Microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ) is a Ku- and ligase IV-independent mechanism for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks that contributes to chromosome rearrangements. Here we used a chromosomal end-joining assay to determine the genetic requirements for MMEJ in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that end resection influences the ability to expose microhomologies; however, it is not rate limiting for MMEJ in wild-type cells. The frequency of MMEJ increased by up to 350-fold in rfa1 hypomorphic mutants, suggesting that replication protein A (RPA) bound to the single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) overhangs formed by resection prevents spontaneous annealing between microhomologies. In vitro, the mutant RPA complexes were unable to fully extend ssDNA and were compromised in their ability to prevent spontaneous annealing. We propose that the helix-destabilizing activity of RPA channels ssDNA intermediates from mutagenic MMEJ to error-free homologous recombination, thus preserving genome integrity.