Even if you are on a low income, there are various credit cards available that have relatively low criteria on income, as well as low interest rates.
Low income credit cards allow Australians who have small annual earnings to enjoy the benefits of using a credit card such as online purchases and bookings, and also allow access to extra funds to pay for bills and other everyday expenses. You’ll find all the best deals from Australia’s banks on our simple comparison table, so you can check out all the relevant rates, fees, balance transfers and rewards, and find a card to suit your lifestyle. You can also discover the minimum income required to apply for each credit card, and discover tips on how to improve your chances of getting approved.
Firstly, you should try to find a card with a low purchase rate, so any balance remaining on your account at the end of the month isn’t accruing too much debt. While you should always aim to pay the balance in full, a card with a low interest rate helps keep the cost down when you are unable to pay the full amount.
The annual fee is another important consideration; ideally, you should find a card with a low or no annual fee. No annual fee cards are typically quite basic, but are sometimes balanced with a higher interest rate – check that the rate doesn’t negate the savings of having no annual charge.
If you already have a credit card with a debt that you are trying to clear, you should look for a card with the option of a low interest rate balance transfer. This gives you a period in which to move the balance to a new credit card and repay with less interest, thus helping improve your finances.
You should also consider the credit limit, the maximum amount the bank lets you borrow. If you are on a low income it’s best to opt for a low credit limit as this makes managing your card easier and reduces the risk of getting into debt.
Banks want to examine your income, expenses, debts and other financial circumstances before deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. This is so they can be sure that you can afford to use the card and are not at a high risk of default. The restriction on minimum earnings also helps you in that it ensures you get a credit card that suits your income, and offers some protection from getting into too much debt. You may also discover that you earn enough to qualify for a more prestigious credit card with extra features and benefits better suited to your lifestyle.
Most banks request a minimum annual income in order to ensure that you will be able to keep up-to-date with monthly payments, but the minimum yearly income varies greatly. For a standard credit card the minimum annual income required is often $15,000 to $20,000 for basic cards, rising to $30,000 to $40,000 for standard cards with more features and rewards. It’s easy to find out the minimum income on the deals presented on our comparison table.
Once you’ve found the credit card that suits you, simply click the 'Application’ button and start the quick and easy online application process. Once completed, many banks will give you an answer within 60 seconds, and if you qualify your new card will arrive by post in a few days’ time.
The best thing to do is to be honest. The bank can cross-reference your details so be accurate with what you fill in, especially things like your income and monthly debt repayments. There are a number of other ways you can greatly improve you chances of getting approved:
Get your finances and debts in shape: Banks examine your finances when you apply for a credit card, paying particular attention to your credit rating and current debt ratio (your total debts: annual income) to see if you can afford to borrow and repay credit. You should also study all your finances, income and expenses to see if there’s anyway you can improve the situation, perhaps trying to pay off some debt before applying. It’s also worth getting an annual credit report and checking there are no mistakes hindering your application.
Make a joint application: If you live with a spouse or partner, it may be possible top make a joint credit card application, combining your total income to meet the bank’s requirements. Obviously, this means that you are both be responsible for repaying the balance on the credit card.
Open a bank account: If you can demonstrate that you can manage a checking or savings account responsibly, you improve your credit rating and the bank is more likely to approve your application.
Earn more money: If you don’t earn enough money to qualify for a credit card it may be the case that you simply need to increase your income. This could be working overtime, trying for a promotion, getting an extra job or even starting a small business outside of your usual work.
Consider a debit card: A debit card is a good option for people on low incomes who are unable to qualify for a credit card, offering all the convenience but without the risk of getting into debt. Debit cards are linked directly to the your bank account so you can only spend money you actually already have rather than borrowing from the bank.
Yes. If you manage your spending wisely (don’t spend more than you can afford) and make your monthly payments on time, you can establish a better credit rating over time.