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How old do you have to be to apply for a credit card?

Learn the requirements for obtaining a credit card as well as some alternatives for under-18s.

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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 in Australia and, as 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 accumulating debt they are not yet mature enough to take on.

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 income requirements

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee Min credit limit Max credit limit Minimum income
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$99
$1,000
$50,000
$25,000
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
$1,000
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a one-time 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Westpac Low Rate Card
13.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 20 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$59
$1,000
$25,000
$15,000
A low rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for the first 20 months and a $200 cashback offer.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
18.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0
$2,000
$10,000
$25,000
Offers 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers and up to 55 days interest-free on purchases, all for a $0 annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
20.74% p.a.
$0
$2,000
$35,000
Earn 0.75 Qantas Points for your everyday purchases, uncapped, and pay $0 annual fee for the life of the card on this no-frills frequent flyer card.
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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.

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2 Responses

  1. 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

Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Skye Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
23.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months
$99
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months, up to 110 days interest-free on purchases and flexible instalment plan options.
ANZ Low Rate - Exclusive Offer
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Finder Exclusive
Save with 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 25 months (with a one-time 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Ends 30 Sept 2020.
NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$295 annual fee for the first year ($395 p.a. thereafter)
Collect up to 130,000 bonus Qantas Points. Get 100k when you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 60 days and 30k after 12 months.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
0% for 17 months, reverts to 20.24% p.a.
20.24% p.a.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($87 p.a. thereafter)
Receive a 0% purchase rate offer for 17 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel and medical insurance.
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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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