These are my top recommended credit cards for this month. Some have $450-550 annual fees waived exclusively for US military personnel.

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

For many situations, yes. Taking a pay advance when you PCS is a great way to help yourself out get ahead financially and stay out of debt while you PCS. There are many costs associated with a PCS, not all of which are reimbursed.

A pay advance is a 0% loan to your present self from your future self. You can usually get a month's pay (BAH + Basic Pay, no BAS or incentive pays usually) advanced to you (with the taxes taken out) and then pay it back over the next 12 months. It's a fairly painless process that can usually be accomplished through your online finance office or in the finance customer service area on one form. If you only take a month's pay out and repay it over 12 months, you don't even need a commander's signature: it's automatically approved.

The repayment is taken directly out of each paycheck, so you don't need to worry about being late on a payment. If you are taking out a month's pay and paying it back over a year, each paycheck won't decrease that much (usually less than $200, for most pay grades).

This can be a good option if your PCS coincides with a pay raise from either BAH increase, time in grade pay increase, or a promotion. Because of the pay raise, you'll still be living on close to what you were making previously, but have you'll have a few extra thousands of dollars in the bank. This can be perfect for getting your emergency fund started, paying down high interest loans so you can move towards debt freedom, or just to meet your savings goals.

Many people are opposed to accumulating debt in any form and generally I agree with them. Paying down high interest credit card debt, student loans, and car loans are a great way to create more cash flow every month and to start building a solid financial foundation. The pay advance is a great way to get access to a good amount of cash at 0% interest and then quickly pay it back over a year.

Should I take a military pay advance when I PCS?

AMEX Platinum With NO Annual Fees for US Military

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

Military servicemembers and spouses can get the American Express Platinum with NO annual fees.  Pick up your military annual fee waived card here!

Learn more about the AMEX military fee waiver.

The AMEX Platinum offers:

  • $550 Annual Fee WAIVED for US Military (and spouses)!
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards Points welcome offer
  • $200 credit for Uber rides (or Uber Eats!) annually
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • Centurion Lounge and Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
  • NO foreign transaction fees

These benefits make it my top recommend card.

If you already have an AMEX Platinum card, check out the other AMEX cards, Chase credit cards, and this month's top recommended credit card bonuses, most with no annual fees for US military personnel.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
“Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.”

3 thoughts on “Should I take a military pay advance when I PCS?

  • August 7, 2015 at 07:14

    Great article. Thanks for the info, you made it easy to understand. BTW, if anyone needs to fill out a “1990 DD 2560”, I found a blank fillable form here: I also saw some decent tutorials on how to fill it out.

  • May 17, 2013 at 08:05

    We just found out that this info is incorrect. BAH is NOT included in the advance pay, you only get basic pay and they will deduct ANYTHING that is usually deducted from your pay every month like taxes, tricare,alimony… So if you pay alimony out of your paycheck every month, they would deduct that amount from your advance pay as well.

    • May 18, 2013 at 05:56

      Hey Mia. It really depends on your PCS, but according to DOD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R, if your orders are for assignment to a “distant duty station,” you “may be paid an advance of pay and allowances.” This would include BAH. See page 32-10 of that PDF. If you feel like the Finance office messed up your advance, have a chat with them! That’s why they are there. Also, yes, all deductions are taken out of the advance when it is issued to you.


What are your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.