Credit cards for pensioners

There are many types of pensions that can be accepted by credit cards. Compare your options here.

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 21st September 2021

Comparing credit cards for pensioners

Westpac Low Rate Credit Card

On Westpac's website

Apply by 30 November 2021

Westpac Low Rate Credit Card

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.74% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% p.a. for 28 months on balance transfers with a 1% balance transfer fee. Reverts to variable cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Low 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first year annual card fee ($59 p.a. thereafter).

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for up to 28 months on balance transfers.
  • Low 13.74% p.a. interest rate on purchases.
  • $0 first year annual card fee ($59 p.a. thereafter).

Cons

  • Balance transfer reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a. after 28 months.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card

On Bendigo Bank's website

Apply by 31 October 2021

Bendigo Bank Low Rate Credit Card

Balance transfer

12 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

12 months at 0% p.a.

Annual fee

$45.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • 0% p.a. up to 12 months on purchases (reverts to 11.99% p.a.)
  • 0% p.a. up to 12 months on balance transfers (2% balance transfer fee applies). Reverts to purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. thereafter.
  • Save with its low annual fee of $45 p.a. ongoing.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. up to 12 months on purchases.
  • 0% p.a. up to 12 months on balance transfers.
  • Low annual fee of $45 p.a.
  • No fees for additional cardholders.

Cons

  • There is a 2% balance transfer fee.
St.George Vertigo Visa

On St.George's website

New offerApply by 30 November 2021

St.George Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

30 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 30 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).
  • Additional cardholder at no extra cost.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 30 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).
  • The competitive purchase interest rate of 13.99% p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 30 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

On Bank of Melbourne's website

New offerApply by 30 November 2021

Bank of Melbourne Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

30 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 30 months on Balance Transfers with a 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).
  • Additional cardholder at no extra cost.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 30 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).
  • The competitive purchase interest rate of 13.99% p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 30 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

On BankSA's website

Offer extendedApply by 30 November 2021

BankSA Vertigo Credit Card

Balance transfer

30 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$0.00 for 1st year

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 30 months on balance transfers with 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).
  • Additional cardholder at no extra cost.

Pros

  • 0% p.a. for 30 months on balance transfers with no balance transfer fee
  • $0 first-year annual card fee ($55 p.a. thereafter).
  • The competitive purchase interest rate of 13.99% p.a.

Cons

  • Balance transfer rate reverts to 21.49% p.a. after 30 months.
  • There are no rewards program for this card.
St.George Rainbow Vertigo Visa

On St.George's website

Apply by 30 November 2021

St.George Rainbow Vertigo Visa

Balance transfer

28 months at 0% p.a.

Purchase rate

13.99% p.a. ongoing

Annual fee

$55.00 p.a. ongoing

Highlights

  • Enjoy 0% for 28 months on Balance Transfers with 0% balance transfer fee. Reverts to cash advance rate of 21.49% p.a.
  • Additional cardholder at no extra cost.
  • Up to 55 days interest free on purchases.

Pros

  • Enjoy 0% for 28 months on Balance Transfers with 0% balance transfer fee.
  • Additional cardholder at no extra cost.
  • Up to 55 days interest free on purchases.

Cons

  • The balance transfer revert rate is high at 21.49% p.a.

Learn about pensioner credit cards

Pensioners can get a new credit card. Find out what you need to know before applying.

  • FAQs

What is the minimum income for a pensioner credit card?

Regardless of your income source, you will normally be required to prove that you have an annual income of at least $15,000.

Which kinds of pension are eligible?

Some banks, such as Bankwest, only mention the Age Pension in their documentation, but may – if you enquire further – accept other pension and income types, including a Carer’s Pension, Disability Pension, Parenting Payments and Family Tax Benefits.

A small number of cards will specify certain types of pension or allowance which they will definitely exclude from your income when calculating eligibility. The Bank of Melbourne, for example, says that Austudy, Carer's Allowance, Child Support Payments and Foster Care Allowance are not acceptable.

HSBC, NAB and Virgin Money specifically include Overseas Pensions in their eligibility criteria.

And once again, just because your pension type is not mentioned in a card’s eligibility criteria, it doesn’t mean your application will not succeed – call the card issuer to check before applying.

Are all credit cards available to pensioners?

It mostly depends on your income. If your pension is your sole source of income, your choices will definitely be more limited than they would be if you had income from employment, a business or investments, since some banks do not accept pensions as a valid type of income for some of their cards.

The other limiting factor may be the amount of your pension. Even the most basic credit cards will often have a $15,000 minimum income requirement, while prestige cards offering rewards points and other complimentary benefits may have a much higher annual income requirement.

Are all credit cards suitable for pensioners?

A pensioner may be simply be looking for a low-cost option to provide a more convenient payment method than carrying cash, with the added benefit of a line of credit able to be accessed in an emergency. In this situation, the ideal card would have a low (or zero) annual fee, and preferably a low interest rate on purchases in case a short-term financial emergency arises. It would also be a good idea to compare the amount of any other fees, including late payment fees, over limit fees, foreign currency transaction fees and lost card replacement fees.

However, pensioners may also be self-funded retirees enjoying an affluent lifestyle involving travel, eating out and regular shopping trips. Their choice of card will be dictated by their circumstances and spending pattern, and they would probably be better served by a more expensive card offering rewards points and other complimentary benefits, such as travel insurance.

What documents do I need to support my application?

You will need any of the following documents that apply to your situation:

  • Your most recent letter from Centrelink, stating 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, including superannuation and other investments. This may need to be confirmed by your accountant.
  • Evidence of any other income source, such as part-time employment or rental property income

Should I apply for a card from the bank I currently deal with?

It may help if you have had a relationship with a particular bank for many years. The application process may be simpler because the bank has access to your financial history. However, your current bank may not be offering a card for which you qualify, or which is most suitable for your circumstances. You are not limited to applying for a credit card from your current bank.

What is the minimum credit limit for pensioners?

The lowest credit limit available for most cards is $500, regardless of whether you are a pensioner or a wage earner. The card issuer will determine the level of credit they consider suitable for your financial circumstances, but you can choose to have a lower limit than the one they recommend.

Can I improve my chances of approval by applying for several cards at once?

No. Apply for only one card at a time, and avoid making multiple applications within a short time period because this could damage your credit score. If your first application is rejected, contact the card issuer's customer service department to find out if there is any further information you can provide to make them reconsider their decision. Do this before deciding to apply elsewhere, because you may be rejected again if you have not provided sufficient proof of your creditworthiness. If you have already applied and been rejected, you might want to consider implementing changes to improve your score.