Win 1 Million Velocity Frequent Flyer Points

Credit Cards for First Timers

No idea where to begin? These cards have low fees or low interest rates and should give you a good starting point to build up your credit history.

0% p.a. for the first 16 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred. Reverts to 21.49% p.a.
Low Annual fee.
Up to 44 Days Interest Free on purchases when you pay your account in full each month.
minimum credit limit
purchase rate
annual fee
apply
0% p.a. for the first 16 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred. Reverts to 21.49% p.a.
Low Annual fee.
Up to 44 days interest free on purchases when you pay your account in full each month.
More info
Add to comparison
$1,000
19.74% p.a.
ongoing
$30
ongoing
The American Express Essential® Credit Card
4 reviews
Receive a $50 credit when you apply online, are approved and spend $750 on your new Card within the first 3 months. Conditions apply.
Smartphone Screen Insurance for up to $500 for screen repairs to your Smartphone (Conditions apply)
Works with Apple Pay.
More info
Add to comparison
$2,000
14.99% p.a.
ongoing
$0
ongoing
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard
APPLY BY 30 apr 17
76 reviews
$50 off one Coles Supermarket shop if you apply and are approved by 30th April 2017. New customers only, use promo code 'promo1’.
Earn 1 flybuys point for every $2 spent – everywhere, everyday.^
No annual fee to pay, ever.
More info
Add to comparison
$500
19.99% p.a.
ongoing
$0
ongoing
HSBC Low Rate Credit Card
APPLY BY 30 jun 17
Enjoy 0% p.a. for 15 months on balances transferred to your new card.
A low 13.25% p.a. purchase rate.
Access to exclusive offers and privileges through the Home&Away; Privilege Program.
More info
Add to comparison
$1000
13.25% p.a.
ongoing
$55
ongoing
NAB Low Rate Card
APPLY BY 31 may 17
76 reviews
0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Make purchases with NAB’s lowest interest rate card and longest interest-free period.
Low $59 p.a. annual fee.
More info
Add to comparison
$500
13.99% p.a.
ongoing
$59
ongoing
St.George Vertigo Visa
APPLY BY 01 may 17
27 reviews
0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
Cheap ongoing purchase interest rate of 13.24% p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases.
More info
Add to comparison
$1,000
6 months
0% p.a.
then 13.24%
$55
ongoing
$0 p.a. Annual fee for the first year, then $30 p.a.
An easy to manage credit limit from $500 will mean you can’t build up a lot of debt.
Manage your account on the go 24/7 with ANZ’s goMoney app.
More info
Add to comparison
$500
19.74% p.a.
ongoing
$0
1st year
then $30
0% p.a. for the first 16 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee. Reverts to 21.74% p.a.
Low 12.49% p.a. ongoing rate on purchases.
Low Annual fee of $58 p.a.
More info
Add to comparison
$1,000
12.49% p.a.
ongoing
$58
ongoing
Westpac Low Rate Credit Card
APPLY BY 28 jun 17
42 reviews
0% p.a. interest on purchases for up to 6 months.
0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers.
No balance transfer fee.
More info
Add to comparison
$500
6 months
0% p.a.
then 13.49%
$59
ongoing
Coles Low Rate Mastercard
APPLY BY 30 apr 17
22 reviews
$50 off one Coles Supermarket shop if you apply and are approved by 30th April 2017. New customers only, use promo code 'promo1’.
Low ongoing purchase rate of 12.99% p.a.
Low annual fee of $49 p.a.
More info
Add to comparison
$500
12.99% p.a.
ongoing
$49
ongoing
NAB Low Fee Card
APPLY BY 31 may 17
57 reviews
0% p.a. on balance transfers for 18 months.
Low $30 p.a. ongoing annual fee.
Complimentary purchase protection insurance.
More info
Add to comparison
$500
19.74% p.a.
ongoing
$30
ongoing
Show more cards

Q&As about Credit Cards for First Timers from Customers

Q: What is a credit card?

A credit card allows you to borrow money from your bank to make purchases.

Q: What do I need to know?

There are a few things,

Application Assessment

When you apply for a credit card, the bank will need to take into consideration a few things before they approve your application. They want to know what job(s) have you had in the past, how much money you earn per year, whether you are a student or pensioner, your credit history and so on.

Credit limit

Think of it like Internet bandwidth. When you apply for the credit card, you can request a limit of how much you would like to borrow or the bank will do so based on your income. For example, if you are a student, you probably only need a credit card with a low 'maximum credit limit’. This limits how much you can spend a month.

Purchase rate

This percentage is applied to all your spending on the card, like buying groceries or buying things for yourself! If a credit card has a low purchase rate, this is an attractive offer.

Cash advance rate

The cash advance rate is the interest rate that is applied to the amount that you withdraw. Usually it is around 20% p.a. which is not cheap. And unlike making a normal purchase, the cash advance interest rate is applied to the amount straightaway – which means there’s no 55 days interest free days.

Balance transfer

A balance transfer is when one bank pays off the outstanding debt at your old bank and transfers it to a new account with them. Since this is likely your first credit card, there is no need for a balance transfer from another credit card. However, you may be interested in transferring a balance from a personal loan, which is something that some of these cards can facilitate.

Q: Why do I need a credit card?

A couple of reasons why.

Convenience

Being able to pay for purchases using a credit card instead of cash is convenient, especially with the option to pay via Apple Pay or Android Pay.

Cash flow control
Being able to put lots of payments onto a card to then pay it all off in 44 or 55 days really helps to smooth out short term cash flow issues.

Building your credit score

Even though there are multiple ways to build your credit score, this is by far the fastest way. If you want to buy a home someday, getting a credit card, using it and paying it off helps. This will build a good credit score within the year.

Safety net

Let’s be honest, life most of the time is unpredictable. Credit cards sound like a taboo subject, but if you are smart, it can be a lifesaver. Travelling overseas, your car needs to get fixed or your pay has not cleared in time, use your card in the meantime but remember to pay it back as soon as your funds come in.

Q: How can I know what is the right card for me?

For someone who has never dabbled in credit cards before, or knows very little about borrowing money. here a few things to look for!

Low minimum credit limit

For your first card, you don’t want to bite off more you can chew. Grab yourself a card with a low credit limit so you don’t go overboard.

Low purchase rate, or 0% for a period of time

You want to make purchases, but you don’t want to be in tremendous debt! Finding a card with a low purchase rate is a good step in the right direction.

Low, or no annual fee

You don’t want to pay a fee every year for your card, do you? See if you can find a card with no annual fee or at least a low one!

Trust other banks

We have a wide selection of cards and offers from banks and other financial institutions. If you are with a certain bank, don’t be scared to try a new bank if they have the best offer as it could save you a lot of money.

Read the onsite reviews!

Other people have selected with these cards before, see what they think about when comparing. If they align with what your needs are, then your golden!

Q: What is a no annual fee card?

No annual fee credit cards are a great choice for people who want to reserve their card for emergencies; those who spend regularly but always pay their monthly balance in full; or cardholders who do not require the extra features associated with credit cards with annual fees.

There are different types of no annual fee credit card, so make sure the one you apply for best1 suited to your personal needs. ‘No annual fee for life’ cards have no annual fee for as long as the account is open. This may seem like the most attractive offer, but you should always check the terms and conditions to see if there are any other extra charges applied to the card. Other cards feature no annual fee for an introductory period such as the first year. The best1 cards feature a low fee when the promotion expires. When searching for a card with no annual fee always compare how the lack of a fee is balanced with low interest rates on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers and other features to find the best1 deal. It may work out cheaper for you to pay a small annual fee and lock in a low interest rate.

Q: How closely will the banks look at my credit card application?

All banks and credit card lenders will check out your personal financial situation in order to figure out if you should be approved or not. They want to make a decision that is fair, transparent and works out best for you. The bank will want to verify your age to make sure you are over 18 years old, verify your income, check your residency status, and also check your credit rating to calculate how likely you are going to repay your card each month. Some banks have stricter credit rating scorecards and require you to have no history of bad credit. Make sure you check the eligibility criteria for the credit card you’re interested in before you apply.

Q: What should students look for in a new card?

Studying at university can be one of the most exciting times of your life, but also one of the most financially challenging as you learn to manage your own money, often on a tight budget. A student credit card can be a useful tool in managing your finances and covering the expenses of studying such as books, field trips and the everyday costs of accommodation and food. Many Australian credit card providers offer cards aimed at students – finding the best1 one for you is a case of comparing the cards’ key features.

Student credit cards should feature low interest rates and a low (or preferably no) annual fee. The application qualifications should have low criteria for minimum income since students are unlikely to be earning big salaries during their studies and typically haven’t had time to build up a credit history. The card should also have a low credit limit so monthly payments are more manageable and you can avoid getting into debt. If you are a student and are concerned about getting into debt, the best1 choice for you could be a prepaid card or debit card, both of which give you the peace of mind that you only spending your own money.

More comparisons like this one

Still need help? Ask us a question

Fire away
We welcome your questions but we cannot help if you need personal financial advice or if have lost your card or need to resolve a dispute with your bank.
"Now I’m saving loads of moola thanks to Credit Card Compare."
Trevor Kirk
"Not too complicated for a credit card novice to understand."
Dom Fell
"Very helpful for those who want to choose the best credit card."
Yash Kapoor
as seen in
Compare these cards:
Win 1 Million Velocity Frequent Flyer Points
ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN