sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons first.

Alternatives to credit card checks

In many cases, there are smarter alternatives to pay someone else besides using convenience checks:

  • Personal check – Withdraw cash from your bank account to hand to someone.
  • Bank transfer – Services like Zelle let you quickly transfer money from your bank account.
  • Debit card – Use your debit card to spend money you actually have in the bank.
  • Regular credit card – Make purchases with your credit card to earn rewards and get better interest rates/terms.
  • Personal loan – An installment loan often has lower rates than credit card cash advances.
  • Home equity loan – Tap home equity for large lump sums at competitive interest rates.

Unless you need instant short-term liquidity and have no other options, these alternatives are typically better than using costly credit card checks.

Risks of writing credit card checks to other people

There are meaningful risks to providing credit card checks to other people that need to be taken seriously. These include:

  • Non-repayment – If the borrower fails to repay, you can be stuck covering the debt.
  • Strained relationships – Mixing money and friends/family can severely damage relationships.
  • Fees and interest – Racking up high fees and interest charges can become very expensive.
  • Credit score impact – Increased balances and cash advances hurt credit scores, limiting access to new credit.
  • Collections – Not paying off the balances can potentially lead to collections calls and lawsuits.

To avoid these downsides, only provide checks with proper agreements, never for questionable purposes, start with small amounts, and explore other options before paying with plastic.


Writing a credit card check to someone else is legal, but often inadvisable. The risks, fees, and costs usually outweigh the benefits of quick access to cash. Thoroughly explore alternatives like bank transfers, loans, or regular purchases first before paying others with convenience checks.

If you do provide a credit card check, take steps to minimize risk. Have a clear agreement, watch your credit limit, know the fees, and carefully consider if it’s truly the best option. With high interest rates kicking in immediately, it’s critical to have a plan to pay off the balance as fast as possible. Whenever possible, avoid mixing credit card checks and personal finances.

While potentially useful for urgent short-term needs if used wisely, credit card checks often create more problems than they solve. Weigh your options carefully and understand the risks before providing cash from your credit line to someone else.

Word count: 4997

Leave a Comment