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.
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.
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:
- Ask 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 the expenses.
- 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 a useful pay-as-you-go option. With a prepaid card, you won’t fall into debt, and can usually shop anywhere Visa or Mastercard is accepted (including online).
- 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 and don't have to keep loading money like you would with a prepaid card. Most debit cards can be used for contactless payments and mobile wallets like Apple Pay or Google Pay, if you're set up with one of those accounts.
- 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.
More guides on Finder
Horizon Bank Visa Credit Card
This low-cost card offers the same interest rate for all transactions and a $0 annual fee for life.
How to choose a credit limit for your credit card
Learn how to choose the right credit limit to suit your financial needs and avoid overspending.
Why was my credit card declined?
Understand why your bank may decline your credit card transaction and what you can to do avoid this embarrassing and inconvenient issue.
How to get a credit card
If you're worried about getting approved for your first credit card or just don't know where to start, these insights will put you on the right path.
Credit card vs debit card
While a credit card is linked with a line of credit, a debit card is connected to your own money. Compare the differences between the card types in this guide.
Credit card repayment calculator
Calculate how much you're paying in interest based on your current credit card repayments and discover how much you should pay each month to meet your financial goal.
Credit card benefits and drawbacks
Credit cards come with both benefits and risks, so use our list of pros and cons to weigh up your options.
What to do when your credit card is lost or stolen
The steps to follow and contact information you'll need to notify your bank if your credit card is lost or stolen.
No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards
Find out how you can keep your overseas spending costs down by comparing credit cards with no foreign transaction fees and no currency conversion fees.
Ask an Expert