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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.

1 - 12 of 14
Name Product Purchase rate p.a. Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee Min credit limit
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer
6.99% for 12 months, then 21.49%
Get up to $400 cashback at eligible supermarkets and petrol stations in the first 180 days. Plus, a low interest rate for purchases.
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
$0 first year ($59 after)
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
Westpac Low Rate Card - Cashback Offer
A no-frills card offering up to $350 cashback: $50 each month you make at least $1,000 of eligible purchases for the first 7 months.
American Express Low Rate Credit Card
Offers a low ongoing interest rate of 10.99% p.a. and a $0 annual fee. Plus, complimentary purchase cover.
Qantas American Express Discovery Card
Earn uncapped Qantas Points for every $1 dollar spent, plus an ongoing $0 annual fee.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
Save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 on everyday purchases.
Westpac Low Rate Card
0% for 28 months, then 21.49%
Save with a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months. Plus, a low 13.74% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Bankwest Breeze Classic Mastercard
0% for 12 months, then 12.99%
0% for 12 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 12.99%
Save with 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months (with a 2% BT fee).
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
0% for 6 months, then 19.99%
Get 20,000 bonus Flybuys points (worth $100 Flybuys Dollars) and 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 months.
Virgin Money Low Rate Credit Card
0% for 15 months, then 21.69%
Offers 0% p.a. for 15 months on balance transfers, with no balance transfer fee.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card
0% for 12 months, then 18.99%
0% for 12 months, then 20.99%
Save with a $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months.
Credit Union SA Education Community Credit Card
0% for 6 months, then 11.49%
0% for 6 months, then 11.49%
Save with an ongoing $0 annual fee and 0% p.a. interest on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.

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.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    sulfusMarch 18, 2015

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

      JonathanMarch 18, 2015Finder

      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.



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