Low Income Credit Cards

Pauline Hatch     

Some credit card providers include a minimum income in their eligibility requirements. It might be $35,000 per year all the way up to $75,000. If you don’t earn enough, your application will probably be rejected. So, what can you do if you have a low income but need a credit card?

Low income credit cards are a great answer, because they have much lower income requirements and are designed specifically for people with lower salary. You'll just need to meet the card's other eligibility requirements.

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Why do you need to provide your income when applying?

When you apply for credit – whether it's a credit card, personal loan, home loan or any other form of credit – the provider needs to know you'll be able to pay back the money you borrow. One way they check is by assessing your credit history. This tells the provider how well – or badly – you may have dealt with credit in the past.

The credit card provider will usually check your employment status as well as your income. This tells them whether you will have the means to repay any outstanding balance you accumulate. An unstable job history is a red flag for providers that you might not be able to pay back your credit debt, making you high-risk.

What is a low income credit card?

Low income credit cards can provide lower-salary earners with access to credit. With these cards, card providers tend to be more lenient, allowing applicants to be approved even if they have lower annual earnings. While other eligibility requirements must be met, you could be approved for one of these cards with annual earnings under $25,000.

Why would you choose a low income credit card?

First and foremost, a low income credit card provides access to credit. Helping to ease your cashflow, a credit card can help you cover purchases that you may not be able to pay for upfront, and then pay them off before interest starts accruing.

Having a low income credit card could also help you build your credit. If you have a few blips on your credit file, you might be hoping to rebuild your credit by acting responsibly. Credit cards help to do that, as long as you spend within your means, and clear your credit card balance each month so you don't have any debt.

Of course, you might be looking for a low income credit card because you have no other option with other types of credit cards. You might not get all the rewards and perks of other types of credit cards, but a low income card can still give you the chance to build a credit score, keep for emergencies and use for little day-to-day purchases when needed.

What does a low income credit card have to offer?

  • Lower minimum income requirements: A low income credit card is designed for applicants who have a lower annual income. If you have an annual income between $15,000 and $25,000, you might be approved for a low income credit card.
  • Low annual fee: Low income credit cards tend to have low annual fees. This can help you to save money year-to-year, but usually come with fewer features. Keep an eye out for promotional $0 annual fee introductory offers, but be aware of what the standard annual fee is, and make sure it’s affordable.
  • Lower interest rates: If you think you may not be able to clear your balance each month, comparing cards for one with a low interest rate could offer more savings in the long run.
  • Low credit limits: When you apply for a credit card, the card provider determines how much credit they'll let you use each month. This is your credit limit. If you have a lower income, it's likely your credit limit will be lower. But, this can help to avoid spending more than you can afford, by keeping a manageable limit on your spending.
  • Interest-free days: Most credit cards offer interest-free days on purchases, though the number of days will depend on the card. To take advantage of interest-free days, you usually have to clear your balance each month.
  • Basic features: For the most part, low income credit cards are pretty basic. In general, low cost cards are no frills. That means it's unlikely you'll find a low income credit card with perks like a rewards program, insurance covers, or a personal concierge service. However, if you're trying to save money and simply want access to credit, it's a pretty good trade-off.

Pros and cons of low income credit cards


  • Offers access to credit, even to cardholders with low income
  • Allows cardholders to build their credit
  • May offer low annual fees
  • May offer low interest
  • Lower credit limits reduce the opportunity to get into trouble with debt
  • Access to basic credit card features


  • Tend to be basic, not many fancy features on offer
  • Rare to find rewards programs

How to improve your chances of approval

Thinking about applying for a low income credit card? You may be able to improve your chances of approval by doing the following:

  • Get your finances in order: Know where you stand financially. This includes getting your debts in order. If you have any default listings on your credit file, these will likely have to be paid before you can apply for a credit card. You can apply for a copy of your credit file for free from one of the major credit reporting agencies.
  • Start saving by opening a savings account: By creating a history of banking with the provider, you may be able to improve your status as a valued customer.
  • Pay down debts: If you have debts, it can help to pay them down as much as possible before you apply for a new card. By lowering your existing debt, you can make yourself seem less of a risk to your potential card provider, while also showing off your ability to be a responsible borrower.
  • Apply as a joint applicant: If your income is too low to apply for a credit card, you may be able to apply jointly with another person, such as your spouse. This allows both of your finances to be assessed by the credit card provider during the application process.
  • Include all sources of income: Have a good think about all the money coming into your household. Your income can include more than just your paycheque. It may also include any freelance work you do, or any government payments. Be sure to include this information on your application.
  • Be honest: Above all, be honest. The card provider can cross-reference your details, so there is no point lying simply because you think it will get your application approved.

How much do low income credit cards cost?

Want to know whether you can afford to keep a low income credit card in your wallet? How much your credit card costs you will depend on the card you choose, and the way in which you use it.

  • Annual fees: Unless you choose a low income credit card with no annual fee, you will pay an annual fee each year you keep the account open. By choosing a card with a low annual fee, you can help keep costs down.
  • Purchase rate: This is the standard interest rate that's applied to purchases made on the card. As long as you clear your balance by the due date each month, you won't have to worry about interest. If you carry a balance on your card, interest will start accruing.
  • Cash advance rate: This is the standard interest rate that's applied to cash advance transactions, such as ATM withdrawals. This rate is typically higher than the purchase rate, and is usually applied from the day you make the transaction. Fees may also apply, so it's best to avoid this type of transaction whenever possible.
  • Cash advance fee: When you use your credit card for a cash advance transaction, the card provider may charge you a cash advance fee of around 2% to 3% of the total transaction amount.
  • Foreign transaction fees: Using your card to make purchases in foreign currencies – for example, if you travel overseas or use your card online at overseas merchants – will usually attract a foreign transaction fee. This fee is usually between 2% and 4% of the total transaction.
  • Other fees: Depending on the card, there may be other fees that apply, such as late payment fees. Check the credit card’s product disclosure statement (PDS) for fee details, so that you can factor in all the costs before you apply for a card.

What should you consider when comparing low income credit cards?

Comparing credit card options can be tricky. Not only do you have to think about what the card has to offer and how much it could potentially cost you to keep in your wallet, you also have to think about what is expected of you if you are to be approved.

  • Your credit history: One of the most important factors to determine the success – or rejection – of your credit card application is your credit history. If you have a poor credit history, you may find it hard to get approved for credit. If you do get approved for a credit card, use the opportunity to build your credit by making repayments on time and spending wisely.
  • Your income: Of course, you need to look at the minimum income requirement on the card before you apply. Make sure that you have all of the necessary documents to prove your annual income before you apply.
  • Your ability to repay: Applying for a credit card you can’t afford is not a great idea. Think about how much you want to pay in annual fees, and if you think you might carry a balance, choose a card with a low purchase rate.


If you don’t meet the minimum income requirement, you may still have alternative options. You may be able to pool your earnings with your partner, to then apply for a credit card in joint names. Take note, not all providers allow for this. They may require an application from the primary cardholder (who meets all eligibility requirements), and then an additional cardholder can be added to the account.

How to compare low income credit cards

Choosing a credit card can take time. No matter what type of credit card you want, you need to know what to look for – as well as what you need from your card. First up, consider your individual circumstances. What do you need a credit card for? How often will you use it? Will you be able to clear the balance month-to-month?

This should help you narrow your search. If you want to keep a credit card for emergencies, one with no annual fee could be a good option. If you will clear the balance each month, you may consider a card with perks and rewards. If you want to save on interest and think you may carry a balance, a low rate card could be the best option for you.

Now you know what you need, take a look to see what’s on offer. Use CreditCard.com.au to check out the range of cards within the category you're interested in. Look for extras such as features and rewards, but if you want a low fee or low rate card, bear in mind features on these cards are usually basic. Take into account, annual fees, interest and credit limits.

Pauline Hatch

Pauline Hatch is a personal finance expert at Creditcard.com.au with 8 years of finance writing under her belt. She loves turning complex money concepts into simple, practical actions so you can win financially. You can ask Pauline any questions by submitting a comment below and get a personal reply.

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11 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)



14 June 2022
I’m on a single aged pension and receive just over $25,000 per annum from this source. I have no other income. I own my own house. I’m currently paying over 20% on my credit card on a debt of about $3,000. I have no other debts. Which bank is likely to approve a credit card for me at a substantially lower interest rate?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au


    15 June 2022
    Hi Terry, we can’t comment on whether you’ll be approved or not, that’s entirely up to the bank. We have compiled a list of cards with their minimum income requirements. You can find out more here on our lower income credit card guide. Hope this has helped you out.


24 March 2022
Hi, I am employed by non-Australian employer and get paid in my foreign bank account. How do I get a credit card? Cheers
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au


    31 March 2022
    Hi Nav, this is a very tricky question. With a situation like this you should probably speak to an accountant about this matter. Sorry we can’t help anymore than this.


21 March 2022
I have credit score of about 750 but I only get $650pf jobseeker,where can I get a credit card
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au


    23 March 2022
    Hi Mel, credit scores are only one factor banks use when assessing your credit card application. There are other factors that come into play, like serviceability, other debts you have and other criteria the banks use internally. There are some cards like the ANZ First that have a minimum income requirement of $15,000 p.a. On this page you can save the cards you're interested in to your shortlist and then compare them side by side. Hope this has helped!


5 May 2021
Dear credit card adviser I have an income of approximately $**,000 pa. I am married and my husband has an income of some $**,000. Up to now I have used a credit card in my husband's name. I want to apply for a credit card in my own name. Will any credit card provider supply me with a card? We are not getting divorced and never in over 50 years defaulted on any sort of loan, but I still want a card in my own name. Regards Trish
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder


    6 May 2021
    Hi Trish, thanks for your question. The majority of credit cards require a minimum income of at least $15,000 p.a. however some banks don't provide their requirements upfront. As a general rule $15,000 is a baseline.
Luke Mclean

Luke Mclean

17 February 2021
Hi Roland .. Applying for a credit card recent. From a bank iv been with for year.. had a debt 9 situation which has recently been finish after 7 years looking to gain some credit again.. working as sole trade theought abn.. but unfortunately not having any luck
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder


    18 February 2021
    Hi Luke, it sounds like you did the right thing applying through your current bank. If you're unable to get a card with them, it might be wise to work on improving your credit score and applying again in a few months. There are some simple strategies you can use including consolidating multiple debts, reducing any existing credit limits and making future payments on time.


19 April 2020
Hi Roland, I’d like to start building a credit rating and was wondering if it’s possible to do so/apply for a credit card whilst receiving Newstart?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder


    20 April 2020
    Hi Jamie, no I would not apply and await until you have been employed for at least 6 months. You need to build your credit slowly. This starts with paying all bills on time and having a positive bank account history.


9 February 2020
Is there a creditcard for pensioners
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder


    10 February 2020
    Hi Sharlene, there is no particular card that is designed just for pensioners. The bank will evaluate a pensioner just as they do other customers. You need to have good credit for approval. Pay all your bills on time and also show that you have extra funds available to pay for the credit. I would look at a low income card. I would stick to the big4 or larger banks when applying - ANZ, NAB, CBA etc.


2 December 2019
Hi Ann, I would stick to the bigger banks. Have a look at the ANZ Low rate.


19 November 2019
Hi Roland, thought I would contact you to see if you can advise me. I am on the aged pension and with all ancillary benefits receive $1060 per fortnight in addition to which I receive circa $3000 per annum in dividends from shares. Currently have approximately $8000 in cash. No debts. I live off the pension and reinvest tge share dividends. I have 2 Platinum credit cards, different banks, no debt outstanding. One of the banks has recently changed their condition of providing free travel insurance and I am seeking a replacement with another provider. I am seeking a credit card which provided FREE travel insurance for someone aged 75, including medical and hospital. Given my low income I have been rejected by a credit union and advise by 2 banks any application is likely to be rejected. My credit score, according to a credit evaluating company is 862/1000. Despite intending to cancel one of my existing credit cards, if provided with an alternative card by another credit card provider, I am making no progress. Any advise you can give woukd be appreciated
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder


    20 November 2019
    Hi Adam, firstly I would suggest that you cancel the card that is no longer of use to you. These days the banks will max out any credit cards you have. Look at the payments required to pay it off over 3 years. The more credit you have the harder it is. For the card you are keeping, I would suggest that you lower the credit limit (if you can live with it). That way you again are reducing your credit. Thus increasing your chance for approval of a new card. All this being said, it still could be difficult to get a card with overseas travel insurance for your age with a circa 30k income. I am struggling to think of a provider that could work unfortunately. What are the 2 current credit cards you have and what are the limits with them?
Haigouhi Jelenkerian

Haigouhi Jelenkerian

24 September 2019
I’m on disability pension which credit card I should apply too
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder


    24 September 2019
    Hi Haigouhi, I would suggest you stick to the bigger banks. They can see the pension as income. How about the ANZ Low Rate? This card has low income requirements and generally high approval. To apply for an ANZ Low Rate credit card, you need to: Be 18 years of age or over, be a permanent Australian resident or a non-permanent resident with more than 9 months remaining on your Visa plus have a good credit rating. Find out more about Credit Reporting.
Greg Fildes

Greg Fildes

4 August 2019
How do I find a bank orother financial services co that considers applications for LOW INCOME credit card applications
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder


    5 August 2019
    Hi Greg, minimum income requirements are at $15,000. A card like the ANZ Low Rate fits that bill. I do not know of any cards in Australia that have a lower min income to apply. There are some that do not provide guidance. Though I assume at least 15k to apply plus have good credit for approval.
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