Ask Finder: How can I find the minimum income requirement for a credit card?

Posted: 13 March 2019 7:45 am

If a credit card doesn’t list a minimum income requirement, does it actually have one?

Hey guys,
I’ve just come back to my job after maternity leave and work part-time now, so I only want to apply for a card that fits with what I’m earning. I was looking at the NAB Low Rate and couldn’t see a minimum income listed, but then noticed the Bankwest Breeze has a requirement of $15,000. How come I can’t get this info for the NAB card and how do I know if I’m eligible to apply for it?

This is a really common (and important) question people have before applying for a credit card. The short answer is this: while some credit card applications list a minimum income requirement, others don't provide this information.

This is because credit card providers don't legally need to list a minimum income requirement, as your annual earnings are only one of the factors used to assess your application. Other key factors include your assets and savings, existing debts and liabilities as well as your share of household costs.

So, how do you figure out if you're eligible to apply for a card when no minimum income is listed?

Unfortunately, there is no exact formula you can use or question you can ask to get this information. But there are other details that can help you get an idea of whether a card is appropriate for your level of income.

In particular, the card's minimum credit limit amount. While credit limits are subject to approval, earning enough to service the minimum limit on a card does give you an idea of how appropriate it could be for your circumstances.

As an example, if you budgeted $100 per month for repayments, a credit card with a minimum limit of $6,000 would not be appropriate because it would take over 5 years to pay off the entire balance if you maxed out the card.

This brings us to another key detail: credit card providers must now determine your credit limit based on what you can reasonably afford to pay off over a three-year period (with interest). This is based on a range of financial details, not just your income.

So, in the scenario above, you probably wouldn't get approved for a credit card with a $6,000 minimum limit – unless you had minimal existing debt and some serious savings and assets that showed you could service the credit limit.

On the other hand, a card with a minimum credit limit of $1,000 might be more reasonable – and more manageable.

In fact, the Bankwest Breeze credit card – which you mentioned in your question – has a minimum credit limit of $1,000 and a minimum income requirement of $15,000. While the NAB Low Rate doesn't list a minimum income, it offers credit limits from $500.

The bottom line here is that you can still apply for credit cards that don't have a minimum income requirement, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria such as age, Australian residency status and credit history. If you're not sure what's on your credit file, you can get a free copy – along with your credit score – through Finder by filling out a short form. You should also look at the card's interest rates and annual fees to decide if it fits with your budget.

Lastly, when you decide what card you want to apply for, make sure you include as much detail as possible about your finances. This could include one to two months' worth of recent payslips, a monthly bank statement, your savings account balance and accurate information about your share of household expenses. This will help the credit card provider to assess your application accurately and could improve your chances of approval as well.

Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice.

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