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Why was my credit card application declined?

Find out why you may have been denied credit and how you can improve your chances next time.


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There are a number of requirements you have to meet to have your credit card application approved. This also means that there are a few reasons why your application might be rejected by a lender. This guide covers why your credit card application could be rejected and how you can increase your chances of approval.

8 reasons why your credit card application may be declined

  1. Your age. You must be 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia. If you are under 18 your credit card application will be declined.
  2. Incorrect information on your application. Something as simple as entering your driver's licence number wrong or misspelling your residential address could mean the credit card issuer is unable to verify your details and move forward with the application process. This is why it's important to carefully review your application before you submit it. If you made an error, you may be able to resolve the situation with the issuer by amending your application.
  3. Recent changes in your circumstances. If you have recently moved or changed jobs and you haven’t updated this information across all your networks, it could be hard for the issuer to verify your identity or access your credit report. As with mistakes on the application, you may be able to deal with this by calling the credit card issuer and providing additional documentation. If you include your employer's contact details in the application, you should also let them know that they may receive a call from the bank regarding your application.
  4. Failing to meet minimum income requirements. Most credit cards have minimum income requirements that you must meet to apply. If your annual earnings are less than this amount, your application will be declined. Compare credit cards with low annual income requirements (between $15,000 and $25,000 p.a.) for some low-cost alternatives.
  5. Employment circumstances. Stable, ongoing employment helps show to lenders that you can meet repayments for a new credit card. So if your employment is temporary, casual, part-time or hard to verify for some other reason, you may find it hard to get approval. If this is the case but you meet the income requirements, contact the bank beforehand to confirm if there is any additional information you need to provide to demonstrate your ability to repay.
  6. Financial risks. When you apply for a credit card, you have to enter information about your income and expenses. If your expenses outweigh or take up a large percentage of your income, the issuer may consider you a high-risk applicant that could struggle to repay their balance.
  7. Not meeting citizenship or residency status. While there are some credit cards available for temporary residents who hold a specific Visa, other cards are only available for permanent residents and citizens of Australia. If you don’t meet these requirements for a particular card, you won't be approved for the card.
  8. Bad credit history or "adverse bureau" information. Credit card issuers in Australia only approve applicants who have a good or excellent credit score. When you apply for a credit card, the issuer will request a copy of your credit report from a credit reporting agency. If you have negative or "adverse bureau" information in your credit history the issuer may decline your application. This could include late payments, defaults, too many applications for credit or even not enough credit history. Before you apply for a credit card, check your credit score and review your credit report to make sure it's in good standing.

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Some issuers may be willing to discuss the details of the denial with you but others may not. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your application and review the details to see why it may have been declined.

How can I improve my chances of credit card approval next time?

Now that you know some of the reasons why the bank may have rejected your application, here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of approval the next time you apply for a credit card:

  • Choose a card that suits your circumstances. Make sure that you can meet the eligibility criteria. For example, if you don’t earn a lot of money, you may want to look at credit cards for low-income earners. If you are retired, on a pension or self-employed, you'll need
  • Get a copy of your credit report. You can request a free credit report from all of the major bureaus once every year. This allows you to make sure all the details listed are current and accurate. It can also give you a better understanding of how you can improve your finances. For example, if you see a lot of listings for late payments, you may want to focus on paying your bills on time to help improve your credit score before you apply for your next card.
  • Update all of your details before you apply. When you check your credit history, check that your personal details (including residential address, phone number, email address and employment) are up to date before you apply. This will make it easier for credit card issuers to verify the information on your application.
  • Wait a while before applying again. Applying for several credit cards in a short period of time will leave multiple enquiries on your credit report and does not look favourable in the eyes of a lender. If you're denied, wait a few months before applying for another card. In that time, you can improve your credit score and compare your options before applying for another card.
  • Have your supporting documentation ready. Credit card issuers require a range of documents before they can process your application. This includes copies of your passport or driver's licence, pay slips and bank statements. This will help the bank verify your information and may speed up the approval process.

Credit card issuers require a lot of information before they can make a decision about your application. By understanding what may cause a bank to decline your application, you'll know the mistakes to avoid and how to improve your chances of approval next time.

Frequently asked questions about declined credit card applications

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39 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SimJuly 21, 2017

    In the “Dos and don’ts for credit card applications” you list to not apply for several credit cards within a short period of time. What is considered a “short period of time”? Weeks, months etc… please elaborate on the time frame.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJuly 22, 2017Staff

      Hi Sim,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Short period of time for numerous credit card applications may be in a weekly or monthly manner. These days most providers offer an outcome in minutes when you apply online. No matter how long the wait, it is important to hold off applying for other products until you have an outcome. Therefore, you should submit one application at a time.


  2. Default Gravatar
    DylanJune 19, 2017


    I am interested in applying for a credit card with a very small limit, just to build up my credit history and establish a good reputation.

    However, absolutely NOBODY will approve me, even for the lowest limit.

    I earn approx. $35,000 pa.

    So my question is, how can I build up my history when nobody will allow me the opportunity to?

    • Default Gravatar
      DanielleJune 20, 2017

      Hi Dylan,

      Thank you for contacting We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      You may refer to this page as a guide on how you can improve your credit score. You may also seek the advice of a Credit Specialist.

      I hope this helps.


  3. Default Gravatar
    CoOctober 25, 2016


    I have recently applied for a credit card but later on realised that other credit provider offers a better deal. The credit card that I have already applied for has not been approved yet (I kept missing their call for the ID verification). Would it be not wise to call them up and withdraw my application then apply for one that offers better deal as there would be a recent enquiry recorded on my credit file?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 28, 2016Staff

      Hi Co,

      Thank you for your question.

      Please note that all credit applications you make are recorded in your credit file whether they are approved or not. Generally, too many applications within a short period may have a negative impact your file.

      So if you will apply for the other card with the better deal, most likely, the issuer will make an enquiry on your file and will find that you have just made a recent application from a different bank. So yes, it may not be a good idea to apply for that card (with the better deal) this very soon.


    • Default Gravatar
      CoOctober 28, 2016

      Hi May,

      Thank you for your reply. So how long should I wait to apply for the other one? I know this can be very different cases by cases, but how about in general.


    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 28, 2016Staff

      Hi Co,

      Thanks for getting back.

      Generally, to ensure that your rating will not be affected, you may have to wait for a few months (or up to 6 months) before you start applying again.


  4. Default Gravatar
    DawnOctober 3, 2016

    If my card application was declined by an online 60 second response will it be recorded on my credit file?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your question.

      Most likely yes. Usually, when you apply for any form of credit, for instance, a credit card, the bank will surely check your credit file to examine your ‘creditworthiness’ and by doing so, that will leave an “enquiry” on your file.


    • Default Gravatar
      DawnOctober 4, 2016

      Yes but this is a 60 second response….how can they do a credit check in that amount of time?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayOctober 4, 2016Staff

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for getting back.

      Unfortunately, all applications are recorded in the file and the “speed of response” is not a factor at all. So, in future, in order to avoid any possible enquiry on your credit file, you may have to contact the lender or the credit card company first and discuss your chances of approval with them before submitting an application.


  5. Default Gravatar
    simonJuly 20, 2016

    How long must I wait after been declined,

    • Default Gravatar
      ChesterJuly 20, 2016

      Hello Simon,

      Credit card companies and banks across Australia do not have the same application approval criteria. There are various reasons why your application might be declined. I have sent you an email so to provide some information in regards to your current status.


  6. Default Gravatar
    LeanJanuary 26, 2016

    I’ve been wondering if I’m eligible for a credit card? I’ve been doing farm work for 8months all up but currently moved to another farm been there for one month now would I still be able to apply for a credit card? Not quite sure how this works? Also wondering if it would be harder to apply for one considering its my first time?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AllyJanuary 27, 2016Staff

      Hi Lean,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Kindly note that is an online comparison service that does not represent any credit card issuer.

      However, you might want to take a look at the different credit card options featured on our site here. Compare the different options on the table until you find one that you think will suit your needs best. Once you’ve chosen a credit card from the table, click on the product name so that you’ll be led to its review page wherein the eligibility requirements and steps on how to apply are indicated.

      Also, you might want to read through our post about How To Apply For Your First Credit Card as you might just find it useful.

      I hope this has helped.


  7. Default Gravatar
    IvyJuly 3, 2015

    Is applying for a credit card the same as applying for medical finance?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanJuly 8, 2015Staff

      Hi Ivy, thanks for your inquiry!

      Credit card facilities and medical finance loans can be assessed from your personal credit file. Credit cards differ in the way they are used, as they provide purchase, cash withdrawal and other features. You may like to compare credit cards on this page.



  8. Default Gravatar
    sandraJune 13, 2015

    My son applied for a GO MasterCard to use at Harvey norman, it was declined. Just wondering why as he has full time work, no outstanding bills, paid both his car loan and HSBC credit way ahead of time, only has his rent and phone to pay so what went wrong?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanJune 15, 2015Staff

      Hi Sandra, thanks for your inquiry!

      Banks/lenders have individual lending policies and application requirements. It would be best to contact GO MasterCard directly to inquire further about the application.

      I hope this helps,


  9. Default Gravatar
    LeslieApril 14, 2015

    I am looking for a balance transfer card but haven’t applied yet but would like some advice to increase my chances of being accepted.

    I have an excellent credit Veda score and I own my house outright with no loans , have been at my job for almost 3 years ,but have very high credit card debt of over $X and all close to limits(due to a messy divorce).
    My salary is not very high but over $Y. I have roughly $Z in the bank.I have a housemate just move in and will be paying a small rent and half the utilities.
    My question is -it better to take some of the cash and put it towards the credit card balances before I apply so the cards so not to be almost maxed out? Or is it better to have available cash?

    I also have a small investment portfolio in the US but should I list that as it is overseas?

    thanks in advance

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JonathanApril 15, 2015Staff

      Hi Leslie, thanks for your inquiry!

      In regards to paying credit card debts, it is usually advantageous to minimise debt amounts to avoid higher interest repayments. An ideal method of consolidating credit card debt, especially on multiple cards can be a balance transfer card, more information on this type of card is available on this page. You may also like to see more information on credit records and getting your credit card application approved.



  10. Default Gravatar
    KteeJanuary 12, 2015

    The other day i had a credit card application declined. The credit card was a 12% interest free on purchases (i already have a credit card that has an interest free period but about to run out, that is also not owing anything) and i have closed one credit account before, as well as paying off a personal loan very early and having a car loan now. I earn pretty good money, and i don’t have many doubts about my credit history but for some reason i get declined? It just makes me wonder if the banks decline if they think someone has a TOO good of chance of repaying them before the interest free period is over (meaning they make no money, besides yearly fee) Extremely frustrating as it does not look good for someone who has an otherwise great history.

    • Default Gravatar
      KteeJanuary 12, 2015

      Sorry, meant to say 12 months interest free**

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethJanuary 14, 2015Staff

      Hi Ktee,

      Thanks for your comment.

      As you can see from the page above, there are various reasons why a credit card application might be declined. Card issuer’s use a variety of criteria to determine someone’s eligibility, and unfortunately it’s not always obvious why your application might not have been accepted. As you mentioned, the card application will appear on your credit file as declined so it may be worth waiting until you apply for your next card to give yourself the best chance at approval.



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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards 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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