Credit cards for self-employed or contract workers

A credit card can help you manage your personal and business cash flow. Here's what you'll need to apply if you're self-employed or a contract worker.

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If you’re self-employed or a contract worker, you can still apply for most credit cards as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. You may just need to provide some extra details and documents – such as your Tax Assessment Notices from the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) or your contract period.

This helps the credit card issuer can confirm your income, work situation and other information you put on your application. So, let's take a look at cards you can apply for, as well as what details you'll need to include.

Credit card providers that consider self-employed applicants

The following credit card providers consider applications from people who are currently self-employed, whether that's as a sole trader or as a partner in a business. We've also listed the information you should provide with your application.

Working as a contractor or sub contractor?

Banks and credit card providers officially view contractors and sub-contractors as self-employed. In most cases, in order to qualify for credit, a self-employed person is often required to present 2 years financials, prepared by an accountant, and sometimes even BAS records to verify their contract income.

ProviderThe documents you’ll need
American ExpressYour accountant’s details are required.
ANZYour most recent personal tax return and corresponding ATO Notice of Assessment (less than 18 months old, e.g. a tax return from June 2014 can only be used until December 2015).
Bank AustraliaProvide your two most recent tax returns (both personal & business) along with the corresponding ATO official notice of assessments.
BankwestTwo of your most recent Notices of Assessment from the Australian Taxation Office showing your earnings for these financial years. You may also need to provide copies of your taxation and financial reports from your accountant. These must be from within 18 months of the application submission date.
Bank of MelbourneProvide recent tax information.
BankSAYou’ll need to provide an eligible tax return. If you haven’t been self-employed for more than a year, you’re not eligible to apply.
Bank of QueenslandYou’ll need to supply any one of the following options:
  • 2 most recent Notices of Assessment or 2 most recent income tax returns
  • 2 most recent business/company tax returns, or two most recent business/company profit and loss statements
Bendigo BankYou’ll need to provide your accountant's name and contact details as well as details of your income, assets and liabilities. This is where your most recent tax return statement would come in handy.
Citi
  • Your accountant's name, name of their accounting firm, and contact phone number.
  • Two most recent Tax Assessment Notices.

or

  • Two most recent Income Tax Returns.

or

  • Two most recent Business/Company Profit and Loss Statements.
ColesYou’ll need to provide your Notice of Assessment for the previous financial year. If you haven’t got that, then you’ll need to provide a tax return that shows your individual taxable income prepared by your accountant. If you haven’t been self-employed for a full year, you’ll need a letter from your accountant detailing the personal taxable income for the time you’ve been self-employed.
Commonwealth BankYou’ll need to submit your ABN and the title of your business. You’ll also need to provide two appropriate documents such as your most recent tax return, ABN registration certificate, trade or qualification certification, projected income statement from the accountant or tax return from before you were self-employed.
EmiratesOne of the following options are required:
  • Two most recent income tax returns
  • Two most recent Notices of Assessment

and

  • Two most recent business/company tax returns or
  • Two most recent business/company profit and loss statements
Latitude Financial ServicesNotice of Assessment for the previous financial year is required. If you haven’t got that, then the next document is a tax return, which shows your individual taxable income prepared by your account. If you’re not self-employed for a full year, you’ll need a letter from your accountant detailing the personal taxable income for the time you’ve been self-employed.
HSBCYou’ll be required to provide your most recent individual Notice of Assessment and HSBC may ask for further documentation if required.
JetstarYour accountant’s details are required.
ME BankYou will need to provide:
  • Last two tax returns.
  • Last Notice of Assessment.
  • Your accountant’s contact details.
NAB
  • An ATO Notice of Assessment(NOA) that's within the last 21 months.
  • Your most recent financial statements from within the last 21 months.
  • Your accountant's contact details.

Make sure all documents show both your full name and your agency/ institutions name & ABN.

St.GeorgeYou must provide a Notice of Assessment. If you’ve been self-employed for less than a year, you won’t be able to apply.
SuncorpIf you’re self-employed, you need to provide a recent tax statement or payslip. If you’ve been self-employed for less than 2 years, you’ll also need to provide information about your income before then. You’ll also need to provide your accountant’s name and contact details.
Virgin Money (Citi)As Virgin Money credit cards are issued by Citi, they follow the same rules as the bank.
  • Two of your most recent income tax returns or two of your most recent Notices of Assessment

and

  • Two of the most recent business tax returns or the two most recent business profit and loss statements.
WestpacMost recent Notice of Assessment that must be less than 18 months old and last 2 months of business bank statements.
WoolworthsYou’ll need to detail your trading name and trading address and provide your most recent tax statement.

What to consider before applying for a credit card when you're self-employed or a contract worker

When you're comparing credit cards for business or personal expenses, here are some of the factors you should consider:

  • Business or personal card. A personal credit card may be better suited if your business is in its early stages, if you don't have an ABN yet and if you're a sole trader with no employees. One of these cards might be better if you plan to use it for both personal and business expenses. If you have a registered company and multiple employees, you may want to consider a business credit card that offers a larger credit limit, more additional cardholders and accounting features.
  • Card features. If you'll use a credit card regularly and pay it off each month, you could reward your spending with a frequent flyer credit card. If you need a card to free up cash flow and plan to carry a balance from month to month, you could consider a card that charges a low interest rate.
  • Eligibility requirements. Many credit cards require you to meet a minimum annual income to apply. You'll need to provide recent bank statements, tax returns and your accountant's information to demonstrate your income. Some banks will only consider self-employed applicants if they've been in business for more than a year. If you're unsure if you meet the criteria, get in contact with the card issuer before applying to check if you're eligible.

Do you need a business credit card as a sole trader?

Not always, although the answer does depend on how your business is set up and what you want to use the card for. Personal credit cards can be used to pay for common business expenses such as office supplies and equipment, travel costs and direct debit payments for bills, so some sole traders and small businesses do use them.

But business credit cards are specialised accounts and usually offer more features to help you keep track of expenses. For example, many business credit cards let you directly export transaction data to accounting software programs such as MYOB, Xero and BAS. This can simplify your tax reporting and save you (or your accountant) time on manually importing bank statements into your chosen software.

Most business credit cards also offer customisable statements and a wider range of download formats, including CSV and Excel. In comparison, personal credit cards typically provide PDF statements that you need to manually convert to any other format.

Some business credit cards also give you access to useful Internet banking tools that help you with budget tracking, spending analysis and forecasting.

If you're planning to set up premises or hire employees in the future, a business credit card could give you access to additional cards for employees, complimentary business inconvenience insurance and unauthorised transaction insurance (which is not available if you add an additional cardholder to a personal account).

Personal vs business credit card application requirements

Another major difference with business credit cards is in the eligibility requirements – and in some cases this may answer your question about which type of card to apply for.

While personal credit cards have basic requirements around age, residency status and income, business credit cards typically add the requirement of an active ABN (Australian Business Number). The amount of time your business has been operating is also a common requirement. For example, you may need to show that your business has been trading for at least 12 months. You'll also need to confirm that you plan to use the account primarily for business spending.

As well as these requirements, some business credit cards only accept applications if your business is registered for GST and meets an annual turnover above the GST threshold of $75,000.

Business spending and tracking tools

When it comes to choosing between a personal and a business credit card as a sole trader, it's also worth looking at the main expenses you'll be paying and what account features you want.

For example, if you're planning to use a credit card for payments to the ATO, a business credit card is more likely to earn you rewards. On the other hand, if a lot of your business expenses are processed overseas (or in a foreign currency), you could look at personal credit cards that offer 0% foreign transaction fees.

You should also consider your plans for the future. If you want to build your business into a full-time job, a business credit card is more likely to offer that offers additional cardholders and expense management tools could be useful for keeping track of spending, managing your budget and submitting expense reports.

On the other hand, if you're going to keep running the business as a sole trader, a personal card could be enough.

So you could compare a mix of both personal and business credit cards to find one you like. It's also worth talking to an accountant about these different options so you can choose a card that fits with your financial circumstances and plans for the future.

Compare and find your next credit card

Compare credit cards available to self-employed applicants

Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
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)
Save with a $0 annual fee for the first year, plus, a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 110,000 bonus Qantas Points (90,000 when you spend $3,000 in the first 60 days and 20k after 12 months).
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$45
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (with a 2% BT fee).
Citi Rewards Card - Balance Transfer Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$49 annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Save on interest with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 30 months with no balance transfer fee. Plus, a $49 first-year annual fee.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
$450
Receive 55,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
Earn 0.75 Qantas Points for your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card on this no-frills frequent flyer card.
Kogan Money Black Card - Exclusive Offer
20.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$0
Save with a $0 annual fee and a 0% introductory rate on balance transfers. Plus, earn $50 Kogan.com Credit and uncapped rewards points.
BankSA Amplify Signature
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$279
Up to 200,000 bonus points (100k first year & 100k second year) - worth $900 in gift cards - when you spend $12,000/yr for the first 2 years.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Qantas
20.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$149 annual fee for the first year ($200 p.a. thereafter)
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 90 days. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount and a 0% balance transfer offer.
St.George Amplify Signature - Qantas
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$279
Get 90,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $6,000 using your new card within 90 days from approval and 2 Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    CamilleApril 23, 2017

    I just wanted to ask, what if im a self employed i have a business buy it does not registered to the b.i.r and i don’t have any bank account. . My business earn 45,000 monthly. . Am i still eligible to apply for a credit card ? Thanks in advance

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeApril 24, 2017Staff

      Hi Camille,

      Thanks for your question.

      Kindly note that our guide above is applicable only to credit cards that are available to Australian residents.

      The credit card brands in your country might have a different set of eligibility criteria when it comes to accepting credit card applications from self-employed. Generally, when you apply for a credit card, you’ll be required to show proof of your income, which could include a bank statement or income tax return.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

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