A bunch of credit cards in Australia have low minimum income requirements of $15,000 to $35,000 per year. These cards make it easier for people in lower income brackets, students and pensioners to get a credit card. They usually offer competitive interest rates and annual fees to help keep your account costs down.
If you want a credit card and are on a lower income, you can compare options in the table. Before applying for any card, check the minimum income requirements and other eligibility criteria.
What features do low income credit cards offer?
- Lower minimum income requirements. Income requirements for these cards are typically between $15,000 and $35,000 per year. To put this in perspective, some other credit cards have minimum income requirements of $75,000 or more, usually when they are premium cards with lots of perks.
- Low minimum credit limits These cards typically have minimum credit limits ranging from $500 to $2,000.
- Low annual fees. Low income credit cards typically have annual fees of $100 or less. You could also look at cards that offer a $0 annual fee for the first year, or ongoing.
- Interest rates. Some low income cards are also low rate cards that offer a purchase rate below 15% p.a.
- Interest-free days. Most credit cards offer interest-free days on purchases. The number of days (such as up to 55 days) varies from card to card.
- Simple features. Low income credit cards typically have cost-saving or basic features, rather than fancy extras like rewards, travel perks or complimentary insurance.
What to think about when comparing low income credit cards
- Minimum income requirements. Credit card minimum income requirements in Australia typically start from $15,000 per year but not all credit cards publicly list a minimum income amount. Keep in mind that your income is also assessed against your expenses – and this is what the bank will look at if they don't list a minimum income requirement.
- Regular income. Even if a card does not list a minimum income, showing proof of a regular income is a common requirement. Finder research also shows that, for the 8% of Australians who have had a credit card application declined, unsteady income was the most common reason. Providing proof of regular income, such as recent payslips, superannuation or bank statements helps show proof of your regular income when you apply.
- Source of income. Most credit card applications ask you to report at least one source of income. If you are unemployed or do not earn a regular salary, other types of income may be considered. This could include:
- Government benefits and Centrelink payments
- Rental or investment property income
- Child support
- Other types of income specified by the provider
- Credit history. If you have a low credit score, work on repairing it before you apply to help improve your chances of getting approved.
- Affordability. Before you apply for the card, make sure you can afford it. The key costs to look at are the annual fee, interest rate and credit limit. If you end up spending more than you can repay and get into unmanageable debt, talk to the bank or lender to get support. Otherwise, it could become stressful and lower your credit score.
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 are asked for information about your personal and financial circumstances. The structure is different for each application, but here's a summary of 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.
- Income information. This includes your employment status, salary, 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, on a pension or retired, you'll usually need to provide one or more of the following supporting documents:
- 3 months of bank statements that show you're receiving payments
- Your latest Tax Assessment Notice
- A letter or other proof of income from government benefits
- Contact details for your accountant
- Other financial information. As well as your main source of income, you'll be asked about any other earnings or assets. This includes any savings accounts, as well as other assets such as shares or property. You'll also need to give details of your monthly household expenses and any existing debts – including loans, other credit cards and buy now pay later (BNPL).
Depending on the credit card provider, you may be asked for more details once the application is submitted. This could include payslips, bank statements and copies of your identification.
💳 Can I apply for a low income credit card with a low credit score?
No, you 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 and score through Finder. You can also see your chance of approval for credit cards and other credit products on Finder.
Alternatives to low income credit cards
If you don't meet the income requirements, can't find a card you want or need funds for a one-off expense, here are some other options you can consider:
- Personal loans. There are some personal loans with low income requirements. But as they may have higher interest rates and fees than other loans, make sure you consider the costs and compare options before deciding to apply.
- No interest loans. No Interest Loans (NILs) offer up to $3,000 for people who earn less than $70,000 (or $100,000 as a couple). These loans are administered by Good Shepherd and are available through a range of non-profit community organisations around Australia.
- Buy now pay later. Services like Afterpay and Zip give you a way to buy what you want and pay it off in instalments. Most buy now pay later accounts have a regular account fee, as well as late payment fees (or in some cases, interest charges), which can become expensive if you use it a lot and/or don't meet the repayment requirements.
Frequently asked questions
What eligibility criteria do I have to meet to apply?
Apart from meeting minimum income requirements, you should be at least 18 years old, an Australian resident and have a good credit history.
Can I apply for a credit card if I'm unemployed?
You need to receive a regular income to be approved for a credit card in Australia. Some credit card providers will consider applications when you receive payments from Centrelink, including Family Tax Benefit A and B, the Age Pension or Carer's Allowance (but not usually JobSeeker). Others may require you to be employed by a business or self-employed.
If you're retired when you apply for a credit card, you will need to provide evidence of income from superannuation, the aged pension and any other assets. Check the card's eligibility criteria or contact the financial institution directly if you have questions about your circumstances.
How quickly can I complete the application?
Most online credit card applications take around 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
Can I apply for a credit card without proof of income in Australia?
No. Your income is one of the key factors that lenders use to figure out if you'll be able to pay back what you spend on a credit card (or any other line of credit).
This is because all credit card providers must follow consumer credit laws and meet responsible lending requirements. So they need to get accurate details of your financial situation – including your income, assets, debts and regular expenses. These requirements are ultimately designed to help protect you and others from predatory lending practices.
What is the lowest limit I could be approved for on a credit card?
Minimum credit limits in Australia typically start from $400, which means this is the lowest limit available. But some cards have higher minimum credit limits.
Choosing a card with a lower minimum credit limit can help you meet the eligibility requirements when you have a low income. But keep in mind that the application is still subject to lending criteria and assessment by the provider.
What is considered a low income?
A low income can broadly be defined as earning less than the average or median income in Australia. Data from Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker in August 2023 found the average personal income was $59,164 per year, so earning less than this could be considered a low income.
The poverty line can also be used as a benchmark for low income and is around $489 per week for a single person according to research from the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS). This works out to around $25,428 per year.
Why you can trust Finder's credit card experts
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