Minimum income requirements for credit cards. Do you make enough?

The minimum income requirement can be as low as $15,000 per year for some credit cards. Compare current offers find a one that works for you.

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When you apply for a credit card, your income is an important eligibility requirement that the bank will use to judge your ability to make your repayments. While minimum income requirements for credit cards generally start at $15,000 p.a. before tax, you do need to provide proof of income, list your expenses and meet other eligibility criteria to get approved.

What are minimum income requirements?

Minimum income requirements show you the lowest amount of money you need to earn to apply for a credit card. This amount is typically based on what you earn per year, before tax.

Credit card income criteria help banks and card issuers reduce the risk of lending. It also means that people are only approved for products that are appropriate for their financial situation. When you are looking for a credit card, the minimum income requirements can also help you choose and apply for a credit card that will fit your budget. If you apply for a credit card with a minimum income requirement that is higher than what you earn, you'll be declined and this can hurt your credit score.

Compare credit cards with low minimum credit limits

The credit cards below all have a minimum credit limit $2,000 or less and an annual fee of less than $100.

Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee Min credit limit Minimum income
NAB StraightUp Card
0% p.a.
$0
$1,000
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.
St.George Vertigo Card
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Save with a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 30 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$500
$30,000
Save with a $0 annual fee for the first year, plus, a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months.
humm90 Mastercard - Balance Transfer Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 36 months
$99
$1,000
$25,000
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 36 months, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, up to 110 days interest free on purchases.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer
13.74% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$500
$30,000
Get $400 cashback when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 120 days. Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 32 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$1,000
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 32 months (with no BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer
13.99% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Get $300 cashback when you spend at least $4,000 in the first 120 days. Plus, a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
$2,000
$35,000
Get 10,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $750 within 3 months, plus a $0 annual fee for the life of the card.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Card
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Save with a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 30 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA Vertigo
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Enjoy 0% p.a. for 30 months on balance transfers (with no balance transfer fee), a low purchase rate and a $0 first-year annual fee.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30
$1,000
Receive complimentary insurance covers and 0% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers.
BankSA No Annual Fee
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
$0
$500
Offers 0% p.a. on purchases for 12 months and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
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How can I find out what the income requirement is for a credit card?

Not all credit cards list a minimum income requirement, so you won't see this information for every card you look at. But on Finder, you can check these details by looking at the "Eligibility" section for individual card reviews.

Most credit card issuers also include any income requirements on their websites and secure application pages, so you can double-check before you apply for a particular credit card.

What if a credit card has no minimum income requirement listed?

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.

If you can’t find minimum income requirements for a particular card, you can try calling the issuer to ask about your eligibility.

How can 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 and expenses.

For starters, you can try calling the issuer to ask about your eligibility.

Another factor to consider is 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.

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.

Why are some income requirements so much higher than others?

The relationship between income and credit cards can influence a wide range of credit card features, from the credit limit and interest rate of the card right through to complimentary extras or rewards programs. In general, cards with high minimum incomes will have a lot more features than low income credit cards, but there are still many different credit cards you can choose from if you make a relatively low income.

Comparison: High vs low minimum income requirement

The following table shows the differences between a card with a high minimum income requirement and one with a low minimum income requirement. In general, high income credit cards offer more “other features”, while low income credit cards are good for basic money management.

Credit cardMinimum incomeMinimum credit limitPurchase rateOther features
Citi Prestige$150,000$30,00021.49% p.a.
  • Rewards program with high, uncapped earn rates
  • Complimentary insurances
  • Concierge service
  • Complimentary hotel stay
  • Airport lounge access
Virgin No Annual Fee$25,000$2,00018.99% p.a.
  • No annual fee
  • Free additional cardholders

The examples in this table also show that high minimum income credit cards also tend to have bigger minimum credit limits and more expensive purchase rates. These features, as well as the complimentary extras, are designed to benefit people who earn and can spend more money. They're also suited to people who regularly pay off their balance in full to avoid interest rates.

In comparison, credit cards with lower minimum income requirements tend to have smaller credit limits and fewer features as well as more competitive purchase rates and fees.

Other factors that affect your credit card application

Credit card issuers consider a range of other factors before approving or denying your request for credit, including:

  • Credit score. Your credit history or credit rating has details of your current and previous loans, cards and other credit accounts (such as utilities). Generally, you need to have at least a 'good' credit rating to apply for a credit card. If you don't know what your credit score is, you can get a copy of your credit report for free through Finder.
  • Age. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a credit card.
  • Residency status. While credit card issuers generally prefer people who are citizens or permanent residents of Australia, there are some credit cards available for people with temporary residency status. These cards may have higher minimum income requirements to help meet lending standards.
  • Employment status. While credit card issuers typically prefer people to have full-time employment, you could still be eligible for some cards if you work part-time or casually, are self-employed, are a student or if you have a pension.
  • Income vs expenses. When you apply for a credit card, you will have to provide information about your current income, spending habits and any existing debts to help issuers determine whether or not you can manage more credit.

If you're unsure if you'll be approved based on your income, contact the bank beforehand to discuss your options and don't risk applying for the card if you think you'll be declined.

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50 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    jacksonAugust 12, 2019

    If I earn $70,000 that is $5000 less than the min salary requirement – min $75,000, would I be declined straight away or could I still probably get a card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 13, 2019Staff

      Hi Jackson,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Basically, card issuers check your income to figure out how much you can afford to spend on your card and still be able to pay off your debt. Based on this information and other factors, the card issuer can determine the size of your credit line/limit. Therefore, not meeting the income requirement might end up with declined credit card application. If you have other source of income which could add up to what you’re earning, that can help you with your credit card application.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    TraceyJune 22, 2018

    How much do I need to apply for if I want to balance transfer $9000?

      Default Gravatar
      ArnoldJune 22, 2018

      Hi Tracey,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      The credit limit you have to apply for to cover the $9000 balance will depend on the institution you apply for. Some institutions don’t put a maximum on how much you can transfer, though this can sometimes sit between 75%-100% of your approved credit limit. It would be good to check the balance transfer limit first, before applying for a balance transfer.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

    Default Gravatar
    KazAugust 2, 2017

    I want to know if I can get a credit card for 16,000 for an operation that is not covered by private health insurance. A personal loan is asking 80.00 per week to pay it back. I was thinking this would be a better option. Im self employed and have a profit and loss statement from an accountant. I still receive new start allowance as well.. can you help??

      Default Gravatar
      DanielleAugust 3, 2017

      Hi Kaz,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      Please feel free to check low-income credit cards and see which one may suit your needs. You may review and compare the offers available on the table. Once you have selected one, you may proceed by clicking the green “Go to Site” button.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

    Default Gravatar
    TracyMay 1, 2017

    Are the minimum income requirements published by banks referring to gross income or net income (after tax, repayments etc.)?

    Thanks in advance!

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 2, 2017Staff

      Hi Tracy,

      Thanks for your question.

      The minimum income requirement published by banks generally refers to Gross Income.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

    Default Gravatar
    ReeceOctober 6, 2016

    Can i get a credit i get $14000 a year

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 6, 2016Staff

      Hi Reece,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Generally, credit card companies in Australia would require their applicants to have a minimum income of at least AU$15,000 p.a. Nevertheless, you might want to reconsider a prepaid card, which is also convenient to use and does not have a minimum income requirement.

      Hope that helps.

      Cheers,
      May

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