Ask Pauline a Question

Hi, I’m a personal finance expert who loves to help you out! I’ll answer your question within a business day. Pinky swear.

We ask for your email so we can respond to you directly. We won’t share your personal data. For more information, see our privacy policy.

Smart Money

Credit Cards for Pensioners

Last updated

Update: BCU have confirmed to us that they accept pensioners on their credit card products. Please note: You must be a permanent Australian resident or citizen and not have any outstanding defaults, judgements or an un-discharged bankruptcy or have only been un-discharged from bankruptcy for less than 2 years.

If you’ve yet to retire, you probably haven’t thought much about how finishing up work might change how lenders look at you. Or, you might be a retiree who’s already discovering the issues with getting approval as a pensioner.

We chatted to four of the major banks in Australia (the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, St George and NAB) to find out their take on the matter. We wanted to find out whether these banks offer credit cards to pensioners, and what you as a pensioner could do to boost your chances of getting approved.

What’s the problem?

Before we look at ways to increase your chances of approval, we’ll take a quick look at why you might find it difficult to get approved. As a pensioner, you don’t fit the salary-earning mould of standard applicants. With those applicants, credit providers can easily see how much they earn, and work out how risky it would be to provide them with a credit card.

If you’re a pensioner, some credit providers may think of you as a high risk applicant. They may not take into account the income you earn from super or elsewhere, and would only see the risk that you may not be able to pay back your credit card spending and interest.

Smart Tip

Not a pensioner? Check out our resources page to find credit cards that suit YOUR lifestyle.

Best Credit Cards for Pensioners

Despite legislation that prohibits age discrimination, pensioners can often be restricted as to what personal finance they are considered for. Sometimes, it’s not a question of what is the best credit card for pensioners, but rather, what is available.

So, how do you find the right credit card for you? One of the most important things to think about when applying for a credit card is the minimum income requirement. This will tell you the minimum amount you should earn each year in order to be eligible for that card.

Whether that income comes from a salary or a pension shouldn’t usually concern the credit card provider, as long as you can show that you’ll be able to repay your credit card spending and any interest that accrues.

After consulting with a representative of four major Australian banks – Commonwealth Bank, St George, Westpac and National Australian Bank – CreditCard.com.au has discovered that, even without income from employment, it’s entirely possible for a pensioner to apply for a credit card.

Many low interest rate cards only require a minimum income of $15,000, so it could be worthwhile checking your options when comparing credit cards. Where it’s available, we list the minimum income requirement underneath each card featured on creditcard.com.au, so you can see which cards carry a low income requirement without too much hassle.

Applying for a credit card as a pensioner

If you want to improve your chances of being approved, you will need to prove that you are eligible. First up, be able to provide documentation that proves your income. This could be income from super, from investments and shares, from assets, or from the government.

If you own your own home and have a good credit history, it may also be easier to get approved. Try speaking to your own bank to see what they can offer you. They may be more willing to offer you credit if you have been a long-standing customer and they understand your situation.

In order to improve your chances of approval, it’s a good idea to do some research into which card providers are willing to lend to pensioners. You may find it easier to get approval from a smaller bank or a credit union, so be sure to take into account those options when comparing credit cards.

And the bigger banks? Here’s what they had to say.

Commonwealth Bank

The Commonwealth Bank told us that they have a “no age discrimination” policy. Eligibility is decided on a case-by-case basis to determine whether or not the pensioner applying for the card will be able to “manage” paying off the card.

CommBank says it considers various factors when assessing a credit card application, including income, assets and liabilities. According to the spokesperson, CommBank offers a selection of credit cards catering to the needs to the pensioner, and an application can be made for a credit card with the Commonwealth Bank online, over the phone, or by visiting the branch.

Similar to the other big banks, CommBank often runs online promotions, such as cashback or vouchers, or an introductory rate on purchases or balance transfers. It is worth monitoring the comparison tables to find out more about which offers are available and when.

St George

St George stressed the importance of the pensioner’s ability to afford repayments. “We seek to lend only what our customers can afford to repay,” the St George spokesperson told us.

With strict consideration criteria, St George Bank takes into account the applicant’s credit score by conducting credit check, and does an affordability verification to make a full assessment of the applicant’s ability to repay. This applies to all of St George’s customers and not just pensioners, which suggests pensioners applying for St George credit cards receive equal treatment in their applications.

The following St George credit cards each have a low minimum income requirement:

Westpac

Westpac offers the Westpac Low Rate Credit Card as an option for pensioners, with a minimum income requirement of $15,000 p.a.

Applicants who meet the card’s eligibility criteria may want to go into a branch to speak to a teller, or apply online or over the phone.

National Australia Bank

Like the Commonwealth Bank, NAB adopts a “no age discrimination” policy, and a pensioner’s ability to obtain a NAB credit card is based on his or her assets. NAB said that there is a range of NAB cards that can cater to the needs of each retiree, as well as two rewards credit cards for the pensioner wishing to travel.

With two programs that specifically cater to the travelling pensioner – the Velocity Program and the Qantas Frequent Flyer Program – pensioner applicants can choose from a MasterCard or Visa, and an Amex, with each card offering different points-earning potential. Applying for NAB credit cards can be done online, over the phone or by visiting a branch.

ANZ Bank

ANZ do not offer specific credit card products for pensioners, but pensioners may be eligible to apply for an ANZ credit card if they have an annual income of at least $15,000. This works out at $1250 per month. The following ANZ credit cards each have a minimum income requirement of $15,000 p.a.:

Related Articles

Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards

Best Balance Transfer Offers

Conditionally Approved Credit Cards

No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Cut back on unnecessary credit card spending

Pauline

Pauline Hatch

Pauline is a personal finance expert at CreditCard.com.au, with 8 years in money, budgeting and property reporting under her belt. Pauline is passionate about seeing Aussies win by making their money – and their credit cards – work smarter, harder and bigger.

Recently Asked Questions

Something you need to know about this card? Ask our credit card expert a question.

Ask Pauline a Question

Hi, I’m a personal finance expert who loves to help you out! I’ll answer your question within a business day. Pinky swear.

We ask for your email so we can respond to you directly. We won’t share your personal data. For more information, see our privacy policy.

30 comments (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Troy

Troy

30 June 2022
I was just rejected from Commbank for a no interest credit card $3000, apparently I don’t meet the criteria. I’m on the disability support pension $19,500 p.a. I save $800 per month and they said that I don’t earn enough money. I’ve been a loyal customer with the Commbank over 25 years, I don’t have any debt. I think I have to change banks because they are not allowing me to get a credit card
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    1 July 2022
    Hi Troy, thanks for sharing your story.
Kon

Kon

23 June 2022
I’m disbilility payment can I get a credit card with Anz
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    23 June 2022
    Hi Kon, this will come down to many factors. Your income, your debt to income ratio, your serviceability, your credit report among many things determined by ANZ. If you’re like to know what the required annual income is for a range of lower income cards, we’ve researched them online. Read our reviews and compare cards side by side to make an informed choice.
john Sherry

john Sherry

1 February 2022
My friend is a 75 years old pensioner and has been a widow for a few months. She has never had a credit card as she used to use her late husband's card. Can she get a low cost credit card?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    2 February 2022
    Hi John, thanks for your question. Here at CreditCard.com.au we’re an information service and not in a position to comment. Your friend should definitely chat with their banking provider to discuss their finance options.
Coral Smith

Coral Smith

31 January 2022
I have a low rate credit card $18000 with ANZ I want to transfer to lower rate elsewhere hopefully no transfer fee and get rid of it asap.... I have a Citibank card balance about $800 can pay out immediately .. AMEX Qantas Express Premium nothing owing .... own half share in my home valued at $800,000 recently ... am on single pension $960 fortnight own my vehicle have total private hospital medical what would you recommend I try and transfer to I approached ANZ for a lower rate they said NO
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    4 February 2022
    Hi Coral, we can’t recommend one card or another to you. Balance transfer cards generally have a percentage cap on how much you transfer. This is around 80% but can go as high as 95%. You’ll need to factor this in when comparing credit cards. We’ve written a guide on how to deal with credit card rejection and it contains a few tips to help maximise your chances. Hope this has helped!
Clint McCaw

Clint McCaw

16 January 2022
I keep applying for credit cards and getting declined even if it’s the smallest ammount of $1000 but they don’t give me a reason why or if im doing anything wrong
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    17 January 2022
    Hi Clint, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. Different cards have different eligibility requirements which should be met. There are also other criteria that banks have that are not published. Please also know that each application for credit is a hard pull on your credit file, which may pull your score down. If you apply for a card then get rejected it will damage your score too, and we’ve got a guide on what to do if that happens. We wish you all the luck in building your credit file up!!
Elizabeth

Elizabeth

11 December 2021
Can I get a credit card for me
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    15 December 2021
    Hi Elizabeth, if you’re looking to get a credit card, you can check out our comparison table of the different cards above, each with different options. You’ll need to figure out what you’ll use the card for. If you want rewards, a lower interest rate, cash back or just an everyday credit card. If you like a few, you can click the Save Card option on those cards so you can compare them side by side or read our expert reviews. Happy card hunting!
Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas

3 December 2021
Needing to borrow $1500 for travel in 2 weeks urgent can you help me
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    7 December 2021
    Hi again Kim, I would suggest calling Latitude directly on 1800 800 230 to see if a limit increase is possible.
John Mervyn Cattell

John Mervyn Cattell

2 September 2021
Hi. Is there a credit card available for a pensioner with only age Pension income. Kind Regards John Cattell
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    3 September 2021
    Hi John, thank you for reaching out. Whilst we can comment specifically on any of the approval criteria for any of the banks mentioned above, check out the information posted around ANZ. Remember to make sure you check all the criteria before applying. Best of luck with your search!
Matthew Charles dewar

Matthew Charles dewar

16 July 2021
wheres application that just filled out
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    19 July 2021
    Hi Matthew thanks for writing. I suggest reaching out to the bank directly with regard to the application you have filled out.
Bob

Bob

14 July 2021
WTF are you doing telling people to apply for a credit card they will not be approved for. AND each rejected applications is recorded against their credit rating which affects all future financial transactions. I have been through this many times with ALL the banks and credit unions. I have 5 bank accounts (debit cards) but not them or any others will give me a credit card. ONLY Amex will give people who are not working a credit card - AMEX ONLY.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    14 July 2021
    Hi Bob, thank you for taking the time to leave us a comment. We appreciate all insights into the credit card landscape in Australia. When it comes to applying for a credit card as a pensioner, it’s worth noting that there are no specific differences between how banks see applicants. As long as you meet the banks' requirements for application you can apply. You’ll need to provide statements of your accounts and Centrelink statements alongside. Some institutions also require the details of your accountant too. Thanks again for your feedback!
Tracey

Tracey

10 June 2021
I have recently applied for two credit cards from two of the big four banks you listed. I am on a carers pension and also receive income from another source but I have been rejected both times without explanation. What can I do?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    10 June 2021
    Hi Tracey, thanks for the question and I’m sorry to hear about it. There are a lot of reasons why your application may have been declined - from card’s eligibility, your credit file to your income requirements. Each application for credit is also deemed a liability by the banks. If you’re interested, you can read about some tips we share in our article What To Do When Your Credit Card Application Is Declined.
Janet

Janet

3 June 2021
I am a pensioner and am thinking of applying for a credit card as nearly everything these days needs to be paid online. I am a long time NAB customer so am interested in the NAB Low Rate card. Will I be able to make payments online (eg for a deposit for a hotel booking)? And is it safe to do that. I have never had a credit card so am new to what you can or cannot do with them.
Darren

Darren

2 May 2021
I'm want to be approved for a credit card I'm on the disibility support pension
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    4 May 2021
    Hi Darren, a good place to start would be to call the institutions on this page and discuss your options with them directly. Thanks for your comment!
Michael archer

Michael archer

18 February 2021
Why do you say Nab does not discriminate against pensioners, when one of the rules is they don’t class a pension as a wage. So they carnt help pensioners.
Bethany

Bethany

25 December 2020
Hi, what banks offer credit card to pensioners? Centerlink only income.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    25 December 2020
    Hi Bathany, I would have a go with a card like the ANZ or NAB Low Rate. You need to be able to meet affordability regulations. That is, have extra money available to make payments on the card. Make sure you have paid all your bills on time for at least 2 years. Positive bank balance for that period also is a good sign.

Featured Balance Transfer Credit Cards

HSBC Platinum Credit Card – 0% Balance Transfer Offer

9 reviews
$0 saved over 36 months

Coles Low Rate Mastercard

8 reviews
$0 saved over 36 months

ANZ Low Rate Credit Card – 0% Balance Transfer

61 reviews
$0 saved over 30 months

Featured Rewards Credit Cards

11 reviews
points earned over 12 months

26 reviews
points earned over 12 months
Help us improve

By submitting this feedback you agree to our privacy policy.

My credit card is not listed

By submitting this form you agree to our privacy policy.