Low income credit cards

Even if you are on a low income, there are various credit cards available that have relatively low criteria on income, as well as low interest rates.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 12th August 2022

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Comparing low income credit cards

St.George Vertigo Visa

On St.George's website

Offer extendedApply by 31 August 2022

St.George Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Westpac Low Rate Cashback Credit Card

On Westpac's website

New offerApply by 31 October 2022

Westpac Low Rate Cashback Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 6.99% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$59.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get up to $200 cashback when you apply online by 31 October 2022. $50 cashback will be awarded for every month $1000 or more is spent on eligible purchases for the first 4 statement periods from card approval. Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Low 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • $59 p.a. annual fee.

Pros

  • Get up to $200 cashback when you meet the criteria.
  • Low 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • $59 p.a. annual fee.

Cons

  • The cash advance rate for this card is 21.49% p.a.
NAB Low Rate Card

On NAB's website

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 32 months with no balance transfer fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate of 21.74% p.a. after the promotional period.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($59 p.a. thereafter).
  • Get a response in 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 NAB's website

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

0% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Get the newest credit card from NAB - simple, cheap and most of all no interest charges!
  • No Use, No Pay. If you don't use your NAB StraightUp credit card during the whole statement period, the monthly fee will be reversed. No surprise charges!
  • Use your card to pay foreign currency and enjoy no foreign transaction fees!
  • Predictable fixed minimum payments based on your credit limit, giving you certainty of what to pay each month.

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.
Bankwest Zero Mastercard

Balance transfer

34 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

14.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Pay no annual fee as long as you hold the card.
  • 0% p.a. for 34 months on balances transferred (2% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to 14.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • Up to 55 days interest-free on purchases.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs 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

Balance transfer

15 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

15 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months (0% BT fee, 9.90% p.a. thereafter).
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases (reverts to 9.90% p.a.)
  • First-year annual fee waiver. $49 p.a. thereafter.
  • New customers only. Limited time. Other fees and charges, T&Cs apply.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers for 15 months.
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months on purchases.
  • First-year annual fee waiver. $49 p.a. thereafter.

Cons

  • There are no rewards on this card.
St.George No Annual Fee Credit Card

Apply by 31 December 2022

St.George No Annual Fee Credit Card

Balance transfer

N/A

Purchase rate

12 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% interest on Purchases for 12 months. Reverts to 20.74% p.a. thereafter.
  • $0 annual fee for as long as you have the card.
  • Enjoy up to 55 days interest-free period.

Pros

  • 0% interest on Purchases for 12 months.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 55 days interest-free period.

Cons

  • No rewards program for this card.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card

Apply by 3 October 2022

Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card

Balance transfer

20 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

20 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$45.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. up to 20 months on purchases (reverts to 11.99% p.a.).
  • 0% p.a. up to 20 months in Balance Transfers (reverts to 11.99% p.a.).
  • Save with its low annual fee of $45 p.a. ongoing.
  • No fees for additional cardholders.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. up to 20 months on purchases.
  • 0% p.a. up to 20 months on Balance Transfers.
  • Low annual fee of $45 p.a.
  • No fees for additional cardholders.

Cons

  • There is a 2% Balance Transfer fee.
  • You can't earn credit card rewards.
  • No complimentary insurances.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Offer extendedApply by 31 August 2022

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Offer extendedApply by 31 December 2022

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Balance transfer

32 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 32 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 32 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • 13.99% p.a. low variable interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 32 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
ANZ Low Rate

Balance transfer

30 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12.49% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. for 30 months on balance transfers with 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to 21.24% p.a.
  • No annual fee for the first year ($58 thereafter).
  • Low 12.49% p.a. ongoing rate on purchases.
  • Up to 55 days interest free on purchases when you pay your account in full each month.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. on balance transfers up to 30 months with no balance transfer fee.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter).
  • Take advantage of the low purchase interest rate of 12.49% p.a.

Cons

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

Virgin Money No Annual Fee Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$0.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • $0 annual fee for the life of the card.
  • Transfer your 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 have a low income, there are several credit cards that require a low minimum income to qualify. Read on for more details on what to look for.

What is a low income credit card?

Low income credit cards allow Australians who have small annual earnings to enjoy the benefits of using a credit card such as shopping online and also allow access to extra funds to pay for bills and other everyday expenses. Used responsibly, they can also help build your credit.

Common features of this type of card include low annual fees, low interest rates, and low credit limits. They typically do not have rewards, insurance, or any other perks and benefits.

Minimum annual income needed to qualify

A number of credit cards are available for people with a low income. These cards generally require income in the range of $15,000 - $35,000 per annum or roughly $1,250 - $3,000 per month, making them an option for students, single parents, pensioners, self-employed people or freelancers, and people with casual work.

What is a low income?

You can compare your personal annual income against national data from the Bureau of Statistics, which show that the average Australian annual income is around $64,000.

  • Median income for full-time employed men: ~$80,000
  • Median income for full-time employed women: ~$71,000

Workers in the hospitality, retail, and consumer services sectors tend to earn less than the national average. Mining, utility, and financial services workers earn more on average.

Who can apply for a low income credit card?

You can apply for credit cards with low income requirements if you have a small salary from a full or part-time job, income from casual work, income from Centrelink payments, or income from alternative sources.

Small salary from a job

If you have a job but earn a small salary, you can apply for a credit card. However, you need to check that it does not require more income than you currently earn. If you have just started your job, you may need to wait before applying since some cards require several months of payslips as proof.

Credit cards for casual workers

If you are a casual worker, freelancer, or work in the gig economy, your income may be irregular. However, several cards accept applicants with casual income as per their criteria. One such example, the Westpac Low Rate, accepts applications from people who have been casually employed with the same employer for at least 6 months.

If you are on Centrelink, you can still apply for a credit card. With the exception of NAB, the big four banks accept carer's allowance, child support, parental leave, and family tax benefit A and B payments. Check the specific minimum criteria for whatever card you want since acceptance varies.

Credit cards for unemployed people

If you do not have a job, it will be much more difficult to get a credit card. However, it is not impossible since people who have an income from an alternative source — pension, investments, rental income, etc. — can still get a credit card so long as they have adequate proof.

Are there credit cards with no income requirement?

While many cards do not state up-front what their minimum income requirement is, banks still require income of some sort since you need to be able to repay whatever you borrow. Remember that for some cards, income from casual work and Centrelink are both acceptable.

What to look for when comparing low income credit cards

If your income is low, then keeping your costs down is important. Here's what to check before applying.

  • Minimum income requirement. Make sure that you earn enough to meet the minimum required and that you have proof of it.
  • Low annual fee. Ideally there would be no annual fee to pay at all, but if there is, make sure it is affordable. If the annual fee has been waived for the first year, check what it would be for the second year onward.
  • Low interest rates. Check what the interest rate would be for any balance carried over or if you used it for a cash advance.
  • Interest-free days. Most cards have up to 55 days interest-free, which means you will pay no interest if you pay off the balance owed in full each month. This can really help with cash flow and spreading the cost between paydays.
  • Introductory offers. Many credit cards for low earners have 0% introductory offers on balance transfers or purchases, and sometimes both. Check what the rate reverts to once the introductory offer expires.

Benefits and drawbacks

Low income credit cards have their good and bad points, which you should be fully aware of before applying.

Pros

  • Spread costs and improve cash flow. Used responsibly, a credit card can help you stay on top of your bills.
  • Build your credit score. With a positive track record of repayments, you can build your credit score and qualify for better credit terms in future.

Cons

  • Potential to get into debt. If you keep using the card but can't pay off the balance in full, you might find yourself with a debt you can't get out of easily.
  • You could mismanage your account and damage your credit score. If you are unable to make a payment on time because you've lost some hours and your pay is down, it could have a detrimental effect on your credit score.

Considerations before applying

  • What is the source of your income? This is important since not all banks accept income from casual work and Centrelink. Income from dividends, rental payments from an investment property, and other government benefit payments may be acceptable too, but you should check first since it will dictate what cards you are eligible for.
  • Can you prove your income? You may be required to provide evidence of your income. This is typically done with a copy of your recent payslips. The bank may also ask for evidence of the funds being deposited into your bank account. The amounts should match up or it will raise questions.
  • Have you missed any payments recently? Late payments and defaults will be recorded on your credit report, which the bank will check. Not only do they negatively impact your credit score, but they will also make it harder to get approved for credit in future. If you have a low credit score, work on improving it before applying.
  • Can you afford it? Apart from the annual fee, will you be able to repay the balance in full to avoid interest? If not, can you afford the interest on top of paying back the debt?

Learn about low income credit cards

Get more detail on applying for a credit card with a low income.

  • FAQs

How can I improve my chances of approval?

The best thing to do is to be honest. The bank can cross-reference your details so be accurate with what you fill in, especially things like your income and monthly debt repayments. There are a number of other ways you can greatly improve you chances of getting approved.

  • Get your finances and debts in shape: Banks examine your finances when you apply for a credit card, paying particular attention to your credit rating and current debt ratio (your total debts: annual income) to see if you can afford to borrow and repay credit. You should also study all your finances, income and expenses to see if there’s anyway you can improve the situation, perhaps trying to pay off some debt before applying. It’s also worth checking your credit report for any problems that may hinder your application.
  • Make a joint application: If you live with a spouse or partner, it may be possible top make a joint credit card application, combining your total income to meet the bank’s requirements. Obviously, this means that you are both be responsible for repaying the balance on the credit card.
  • Open a bank account: If you can demonstrate that you can manage a checking or savings account responsibly, you improve your credit rating and the bank is more likely to approve your application.
  • Earn more money: If you don’t earn enough money to qualify for a credit card it may be the case that you simply need to increase your income. This could be working overtime, trying for a promotion, getting an extra job or even starting a small business outside of your usual work.
  • Consider a debit card: A debit card is a good option for people on low incomes who are unable to qualify for a credit card, offering all the convenience but without the risk of getting into debt. Debit cards are linked directly to the your bank account so you can only spend money you actually already have rather than borrowing from the bank.

How do I apply?

Once you’ve found the credit card that suits you, simply click the 'Application’ button and start the quick and easy online application process. Once completed, many banks will give you an answer within 60 seconds, and if you qualify your new card will arrive by post in a few days’ time.

If approved, can my credit score be improved?

Yes. If you manage your spending wisely (don’t spend more than you can afford) and make your monthly payments on time, you can establish a better credit rating over time.

Why do I need to provide my income when applying?

Banks want to examine your income, expenses, debts and other financial circumstances before deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. This is so they can be sure that you can afford to use the card and are not at a high risk of default. The restriction on minimum earnings also helps you in that it ensures you get a credit card that suits your income, and offers some protection from getting into too much debt. You may also discover that you earn enough to qualify for a more prestigious credit card with extra features and benefits better suited to your lifestyle.