How old do you have to be to get a credit card?

In Australia, you need to be at least 18 years old to get a credit card. Not quite 18 yet? Here are some alternatives.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

In Australia, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in your name. This is the age you are legally considered an adult and, since minors can’t be held liable for contracts, only adults can apply for credit products. This policy is part of the strict lending rules that protect young Australians from getting into debt they can't afford.

Other credit card application requirements

In addition to being at least 18 years old, there are several other key application criteria you’ll have to consider when applying for a credit card. Requirements vary between providers and individual products, but the following are some of the most common conditions:

  • Australian residency status. The majority of cards require you to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. There are also some cards that allow applications from temporary residents.
  • Credit history. Credit history is very important when applying for a credit card, and your credit report and credit score should be very good or excellent.
  • Minimum income. Not every credit card lists a minimum income amount. But for those that do, the minimum income requirements typically range from $15,000 per year for a basic card, up to $150,000 for some prestige cards.
  • Employment details. It is ideal to have permanent, full-time work when you apply for a credit card. But there are cards you can apply for while working part-time, casually and even when you’re retired or receiving government payments.
  • Personal details. You will also need to provide personal information as well as documentary proof of identification and income.

Compare credit cards with low minimum credit limits

The credit cards below have minimum credit limits of $2,000 or less and annual fees less than $100.

Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee Min credit limit Minimum income
NAB StraightUp Card
0% p.a.
$0
$1,000
Save with 0% interest charges and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, $0 monthly fees when you don't use the card or carry a balance.
St.George Vertigo Card
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Save with a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 30 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
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)
$500
$30,000
Save with a $0 annual fee for the first year, plus, a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months.
humm90 Mastercard - Balance Transfer Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 36 months
$99
$1,000
$25,000
Get 0% interest on balance transfers for 36 months, with no balance transfer fee. Plus, up to 110 days interest free on purchases.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer
13.74% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$500
$30,000
Get $400 cashback when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 120 days. Plus, a $0 first-year annual fee.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
12.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 32 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
$1,000
Get a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 32 months (with no BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer
13.99% p.a.
6.99% p.a. for 12 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Get $300 cashback when you spend at least $4,000 in the first 120 days. Plus, a $0 annual fee for the first year.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
$2,000
$35,000
Get 10,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $750 within 3 months, plus a $0 annual fee for the life of the card.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Card
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Save with a 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 30 months (with no balance transfer fee) and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
BankSA Vertigo
13.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 30 months
$0 annual fee for the first year ($55 p.a. thereafter)
$500
Enjoy 0% p.a. for 30 months on balance transfers (with no balance transfer fee), a low purchase rate and a $0 first-year annual fee.
NAB Low Fee Card
19.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$30
$1,000
Receive complimentary insurance covers and 0% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers.
BankSA No Annual Fee
0% p.a. for 12 months, reverts to 20.74% p.a.
$0
$500
Offers 0% p.a. on purchases for 12 months and an ongoing $0 annual fee.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

What credit card options are available for people under 18?

Although you can’t apply for a credit card in your name while you’re under 18, you can consider the following options:

  • Request to be an additional cardholder on your parents’ credit card. If you’re at least 16 years of age, your parents may add you as a supplementary cardholder to their credit card account. This means that you will receive a credit card linked to their account, and they will remain legally responsible for all expenses incurred on your card.
  • Get a prepaid credit card. A prepaid credit card lets you preload the card with money. This means it’s technically not a “credit” card because you are responsible for providing the money you spend, but it can be useful for convenience, flexibility and learning about budgeting. With this card, you won’t fall into debt, and shopping is convenient since the card is accepted just like a Visa or Mastercard.
  • Use a debit card. A debit card is similar to a prepaid card, except it is linked to a bank account. When you use this type of card, you are spending money that you have in the account. The difference between a debit card and a prepaid credit card is that the debit card is limited by your bank account balance, while your prepaid card balance is limited by the amount of money you preload on it.
  • Focus on savings. The importance of saving throughout your life is often underrated. Learning to save should be a critical focus, especially before you get a credit card. This will ensure you have funds that you can use when necessary and also prevent unmanageable credit card debt in the future.

Before applying for a credit card, make sure that you’ve researched your chosen card and understood the terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Rather than thinking of these requirements as restrictive, understand that credit card application requirements help uphold responsible lending practises and protect consumers.

Back to top

Picture: Shutterstock

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    sulfusMarch 18, 2015

    how old do you need to be and who issued this rule?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanMarch 18, 2015Staff

      Hi Sulfus, thanks for your inquiry!

      The require legal age for a credit card for most providers/banks is 18 years. It would be best to contact the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in regards to the legal requirements that have been set for credit card services.

      Cheers,

      Jonathan

Go to site