Some credit cards in Australia have relatively low minimum income requirements of $15,000 to $35,000 per year. These cards provide people in lower-income brackets, students and retirees with access to credit and often also charge competitive rates and fees.
Use this guide to compare types of low-income credit cards and before applying for any card, be sure to check the minimum income requirements. We also outline the different features available and answer frequently asked questions so you can get a credit card that suits your circumstances.
What are the features and benefits of a low income credit card?
Lower minimum income requirements. As the name suggests, low income credit cards usually have lower minimum income requirements between $15,000 and $35,000 per year. You'll need to provide proof of your income with recent payslips and bank statements. You may also need to confirm your place of employment and provide your employer's contact details.
Competitive annual fee. Low income credit cards usually come with lower annual account keeping fees than more premium cards. You might even be able to find a low income card that doesn't charge ongoing annual fees or has a $0 annual fee promotional offer.
Lower interest rates. Some low income cards also double as low rate cards. This means you could get a card that charges a purchase rate of less than 13% p.a. Look out for low income cards with low or 0% promotional interest rates as well.
Interest-free days. Most low income cards offer interest-free days on purchases, though the number of days (such as up to 55 days) would vary from card to card. To take advantage of these interest-free days, you have to pay your account’s closing balance completely every month.
Build credit. If you're using a low income credit card with low interest rates, you could use the card to build up a healthy credit score if you pay off your debt each statement period. With good creditworthiness, you'll have increased chances of approval when applying for other loans in the future.
Can I apply for a low income credit card if I have a low credit score?
You'll need to have a good credit score to be approved for a credit card in Australia. If you don't know what your credit score is, you can get a free copy of your credit report through Finder. If your score is low, spend some time repaying any existing debts and demonstrating good credit habits to build your score before applying for a credit card. This is because rejected credit card applications are listed on your credit history and can hurt your score.
What should I consider when comparing for a low income credit card?
If you want to apply for a low income credit card, here are the key factors to consider when you're weighing up your options.
Minimum income requirement. Not all cards have the same minimum income requirement. While some allow applications from individuals who earn $15,000 p.a. or more, some others have requirements from $20,000 to $25,000. Keep in mind that your income is assessed against your expenses. So if you meet the minimum income, but your expenses are too high in relation, your application may still be declined.
Source of income. Most lenders will require that you report at least one source of income on your application. If you are unemployed or do not earn a regular salary, government benefits, rental income, child support, superannuation and other types of income may also be considered.
Credit history. If you have a low credit score, work on repairing it before applying as mentioned above. You can consider getting a temporary part-time job to increase your monthly income. Making sure you provide all the required information in your application also increases chances of approval. If you don't know your credit score, you can get it for free on Finder.
Affordability. Before you apply for the card, make sure you've confirmed that you can afford it. If you end up borrowing more than you can repay and get into unmanageable debt, this will have a negative impact on your credit rating. Use the reviews on finder and read the relevant product disclosure statement to make sure you understand the costs of the card before applying.
How can I apply for a low-income credit card?
If you've compared your options and found a credit card that suits your needs, you can apply online in around 10–20 minutes. Before you get started, make sure you meet the other eligibility requirements. As well as the minimum income, this includes being over 18 years old and meeting the Australian residency status requirements listed for the card.
Details you'll need for the application
When you apply for a credit card, you need to share information about your personal and financial circumstances. While each application is different in structure, here is a rundown the key information you'll be asked for:
Personal details. This includes your full name, date of birth and residential address and living arrangements. If you've only lived at your current address for a few years, you may need to provide details of your previous address as well.
Identification. You'll be asked for your driver's licence number, or another form of ID such as your passport or Medicare card number. This helps confirm your identity and also makes it possible for the credit card provider to request access to your credit file.
Employment information. This includes your salary, role, length of employment and your employer's contact details. You may also be asked for recent payslips to confirm these details. If you're self-employed or retired, you may be asked for details such as your latest Tax Assessment Notice, income from government benefits, superannuation or contact details for your accountant.
Financial information. As well as your main source of income, you'll be asked about any additional money you've earned. This includes interest from any savings accounts, as well as other assets such as shares or property. You'll also need to give details of any existing debts (including loans and other credit cards) and monthly household expenses.
Depending on the credit card provider, you may be asked for more details once the application is submitted. This could include supporting documentation such as payslips, bank statements and copies of your identification.
Compare Cards with a low minimum credit limit
Updated April 5th, 2020
Frequently asked questions
Apart from meeting minimum income requirements, you should be at least 18 years old, an Australian resident and have a healthy credit history.
You usually need to receive a regular income to be approved for a credit card. If you're retired, you may be able to apply for a credit card if you can provide evidence of an income through assets, savings and superannuation.
Most online credit card applications take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete. This may vary between providers and could take longer if you don't have the necessary information prepared before starting the application.
Sally McMullen is Finder's credit cards and frequent flyer editor by day and a music maven by night. Her byline can be spotted on Yahoo Finance, Dynamic Business, Financy and Mamamia as well as Music Feeds and Rolling Stone.
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