Pensioner Credit Cards

There are many types of pensions that can be accepted by credit cards. Compare credit cards here.

0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate.
Low ongoing variable purchase interest rate of 12.74% p.a.
$99 p.a. annual fee.

Although your income as a pensioner may be limited, you can still successfully apply for a credit card as long as you choose one for which you meet the eligibility criteria. Most Australian banks have several credit cards suitable for pensioners, but the approval process may be a little more complicated than it is for someone with a regular salary.

Minimum income requirement

When applying for a credit card, one of the most important factors is minimum annual taxable income. It doesn’t matter if you are a young salaried professional or a retired pensioner: if you don’t earn more than the minimum required, you won’t get approved. The bank may need to confirm if the income is from a salary, investments, or a pension scheme. Some banks treat pensions as income, but may require a higher minimum income for pensioners or proof of secondary income besides a pension.

For most basic credit cards the minimum income required is $15,000. Most banks clearly display the minimum income required and you will also see it during your comparisons on our website. It’s important to check this detail before applying.

The point of the minimum income requirement is that banks want to make sure that you are able to repay any debt that you may incur.

Difficulties proving income

Most standard credit card applicants are salary or wage earners whose income can be verified by pay slips or by contact with an employer. Pensioners do not fit into this bracket, and will experience problems similar to the self-employed or small business owners when it comes to proving their income.

With a standard credit card applicant, banks can see a verified earned taxable income and calculate the risk incurred by extending credit to them. Pensioners, on the other hand, may need to provide statements from Centrelink establishing the amount of their fortnightly pension income, or from their accountant in the case of a superannuation pension or other income sources.

In the absence of a taxable income from a job, pensioners may be classified as a high credit risk, even though they have a regular income from their pension and, potentially, from other investments.

Alternative qualifying factors

In the absence of a substantial income, approval is more likely for applicants who own their home or have other investments, and have a good credit history with a track record of timely repayments. Applicants with a low ratio of outstanding debt to available credit are seen as lower risk. The total balance in your superannuation account, if you have one, is also likely to be taken into consideration.

Improving your chances of approval

To improve your chances of approval, you need to demonstrate that you meet the eligibility criteria. The best way to do this is to provide documents that clearly prove your income. This income could be from shares, investments, assets, rent, or from a Centrelink or superannuation pension.

Assemble your documents before you start your application, and avoid making multiple applications within a short time period, since this could damage your credit rating.

Age discrimination

There is legislation in place which prohibits age discrimination in financial services, but pensioners may still face more limited options when it comes to credit cards.

Compare credit cards in the table below to find out more about the cards you may qualify for as a pensioner. For each card, click ‘More info’ and then ‘Eligibility’, to find out if your kind of pension is regarded as qualifying income by the issuing bank. Some cards accept any of Age Pension, Disability Pension, Overseas Pension, Veteran’s Pension and Widow’s Pension, while others may exclude some or all of these pension types.

annual fee
balance transfer rate
minimum credit limit
Apply
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black Credit Card
Apply by 31 mar 19
15 reviews
120,000 bonus Qantas Points and $150 back when you spend $7,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
Earn 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent on eligible purchases up to $7,500 per statement period.
Get complimentary Overseas Travel and Medical Insurance (eligibility criteria apply) provided by QBE Insurance.
More info
Add to comparison
$425
ongoing
-
$15,000
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Credit Card
Apply by 31 jan 19
14 reviews
Save money with 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers. (Reverts to cash advance rate)
Earn 3 bonus Velocity Points on top of the standard earn rate for the first 3 months.
Half year annual fee of $64 p.a. for the first year.
More info
Add to comparison
$64
1st year
then $129
18 months
0% p.a.
then 20.99%
with a 0% fee
$6,000
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Credit Card Points Offer
Apply by 31 jan 19
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points (Spend Conditions Apply).
Save money with 0% p.a. for 18 months on balance transfers. (reverts to cash advance rate)
$129 Virgin Australia Gift Voucher which cardholders get each year.
More info
Add to comparison
$64
1st year
then $129
18 months
0% p.a.
then 20.99%
with a 0% fee
$6,000
Citi Rewards Platinum Card Balance Transfer Offer
Apply by 31 mar 19
0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
One-off 1.5% balance transfer fee applies.
Reduced annual fee of $49 p.a. in the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter).
More info
Add to comparison
$49
1st year
then $149
24 months
0% p.a.
then 21.74%
with a 1.5% fee
$6,000
0% p.a. for the first 18 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
$30
ongoing
18 months
0% p.a.
then 21.49%
with a 2% fee
$1,000
25,000 bonus Qantas points when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
Complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer membership.
Eligibility criteria, T&Cs, fees and charges apply.
More info
Add to comparison
$95
ongoing
-
$1,000
75,000 bonus Qantas points and $75 back when you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
Complimentary Qantas Frequent Flyer Membership.
Eligibility criteria, T&Cs, fees and charges apply.
More info
Add to comparison
$295
ongoing
-
$6,000
0% p.a. for the first 15 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
Low 12.49% p.a. ongoing rate on purchases.
Low annual fee of $58 p.a.
More info
Add to comparison
$58
ongoing
15 months
0% p.a.
then 21.74%
with a 0% fee
$1,000
0% p.a. for the first 18 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee on amounts transferred. Reverts to 21.49% p.a.
Up to 55 days interest free on purchases when you pay your account in full each month.
$0 annual fee for the first year (save $87).
More info
Add to comparison
$0
1st year
then $87
18 months
0% p.a.
then 21.49%
with a 2% fee
$6,000
120,000 points and $100 back when you spend $7,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
Free international travel and medical insurance.
Eligibility criteria, T&Cs, fees and charges apply.
More info
Add to comparison
$375
ongoing
-
$15,000
25,000 points when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
An easy to manage credit limit from $1,000.
Earn ANZ Rewards Points on everyday purchases.
More info
Add to comparison
$80
ongoing
-
$1,000
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Q&A's about Pensioner Credit Cards from customers

Q: What is the minimum income for a pensioner credit card?

Regardless of your income source, you will normally be required to prove that you have an annual income of at least $15,000.

Q: Are all credit cards available to pensioners?

It mostly depends on your income. If your pension is your sole source of income, your choices will definitely be more limited than they would be if you had income from employment, a business or investments, since some banks do not accept pensions as a valid type of income for some of their cards.

The other limiting factor may be the amount of your pension. Even the most basic credit cards will often have a $15,000 minimum income requirement, while prestige cards offering rewards points and other complimentary benefits may have a much higher annual income requirement.

Q: Are all credit cards suitable for pensioners?

A pensioner may be simply be looking for a low-cost option to provide a more convenient payment method than carrying cash, with the added benefit of a line of credit able to be accessed in an emergency. In this situation, the ideal card would have a low (or zero) annual fee, and preferably a low interest rate on purchases in case a short-term financial emergency arises. It would also be a good idea to compare the amount of any other fees, including late payment fees, over limit fees, foreign currency transaction fees and lost card replacement fees.

However, pensioners may also be self-funded retirees enjoying an affluent lifestyle involving travel, eating out and regular shopping trips. Their choice of card will be dictated by their circumstances and spending pattern, and they would probably be better served by a more expensive card offering rewards points and other complimentary benefits, such as travel insurance.

Q: What documents do I need to support my application?

You will need any of the following documents that apply to your situation:

  • Your most recent letter from Centrelink, stating the amount of your fortnightly pension, or bank statements showing payments received from Centrelink
  • Your most recent letter from your superannuation fund, or any other pension source, stating your pension amount and payment frequency
  • Evidence of any other assets you own, including superannuation and other investments. This may need to be confirmed by your accountant.
  • Evidence of any other income source, such as part-time employment or rental property income
Q: Should I apply for a card from the bank I currently deal with?

It may help if you have had a relationship with a particular bank for many years. The application process may be simpler because the bank has access to your financial history. However, your current bank may not be offering a card for which you qualify, or which is most suitable for your circumstances. You are not limited to applying for a credit card from your current bank.

Q: What is the minimum credit limit for pensioners?

The lowest credit limit available for most cards is $500, regardless of whether you are a pensioner or a wage earner. The card issuer will determine the level of credit they consider suitable for your financial circumstances, but you can choose to have a lower limit than the one they recommend.

Q: Can I improve my chances of approval by applying for several cards at once?

Definitely not. Apply for only one card at a time, and avoid making multiple applications within a short time period because this could damage your credit score. If your first application is rejected, contact the card issuer’s customer service department to find out if there is any further information you can provide to make them reconsider their decision. Do this before deciding to apply elsewhere, because you may be rejected again if you have not provided sufficient proof of your creditworthiness.

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