Where can I get a credit card?
Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.
The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.
Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.
Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.
Credit cards are a personal responsibility, so the reasons behind getting a credit card should also be personal.
You should always consider all the pros and cons of taking out a credit card before you sign on the dotted line.
For example, pros include the fact that credit cards can be a good way of paying for purchases, earning rewards points and building a credit history.
But there are also cons – credit cards can be expensive and put a lot of financial pressure on you.
You need to consider your personal finances and your lifestyle choices. Do you need a credit card? What options are out there for me? Can I handle the repayments? Why am I getting a credit card in the first place?
Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.
Credit cards offering rewards can be great if you know you’ll use the card enough to get significant rewards points, and use the rewards you earn.
They can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward.
Also, think about the types of benefits you’d like. There’s no point in getting a card with rewards for retailers you never visit, or travel you don’t have time to use.
You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.
Pensioners can get credit cards with certain banks – if they can convince the bank they’re credit-worthy. Here are some points to consider if you are a pensioner looking for a credit card:
Annual income: Look for a credit card for which you easily fall within the minimum annual income requirements. This can be from the pension, superannuation or any other sources.
Annual fees: If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. You want to make it as easy as possible to fit a credit card into your current lifestyle and spending habits.
Interest rate: Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Choose a card with a low interest rate to minimise risk (to both yourself and the bank – and this will help your application).