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Minimum income requirements for credit cards

The minimum income requirement can be as low as $15,000 per year for some credit cards but others won't list a requirement. Here's what you need to know.

When you apply for a credit card, your income is an important factor that the bank will use to help judge your ability to make repayments. While minimum income requirements for credit cards generally start at $15,000 per year (before tax), you also 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 each year, before tax.

If you apply for a credit card with an income requirement that is higher than what you earn, you'll be declined, which can hurt your credit score.

Other credit card income requirements

All credit card applications in Australia require details of your income, including cards that don't list a specific minimum income requirement.

This is because credit card income criteria help banks and card issuers meet their responsible lending obligations. They have to assess each credit card application based on your ability to repay the credit limit over a 3-year period, with interest, to make sure the account is appropriate for the individual's financial situation.

Tip: When you're looking for a credit card, you can also use the minimum income requirements, and other details like the minimum credit limit, to help you choose a credit card that will fit your budget.

How can I find out what the income requirement is for a credit card?

If a credit card has a minimum income requirement, you'll see it listed in the "Eligibility" section of credit card reviews on Finder. You'll also see it on the credit card provider's website and on the application page (before you apply).

What if there's no income requirement listed?

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 employment status, assets and savings, existing debt and regular expenses.

So if you can't find an income requirement, check if you meet the card's other eligibility requirements. You could also try contacting the issuer to ask about your eligibility based on how much you earn.

Finder survey: How many times have people applied for a credit card?

ResponseFemaleMale
136.03%32.71%
025.34%16.73%
219.83%23.5%
39.66%11.84%
43.28%5.83%
53.28%4.7%
7 or more2.07%3.76%
60.52%0.94%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1113 Australians, December 2023

How can I figure out if I'm eligible to apply for a card when no minimum income is listed?

The card's other eligibility requirements will help you work out if a card is appropriate for your situation. This usually includes your Australian residency status, age and credit history.

Making sure you meet the eligibility requirements that are listed and including as much detail as possible on the application can improve your chances of approval.

Want to know if you can get approved for a credit card?

Get your credit score via the Finder app and take advantage of our Chance of Approval* feature. Pop in your phone number below to get your download link.

*Finder's Chance of Approval feature provides an indication only. It is not a guarantee of approval. Applications for credit products are always subject to the lender's T&CS and application and lending criteria.


Another factor to consider is the card's minimum credit limit. While credit limits are subject to approval, having enough income 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 – and that's not including interest charges.

In comparison, a credit card with a $1,000 minimum credit limit could be more appropriate, as monthly repayments of $100 would clear the balance even if the card had a 20.07% p.a. interest rate (which is the average standard variable credit card rate in Australia right now).

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$20,00021.49% 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$2,00019.99% p.a.
  • No annual fee
  • Free additional cardholders

The examples in this table also show that high minimum income credit cards 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.

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.

Other factors that affect your credit card application

  • Supporting documentation. When you apply for a credit card, make sure you include as much detail as possible about your finances. This could include:
    • Recent payslips
    • Bank statements
    • Your savings account balance
    • Accurate information about your household expenses
  • Credit score. Your credit history or credit score 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. The other accounts you need to service could also be factored into the lender's assessment when you apply. If you don't know what your credit score is, you can get a copy of your credit report for free through Finder.
  • 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. Credit card issuers typically prefer people to have full-time employment. But 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. Usually, you'll just be asked for supporting documentation that's specific to your situation.
  • Income vs expenses. When you apply for a credit card, you will have to provide information about your current income, spending habits and existing debts or financial responsibilities. These details help issuers determine your eligibility and can include details of regular household bills, loan repayments or even buy now pay later accounts.

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

More guides on Finder

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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
      JeniAugust 13, 2019Finder

      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
      DeeMay 2, 2017Finder

      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
      MayOctober 6, 2016Finder

      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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