How old do you have to be to apply for a credit card?

Information verified correct on October 21st, 2016
Young girls shopping with credit cards

Are you eligible to apply for a credit card? Discover how old you need to be to own a credit card

One of the first questions you are asked when filling out an online credit card application is how old you are. If you are unable to meet that eligibility requirement you will not be issued a credit card in your name. This restricts young Australians from accumulating a debt that they are not yet mature enough to take on.

How old do I need to be to apply for a credit card?

In order to be the primary credit card holder, an Australian must be at least 18 years of age. Those younger than this will have to explore other options, such as a debit card or prepaid credit card. When filling out the application for a credit card, one of the first questions asked is whether or not you are 18 years old. This will then be verified when the provider checks your identity.

Are there any exceptions?

There are ways in which an Australian under 18 can still have the benefits that a credit card provides, without being financially responsible for it. An individual as young as 16 years old can be an additional cardholder on an account with some providers. This allows for purchases and cash withdrawals, however the primary cardholder is the person responsible for their activities.

Another option is with a prepaid Visa or MasterCard. With some of these cards there is no age requirement, and then can be loaded by bank transfer or with a credit card. This is an option to consider for parents who are trying to teach a teenager how credit works and how to use it responsibly. However, you still usually need to be 16 years of age to apply for one of these cards.

You are able to open up a transaction account with some banks even if under 18. In this case you are provided with a debit card to give you access to your money. This option will also give you the same flexibility as a credit card can, but by deducting funds from your account, rather than billing you for purchases made with interest.

What else will I need to qualify?

Besides your age, there are other qualifications you have to meet in order to be considered for a credit card:

  • Residential status. Most credit card providers will require that you be a permanent resident or citizen of Australia. There are some available for individuals who are in Australia on a work or student visa, but this have strict terms and conditions to meet.
  • Credit history. In order to qualify for a credit card, you will need to show a good credit history and rating. This is one of the first things a credit card company looks at when reviewing your application.
  • Income. Especially with credit cards that have high credit limits, your annual income will also be a consideration for if you qualify for a credit card.

What documentation will I need to provide?

When getting ready to apply for a credit card online, you can make the process easier by having the following documentation ready:

  • Photo identification document. A passport or Australian driver’s licence will be used to help verify your identity.
  • Pay stubs. Recent pay stubs or your recent tax documents will be used to show your current income.
  • Employer information. The credit card provider will ask for contact information about your employer. If you are self employed, you will be asked for your accountant’s information in order to verify your yearly income.

Credit cards are not always easy to come by, and can be even harder if you are a young Australian. Knowing the requirements upfront can help in narrowing down your choices for comparison.

Frequently asked questions

Are exceptions made with student credit cards?

While some banks offer special student credit cards, these are designed for university students. The age restriction still applies with these cards.

How will I use a credit card that is linked to my parents account?

Some credit cards allow for additional card holders as young as 16, which you can use in the same way as the primary card holder.

How does a prepaid credit card work?

With a prepaid credit card, you load the card with money from a bank account or pay with another credit card. When you make purchases, the amount is deducted directly from the balance. If embedded with a Visa or MasterCard logo, you can use that card anywhere that those credit cards are accepted, including when you shop online.

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2 Responses to How old do you have to be to apply for a credit card?

  1. Default Gravatar
    sulfus | March 18, 2015

    how old do you need to be and who issued this rule?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | March 18, 2015

      Hi Sulfus, thanks for your inquiry!

      The require legal age for a credit card for most providers/banks is 18 years. It would be best to contact the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in regards to the legal requirements that have been set for credit card services.



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