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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.

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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 cards, you may not be approved for a new 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.

Talk to your current bank

If you have a poor credit rating and think you'll have difficulty being approved for a new credit card, talking to your current bank is a good first step. As they already have a sense of your financial position and repayment ability, they may be more willing to issue you credit than a lender with whom you have no history.

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 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:

  • Low limit credit cards. If your credit score is weak and you're working to improve it, consider a card with a low minimum credit limit. This reduces the risk to the lender and you may be more likely to get approved. Once you prove that you can make repayments and are doing so regularly, you can choose to apply to increase your limit in the future.
  • 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

Promoted

Sunshine Short Term Loans

This is a short-term loan offer with a fast and easy online application for good or bad credit borrowers. You can apply today to get approved for up to $2,000. Get your loan funded in 30 minutes - conditions apply.
  • Loan Amount: $2,000
  • Loan Term: 9-14 weeks
  • Turnaround Time: 30 minutes - conditions apply
  • Fees: 20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
  • Bad credit borrowers OK
  • Quick & easy Approval
Sunshine Short Term Loans
  • Bad credit applicants considered
  • Fast approval service
  • Borrow up to $2,000
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Short term loan comparisons

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Maximum loan amount Term of Loan Turnaround time Arrears Fee Costs Fortnightly Repayment (for $1500 Loan)
Sunshine Short Term Loans
$2,000
9-14 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 9-14 weeks. Loans approved and funded in as little as 30 minutes.
Nimble Short Term Loan
$2,000
62 days to 9 months
1 hour - conditions apply
$15
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
$372
A loan up to $2,000 with terms up to 62 days to 9 months. Centrelink cannot be your primary source of income.
Safe Financial Small Loan
$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.
Fair Go Finance Small Loan
$2,000
3-12 months
1 business day
$35
Establishment fee 20% of loan amount + monthly fee 4%
$354
A small loan between $500 and $2,000 that can be funded in 24 hours.
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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

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0
Finder Exclusive. Ends 29 October 2020
Save on new and existing interest charges with 0% interest on both balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
$249
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 50 bonus Status Credits and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
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* 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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