Walgreens Cash Back Limit, Minimum Purchase, Cards Accepted, & More

These days, card readers are so common that you may be in the habit of relying on your debit or credit card instead of carrying around cash. But what if you find out that a store, restaurant, event venue, or vendor doesn’t accept debit or credit cards? Instead of going to the bank, you can just get cash back at Walgreens.

Walgreens Cash Back: The Details

For those of you in a hurry, here’s a quick breakdown of cash back at Walgreens.

  • If you want cash back, you have to use your debit card — credit cards and personal checks aren’t accepted.
  • You can only get $20 of cash back per transaction.
  • You can get $5, $10, and $20 of cash back at a time.
  • You can get bills, change, or both.
  • You can get cash back on purchases as small as one $0.01.

When you want to buy something at Walgreens, you can pay with cash, check, gift card, debit card, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, or Apple Pay. However, if you want to get cash back, you have to use your debit card.

You can get $5, $10, or $20 per transaction. You can get money in whatever form you need — bills, coins, or a mixture. This can be especially useful for when you need change for the bus.

Duane Reade, which Walgreens owns and which operates primarily in New York, follows the same cash back policy. The maximum amount you can get back is $20 using a debit card, and you can choose either $5, $10, or $20 at checkout.

If you need more cash than $20, you can just make two separate purchases. Or, you can usually find an ATM next to the register; just keep in mind that if you use an ATM, you may have to pay an ATM fee.

While the $20 maximum is lower than some other retailers, it does come with one potential upside: it may help ensure all of your friends chip in for whatever fun activity you’re pursuing! Just have each friend run a transaction and get the maximum amount of cash back, and that way you don’t have to worry about splitting the check later.  If you desperately need cash back and you’re on your own, you can buy two cheap items and ask the cashier to split them up into multiple purchases., Buying two candy bars will probably cost you less money than one ATM fee. (Plus, you get two candy bars.) As long as you spend at least $0.01 at Walgreens, you can get cash back.

Why Get Cash Back at Walgreens Instead of Going to an ATM?

More and more people are using debit and credit cards lately instead of paying with cash. With cards, you can keep track of your purchases more easily.  Carrying around one card is much safer than carrying large amounts of cash, and many credit card companies encourage you to use cards by offer points or other rewards every time you swipe your card.

But think about when you do need cash for the bus, for tips, or for places that don’t accept cards. Often, when you realize you need to pay in cash, it’s usually a last-minute emergency. If you need cash and can’t find one of your bank’s ATMs, you’ll have to pay hefty ATM fees. The nationwide average for ATM fees is $4.57.

It turns out, for quick, small amounts of cash, it’s a much better deal to find the closest Walgreens and make an inexpensive purchase to get up to $20 cash back. Let’s assume that you can easily find something to buy in the store for $1. That’s about 1/4 the cost of most ATM fees. If you’re a savvy shopper and are willing to spend a few moments scouring bargain bins, you can usually find something for even less.

Exceptions to Getting Cash Back at Walgreens

If you are a Walgreens Balance Rewards member and choose to redeem points on your purchase, you still have to spend at least $0.01 in order for you to get cash back using your debit card. Similarly, you cannot get cash back at the pharmacy counter if insurance has covered 100% of the cost.

Where Else to Get Cash Back

Walgreens is not the only large chain that offers cash back with purchases. In general, look for grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores when you need cash back. Grocery stores tend to have higher maximum withdrawal limits than pharmacies and convenience stores. Almost everywhere, you’ll be able to get cash back if you pay with a debit card. Some places will also give you cash back if you pay with a check or a Discover Credit card (as part of Discovers “cash over” program).

Be sure to check out out article, Stores That Give Cash Back on Checking, Credit, and Debit Transactions, for an extensive list of stores that offer cash back. If you need to get a lot of cash back at once, skip to our other cash back article, What Store Gives the Most Cash Back on Debit Card, etc? Answered.

In Summary

You can get cash back at Walgreens locations across the country. Simply use your debit card and request up to $20 of cash back.  Keeping this in mind whenever you run to the pharmacy or grocery store can save you money on last-minute ATM fees and a trip to the bank. Saving both money and time — that’s a good deal.

In case you have a pet, see this article about if you can take a pet inside Walgreens.


  • It says on the internet that Walgreens now accepts CareCredit but at the grand opening at Paris, KY it would not accept it. This store was Rite Aid and I had always used my CareCredit there. Thanks.

    • Lindsey Desmet says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hello, Connie! Walgreens does accept CareCredit at all locations, but whether you can use CareCredit will depend on what you are buying. We have more information about this in our research on the stores that accept CareCredit. If you have any issues paying for eligible items with your CareCredit card, you should contact CareCredit directly at (866) 893-7864 for assistance. Best of luck!

  • As of yesterday, Walgreen’s only accept cash. No cards of any sort and no checks either. Do you know why and when it will go back to accepting cards for payment? This happened company wide.

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Lisa,

      According to Walgreen’s website: “Walgreens stores accept cash, check, gift card, debit card, Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network, American Express, or Apple Pay.” I also spoke with a customer service rep today as well, who confirmed that Walgreens accepts this wide variety of payment methods.

  • There are couple times i tried to get cash back with a dollar purchase, a candy bar, they won’t let me. I think it was some sneaky way trying to minimise the loss of transaction fees.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi John,

      That’s really unusual. Are you using a standard bank debit card?

      • Rebecca Turley says:
        First Quarter Finance logostaff

        Your best bet is to ask your local Walgreens if they have implemented a minimum purchase for cash back.

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Katlin,

      If your Wells Fargo chip card is a debit card (connected to a checking account), then you can use it for cash back up to the Walgreens limit of $20. If your Wells Fargo chip card is a credit card, unfortunately, you won’t be able to use it at Walgreens for cash back, as Walgreens does not allow cash back on any credit card transactions. I hope this helps!

  • Informative article! The information about Harris Teeter especially helped a lot. Thanks!