What you need to apply for a credit card

Information verified correct on October 24th, 2016

Find out exactly what details and documents are required for your credit card application here.

Getting a new credit card is always subject to application approval from the bank or provider. The exact requirements you’ll need to meet vary between credit card providers, but there are a few general terms and conditions you’ll need to meet across the board.

This guide outlines the eligibility requirements and information you need to provide to ensure your credit card application process goes as smoothly as possible.

What are the eligibility requirements?

The start of your credit card application will include a small section to verify that you qualify and that you have read and understand the terms outlined by the provider. These criteria vary based on the card and provider, but generally include the following:

  • Age. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a credit card in Australia.
  • Residency status. Most credit card providers require you to be a permanent resident or citizen of Australia. There are also a limited number of cards available for temporary residents with valid visas.
  • Income. Some credit cards list a minimum income you’re required to earn to be eligible to apply for the card, such as $30,000 or $70,000.
  • Credit status. You must have good credit history to apply for a credit card.

If you meet these requirements, you can continue to the main part of the application. This is where you’ll be required to provide a variety of information to the lender.

What information will I need to provide on my application?

The order of this information could vary depending on the credit card you’re applying for, but you will need to include details in the following categories.

Personal information

Most credit card applications begin by requesting details about your personal information. Ensure that all the following information you provide is correct:

  • Personal information. This includes your full name and date of birth.
  • Residential information. At this stage of the application, you may also be required to provide details or your Australian residency status.
  • Proof of identity. You will need to provide proof of identification such as a passport or driver’s licence.
  • Residential address. These details relate to your current home address and the length of time you have been there. In certain cases, you could also be asked to provide information on previous residential addresses.
  • Contact details. Most lenders now require a valid email address as well as a phone number.
  • Dependents. This is the total number of dependents (ie. your children).

Note that if you are applying for a joint credit card account, all of the same information will be required for the additional applicant.

Employment and income information

The financial institution that you are applying with may want to verify that you are receiving a steady income. To do this they will ask for:

  • Your occupation. For example, you’ll need to provide your title and the field you work in (e.g. media, education, management).
  • Employer information. You’ll need to specify the amount of time you’ve been with your current employer and provide your employer’s name and contact information. In some cases, you may also be asked to list previous employment details as well.
  • Income. Include details of your annual income before taxes, as well as any secondary income you may receive.
  • Self-employed. If you are self-employed when applying for a credit card, you may need to provide your accountant’s information and previous Tax Assessments in order to verify your income.

Financial information

The financial information portion of a credit card application helps to determine if you qualify for the card. It also helps in determining your credit limit. Information you’ll need to provide here includes:

  • Account details. This includes details for savings and transactions accounts, along with the current balances.
  • Assets. Assets could include savings, investments, property and major items in your home.
  • Monthly expenses. You will be asked to provide details of your monthly financial obligations, including payments for rent, mortgage and other living expenses (such as groceries and fuel). If you are unsure of some of these expenses, you can estimate them by looking at your transaction account details for the past few months and working out an average.
  • Credit and other liabilities. You’ll need to provide details of any existing credit accounts and liabilities, such as cards, personal loans or mortgages.

Card preferences

At some point in your application, you will be asked for your card preferences and given the option for a balance transfer. Information in this section will include:

  • Credit limit. You can choose between nominating a specific credit limit or having the lender assign a limit to you. If you decide to request a limit, consider your spending habits as well as your current financial circumstances so that you can choose a figure that is likely to be approved and also manageable for you.
  • Additional cardholders and their details. If you have an eligible partner or dependent who you’d like to add as an additional cardholder, make sure to have their personal details on hand for this part of the application. You will need to provide their full name, age and contact information.
  • Balance transfer. If you are applying for a balance transfer from an existing card to the new card, you will need to include details of your current credit card account, the financial institution and the amount of debt that you wish to transfer. Make sure you have your card details, as well as the BSB for your current provider on hand. Also note that you may not be able to transfer the balance from a card that is issued by the same provider. For example, you can’t transfer a balance from one Westpac card to another Westpac card. Read our guide for a full list of banks you can balance transfer between.

After you have completed these steps, you will be asked to review your details before hitting the “submit” button. Thoroughly check your form for accuracy, and remember that the application cannot be recalled once submitted. It will trigger an enquiry on your credit file, so make sure it’s worthwhile.

What else do I need to remember when applying?

  • Supporting documentation. After you have submitted the initial application (or during the application), you will also be required provide documentation that supports the information provided. This typically includes identifying documents with a photo, several recent payslips and/or tax documents.
  • Document submission. Check how the process works for verifying your documents. In some cases, you may be able upload copies online via a secure service, while in others you might have to bring them to a branch.
  • “Instant” approval. Most credit card applications you submit online will provide you with a response within 60 seconds. Remember that if you are approved at this stage, you may still have to provide the supporting documents in order to receive and activate your card.

How to get your credit card application approved

If you do the research first and gather together all of the information required, filling out a credit card application online will only take a few minutes. And thanks to the convenience of 60-second approval times, you could know within 15 minutes of clicking “Apply now” whether you will be getting a brand new credit card.

Frequently asked questions

Why do credit card providers need details of my previous addresses?

Your previous addresses help with providing an accurate credit history. This is especially important with Australians who have common names and may be confused with another individual. This information is also used to show what your history is as far as keeping up with your monthly payments.

Will I be able to check the status of my application?

Most banks will send you a confirmation email and reference number that allows you to track the progress of your application.

What if I don’t have time to finish the application right away?

In most cases, you will be given the option of being able to save the application in a secure data base to be continued at a later date. Check for how long the provider will save that information before deleting it from their system.

How will I know which documents I am going to need?

With most applications you will be provided with a list of the necessary documentation. Alternatively, you can also find this information on finder.com.au credit card review pages.

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24 Responses to What you need to apply for a credit card

  1. Default Gravatar
    Neerj | March 9, 2016

    im from India, tell me how much amount of money do i need in my bank account?

    • Staff
      Ally | March 9, 2016

      Hi Neerj,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Kindly note that finder.com.au is an online comparison service.
      We compare different financial products in Australia and are not in a position to make personal recommendations.

      However, once you have chosen a bank to open an account with, it would be best to get in touch with that bank to find out about their requirements.

      I hope this has helped.


  2. Default Gravatar
    Lipika | February 3, 2016

    is there any requirement to have some minimal balance in the account

    • Staff
      Sally | February 3, 2016

      Hi Lipika,

      Thanks for your question.

      Most credit cards come with a minimum credit limit and the maximum credit limit you’ll be approved for will depend on your income and credit history.

      You can start comparing credit cards here. When you click on the card you’d like to compare, you’ll be able to see the minimum and maximum credit limits available.

      I hope this has helped.



  3. Default Gravatar
    sebastian | March 24, 2015

    are the requirements different at each country?
    is it possible to those who are jobless (uni student / language exchange student)?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | March 24, 2015

      Hi Sebastian, thanks for getting in touch!

      Each country’s lending requirements for credit cads do vary so it is best to check with the lender’s policies in that destination. Generally credit cards require permanent residency/ citizenship status, making debit card services more ideal. Please see the following page for a list of debit cards and comparison.



  4. Default Gravatar
    snaha | September 1, 2014

    Do we need to have fixed deposits on the bank to have credit card or do we need to maintain certain amount on our bank

    • Staff
      Shirley | September 2, 2014

      Hi Snaha,

      Thanks for your question.

      Your credit card application depends on a lot of things, here are just a few;
      - Your personal situation
      - Your financial situation (assets and liabilities) – this is when your savings are taken into account.
      - Your credit history
      - Your residency status.

      If you click through to our reviews, you’ll find that at the bottom we try to list the requirements to be eligible for the credit card.


  5. Default Gravatar
    komal | September 17, 2013

    Is it necessary to have a bank account for credit card use?

    • Staff
      Jacob | September 17, 2013

      Hi Kormal.

      It’s not necessary, however, one of the most popular ways of paying your credit card statement is via BPAY from another bank account. You can still pay your card bill in person or by cheque if you don’t have a bank account.


  6. Default Gravatar
    Abhishek | July 29, 2013

    Kindly inform me how much minimum income are required and what is the document are required. Both salaried and self employed person.

    • Staff
      Jacob | July 29, 2013

      Hi Abhishek. Thanks for your question. You can find this information on each card’s review and application page. Please check the application requirements table at the bottom of the page for this information. Jacob.

  7. Default Gravatar
    E | May 25, 2013

    What is the salary level to apply for a credit card?

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 26, 2013

      Hi E. Thanks for your question. This will depend on the card itself. You can find this information in the eligibility requirements table on the credit card review and application page. Jacob.

  8. Default Gravatar
    Nitesh | May 14, 2013

    I want to apply for a credit card so i just want to make sure that what are the criteria or steps which should i need to follow ?

    • Staff
      Jacob | May 14, 2013

      Hi Nitesh. Thanks for your question. This video explains the credit card application process. Jacob.

  9. Default Gravatar
    mharla | April 24, 2013

    I just want to ask if I can get a credit card?? I’m working here in Hong kong as a helper…

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 24, 2013

      Hi Mharla. Thanks for your question. You need to be an Australian resident or a holder of a long stay visa to apply for a card. You will also need an Aussie bank account with proof of income. Jacob.

  10. Default Gravatar
    sumit | April 19, 2013

    I wanna ask a question. I’m working in an company and my salary is up to rs.10000, but i don’t have salary account….they give me my salary in cash. Can I apply for credit card?

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 19, 2013

      Hi Sumit. Thanks for your question – a few issues here – you’re not eligible to apply for any of these cards.
      1) to be eligible for a card you will need to have an Australian bank account where you’re getting paid AUD.
      2) If you’re getting paid cash, you’re not paying tax – this is illegal.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated October 24th, 2016
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Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 3% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards CreditCardFinder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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