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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.

It's difficult to get a credit card in Australia when you have bad credit history. This is because most issuers will only approve your credit card application if you have a good credit history.

While a bad credit score can have a negative impact on your chances of getting a credit card in the short-term, it's possible to improve your credit rating (and increase your chances of credit card approval) over time. Use this guide to learn more about your credit score and how it affects credit card applications. You can also compare other credit options when you have bad credit and find tips to help improve your credit history.

What is my credit score?

Your credit score is based on the details recorded on your credit history file 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, banks and credit card companies use their own rating systems. Getting a copy of your credit score from one of these sources can help you figure out how likely or unlikely you are to be approved when you apply for a credit card or other loan product. Get Your Free Credit ScoreTo give you an idea of how credit ratings works, here are details of the ratings available when you get a free credit score through Equifax – one of the major credit reporting bodies in Australia's.

833-1200: Excellent
  • You’re in the top 20% of credit-active population of Equifax in Australia.
  • Highly unlikely an adverse event can harm your credit report in the next 12 months.


  • Great borrowing capacity and potentially eligible for greater rewards, lower rates and lower fees.
726-832: Very Good
  • Unlikely you will incur an adverse event in the next 12 months could harm your credit report.


  • Refinance and consolidate more expensive debt.
  • Check your credit report regularly to monitor your score.
622-725: Good
  • Less likely an adverse event could harm your credit report within the next 12 months.


  • Consolidate expensive debt into a low-interest loan with fixed repayments.
  • Check your credit report regularly to monitor your score.
510-624: Average
  • Likely that you will incur an adverse event such as a default, bankruptcy or court judgement in the next 12months.


  • Pay your loans and bills on time. Use direct debits on payday. Work out payment plans with your credit providers.
  • Avoid making many applications in a short period of time.
  • Review your credit report for free as soon as you’re denied credit.
0-509: Below Average
  • In the bottom 20% of Equifax’s credit-active population. More likely that you will incur an adverse event such as a default, bankruptcy or court judgement in the next 12 months.


  • Request and review your credit report.
  • Contact the credit provider or credit reporting body if there are any inaccuracies to correct them.
  • If you’re in hardship, seek out a financial advisor or work out a payment plan with credit providers.

Read more about your Equifax Score

What financial 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 rewards 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.
  • Bad credit payday loans. A cash or payday loan is a loan of up to $2,000 that has to be repaid between 16 and 365 days after it’s issued. Bad credit payday loans can be a quick answer to your short-term money woes and some lenders even skip the credit check as long as you’re employed. Repaying this loan on time can help with rebuilding your creditworthiness but there may be high interest rates and fees for choosing this option.
  • Bad credit personal loans. Personal loans are traditionally used when borrowing larger amounts of money and typically have a stricter approval process than payday loans. But there are some bad credit personal loans on the market that cater especially for people with poor credit ratings. 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

Sunshine Short Term Offer

Sunshine Short Term Offer

  • Bad credit applicants considered
  • Fast approval service
  • Borrow up to $2,000
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100% confidential application

Sunshine Short Term Offer

A short term loan with a fast and easy application available to those with good or bad credit. You can apply today and get approved for up to $2,000.

  • Loan amount: $2,000
  • Loan term: 9-15 weeks
  • Turnaround time: 30 minutes (conditions apply)
  • Fees: 20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
  • Income requirement: 50%+ of income cannot be from Centrelink
  • Bad credit borrowers OK
  • Quick and easy Approval
  • No Credit Checks
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Short term loan comparisons

Rates last updated May 21st, 2018
Name Product Max. Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround Time Costs Fortnightly Repayment $1,500 Product Description
Sunshine Short Term Loans
9-15 weeks
30 Minutes - conditions apply
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
Apply online with Sunshine Loans and you could borrow up to $2,000 paid directly into your account. Note: Centrelink must not be your primary source of income.
Credit24 Short Term Loan
6-12 months
Same day
20% of loan amount establishment fee + 4% of loan amount monthly.
A loan with a quick turnaround time and generous loan term. To be eligible, Centrelink must not be 50% or more of your income.
Wallet Wizard Smart Loan (Up to 2K)
Up to 2 years
24 hours
47.8% APR
Apply for up to $2,000 as a convenient line of credit.
Nimble Short Term Loan
62 days to 1 year
1 hour - conditions apply*
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
Apply for up to $2,000 and have 62 days to 1 year to repay. Note: Centrelink must not be your primary source of income.
Ferratum Cash Loans
up to 6 months
Same Day if approved
20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
Ferratum lets you apply for up to $1,900 without a credit check.

Compare up to 4 providers

Ultimately, a bad credit rating can have a big impact on your financial options, making it difficult to getting 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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Sally McMullen

Sally McMullen is an editor at who is a credit cards, frequent flyer and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.

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