Credit card options for applicants with bad credit

Want to apply for a credit card when you have a bad credit score? Here's what you need to know.

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It's difficult to get a credit card in Australia when you have bad credit. Credit card issuers use your credit score and the information on your credit report, as well as your income, employment situation and other factors, to determine your reliability as a borrower. If your credit profile indicates you have trouble repaying loans and credit, you may not be approved for a credit card.

While a bad credit score can have a negative impact on your chances of getting a credit card in the short term, working to improve your credit rating can help increase your chances of getting approved for a credit card in the future.

This guide will take you through what you need to know.

What is my credit score?

Your credit score is a numerical representation of the information on your credit report and helps determine your success when it comes to applying for credit. Currently, there is not a standardised way of calculating credit scores, so the credit rating bodies use their own rating systems. Get your free credit report and credit scoreHere is a breakdown of credit scores and credit score grades from two credit reporting bodies, Equifax and Experian. Note that if you order your credit score and report from finder.com.au (which you can do by following the link above), your information will be delivered by Experian.

Credit bandExperianEquifax
Excellent800-1,000833-1,200
Very good700-799726-832
Good625-699622-725
Fair / Average550-624510-621
Weak / Below average0-5490-509

What credit products can I get with bad credit?

While you may be looking for a credit card, it is difficult to get approved when you already have bad credit. As bad credit rating credit cards and no credit check credit cards aren’t available in Australia, you might need to consider some of the following options:

  • Prepaid travel cards. These travel cards allow you to load up your own funds and then earn reward points on your spend.
  • Debit cards. A good way to avoid debt is to steer away from credit and only spend what you have. Debit cards are debt-proof and widely accepted as payment. But note that using a debit card will have zero effect on your credit report and cannot help you rebuild your credit rating.
  • Prepaid credit cards. Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards in the sense that you’re spending only what you have. Unlike a debit or credit card though, you load funds on the card before using it. These cards also don’t affect your credit rating and don’t charge interest, so they can be a good way to build up your budgeting skills. Most prepaid cards are either Visa or Mastercard, so you should be able to use them in the same places you’d use your credit or debit card.
  • Short term loans. This is a loan of up to $2,000 that has to be repaid between 16 days and 1 year, but usually terms are around 62 days. Keep in mind these loans come with high fees (a 20% establishment fee and a 4% monthly fee) so really consider how much you need it before you apply.
  • Bad credit personal loans. If you're in need of a larger amount than a short term loan, there are some bad credit personal loans available that can offer amounts up to $5,000 or even $10,000. These loans usually come with a flat interest rate and, if you repay responsibly, can be used to rebuild your creditworthiness.

Credit card alternatives for borrowers with a bad credit rating

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  • Loan amount: $2,000
  • Loan term: 62 days to 9 months
  • Turnaround time: 1 hour - conditions apply
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Nimble Short Term Loan
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Short term loan comparisons

Updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Maximum Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround time Arrears Fee Costs Fortnightly Repayment (for $1500 Loan)
$2,000
62 days to 9 months
1 hour - conditions apply
$15
10% of loan amount + 2% of loan amount each month
$348
Finder Exclusive: 50% discount on the establishment fee (now 10% of the loan amount) and monthly fee (now 2% of the loan amount)
A loan up to $2,000 with terms up to 62 days to 9 months. Centrelink cannot be your primary source of income.
$2,000
9-12 weeks
30 minutes - conditions apply
$35
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
$396
A small loan up to $2,000 that you repay over 9-12 weeks. Loans approved and funded in as little as 30 minutes. Centrelink must not be your primary income
$2,000
Up to 2 years
3 hours - conditions apply
$10
47.8%
$316.70
Apply for up to $2,000 and be able to access your approved loan as a convenient line of credit.
$5,000
22 - 52 weeks
Same day - conditions apply
$35
Up to $2,000 - 20% establishment fee + 4% monthly.

Above $2,000 - $400 + from 8.7% to 48% APR
$396
Borrow from $1,000 to $5,000 with same-day funding and no early repayment fees.
$2,000
6-12 months
Same day - conditions apply
$10
20% of loan amount establishment fee + 4% of loan amount monthly.
$396
Credit24 offers this loan up to $2,000 and gives you 12 months to repay.
$2,000
3-12 months
1 business day
$35
Establishment fee from 10% of loan amount + monthly fee from 2%
$354
A small loan between $500 and $2,000 that can be funded in 24 hours.
$2,000
3 to 12 months
1 business day
$5
10% of loan amount + 2% of loan amount each month
$348
A small loan up to $2,000 from a lender backed by NAB. Transparent eligibility criteria and competitive costs.

Compare up to 4 providers

Ultimately, a bad credit rating can have a big impact on your financial options, making it difficult to get a credit card, car loan, home loan or other forms of credit. But instead of looking for bad credit credit cards or no credit check options, you can improve your chances of approval by rebuilding your credit rating and managing money responsibly.

Start by requesting a free copy of your credit report and identifying the negative listings on your file. You can also check out our DIY credit repair guide for more help.

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Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated October 20th, 2019
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee Product Description
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Latitude Low Rate Mastercard
9.89% p.a.
$69 p.a.
Offers a competitively low interest rate and annual fee, plus up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Qantas Premier Platinum
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$199 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($299 p.a. thereafter)
Get up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points (20,000/month) when you spend $1,500/month for the first 6 months. Ends 31 October 2019.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 22 months, with a 1% balance transfer fee. Plus, a reduced $64 first year annual fee.

Compare up to 4 providers

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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