Minimum credit score to apply for an Australian credit card | Finder

Minimum credit score to apply for a credit card in Australia

We go through 'bad credit’ and 'good credit' plus what it means for your credit card application.

In this guide
  • What credit score you need for a credit card in Australia
  • Other eligibility criteria to look out for and
  • What your options are if your credit score is looking a bit lacklustre

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Sometimes it can seem that getting a new credit card is as easy as picking up a new pair of shoes at the store.

You've got banks advertising all over the internet, friendly-looking salespeople at the shopping centres and attractive credit card offer that seem too good to be true.

What they don't tell you though, is that you might not get approved if your credit score is deemed to be too low. With different reporting bodies offering up multiple standards of measuring your credit score, things can get confusing. Luckily, we've got you covered in this guide.

Minimum score for a credit card Credit score ranges

Quick tips before you read:

Where's the line drawn between good and bad credit?

Credit scores can range between 0 and 549 for a poor score and up to 800 and 1,200 for an excellent score. Lenders use this number and your credit report to assess your application when you apply for a credit card or loan.

What credit score do I need for a credit card?

Not all credit cards will have the same criteria when it comes to credit score. In general:

  • Aim for a score that's above 'average' as the higher your score, the higher your chances of being approved so having score that's good to excellent is ideal.
  • Credit scores range from 0 to 1,200 across the three main credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Illion.

Credit score ranges from credit reporting agencies

Here is a breakdown of credit score grades for each credit reporting agency. Note that if you order your credit score and report from finder.com.au, this information is delivered by Experian.

Finder uses Experian's score ranges so an ideal minimum score would be a score of 550 and above.

Credit rangeEquifaxExperianIllion
Weak / Below average0-5090-5490-299
Fair / Average - aim for above this510-621550-624300-499
Good622-725625-699500-699
Great / Very good726-832700-799700-799
Excellent - this means more options833-1,200800-1,000800-1,000

A good credit score usually sits between 800 and 1,200. The exact bracket may vary depending on the credit reporting body you get your credit score from. For example, if you get your free credit score from finder it will be delivered from Experian and it will be a number between 0 and 1,000. However, Equifax's credit score system rates credit scores between 0 and 1,200.

What each range means for your application

  • A high score opens the door to just about any credit card.
  • Low credit scores can expect lower credit limits, high interest rates and even outright rejections if your score is considered too low.
  • Just average? You might be in the clear. Generally speaking, credit card providers choose to lend to borrowers with a score ranked as average or higher.

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There is no guarantee of approval

Saying all that, having an above average credit score is still no guarantee that you will be accepted. It's ultimately up to your financial institution as to whether they approve your application or not but having a decent credit score is certainly a good place to start.

A good example of this is when you're applying for a platinum-style credit card which can be considered more exclusive. These are often difficult to obtain even for those with above average credit scores as banks tend to look for a long period of good credit history.

Your credit score is not set in stone either, which means you can expect it to go up and down over time based on your financial behaviour. A big enough blip in your credit report can make an impact on your credit score and make you less attractive to credit card providers. A late payment, holding too much debt and even a previous credit card rejection can all bring your score down.

What are the other eligibility requirements for a credit card?

In most cases, you can apply for a credit card if you're 18 or older, have a good credit history and meet any specific eligibility criteria set out by your financial institution. Some of these can include:

  • Valid Australian residency status. You need to either be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or hold a valid visa if you're a temporary resident.
  • Minimum income. An income requirement can range from $15,000 to $80,000 and even higher. This is to ensure that you have enough income to pay off the card you're applying for.
  • Not bankrupt. This will be likely reflected in your credit score but some financial institutions will specify that you can't have been declared bankrupt.

What are the options for a credit card with bad credit?

Credit score not looking so crash hot? The good news is, you do still have some options. While you might not have your pick of credit card or be able to choose your credit limit, there are still credit card options for applicants with bad credit.

Some options you can consider include:

  • Low limit credit cards. A card with a low minimum credit limit reduces the risk to the lender meaning you have a greater chance of being approved.
  • Debit cards. Debt-proof and as widely accepted as payment as credit cards, a debit card could be a suitable replacement.
  • Prepaid credit cards. Similar to a debit card, prepaid cards need to have funds loaded on to them before using it.
  • Short term loans. Also known as payday loans, short term loans are generally borrowed on terms between 16 days and 1 year. These loans do come at a high cost in terms of fees and interest so you really should put in considerable thought before applying.

You can also have a chat with your current financial institutions if you are having trouble getting approval. You already have a history with them and they should have a good sense of your financial position so may be more willing to lend compared with a lender with whom you have no history.

How can I improve my credit score?

credit report

If you have a credit score below the "good" threshold, here are some ways you can improve your score:

  • Consolidate your debts. If you're struggling to pay off multiple debts, you can consolidate them into one account. For example, you could consolidate several credit card debts onto one card with 0% on balance transfers and pay it off with no interest for a promotional interest. You can also compare personal loans that are designed for debt consolidation. Not only are your debts easier to manage because they're under one account, you should save on interest costs by choosing a card or option with a low interest rate.
  • Make payments on time. The last two years of your repayment history is now listed on your credit report, so it's important to make your repayments on time. If you are late with one or two repayments just make sure you keep up with all of your following repayments.
  • Establish healthy accounts. If you don't have a credit card or loan, you can also demonstrate positive repayment behaviours by paying accounts such as your mobile plan, internet plan, electricity account on time.
  • Lower your credit limits. The credit limits of your open credit accounts are listed on your report, but not how much debt you have. So if you have three credit cards with high limits but only a bit of debt, it still may have a negative effect on your score. Reduce your unused limit for an easy credit score win. However, keep in mind that lowering your credit score can will impact your credit utilisation ratio and could hurt your credit score if you have a high debt to credit limit ratio. You can weigh up the pros and cons of reducing your credit limits in this guide.
  • Demonstrating job stability. A steady income (such as staying in the same job for a few years) demonstrates responsibility and your ability to repay to lenders.
  • Rental and home ownership. Long-term rental or homeownership can also shows lenders that you are capable of making regular repayments and can manage other loans.
  • Don't make too many credit card applications. Each credit application you make shows up on your credit report regardless of whether it is approved. Having numerous credit applications on your report in a short space of time will have a negative effect on your credit score. If your credit card application is rejected, you should avoid applying for another one until you've had time to improve your credit score and ensure you're eligible for the card.

Learn more ways to improve your credit score

How can I check my credit score?

You can order a copy of your credit report through a credit reporting bureau or for free through Finder. Follow the link below to sign up and get yours today.
Get your free credit score and credit report

Lenders that offer personal loans to bad credit borrowers

Data 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 + loan management fee of up to $399 + from 8.7% to 48% APR
$396
Borrow from $1,000 to $5,000 with same-day funding and no early repayment fees.
Moneyspot Small Loan
$2,000
62 to 90 days
1 hour - conditions apply
$35
20% of loan amount establishment fee + 4% of loan amount monthly.
$396
Borrow under $2,000 and benefit from a transparent fee structure and a simple application. Bad credit borrowers considered.
Ferratum Cash Loans
$1,900
3 to 12 months
Same day - conditions apply
$55
20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
$396
Borrow what you need with loans starting from $500 and approval in minutes.
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Data updated regularly
Name Product Maximum loan amount Term of Loan Turnaround time Arrears Fee Costs Fortnightly Repayment (for $5000 Loan)
Nimble Medium Loan
$5,000
up to 22 months
1 hour - conditions apply*
$15
Application fee of $400 + 47.62% p.a.
$262.75
Apply for up to $5,000 and have up to 22 months to repay.
Swoosh Finance
$4,584
60 days -12 months
Next business day
$35
$416 + 47% p.a. of borrowed amount
$244
A secured loan up to $4,584 you can apply for in 10 minutes. Have up to 1 years to repay what you borrow.
Fair Go Finance Personal Loan
$10,000
3-36 months
Within 24 hours
$35
from 17.9% p.a. + establishment fee of between $360 - $771 + $9 monthly fee
$238.07
A larger loan up to $10,000 you can apply for even with bad credit. Fast turnaround within 1 business day. Note: You must earn more than $500 per week.
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76 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JoshuaNovember 4, 2018

    Hi, I have a ANZ credit card with a limit of 14K but I only use 10% of it every month (fully repaid each month). I wish to close this card due to its annual fee. Would closing it decrease my credit score?
    Appreciate your answer.
    Thanks – Joshua

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnNovember 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Joshua,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      No, closing your credit card account will not lower your credit score as long as you have paid the credit card in full prior to closing it. What lowers your credit score is being delinquent on your payments which is reported by your creditors to the credit bureaus negatively. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    MichaelJune 5, 2017

    I notice on my credit file certain things that don’t apply to me how can I get them removed from my file

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldJune 5, 2017Staff

      Hi Michael,

      If you need to remove something from your credit file you might need to do a credit repair. To know more how to do this, check out our guide, “How to remove black marks from your credit report.”

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

    Default Gravatar
    JoyMay 10, 2017

    Ifself support only can i still have chance to get a credit card? My fiancee sending me money every month.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Joy,

      Thanks for your question.

      Most if not all credit card brands require a certain form of income (that you can support with proper documents) to get approved. Some require income from work while others also accept Centrelink benefits as a form of income. If you are not currently working or receiving Centrelink benefits, you may find it difficult to get a credit card.

      Nevertheless, you may want to compare low-income credit cards. Please read through the eligibility criteria to apply for each card, before submitting your application.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    BellaNovember 29, 2015

    I have low credit score but no defaults etc what are my chances getting a credit card

      Default Gravatar
      SarahJanuary 31, 2016

      If I have a credit score in the top 20% does that mean I also have a good credit rating? Can u have a good score but a bad credit rating? Ta

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanFebruary 1, 2016Staff

      Hi Sarah, thanks for your inquiry!

      Your VedaScore sums up your credit file in a number between 0 and 1200 (also known as the credit rating). The higher your VedaScore, the more likely you’ll be accepted when applying for credit.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanNovember 30, 2015Staff

      Hi Bella,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      Aside from an individual’s credit score the bank also takes into account your income, liabilities and other information. If you meet the minimum application requirements for a card then you will be eligible to apply.

      You may also like to compare low interest rate credit cards, which have lower requirements than other types of credit cards. You can select the “Go to site” button of your preferred credit card to proceed with your application. You can also contact the provider if you have specific questions.

      A gentle reminder, please ensure to read through the relevant product disclosure statement and terms and conditions to ensure that you got everything covered before you apply.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    KimOctober 26, 2015

    Kulwinder Malhi
    My credit rating 650
    I have apply to many applications
    All applications on my file
    How removed application on my file

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanOctober 27, 2015Staff

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      Any applications you have made for credit will be included in your credit report. These credit enquiries stay on your credit report for five years. If you have too many credit enquiries on your file in a short amount of time, it can negatively impact your credit score and your ability to get the card or loan you want.

      You may refer to our guide on removing credit enquiries from your report and improving your credit score.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    jovanOctober 23, 2015

    hi i have been bankruptcy from 2002 to 2007 after i the time i pay payments to government now i still go problem with same bank my record no change and i can get to the banks after 8 years thanks

    jovan

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanOctober 26, 2015Staff

      Hi Jovan,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      The bankruptcy listing remains on your credit file for two years from the annulment date, or five years from the beginning of the bankruptcy – whichever comes later. If the record is still on your credit file you may like to consult credit repair services which can help fix incorrect records on your file.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    SjOctober 14, 2015

    Hi,

    I have two utility defaults on my credit rating, how ever they have been paid. and accounts paid. i was wondering if their is a way i can get them removed? i am wanting to consolidate some debt with a personal loan, how ever i don’t want to make my credit worse by applying and getting declined.

    Thanks

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanOctober 15, 2015Staff

      Hi Sj,

      Thanks for your inquiry!

      Typically, defaults remain on your credit report for five years, even after you have paid the overdue amount. If you have ordered a copy of your credit report and spotted false defaults, you can contact the credit reporting bureau to request to have it removed. You can also get help from a credit repair agency to have these black marks removed from your credit history.

      Repairing or improving your credit score is not a quick and easy process. It may take a significant amount of time and require a long period of financial responsibility on your part. You may find our ways to improve your credit score useful to know the steps to get your credit score back in shape.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    AdamSeptember 30, 2015

    I have a Veda score of “Average” or 520, but with Experian its only 270 and “below average”. I have not made any applications for credit in the last 12 months. I am confused as to the differences between the scores and am wishing to apply for a credit card within the next month. Obviously I would with fro a provider to look at the Average score rather than the below average score.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanOctober 1, 2015Staff

      Hi Adam, thanks for your inquiry!

      Different issuers use specific credit agencies such as Veda or Experian. Their credit rating criteria is not actually disclosed to the public so unfortunately we do not have the details on how they calculate an individual’s credit score. If you meet the application criteria for a credit card and do not have a bad credit history then you will be eligible to apply for the credit card.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    IanJuly 30, 2015

    Hi I have checked my credit files and They are clear. I own my own home outright and i have no debts of any kind . I always pay my bills on time. My income is a Government pension which i receive every fortnight. I recently applied for a credit card and was rejected. Why? and is there any credit card that i can apply for without having a credit history. I feel like i am being punished for not having a credit history at all maybe i should not have paid cash for everything i own. I just wanted to have a credit card for emergencies only. can you advise me on where to go? to get the best credit card and establish a credit rating

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 30, 2015Staff

      Hi Ian,

      Thank you for your question and we are sorry to hear about your rejected application.

      Although most credit card issuers will require the cardholder to have a good credit history, a low rate credit card has lower income requirements and may be more likely to accept an applicant with a limited credit history.

      Here’s a comparison of some of the low rate credit cards available on the market.

      You can also read over our guide to gain some insight into why your application was declined.

      However, before you apply for another credit card, you may wish to speak with some credit card issuers directly to discuss your options and chances for acceptance, as several rejected credit card applications will have a negative impact on your credit rate and reduce your chances of approval even further.

      Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria and read through the details of the needed requirements as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statements/Terms and Conditions when comparing your options before making a decision on whether it is right for you.

      I hope this has helped answer your questions.

      Thanks,
      Sally

    Default Gravatar
    RenJuly 30, 2015

    Hi,

    I have a judgement on my file,due for deletion in December, added 5 years ago now and I have had no credit since. I am looking to apply for some interest free credit on some house hold goods. My rating is in the bottom 20%. What are my chances of being approved? Will my score increase by a lot in December? And, can I get it removed sooner?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyJuly 30, 2015Staff

      Hi Ren,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you continue at this rate, it can be assumed that your credit file will continue to improve by December. However, as a financial comparison service, we are unable to confirm exactly how much it will have improved by then.

      As credit issuer’s have varying eligibility requirements regarding different credit applications, it is also difficult to confirm whether or not your application will be approved.

      As far as having the judgement removed from your file, unless it is an incorrect statement, then you’ll be unable to have it removed before the set deletion date.

      To gain a greater insight, you may need to get in touch with a credit advisory service to discuss your current credit rating.

      I hope this has helped answer your question.

      Thanks,

      Sally

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