Can I get a credit card without a job?

By   |   Verified by Bill Ryan Natividad   |   Updated 5 Oct 2023

Getting approved for a credit card may be difficult without a steady source of income from a job.

So, is it possible to get a credit card with no job? It depends on your personal situation.

Do not apply for a credit card if you are in financial hardship.

Key takeaways

  • Some credit card providers will consider applications from those receiving payments from Centrelink, including JobSeeker, the Age Pension, or Carer's Allowance.
  • Retirees may have to provide evidence of income from assets, savings, and superannuation.
  • It's very important to check the credit card's eligibility criteria before applying.

Basic principles

  • Banks set minimum income criteria per credit card. The amount varies between cards.
  • Basic credit cards typically require a lower minimum income than a credit card with rewards.
  • Income is not the only thing considered. You need a good credit record too.

Unemployed with no income

If you have no job, aren't on Centrelink benefits, and have no income from savings or investments, it's extremely unlikely you would be approved for a credit card from any bank.

Your credit score may be negatively affected should you apply for a credit card under such circumstances and be declined — which is highly likely — and it may be more difficult to apply in the future even if your finances improve.

Income from Centrelink, including JobSeeker (formerly Austudy or Newstart), the Age Pension, or Carer's Allowance, is acceptable for some cards. So, if you are between jobs, it is possible to get a credit card.

However, it is generally more difficult for a Centrelink beneficiary to get approved for a credit card as you may be viewed as higher risk. Being able to show income from casual work would improve your chances of approval, although only some cards accept casual income.

If approved, your credit limit is likely to be quite low.

Unemployed with income from investments

You can declare income from assets and investments on a credit card application. Income or assets could include property rental income, shares dividends, interest paid on savings, etc.

For example, you may be retired with income from Centrelink, superannuation, and rental property. You can declare income from all three in order to meet the minimum income requirement.

Proof of income will be required, such as a bank statement showing interest or a share certificate showing ownership of shares.

Before applying for a credit card without a job

If you don't have a job but need a credit card, you could take a few steps to increase your chances of approval.

  • Check the eligibility criteria carefully. Make sure you understand the requirements for each card you're considering. Look for cards that accept applications from those receiving Centrelink payments.
  • Contact the bank directly. If you're unsure whether you qualify for a particular card, contact the bank for confirmation about their requirements and how they may view your application.
  • Provide evidence of your income. If you declare income from Centrelink, assets, or investments on your application, you must be able to show that you are in receipt of it for it to be considered.
  • Manage any open credit lines responsibly. Keep your payments up to date before applying, and ideally, reduce your credit utilisation ratio by paying off as much of your debt as you can afford.
  • Check your credit report. Income is an important part of any credit application, but so is what your credit report contains. It's generally a challenge to get a credit card with bad credit.