applying for a credit card

How To Apply For Your First Credit Card

Information verified correct on April 29th, 2017

Your first credit card could be the gateway to building your credit and opening up your financial options.

You may have decided to apply for your first credit card for a variety of reasons. Many people realise that it is difficult to live without one as they are needed for simple transactions like reserving a hotel room or making a long-term purchase. Maybe you have decided that you simply need to establish a credit history and know that one of the easy ways to do that is by having a credit card.

With the help of credit cards, you will be able to have a credit history which will serve as the basis for the approval for your application of personal loans or home loans. However, you have to keep in mind that you need to use your credit card wisely so that you will be able to keep a good credit history.

Tips for applying for your first credit card

When applying for credit cards, keep in mind that there will be a lot of considerations to make. Ask yourself if you will be using your credit card to make everyday purchases. You should also consider your payment habits, if you are making timely payments or not. In addition, you should also consider whether you will need a credit card with a rewards program or not.

Once you have answered these questions and you have evaluated your needs then you can apply for your first credit card. Just keep in mind that credit cards are a great responsibility. There are also other factors to consider which include the following:

  1. The stability of your job. 

Banks and financial institutions would screen your qualifications before granting you a credit card and these would include your job's stability as well as your salary.

  1. Your credit history. 

In case you have a previous credit history, banks will also check on your standing.

  1. Personal and financial information

Banks and financial institutions will also require you to submit numerous documents for your application so you have to be prepared.

Unfortunately for people with no credit history this can be somewhat challenging as many banks will not want to take a chance on a credit newcomer.

If for example you ever wanted to be able to apply for a personal loan or a home loan, you can do so much easier by applying for a credit card as your initial step.

first credit card applcation

What are my options for your first credit card?

  • I'm a student.
    If you are a student many credit card companies offer a first credit card. Check out some student credit card options. This card will probably have a low limit to help ensure that you do not overspend. See some low credit limit credit cards.
  • I don't want to change banks. 
    Your current bank may have a credit card they offer to their patrons. It may require that you keep at least one open account as long as you have the credit card.
  • I regularly shop at stores.
    Department stores and supermarket chains also offer credit cards. Be sure to compare these careful, as they could have high interest rates. Compare a range of store cards before applying.

You can choose from various types of credit cards and take advantage of offered features.

These are the main types of credit card features that you'll need to consider with a first credit card application:

Do keep in mind that these features would differ from one financial institution to another. Make sure that you compare each feature first before you make up your mind for the appropriate credit card right for you.

Just in case you are declined with your first credit card application, do not lose hope because you can still apply for it again. You just have to wait for the right time and make sure that your credentials meet the bank's requirements.

Start your comparisons

Use the table below to compare rates, fees and rewards. Use the check boxes to shortlist cards and then compare the information side by side.

Rates last updated April 29th, 2017
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
ANZ Low Rate
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 16 months on balance transfers and a low ongoing interest rate on purchases.
12.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $58 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ Frequent Flyer
Receive 25,000 bonus Qantas Points when you apply online, are approved and spend $2,500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months, earn up to 0.5 points for every dollar spent, plus enjoy a waived annual fee for the first year.
19.99% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($95 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ANZ Rewards Credit Card
Receive $250 Westfield Gift Card when you spend $2,500 in the first 60 days from approval, earn up to 1 point per dollar spent on eligible purchases, plus enjoy a $0 annual fee for the first year.
18.79% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($80 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
St.George Amplify Card
A low interest rate of 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers and a purchase offer of 0% p.a. for 6 months.
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 19.49% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 12 months $79 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
Enjoy 0% p.a. balance transfer rate for the first 16 months, a low annual fee, interest-free days on purchases and a low minimum credit limit.
19.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months with 2% balance transfer fee $30 p.a. Go to site More info
ANZ First Student Card
An ideal credit card for students with 44 days interest-free on purchases with $0 annual fee in the first year. Access your account on the go with the goMoney™ app.
19.74% p.a. $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($30 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
Woolworths Everyday Platinum Credit Card
Receive a $100 eGift Card when you apply by 30 June 2017 and make an eligible purchase by 31 July 2017. Also, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer and an annual fee waiver for the first year.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($49 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info

Maintaining your credit standing with your first credit card:

Most peoples first credit card often establishes your credit history. It is important that you do this on a positive note, don't overspend and make sure you pay all of your bills on time.

  • You might have this credit card for a long time. Having a line of credit for a long period is good for your credit history so you will want to make sure that this relationship remains strong by keeping your balance low and your payments regular.
  • Often, because newcomers are a risk, banks will give them higher interest rates. You should be aware of this and the long-term cost of carrying a balance. Once you have established a good credit history you should see if you are eligible for a reduction in your interest rate or if another card with lower interest is suitable.

When it comes to personal finance there are few things more important then the establishment of your first credit card. Being responsible with it is the key to your future credit rating.

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8 Responses to How To Apply For Your First Credit Card

  1. Default Gravatar
    Ben | July 9, 2013

    How long does it take for an application to be approved, and for cards to be received? We are going away in 2 months and need to know if we should start applying now.

    Cheers

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 9, 2013

      Hi Ben. Thanks for your question. An application should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Once you finish, you should have a response in about a minute. After approval, a card will be sent out in about a week and half. When you receive the card, you will need to activate it, which can be done over the phone, and you can start using your card right away. Jacob.

  2. Default Gravatar
    | June 4, 2013

    I’m new in Australia permanent resident about just over a year ago and I’ve only been working for 9 months and get paid 60000 a year I have took out car finance about 6 months ago. Am I eligible. For credit card or do I have to wait a bit longer to apply for one? Thanks

    • Staff
      Jacob | June 5, 2013

      Hi Susuan. Thanks for your question. Please see this page for a list of providers that allow temporary residents to apply for a credit card. Jacob.

  3. Default Gravatar
    Nimesh | May 6, 2013

    Can I cancel the credit card when I have no longer use of it and if I can, what should I do?

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 7, 2013

      Hi Nimemsh. Thanks for your question. If you have paid your account balance in full, you can cancel your credit card account at any time without charge. To cancel the card, you will need to call your provider. They will put you through the process, which only takes about five minutes. Once that’s done, cut the card up. Jacob.

  4. Default Gravatar
    | March 10, 2013

    I am a full time worker getting $652 clear money per week. i applied for a credit card to commonwealth bank and after around 6 month ,the bank accepted my offer and they sent me message with conditionally approved for 10,500 credit offer and when i sent my pay slip again they declined me,.again the manager from the broad meadows branch recommended for me but again they declined me and sent me one letter,.i m not meeting the bank’s criteria,.so can you please answer me why they are declining my credit card application,..and what should i do to get credit card, again?

    • Staff
      Marc | March 11, 2013

      Hello Baba,
      thanks for the question.

      There are many reasons why a credit card application can be denied. Some of the more common reasons are: bad credit history, failing a credit provider’s point score system, or too many prior credit applications on your credit file. To read more about these in depth this page may be of some help. To better understand how not to be declined on your next credit card, this guide may also have some answers for you.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

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