Pensioner Credit Cards

Updated 16 June 2022

Pensioner cards are simply 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.

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.
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.

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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10 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

Mike

Mike

31 July 2022
We are retirees needing credit cards with Kris Flyer(Singapore) points.We have ample funds with two banks. Can we get one principal card with a supplementary card? Thanks.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    1 August 2022
    Hi there Mike, first things first. Unfortunately there’s no credit cards in Australia that will directly earn KrisFlyer miles. You’ll have to convert them from another rewards scheme. On our guide to pensioner credit cards, you’ll see a list of providers that might service pensioners. Make your way through the list to find a card/provider that offers a rewards transfer. For example you can transfer 3 ANZ Rewards points for 1 KrisFlyer mile starting with a minimum of 1,500 ANZ Reward Points. Hope this has helped and best of luck!
Leigh worrall-Herman

Leigh worrall-Herman

18 May 2022
I've got a disability and I was wondering if I'm eligible to have a credit card to help me with financial things I'm on a really low budget I've got an cat to feed I'm in a independent living home
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    20 May 2022
    Hi Leigh, we’ve did some research into what each bank needs as a bare minimum income for some of the credit cards. You can check out or guide to low income credit cards, and learn more about them and make an informed decision.
Rob

Rob

2 April 2022
I will be traveling to the UK in early May this year and would like to take a credit card with me..I currently don't own one..The card would be used for car hire and typical daily expenses. I am 67yo and would appreciate your advise Pauline..Thanks.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    4 April 2022
    Hi Rob, thanks for your message. When travelling you’ll want to minimise the extra fees providers charge for transactions not processed in AUD. You should start comparing a range of credit cards that don’t charge currency conversion fees. The only card we have access to at the moment is the NAB StraightUp card. It features no interest just a monthly fee and no currency conversion fees. We hope you have a great trip to the UK!
Chris

Chris

30 March 2022
I want a credit card with travel insurance for myself and my wife we are 72 and 73 We both have a Australian and a uk pension that is our only regular income We have assets of close to $500000 excluding the house we own valued at 1.5 mil
Monica

Monica

10 February 2022
Do you offer 0% transfer credit cards for pensioners
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    11 February 2022
    Hi Monica, you’ve reached Australia's leading credit card comparison and information site, Creditcard.com.au and not an actual bank. There are a few pensionar cards on the market to compare. We asked a few banks around their criteria for pensioner credit cards. We chatted to the Big 4 and you can read a review of each of the offerings they have.
Patricia

Patricia

25 January 2022
I need pension payments
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    25 January 2022
    Hi Patricia, pensions are handled by the Australian government on the services website. You can find out more about it here.
Haroon hussein

Haroon hussein

14 January 2022
We’re to apply for pension credit card
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    17 January 2022
    Hi Haroon, you can click on the green Go To Offer on the cards above that you are interested in and you’ll be directed to the card application page. Please read the card’s terms and its TMD before proceeding with your application to ensure you met the criteria.
Michael Wark

Michael Wark

6 May 2021
I am a pensioner and I requirer a loan or credit card tomeet an immediate debt
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    10 May 2021
    Hi Michael, thanks for your question. Whilst I can't recommend any specific credit card to you, you can browse the list of banks on this page and assess their eligibility criteria before apply. Multiple credit enquiries within a set timeframe will hurt your credit file and score, so be sure you meet the requirements before applying.
NeilMcDonald

NeilMcDonald

20 April 2021
I am semi retired but have mutual fund superannuation investments valued at around $2million.I want to find a rewards credit card.
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    21 April 2021
    Hi Neil, you apply for a rewards credit card as a pensioner, you'll just need to provide evidence. For example, with Citi, you need to provide one of the following: A letter from Centrelink showing applicant's name and the Permanent Government Pension amount, or Three most recent bank statements showing applicant's regular Centrelink payments, or The annual superannuation statement which includes an indexed pension amount, or One most recent Self-managed Superannuation Tax Return less than 15 months old I hope that helps.
G

G

18 January 2021
Am I a loud to brow $6.500
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    19 January 2021
    Its hard to get approved for credit cards when you are a pensioner. I would speak to your everyday bank and see if they can help. Outside of them, if different, I would speak to a big 4 bank like CBA or ANZ.
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