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Credit card application tips

Wondering how to get approved for a credit card? Here are 8 tips to increase your chances.

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You can apply for a new credit card online in around 10 to 20 minutes and usually receive a response within 60 seconds. If you rush your application, your submission could be declined and hurt your credit score. From checking that you meet the eligibility requirements and reviewing your credit score to including the proper details, we've outlined 8 tips to help you submit your credit card application.

How to apply for a credit card in 8 steps

Before you apply for a credit card, there are a few steps that you can take to make sure you're picking the right card for you.

1. Decide what type of card you want

There are many types of credit cards that suit different types of cardholders. Before you begin your search, think about what you want, need and can afford with your next credit card. For example, if you're studying and this the first credit card you're applying for, you might want to apply for a student credit card. You may also want to consider a card with a low minimum credit limit to manage your spending. If you plan to carry a balance and want to reduce your interest costs, then you might decide to apply for a low rate credit card.

If you're a regular spender who regularly repays their balance, you could use a frequent flyer credit card to earn points as you spend. Or if you're struggling to repay existing debt, you could pay it off with no interest for a promotional period of up to 26 months with a balance transfer credit card. Whatever the case, defining the type of card you want will help you find the right one for you.

2. Compare your options

Once you've decided what type of card you want, it's time to begin comparing your options. You can use the reviews and tables on Finder to compare the following features so that you understand the costs and benefits associated with each card:

  • Interest rates on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers
  • Annual fees
  • Interest-free periods
  • Frequent flyer and rewards schemes including bonus points and earn rates as well as how you can earn and redeem points
  • Complimentary insurances including travel insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty cover
  • Additional cardholders and whether they come with an additional fee
  • Extra features including concierge services, airport lounge passes and travel credits

3. Check the eligibility requirements

You'll need to meet a set of eligibility requirements to be approved for any credit card you apply for. The specific criteria will vary between cards but the eligibility requirements usually include:

  • Age. Cardholders must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Minimum income. You'll need to meet a minimum annual income to apply, which can start at $15,000 p.a. for low-income credit cards and go up to $100,000 p.a. and beyond for higher income products.
  • Residential status. Credit card issuers usually require you to be a permanent Australian resident or hold a specific visa to apply for a credit card.
  • Good credit history. You'll need to have a good credit history with no defaults or evidence of bankruptcy to receive approval. We'll cover credit score further in the next tip.

4. Check and improve your credit score

Credit card issuers will complete a credit check when assessing your application. Using your credit history, the banks can review your repayment habits, current liabilities, other credit applications and any defaults or bankruptcies. They use this information to assess your ability to repay your line of credit. Australian credit issuers will only approve people with a good or excellent credit score.

You can check your score and review your credit report for free through Finder. Not only is this a good opportunity to see where your credit score is at, but it's also a good opportunity to identify any errors on your report. For example, you may find invalid credit enquiries or late repayments on your report. In this case, contact the credit reporting bureau to have the incorrect information removed.

If you review your credit report and find that you have a low credit score, spend some time making timely repayments and paying down existing debt. You may be declined if you apply for a credit card while you have a low credit score. This will be marked as a credit enquiry on your report and will only further hurt your score. Check out Finder's guide to credit repair for more information. Get Your Free Credit Score

5. Enter your details carefully and review before submitting

You'll be asked to provide personal and financial information during the application. This will include details including your full name, address, contact information, employment and annual income. You may also be required to list your regular expenses, assets, savings and any liabilities (including existing credit cards and loans). If you have this information on hand, it should only take you 15-20 minutes to complete the application. It's important to enter this information carefully and take the time to review the details before submitting the application. Any errors could slow down the process or result in a declined application.

6. Organise the required documents and information

You're required to provide a number of documents with your credit card application. This typically includes your driver's licence, proof of residential status, recent payslips and tax return.

  • Personal details. This includes your full name, birth date, contact information relationship status and residency.
  • Identification. You need to provide your driver's licence number or another form of ID such as your Medicare number or passport.
  • Employment and income. This includes your current role, pre-tax salary and your employer's contact information (or accountant's details if you're self-employed). You may also need to share details of previous jobs. If you receive payments from Centrelink, a pension or dividends from investments, include these details as well.
  • Finances. This includes details of any savings or other assets, such as property, as well as existing debts such as a mortgage, personal loan or other credit cards. You'll also be asked to list your regular expenses, such as bills, mortgage payments, groceries and other essentials. As well as your credit history, the lender uses your employment and financial information to determine whether or not you will be able to pay off your credit limit within a reasonable time period.
  • Balance transfer information. If you're transferring an existing debt to the new card, you will be asked for the account name and number, the provider's BSB, the type of debt and the amount you want to move to the new account.

Make sure you confirm what you need to provide before you start the application to speed up the process.

7. Submit your application and wait for a response

Once you've reviewed your information and documents, you can submit your application. You should receive a response within around 60 seconds. If the bank requires more information, you may be conditionally approved and a representative will contact you for further details. If you're approved, you should receive your new credit card within a week or so.

8. Don't apply for multiple cards at once or within a short period

You should only apply for one credit card at a time. Each time you apply for a card, the lender checks your credit history and this is listed as an enquiry on your report. These remain on your credit history for five years. If you apply for several credit cards in a short period of time, this is considered a red flag by banks and could reduce your chances of approval in the future.

Compare and apply for a low rate credit card

Updated April 10th, 2020
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Interest Free Period Annual fee Balance transfer rate Balance transfer rate
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$45 p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
A no-frills credit card with a competitive annual fee and 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 18 months.
Coles Low Rate Mastercard
12.99% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$58 p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months
0% p.a. for 6 months
Collect 1 flybuys point per $2 spent at Coles supermarkets and get free delivery on orders over $100. Plus, Coles Mobile Wallet.
ING Orange One
11.99% p.a.
Up to 45 days on purchases
$0 p.a.
Keep costs low with $0 annual fee and 100% foreign transaction fee rebates. Available when you hold or open an Orange Everyday account.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
0% p.a. for 22 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
With a low minimum credit limit of $1,000, this no frills card allows you to add up to 3 additional cardholders for $0.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What happens after I submit my application?

If you applied for a credit card online, you should get a response within 60 seconds of submitting your completed application. When you're successful, you will receive account details and your new card should arrive in approximately 10 business days (although it could be longer in some cases). If the card issuer requires more information, your application may be tentatively approved and they may ask for further details. If you haven't heard a response within a few days, you can usually contact the bank or check the status of your application online.


Applying for a credit card is a relatively simple process and can take as little as 15 minutes. To improve your chances of approval, compare your options, check that you meet the eligibility criteria and take the time to review your application before you submit it.

Pictures: Getty

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24 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    CarissaSeptember 10, 2018

    Hi,

    I have been discharged from bankruptcy for 2 years now. I have had a car loan for just over a year with no defaults. My partner and I are looking for a credit card for emergency expenses when we required. We are both low income earners and I also receive FTB from centrelink. We have been rejected by a couple of credit card applications a few months ago now.
    Who can we contact to talk our situation through. Fiance broker etc? Im not really sure of the terminology of the finance field. I don’t want to speak to the banks directly. More so someone that can guide us in the right direction.

    Thank you.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaSeptember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Carissa,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      You mentioned that you were discharged from bankruptcy. This guide helps you know how to repair your credit after bankruptcy.

      As low income earners, you may want to explore your options here. On that page, you will see a table that allows you to conveniently compare your options. Once you found the right one for you, click on the “Go to site” green button to learn more or initiate your application.

      To avoid getting rejected, before applying for a credit card, please review the criteria, details of the product and contact the bank directly to discuss your options and eligibility. It would also be helpful to review the criteria, details of the card.

      A financial adviser or planner could help you. If you need a qualified professional who will assess your financial situation and give you advice, then speaking to an expert would be a wise decision. Read our guide entitled, How to find the best financial planner, to learn more.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    JenFebruary 20, 2018

    Hi. I just applied for Anz rewards black card today. After talking back and forth with the Anz consultant about converting my rewards points to Qantas frequent flyer points. She said this can be done. But after reading all the fine prints and on here. Anz rewards black card cannot be converted to Qantas points. My application is not approved yet as had to provide more info.

    My questions are:
    1. can I cancel the application as it is clearly miscommunicated to me and not what I am after.
    2. what ramification does this cancellation have if I want apply for a credit card that suits at a later date
    3. Does this affect my credit rating. If so, Should I just keep it for 12 months then cancel?

    Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanMarch 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Jen, thanks for your inquiry.

      1. You can cancel this application by contacting ANZ customer service. We would recommend asking for a record of your interaction with them, preferably by email.

      2. The general rule is not applying for more than one credit card per 3 months.

      3. Credit ratings take your loan applications into account. Whilst we cannot comment on exactly how much this affects your rating, we can say that banks see what you have applied for which may impact your chances of being approved if you apply too frequently.

      It is possible that you could ask ANZ to shift your application to the ANZ Frequent Flyer black, which provides Qantas instead of Rewards points.

      Best,

      Jonathan

  3. Default Gravatar
    DaneAugust 25, 2017

    Hi
    Is it best for me to change my license over to the state I have moved to before applying for a credit card?
    Thanks

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanAugust 26, 2017

      Hello Dane,

      Thank you for your question.

      It is not necessary for you to change your license. Most (if not all) creditors would weigh more the authenticity and correctness of your identification and the other documents.

      Please take note that there are credit card companies that may request a proof of your residence. If this happens, you only need to provide them an updated paperwork for verification. Don’t forget to talk to your issuer if you need to move out in the future.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  4. Default Gravatar
    HayleyTJuly 1, 2017

    Hi, I have just accepted an international teaching position for 2 years and leave Perth in August. Is there any chance that an Australian bank would give me a credit card based on my foreign employment contract for the 2 year period Aug 17-Aug 19? Obviously, it would be more difficult to obtain a credit card from a foreign bank in the country I’m moving to, so just wondering what my chances are here before I leave Australia?
    Thanks.

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 1, 2017

      Hi Hayley!

      You can check our full guide on this page. :)

      Most of the card issuers would require your passport, visa, proof of employment with at least 6 months remaining, and pay stub.

      Kindly ensure you meet minimum eligibility requirements. You may click “Go to Site” green button of your chosen card to proceed with your application.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    • Default Gravatar
      HayleyTJuly 1, 2017

      Hi Jonathon, thanks for your reply. My original post wasn’t very clear…

      I am an Australian – born here and lived here all my life. I have accepted a teaching position in China for 2 years, so will be moving there in August. I was trying to find out if any of our Australian banks would even consider giving me a credit card, knowing that I’ll be out of the country for 2 years and working for a foreign company.

      Thanks

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 1, 2017

      Hi Hayley!

      Thanks for getting back on us and clarifying your inquiry. We do appreciate that! :)

      You may visit this page. This is our guide and list of card issuers that may approve you for your plans to use this card overseas.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  5. Default Gravatar
    SelvaApril 26, 2016

    I recently applied for ANZ credit card, what is the status on my credit car application?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayApril 26, 2016Staff

      Hi Selva,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Please note that you have come through to finder.com.au we are a financial comparison website and general information service and we do not represent any credit card company like ANZ.

      As we don’t have access to your application, I’m afraid you may need to get in contact with ANZ directly to follow-up your application. For your convenience, I’ve forwarded to your email the phone number of ANZ.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      May

  6. Default Gravatar
    CorTanFebruary 9, 2016

    I recently applied Citibank signature and got rejected. It is not related to the credit rating though. And they just simply said have not met our credit criteria. Would like to apply for another card with different provider. Is it safe to apply or should I wait? How many is too many in a specific period of time?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyFebruary 10, 2016Staff

      Hi CorTan,

      Thanks for your question and we’re sorry to hear about your rejected application.

      You may not have met the eligibility requirements (such as income, credit score, provided necessary documents) when applying.

      No, it’s not a good idea to apply for another credit card straight away as applying for multiple credit cards within a short period can reflect badly on your credit score and decrease your chances of approval in the future.

      You should wait a few months before applying for another card. In the mean time, you can start comparing other credit cards and making a shortlist of cards you’re eligible for. Make sure to read all of the relevant product disclosure statements and contact the providers to discuss your chances of approval before applying.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  7. Default Gravatar
    VISHALDecember 21, 2015

    This is my ref no plz check the status and get back to me

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SallyDecember 22, 2015Staff

      Hi Vishal,

      Please note that you have come through to finder.com.au, not a provider. As such, we’re unable to check the status of your application. You’ll need to contact your provider to confirm this information. If you can confirm the provider you’ve applied with, we may be able to guide you in the right direction.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,

      Sally

  8. Default Gravatar
    SharonNovember 10, 2015

    how is my credit card application progressing

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      SharonNovember 10, 2015Staff

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that you’ve come through finder.com.au, an online comparison service and is not directly affiliated with any bank.

      Please see this page for information on how to check on your credit card application.

      I hope this has helped.

      Sharon

  9. Default Gravatar
    BarbSeptember 22, 2014

    I got conditional aaproval for a coles mastercard, is this approved? I have sent through the paperwork they asked for. Just looking for clarification.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleySeptember 23, 2014Staff

      Hi Barb,

      Generally if you have been conditionally approved, and the documentation you’ve sent in supports everything you’ve stated in your application, then your application should go through.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  10. Default Gravatar
    ErnestJune 11, 2013

    How is my application progressing?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JacobJune 11, 2013Staff

      Hi Ernest. Thanks for your question. Please see this page for information on how to check on your credit card application. Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Updated April 10th, 2020
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a.
Earn flybuys points for your spending and save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
20.74% p.a.
$450 p.a.
Get 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, a $450 Qantas Travel Credit and 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations. Ends 14 Apr 2020.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card - Balance Transfer Offer
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months
$129 p.a.
Enjoy a balance transfer offer, yearly annual fee refund, airport lounge passes and complimentary insurance covers.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
11.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$45 p.a.
A no-frills credit card with a competitive annual fee and 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 18 months.
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Compare up to 4 providers

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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