What types of credit cards are available to pensioners and seniors?
There are no specific credit cards for pensioners or senior citizens in Australia. Instead, you can apply for any credit card, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements.
But as the pension is the main source of income for retirees, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the types of cards suited to seniors include:
Low rate credit cards
If you want to pay off purchases over time, a low rate credit card gives you a way to save on interest charges. Finder analysis has shown the average Australian with a credit card could save $100 by switching to one with a lower rate. These savings can really add up – especially if you're a pensioner.
Low or no annual fee credit cards
Credit card annual fees in Australia typically range from $30 to over $1,000. So a card with a low annual fee or an ongoing $0 annual fee helps you save on account costs. Just remember to check the card's other features, including interest rates, to make sure it will be affordable and suitable for what you want.
Low income credit cards
The full pension in Australia is $28,514.20 per year for an individual and $42,988.40 for a couple in October 2023, including all supplements. This is lower than the average Australian income, so applying for a credit card suited to people with low incomes could increase your chance of approval as a pensioner.
Credit card application requirements when you are are retired or on a pension
Even though there are no credit cards designed just for pensioners or retirees, banks and other providers may have specific requirements you need to meet before you can get a credit card if you're retired or on a pension.
We have outlined these details in a table to help you compare and find a card that suits your circumstances.
|Provider||Retiree and pensioner application details|
|Bank of Melbourne|
|Bank of Queensland|
|Latitude Financial Services|
If you have questions or want to check any details, you can also contact the credit card provider directly to discuss whether you're eligible based on your financial situation and type of income.
Is it harder to get a credit card as a pensioner?
Credit card companies use the same lending criteria for all applications, whether you're a pensioner, retiree or a full-time worker.
In fact, Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker revealed that just 2% of people in or near retirement age (baby boomers) had their credit card applications declined in the 3 years from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2023. In comparison, 16% of gen Y and 10% of gen X had declined applications in that time.
Why are credit card applications from pensioners declined?
Finder's research showed unsteady income (44%) and age (42%) were the two biggest reasons people in the baby boomer/retirement age group were declined for a card.
These are 2 of the factors providers look at when they're assessing your ability to make repayments and keep the account in good standing, and could have an impact on your chance of getting approved. Other reasons include:
- Being rejected before: 10%
- Too much debt: 8%
- Bad credit score: 7%
- No savings: 6%
3 factors to think about before applying for a credit card as a pensioner
If you want to get a new credit card during retirement, the following steps can help you find and apply for one that's right for you.
1. Compare different credit cards
You should only apply for one credit card at a time, because the details are listed on your credit report and can affect your credit score. So, it's important to spend time choosing the right card before you submit your application.
Keep in mind that different credit cards are suited to different goals. So as well as low-cost cards, you could consider 0% balance transfer credit card if you want to pay off existing card debt, as an example. Or maybe you want a long interest-free period, rewards or complimentary insurance. Finder's guide to the types of credit cards in Australia has more details on your choices.
2. Check that you meet all the eligibility requirements
As well as any specific requirements listed for pensioners and retirees, you need to meet the other eligibility criteria listed for an individual card. These can include:
- Australian citizenship or residency requirements
- A minimum annual income or regular income
- Credit history requirements
You also need to include details of a valid form of identification, such as your driver's licence, passport or Medicare card. Another detail to note: if you have a seniors card that you want to use to confirm your identity, you will need to check whether the provider will accept it as part of the ID check.
3. Check your credit report
It is harder to get a credit card if you have bad credit history. Banks and other lenders check your credit report when you apply for a card and consider late payments, defaults and bankruptcy as high risk. Even several applications in a short amount of time can be an issue.
But you can check what details they'll see by requesting a free copy of your credit report and score through Finder. You can also use your credit score to check your chance of approval for credit cards and other credit products on Finder.
Frequently asked questions
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We're here to help
- ASIC responsible lending information
- Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker data
- Services Australia Age Pension details (accessed October 2023)
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