Pensioner Credit Cards

Pauline Hatch     

Pensioner cards are credit cards that are easy for pensioners to be eligible for. While there are no specific “pensioner credit cards” in Australia, many credit cards suit pensioners, offering no or low fees and low interest rates.

Picking the right credit card as a pensioner:

  • Find a card that suits your spending needs, whether it be travel, to pay off debt, earn rewards points or just to use in emergencies.
  • Check the interest and fees that you will be charged.
  • If a special low rate or low fee promotion applies, check the terms before you apply.

You can compare a range of credit cards that might suit you as a pensioner below. Remember to check the costs as well as the perks that come with the card, like rewards points.

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Compare Your Credit Card Options As A Pensioner

Looking for a credit card that will help you keep costs down as you use it month to month? Or a card to keep for emergencies? Whatever you’re looking for in a pensioner credit card, we can help you compare your options and find the right card for you. Unsure what you want – or what you need to look for? We’ve got you covered in this handy guide.

Credit Cards For Pensioners

As a pensioner or retiree, you may not fit the mould of a standard credit card applicant. That can make it more difficult to get approved for a credit card. Why? When you apply for a credit card, you must meet certain eligibility requirements put in place by the card provider. If you don't meet the requirements, you might be deemed high risk and have your application declined.

So, what are card providers looking for? Two of the big factors job stability (and income), and credit history.

As a pensioner, you no longer have the stable job and salary. You can still get a credit card; you'll just need to work a little harder to prove you meet the card's eligibility requirements. You might need to provide documentation proving your income, as well as your assets. A good credit history will also help you get approved.

Comparing the Best Credit Cards for Pensioners

The truth is, there is no ‘best’ card – there's only the best card for the way you live. So, how do you live?

You just want an everyday card

You know you’ll be using your card day-to-day, but you’re not interested in earning rewards or using extra features like a balance transfer. You expect you'll pay off your card at the end of each month.
Your card: A card with a low annual fee – or preferably no annual fee – that provides you with a credit limit that covers your everyday spending.

You want a low cost card

You know you might carry a balance once in a while, so you want to keep interest costs down.
Your card: A card with a low interest rate that will help you keep interest costs as low as possible while you work on paying off your balance. A low annual fee would also be worthwhile.

You want a card for emergencies

You’re not interested in using a credit card day-to-day, but you want one should an emergency arise.
Your card: A card with no annual fee. A low interest rate is also a good idea, in case it takes a few months to pay off your emergency spending.

You want to earn rewards

You have a significant monthly spend and you want to make the most of it by earning rewards. You always pay your balance in full each month.
Your card: A rewards card that offers a good rate of return on your spending, within a rewards program that you value.

You want access to perks

You want to take advantage of credit card perks, such as travel insurance, travel credit and airport lounge access. You always pay your balance in full each month.
Your card: A premium card, such as a platinum card, which offers the extras you need at an annual fee that suits your budget.

Checking Eligibility Requirements

After comparing your options, you should have narrowed your list down to one or two cards. Before you apply, it’s time to check out that small print. Yes, it’s boring – but, it’s also essential if you want to choose the right card for you, while also making sure there is no reason for the card provider to deny your application.

When checking each card’s eligibility requirements, you will first need to check the minimum income expected of all applicants. As a rule, you will need to have an annual income of at least $15,000 to apply for a credit card in Australia. However, many cards require applicants to have an income higher than this. For example, applying for some premium cards requires applicants to have an income of at least $75,000 per year.

After making sure you meet the card’s income requirement, it’s a good idea to check where that income can come from. As an example, your card provider may accept Centrelink payments as a form of income, but if that is your only income, you may not be approved. If you’re unsure, contact the card provider to check.

Your credit history may also be a factor. When assessing credit card applications, card providers always check the applicant’s credit history. Providing important information regarding how well the applicant has dealt with credit in the past, their credit file allows card providers to assess how well they might deal with credit in the future.

As a pensioner, you are likely to have an extensive credit history – and as long as your relationship with credit has been good, this should bode well for you in future credit applications. To check your credit file, you can apply direct from any of Australia’s major credit reporting agencies (for free), or opt for a third party provider.

To find out more about what some of Australia’s biggest card providers look for when assessing credit card applications from pensioners, read this post.

Applying For A Pensioner Credit Card

So you know you’re eligible for the card you want to apply for, now you will have to prove it to the card provider. When you apply, the card provider will ask you to detail relevant information regarding your income, assets and debts. You may then have to provide documentation to back that up. If you have an accountant, you may have to provide your accountant’s contact details.

Examples of documentation you may need to provide include (dependent on your situation):

  • Your most recent letter from Centrelink (showing 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 (such as superannuation and investments).
  • Evidence of any other income sources (such as rental property income or part time employment).

 

Should you apply for a credit card with your bank? In some cases, applying for a credit card with your current bank could make it easier to get approved, especially if you have a good, long-standing relationship. You could try speaking to your bank to see what they could offer you. It’s always worthwhile comparing options elsewhere, however, to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Using Your Card

You’ve been approved. Congratulations! With your new card in hand, it’s a good idea to stick to a few guidelines, as follows.

Understand your introductory offer: If your card has an introductory offer, make sure you understand how it works. Know when the introductory period ends – and what happens when it does. If you need to meet certain requirements to be eligible for the offer, know what they are and make sure they are doable.

Keep on top of your spending: Use your card’s resources to keep on top of your balance, whether that’s using phone banking, online banking or your card’s app. You can pay off bits of your balance through the month if you wish, but always try to clear your balance at month’s end.

Be on the lookout for fraud: Keep your card and the details on it safe. Don’t tell anyone your PIN, and if someone asks for your card details over the phone or online, consider whether it’s safe to do so. Stay vigilant.

What is the minimum income for a pensioner credit card?

To apply for a credit card in Australia, you will need to have an income of at least $15,000 per year. While basic, low cost options typically have a low minimum income requirement, higher end cards and rewards cards tend to have a higher minimum income requirement. When you apply for a card, the minimum income requirement will usually be stated. If it’s not, ask the card provider for more info.

What is the minimum credit limit for pensioners?

On basic, low cost cards, the lowest credit limit available is typically $500 or $1,000. On higher end cards, the minimum credit limit may be as high as $10,000. When you apply for a card, your card provider will assess your creditworthiness and assign you a credit limit. You can request to lower this credit limit as long as you don’t go below the card’s minimum credit limit.

How do you find the best pensioner credit card for you?

When comparing options, consider the following:

Suitability: Think about what you really need from your card, then compare the options to find the one that matches your needs.

Affordability: Check the card’s annual fee and make sure that it not only fits your budget, but offers value in terms of what the card is providing you. If you think you might carry a balance, check the card’s purchase rate as well.

Eligibility: Before applying, check the eligibility requirements set out by the card provider. These will typically require you to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, with a minimum annual income. Your credit history will also be a factor.

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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29 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Alek

Alek

18 June 2024
Is there a bank that has a credit card that is linked or assehateed with nab bank
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    19 June 2024
    Hi Alek, yes NAB has a range of cards, and also issues credit cards for Coles, Virgin Money, Qantas Money, Bank of Queensland and Citi. Thanks Alek!
Chris McMIllan

Chris McMIllan

18 June 2024
Hi Pauline, Why don't you mention Community First Credit Union as a fantastic credit card option for pensioners? I have one that has a $45.00 annual fee and their interest rate is a competitive 8.99% for purchasers and CASH ADVANCES are the same at 8.99%. Their service is fantastic I highly recommend this bank. I am nothing special just a 68-year-old single pensioner who did not bank with them when I applied. I have no other income than Centrelink and I am renting my home. Also, my credit score is average, Equifax 500. Kind Regards Chris McMillan PS please let people know.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    19 June 2024
    Hi Benedictus, retailers can choose to charge a surcharge on card transactions to cover their own costs, since banks charge them a fee. Some retailers will absorb the surcharge. The only way to avoid it fully is to pay cash! Thanks Benedictus.
      Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

      Pauline

      25 June 2024
      Hi Chris, thanks so much for your insight! It’s great to hear the card is working so well. If you like, you can leave a review for the card on our review page too.
Annette

Annette

26 May 2024
I am on the carers payment,can I get a credit card
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    27 May 2024
    Hi Annette, that's a question with no simple answer! Some banks (like ANZ) say it considers government payments an income while others don't. I suggest finding a card you like, making sure you meet the eligibility criteria, and calling the bank first to see if carer benefits are considered income. Low income cards like these pensioner credit cards would be a good place to start looking. Good luck Annette!
Thomas

Thomas

16 November 2023
I’m an Australian returning after 30 years working overseas. I have income from investments but no Australian bank is will img to consider providing me with a credit card , something essential for actually living in Australia. I have not paid personal tax here for many years but have an income as stated to well support myself. My Australian accountant is also flummoxed as on paper i have few liabilities and a good passive income. Own home, never in debt, overseas pension, rental properties income, share dividends…. What can I do to get a credit card?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    20 November 2023
    Hi Thomas, welcome back! It can be super tricky for pensioners to get credit cards, and possibly more so if your pension is from overseas. We have a retirees guide that breaks down the types of income and documentation some credit card providers are looking for. You could try calling the bank before applying and asking if they accept your overseas pension. Look for the low-rate, low-cost cards on our pensioners comparison guide. And lastly, unless you want to earn rewards points or use some of the extras on a credit card, don't feel it's a must-have for today. Debit cards are accepted online in the vast majority of purchases. Good luck Thomas
Jan

Jan

31 October 2023
What is the best low fee credit card for disability pension to increase my credit rating ( post and discharged from bankruptcy)
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    15 November 2023
    Hi Jan, you can have a look at our guide for pensioners that has some ideas on the type eligibility requirements for those on government payments and pensions. It will come back to your credit rating, which will need to be at least ‘good’ (around 600+ typically, but can vary between lenders). It will also depend on what’s still noted on your credit report. Usually low-interest and low-fee cards have the easiest eligibility criteria, so you could start there. I hope that gives you some ideas. Good luck Jan!
Lyn

Lyn

15 September 2023
I am a pensioner looking for a low fee credit card, my combined income includes aged pensi9n payment plus $500 fortnight from incomestream. My credit rating is 927 Am I eligible for a credit card.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    19 September 2023
    Hi Lyn, most credit card applications are assessed on your total annual income. Check out our guide to low income credit cards to see where we have listed some of the lower income side of things. Hope that helps Lyn!
Jeff Michael Phillips

Jeff Michael Phillips

27 August 2023
Can you tell me please the best credit card for complementary International travel insurance that gives 12 months cover (if not then 6 months cover ) and gives unlimited medical cover. Thanks
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    30 August 2023
    Hi Jeff, good question! There are several credit cards available, and while we can't recommend any particular card, the optimal choice relies on factors such as card usage and desired features. You can explore a variety of credit cards offering travel insurance coverage, delve into our reviews, and pick the one that suits your preference best.
richff

richff

13 August 2023
which cards are joint ownership, husband and wife so if one dies the other can still use it.
Kim

Kim

20 June 2023
Is there any bank that will give a credit card to a person on a carers pension
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    20 June 2023
    Hi Kim, we have recently updated our guide which lists several credit cards options available for pensioners. It includes information on some card issuers and their eligibility criteria for their cards.
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