Low Income Credit Cards

Compare credit cards suitable for low-income earners, featuring minimal income requirements combined with low interest rates.

By   |   Updated 10 Apr 2024

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Comparing low income credit cards

Bankwest Zero Mastercard

On website

Highlights

  • Avoid annual fees for the duration of card ownership.
  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on transferred balances (with a 3% balance transfer fee). Returns to 14.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • Offer exclusive to new customers for a limited time. Additional fees and charges, as well as terms and conditions, apply.

Pros

  • There is no annual fee for as long as you keep the card.
  • The current balance transfer offer is extremely competitive.
  • Interest on purchases is comparatively low.

Cons

  • Balance transfers incur a one-off fee.
  • You cannot earn credit card points.
Bankwest Breeze Mastercard

On website

Highlights

  • Benefit from 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 12 months (with a 2% BT fee, then 12.99% p.a.).
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases (returning to 12.99% p.a.).
  • Enjoy up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
  • Exclusive offer for new customers for a limited time. Additional charges, as well as terms and conditions, apply.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 12 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases.
  • Up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.

Cons

  • There are no rewards on this card.
  • There is a 2% BT fee.
Qantas American Express Discovery Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Acquire 1.75 Qantas Points on eligible Qantas products and services.
  • Earn 0.75 Qantas Point for every $1 spent on Card purchases, except for spending at government bodies in Australia, where you will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent.
  • Enjoy no annual card fee.
  • Obtain up to 4 Additional Cards for family members or friends with no extra fee.

Pros

  • Ongoing $0 annual fee, a rarity among rewards credit cards.
  • Earn 0.75 Qantas points per $1 spent and 0.5 Qantas points per $1 for government spend.
  • No cap on the number of points you can earn.
  • Add up to 4 additional cards for family members or friends with no extra fee.
  • Complimentary Card Purchase Cover and Card Refund Cover.

Cons

  • There is a 3% foreign transaction fee.
  • Lacks complimentary travel insurance.
  • There is no access to a concierge service.
American Express Velocity Escape Card

On website

Highlights

  • Acquire Velocity Points while benefiting from a $0 annual card fee.
  • Points accrued on your card seamlessly transfer to your Velocity account monthly and are redeemable for various rewards such as flights, lodging, car rentals, gift cards, and beyond.
  • Earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent, except for transactions with Australian government entities, where you'll earn 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent.

Pros

  • No annual fee, but still earn points.
  • Earn 1.75 Velocity Points per $1 spent on purchases with Virgin Australia.
  • Get 0.5 points per $1 when paying tax to the ATO using the card.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases when the previous balance has been cleared in full.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with complimentary travel insurance.
  • No complimentary lounge access.
  • No access to the concierge service.
  • There is no balance transfer offer for this card.
St.George Vertigo Visa

On website

Apply by 31 July 2024

St.George Vertigo Visa

Highlights

  • Benefit from a 28-month 0% interest period on Balance Transfers, accompanied by a 1% balance transfer fee. Afterwards, it switches to a cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Enjoy a low variable interest rate of 13.99% p.a. on purchases.
  • The annual fee remains low at $55 p.a.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Westpac Low Rate Cashback Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Get up to $350 cashback when you apply online by 31 July 2024. Receive a $50 cashback monthly for spending over $1,000 in the first 7 statement periods.
  • Enjoy a low ongoing 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • Annual fee of $59 p.a. applies.

Pros

  • Get up to $350 cashback when you meet the criteria.
  • Low 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • $500 minimum credit limit.

Cons

  • No rewards program although there is a cashback offer.
  • No complimentary travel insurance.
NAB Low Rate Card

On website

Highlights

  • Experience 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 32 months with no balance transfer fee. Reverting to a variable cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a. after the promotional period.
  • Initial $0 annual card fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter).
  • Receive a response within 60 seconds.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 32 months.
  • No balance transfer fee.
  • The waived annual fee for the first year.
  • Additional credit card is free.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
  • No insurance coverage.
NAB StraightUp Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Obtain the latest credit card from NAB - straightforward, affordable, and above all, interest-free!
  • No Use, No Pay. Should your NAB StraightUp credit card remain unused throughout the entire statement period, the monthly fee will be reimbursed. No unexpected charges!
  • Utilize your card for foreign currency transactions and relish in zero foreign transaction fees!
  • Consistent fixed minimum payments determined by your credit limit, providing you with assurance of monthly payment amounts.

Pros

  • Charges a monthly fee based on your selected credit limit.
  • The monthly fee will be reversed if you do not have any outstanding balance or purchase.
  • No interest charges or other fees, including foreign currency fees and late payment fees.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
  • No balance transfers or cash advances.
St.George No Annual Fee Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • No annual fee requirement for the duration of card ownership.
  • Experience up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • Benefit from a low minimum credit limit.

Pros

  • No annual fee for life.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free.
  • As low $500 credit limit.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
  • Ongoing rates are not low.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

On website

Apply by 31 July 2024

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 28 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with 1% balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Low annual fee of $55 p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

On website

Apply by 31 July 2024

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Highlights

  • Receive up to $400 cashback on your supermarket purchase or benefit from 0% interest for 28 months on Balance Transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to a cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Enjoy a low variable interest rate of 13.99% p.a. on purchases.
  • 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Pros

  • Get 10% cashback on your supermarket shop or 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
ANZ Low Rate Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • Select from these 2 introductory deals: 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with a 2% balance transfer fee (then reverts to 21.24% p.a.), or receive $250 cash back upon spending $1,500 within the initial 3 months from approval. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • First-year annual fee waived ($58 subsequently).
  • Continuous low rate of 12.49% p.a. on purchases.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days interest-free on purchases by settling your account completely each month.

Pros

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers up to 28 months or earn $250 cash back.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter).
  • Take advantage of the low purchase interest rate of 12.49% p.a.
  • Add up to 3 additional cardholders at no extra cost.

Cons

  • No purchase or travel insurance included.
  • No rewards program.
Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

On website

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee for the lifetime of the card.
  • Transfer balance at 0% p.a. for 12 months on balance transfers (reverts to 20.99% p.a.).
  • 0% p.a. for 12 months on purchases (reverts to 18.99% p.a.).

Pros

  • No annual fee ever.
  • 0% p.a. interest rate for up to 12 months on balance transfers and purchases.
  • Up to 4 additional cards, also with $0 annual fee.

Cons

  • The revert interest rates for balance transfers and purchases are relatively high.

If you are on a low income, it's unlikely the cards you'll qualify for will earn rewards or have travel benefits. Features to look for include a manageable credit limit, low interest rates and low fees — ideally none for the likes of a late payment.

"Before applying for a credit card, check what its eligibility criteria are. Where possible, we try and make it clear how much income is required to be eligible on Credit Card Compare. The more features a card has like earning rewards, travel insurance, and lounge access, the higher the minimum income tends to be. Do not risk applying until you know you earn enough to qualify and that you can prove it. If in doubt, contact the issuer first, confirm how much income is needed, check your credit report, and then apply."
David Boyd
CEO at Credit Card Compare

Key features of low income credit cards

  • Lower credit limits: Low income credit cards generally have lower credit limits than standard credit cards. This helps cardholders manage their spending within their financial means.
  • Basic features: Low income credit cards may offer basic features such as online account management and fraud protection.
  • Opportunity to build credit: By using a low income credit card responsibly, individuals can build a positive credit history, which can be beneficial for future finance applications.

Benefits of low income credit cards

  • Financial inclusion: Low income credit cards promote financial inclusion by providing access to credit for individuals with limited incomes.
  • Credit building: Responsible use of a low income credit card can help individuals establish or improve their credit score. This is critical for getting a regular credit card or for applying for various types of loans.
  • Financial management: These cards can assist individuals in managing their finances and covering unexpected expenses and emergencies.

"Getting a credit card isn't just useful for everyday spending. It can be used to build up your credit score. Having a good credit score is important because it opens the door to a range of financial opportunities in the future such as buying a car or home."
David Boyd
CEO at Credit Card Compare

What to consider when choosing a low income credit card

  • Interest rates: Compare the interest rates of different low income credit cards to understand the cost of borrowing. Allowing a balance to build up is best avoided, but if you do need to use the credit facility, a lower rate is better.
  • Fees: Consider the annual fees, late payment fees, and other charges associated with the card. The lower they are the better off you will be as a card user.
  • Rewards and benefits: Very few credit cards for low income offer rewards or benefits despite the lower income threshold. If they do, the earn rate per dollar spent is likely to be on the low end.
  • Credit limit: Assess whether the credit limit offered meets your financial needs without encouraging overspending.

How to apply for a low income credit card

  • Research: Compare different low income credit card options available on the market.
  • Check eligibility: Ensure you meet the minimum income requirements specified by the card issuer.
  • Check your credit report: Look for recent late payments that may influence the bank's decision.
  • Gather documents: Prepare necessary documents such as proof of income and identification.
  • Submit application: Complete the application process online or in person, providing accurate information.
  • Look out for follow up requests: The bank may need to speak with you to clarify details or need more documentation.

Help choosing a low income credit card

What you need to know about applying for a credit card on a lower income.

  • FAQs

  • Pros & cons

Can you build credit with a low income credit card?

Using a credit card responsibly by making timely payments can help you build a positive credit history, regardless of your income level.

Can you increase the credit limit on a low income credit card?

It is possible for your credit card's credit limit to increase. To do so, you'll need to demonstrate responsible usage by making timely payments and maintaining a good credit history for a period of time first. Contact your card issuer to inquire about the process.

Can you get a credit card on a low income?

Yes, it is possible to get approved for a credit card with a low income. However, the range of credit cards available is smaller and those that are available are unlikely to have many of the additional benefits offered on higher level credit cards.

Can you get a credit card without proof of income?

No. You'll need to be able to prove your income, even if it is from a casual job. What's acceptable as proof of income may vary, but includes payslips, bank statements, tax returns, accounts, and a letter from your employer. A bank may need more than one form of proof.

Pros

Accessibility

Even with a lower income, you can access credit cards designed to be more affordable, offering low fees or competitive interest rates. This makes it easier to manage your finances without high costs.

Credit building

Timely repayments on these cards can positively impact your credit history, paving the way for better financial opportunities in the future.

Financial management

A low-income credit card can serve as a budgeting and financial discipline tool, helping to track spending and manage expenses effectively.

Cons

Debt risk

The ease of access to credit can lead to debt accumulation, especially if repayments are not managed carefully. High interest rates on missed payments can exacerbate this issue.

Potential high fees

Despite being targeted at lower-income individuals, some cards have significant fees, diminishing their affordability.

Limited choices

Your selection of credit cards may be restricted due to income requirements, potentially excluding you from cards with more attractive rewards or lower interest rates.

Credit score impact

Missing payments or applying for multiple cards quickly can harm your credit score, affecting future creditworthiness and access to financial products.