Low income credit card options
View credit cards with eligibility criteria that suits low income Australians. Compare credit cards across the market, including rates and fees, to find an option you may be eligible for.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
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A low rate Mastercard card with a balance transfer offer and one of the lowest annual fees on average.
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Earn Kogan rewards and pay no annual fee with this competitive Kogan Money Black Card that offers $300 cash back (with conditions).
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Meet Frank - a low rate credit card with no annual fee, plus free supplementary cards.
What are low income credit cards?
Many Australian credit card providers have minimum income thresholds of $30,000 to $40,000 annually. Low income credit cards, as the name suggests, have lower minimum income levels within their eligibility criteria. They are usually between $15,000 to $20,000. This is around $288-$384 a week.
They typically won’t have all the bells and whistles of credit cards for higher income earners. But they may allow Australians with lower incomes, such as those employed part time or casually, to obtain a basic credit card.
Can I get a credit card with no income?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a provider who’d give someone with no income a credit card. Minimum annual income requirements are put in place by credit card providers to ensure card holders can manage their repayments.
It may seem unfair, but it’s for your own benefit. Risk-based lending helps to prevent Australians from easily falling into debt.
How do I get approved for a low income credit card?
To improve your chance of approval for a low income credit card, consider the following:
Start a savings nest egg: Credit card providers may be looking for stability in your finances if you have a low income. If you can consistently put money into your savings each income cycle, you’ll show that you have an effective budget and that you have self-control.
Make regular debt payments: If you have existing debt, consider paying this off before applying for a low income credit card. This will demonstrate a level of reliability with your finances. It may improve your chances of getting credit card approval as well as increase your credit rating.
Check the minimum income requirements: Review a card's terms and conditions and/or PDS for a clear understanding of its minimum income requirements. This may differ for each credit card.
Joint application: If your partner is willing to go on the credit card application with you, you’ll be able to combine your income amounts. Not only will you have a greater chance of reaching low income credit card minimum requirements, you could also qualify for standard or rewards credit cards. Just ensure that you’ve prepared an effective budget before applying. You don’t want to fall into debt and negatively impact your partner’s credit history, or your relationship, in the process.
Review your credit history: It’s not uncommon for credit reports to contain mistakes. Obtain a copy of your credit history and go through it with a fine-tooth comb. If you’re applying for a credit card with a bad credit score, your application will have a higher chance of being rejected. You can also learn more about how you can repair your credit score.
What are the pros and cons of a low income credit card?
- Lower costs: As low income credit cards are typically no-frills cards, they can often come with lower than average fees or purchase rates.
- Build credit history: If you’re a casually employed young Australian, low income credit cards are one way to start building a credit history. A good credit history can help improve your likelihood of approval for personal loans or home loans in the future.
- Grow debt: All credit cards bring a risk that the holder will fall into debt. Ensure you’ve set up a repayment plan and budget before you take out a credit card, especially on a low income.
- Hurt your credit history: If you’re not careful and apply for a card with income requirements higher than your own, you may hurt your credit score. Being rejected for a credit card will negatively impact your credit history. Double check the fine print on a credit card before applying just in case.
What low income credit cards are available for students?
Students can be eligible for basic low income credit cards. If you’re a student, taking out a credit card is an opportunity to learn about budgeting and financial responsibility. But it’s also a quick and easy way to grow a hefty debt before you’ve even graduated if you’re not careful.
Try to present yourself as the most reliable borrower before applying – whether it’s through taking out a part-time job or growing some savings.
Students may also be eligible for government financial assistance through Centrelink, such as Youth Allowance. Before applying for a student credit card, consider whether government assistance might better suit your financial needs and situation.
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Personal Finance Editor
Alex is a personal finance writer and editor at RateCity, and has been writing about finance for over five years. She is passionate about closing the gender pay and superannuation gap, and aims to help young Aussies to overcome their financial apathy and better manage their finances. Alex has been published in numerous print and online outlets, including Money Magazine, Lifehacker Australia, and Business Insider.
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Frequently asked questions
How easy is it to get a credit card?
For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.
Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.
Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.
Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.
Can I get a credit card on part-time/casual work?
Yes, as credit card providers look at your annual income amount as well as your occupation. Minimum income requirements tend to be between $30,000 – $40,000 for standard and rewards credit cards, however low income credit cards can have minimum income requirements as low as $15,000 per year.
Can a pensioner get a credit card?
It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:
- Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet.
- Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee.
- Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.
What should you do if your credit card is compromised?
Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.
Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.
Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.
Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.
How do you apply for a credit card?
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.
How does ANZ increase my credit card limit?
If you’re the primary cardholder on an ANZ credit card, you can increase your credit limit by logging into your credit card account and choosing the “Increase your credit limit” option. You can also submit an ANZ credit card limit increase application form by visiting any ANZ branch or by mail or fax. When completing the form, it's important to remember to specify how much you want the limit increased. You can estimate this by first calculating the amount of credit card debt you can afford to repay based on your income and expenses, and then declaring that in your application.
Irrespective of whether you’re completing your ANZ credit card limit increase application online or in print, you’ll need to provide updated employment information, income, and expenses, which the company will have to verify. You'll also need to authorise ANZ’s access to your credit history, as your current credit score and recent credit history tell the company about your financial responsibility, and whether or not you'll be able to repay the additional debt you’re applying for.
In some cases, ANZ may ask you for additional information, or the agent processing the application may reach out to you after your application is received. After verifying your credit score as well as your personal and financial information, however, ANZ may approve a credit card limit increase proportionate to your repaying ability, though it may not be the same as the increase you requested.
Do you need a credit card to get a loan?
You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.
If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here.
Does ING increase credit card limits?
You may want to increase your credit card limit for many reasons, such as having access to more spending money. However, if you are using the Orange One credit card issued by ING, you may not be able to do so.
ING customers can choose a credit limit of their preference when applying for the Orange One credit card. Depending on your financial situation, this limit can be anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. If you qualify for a Rewards Platinum card, the minimum credit card limit will likely be $6,000.
Ideally, you should set your credit card limit knowing how much you can afford to repay each month and keep your expenses lower than this level. With most credit cards, you should have the option of requesting a credit card limit increase at a later time, although you will need to qualify for any increase. With an ING credit card, limit increases are out of the question (at the time this was published), which means you may want to apply for a higher credit card limit from the beginning. Remember that you have the option of decreasing your ING credit card limit at a later time.
What should you do when you lose your credit card?
Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.
Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.
Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.
Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.
Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.
How do you use credit cards?
A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.
What should I do if my ANZ credit card has expired?
Your ANZ credit card is considered expired only after the last day of the month and year marked on your card. For instance, if your card’s expiry date reads 03/22, it is valid until 31 March 2022 and expires on 1 April 2022. Typically, you should have received a new credit card by that date, and you won’t have to request a new card.
Once you get the new card, you should remember to switch any automatic payments you have - such as a utility or mobile phone bill - from your expired credit card to your new credit card. Equally, if you are using CardPay Direct to repay your ANZ credit card debt, you may need to update the credit card account details for that service as well.
In case the new card doesn’t arrive by the expiry date of your current credit card, you can call ANZ on 13 22 73 to find out the reason and if you need to request an expedited card. Please note that if you were planning to close your credit card account or request a credit card upgrade, you may need to call ANZ at least before the 25th of the month your current credit card expires in, as that’s when they may send you the new credit card.
How to get a credit card for the first time
A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.
If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.
Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.
When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.
How do I apply for a BOQ credit card limit increase?
If you’re an existing BOQ customer, you can request a BOQ credit card limit increase over a phone call. However, you should remember that owning and using a credit card is a matter of financial responsibility, so it might be worth thinking this decision through.
When requesting a credit card limit increase, you’ll need to be just as responsible in terms of how much you earn and can set aside to repay the outstanding card balance. A credit card company may approve a credit limit increase only if you can show that you have either the income or the disposable income, which is the amount you have left after all expenses have been paid out.
For this purpose, you may need to submit your latest income documents and bank statements for an increase. You may want to estimate how much you usually have left after deducting your expenses, and then use this amount to try and convince the credit card company. Also, you may prefer to pay off the card balance in full each month and thus avoid paying interest on the card, helping you back up any claims of financial responsibility, as well.
Remember that you may not be able to apply for a credit card limit increase beyond any limitations on the type of card you own. For instance, if you own a card whose ceiling is $10,000, and your current limit is $5,000, you won't likely be able to apply for a $10,000 credit card limit increase.
Should I get a credit card?
Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch.
How to get rid of credit card debt
- Calculate your debt. Credit card calculators make it easy to determine the repayments required to chip away at your debt in the shortest timeframe possible for your budget.
- Repayment plans. Take some time to formulate a credit repayment plan. Consider increasing your income, scaling back your lifestyle or refinancing.
- Talk to your credit provider. If you’re still struggling with your debt, give your credit provider a call. You may be able to come to a new arrangement.
How can I increase my Bankwest credit card limit?
When you apply for a Bankwest credit card, you get assigned a pre-set credit limit, which will end up being the most that you can spend on your credit card before having to pay it off. Your credit limit is chosen for you and your current financial situation, and you should remember not to overspend, irrespective of the limit, in order to avoid racking up a massive bill.
However, banks and lenders understand that your needs will change, and have made it possible for you to increase your credit card limit, allowing you to get extra cash when you need it most. Moreover, with a higher spending limit, you may be able to get access to certain perks and benefits with your Bankwest credit card.
To increase your Bankwest credit card limit, you can visit any of the bank’s branches or call 13 17 19 and follow the steps outlined.
What happens if I have a bad credit score?
If you have a bad credit score, you might encounter two main problems. First, the lower your credit score, the more likely you are to be rejected when you apply for a loan or any other credit product. Second, if your application is accepted, the less likely you are to qualify for the lowest interest rates.
Why should I check my credit rating?
There are two reasons you should check your credit rating: so you have a better understanding of your financial position, and so you can take action (if necessary) to improve your credit rating.
Lenders use credit ratings or credit scores to assess loan applications. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged lower interest rates and lower fees. Conversely, the lower your credit score, the less likely you are to get approved, and the more likely you are to be charged higher interest rates and higher fees.
Does Macquarie Bank offer any credit card insurance?
Yes, Macquarie Bank may offer credit card insurance; it just depends on the type of Macquarie Bank credit card you have. There is a range of credit card insurance offers you can benefit from when you take out a Macquarie Bank credit card.
If you have a Macquarie Black or Platinum credit card, you have access to travel insurance for you, your spouse and any dependent children while travelling overseas. Under this travel insurance you receive:
- Interstate Flight Inconvenience Insurance, which provides cover for meals and clothing, depending on the delay
- Medical Emergency Expense Cover, which offers you unlimited cover for most medical expenses, and limited cover for dental treatment and emergencies caused by an act of terrorism
- Baggage, Money and Documents Cover, which is subject to certain sub-limits mentioned in the terms and conditions
As a Macquarie Bank credit cardholder, you could be eligible for Extended Warranty insurance, which provides an extension to the manufacturer’s Australian warranty on certain products. To access this cover, you must have purchased the product using your Macquarie Bank credit card.
Select Macquarie Bank credit cardholders might also be able to take advantage of Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance. This insurance will cover you for any excess or deductibles that you’re liable to pay during the rental period.
Most Macquarie Bank credit cards also come with purchase protection insurance which protects you against fraudulent transactions. You should check the terms and conditions to find out more.
What is the American Express credit card insurance coverage?
Several American Express credit cards, including the Gold, Platinum and Green cards, come with international and domestic travel insurance, shopping and purchase protection and smartphone screen insurance. All you have to do to activate your American Express credit card insurance cover is use it to pay for eligible purchases, travel, and a smartphone.
The complimentary travel insurance requires you to be less than 80 years old with no pre-existing diseases and your travel must begin and end in Australia.
To make an American Express credit card insurance claim, you’ll need to lodge your request with Chubb Claim Centre within 30 days. Submit the form along with supporting documents like medical reports, original invoices and receipts. You can also contact Chubb on 1800 139 149 or file a claim via the Chubb website.