What is the best way to choose a low income credit card?

Posted March 2nd, 2010 and last modified July 30th, 2014
Low income credit card considerations

Low income credit cards are low on income requirements and annual fees, making them ideal for low income earners

Income plays a major role in determining an applicant’s suitability for a credit card. It helps a lender decided on an applicant’s credit limit. And more importantly, it lets a credit card provider know whether an applicant can pay their debts if there’s an outstanding balance.

If you’re a low income earner, the minimum income requirements of the high-end credit cards, like Platinum and rewards cards, will be out of reach. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a credit card to suit your situation.

Even if you don’t qualify for a credit card there are always prepaid cards and debit cards which may still be useful depending on what you want them for. Debit cards can be used online and do not have a minimum income requirement. But these cards do have their limitations as they can’t be used to borrow money on credit.

Low income credit cards

Minimum income earners could be suited to a low rate credit card. These cards have lower entry requirements, and unlike premium credit cards, they have low interest rates on purchases for the most part, which will cost less if a cardholder is carrying a balance from month to month. They also have the lowest annual fees in the market and some come with extended interest days on purchases when you first activate the card in addition to balance transfer promotions to relieve credit card repayment stress.

St.George Vertigo Visa
St.George Vertigo Visa
ANZ Low Rate
ANZ Low Rate
Westpac Low Rate Card
Westpac Low Rate Card
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
ANZ First Visa Credit Card
Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Credit Card
Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Credit Card
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Virgin No Annual Fee Credit Card
Citibank Rewards Credit Card - Classic Card
Citibank Rewards Credit Card - Classic Card
Go to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More info
Purchase Rate (p.a.)13.24% p.a.13.49% p.a.12.49% p.a.19.74% p.a.13.49% p.a.*18.99% p.a.20.99% p.a.
Balance transfer rate (p.a.)0% p.a. for 14 months0% p.a. for 16 months0% p.a. for 14 months0% p.a. for 16 months5.99% p.a. for 5 months0% p.a. for 14 months0% p.a. for 18 months
Offer end date13 November 201427 October 201416 November 201427 October 20144 January 20156 January 2015
Cash advance rate (p.a.)21.49% p.a.21.74% p.a.21.49% p.a.21.49% p.a.21.24% p.a.20.99% p.a.21.74% p.a.
Interest Free Days on Purchases55 days55 days55 days44 days55 days44 days55 days
Fees & Charges       
Annual Fee$55 p.a.$58 p.a.$45 p.a.$30 p.a.$78 p.a. ($48 for qualifying customers)$0 p.a.$89 p.a.
Balance Transfer Fee0%
Minimum Repayment2%2%2%2%2%2%2%
Late Payment Fee$9$20$9$20$20$10$10
Over Limit Fee$9$20$9$20$0$40$40
Overseas Emergency Replacement$52.50$0$0$20$0
Overseas ATM Balance check$0$0$0$0$1.25$0
Overseas ATM Withdrawal$5$4$5$4$4$5
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (VISA)3% of transaction value3% of transaction value3% of transaction value3.3% of transaction value3.3% of transaction value
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (MC)3% of transaction value3% of transaction value
Gambling Transactions AllowedNoNoYesNoNoNoNo
Gambling Transactions Interest RateCash Advance Rate
Additional Cardholder Fee$0$0$0$0$0$0$15
Number of Additional Cardholders13134
Application Requirements       
Minimum Income$15,000$15,000$15,000$25,000$25,000
Minimum Age18 years of age18 years of age18 years of age18 years of age18 years of age18 years of age18 years of age
Available to Temporary ResidentsNoYes - Conditions applyYes - Conditions applyNoYes - Conditions applyNoNo
Credit Rating RequirementGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGood
Min Credit Limit
This is the lowest credit card limit that you can request. It is possible to apply for a higher credit card limit but not a lower one than this figure.
$1,000$1,000$1,000$1,000$500$2,000$2,000
Max Credit Limit
This credit limit may not be issued to you immediately on application. This is the maximum credit limit for this card which must be applied for or offered to you after you are approved and have already opened the account.
$40,000$15,000$30,000$15,000$10,000$100,000
Go to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More infoGo to site More info


ANZ First credit card

ANZ First is a credit card with a low annual fee of $30 p.a.. For credit card customers who’ve already racked up a credit card debt want to transfer their balances to a lower interest rate to create some breathing room and to save some money, the ANZ First has a balance transfer rate of 0% p.a. for 16 months.

It has a purchase rate of 19.74% p.a. and a minimum annual income requirement of $15,000.

about the ANZ First credit card

ANZ First

Here are credit cards with low minimum income requirements.

The ANZ Low Rate credit card

The ANZ Low Rate is one an example of a card accessible to low income earners. It has a low purchase rate of 13.49% p.a. combined with an annual fee of just $58 p.a.

The ANZ Low Rate has a minimum annual income of $15,000. This equates to a weekly income of only $300.

It’s also a good option if you want to transfer balances over from your existing credit card. The ANZ Low Rate has a balance transfer rate of 0% p.a. for 16 months, this feature offers relief for cardholders who are incurring high interest charges on an existing credit card.

about the ANZ Low Rate credit card

ANZ First

Commonwealth Bank Low Rate credit card

The CBA Low Rate also has an annual fee of $78 p.a., so the savings made using the low purchase rate aren’t swallowed up by expensive fees. If you have an existing balance from another credit card the CBA will also give you an introductory transfer rate of 5.99% p.a. for 5 months. The transfer rate promotion isn’t as long as low as the ANZ Low Rate, but it’ll still go some way to helping you get your financial freedom back.

about the CBA Low Rate credit card

Commonwealth Bank Low Rate credit card

St. George Vertigo Visa

St. George’s Vertigo is another worthy addition to the low rate credit card stable. It boasts a low purchase rate of 13.24% p.a. with a balance transfer rate of 0% p.a. for 14 months. The Vertigo could be a great card to carry out your daily spending on and pay off any stubborn credit card debts.

It also has a low annual fee of $55 p.a. and no listed minimum income.

about the St. George Vertigo Visa

St. George Vertigo Visa

Suncorp Clear Options Standard credit card

Suncorp Bank Clear Options Standard is an enticing low rate, low annual fee credit card worth considering. It is hard to beat this low purchase rate of 12.74% p.a.. This card is good for customers who struggle to pay their balance in full every month, as the interest rate on purchases is one of the lowest around and represents great value.

It also has a low annual fee of $55 p.a. and a minimum income of $25,000.

about the Suncorp Clear Options Standard credit card

Suncorp Clear Options Standard

Virgin No Annual Fee credit card

Virgin No Annual Fee offers a cracking free annual fee. For consumers who are carrying an existing credit card debt, the balance can be transferred to this card for a low balance transfer rate of 0% p.a. for 14 months. Doing so could be a saviour for customers looking to payoff debt with a low interest rate.

Spend $1,000 or more on retail purchases in your first 3 months to get the 0% p.a. for 14 months balance transfer offer. If spend criteria isn't met a rate of 0% p.a. for 6 months on balance transfers applies.

It also has a minimum income of $25,000 and a purchase rate of 18.99% p.a..

about the Virgin No Annual Fee credit card

Virgin No Annual Fee credit card


Tips for low income earners applying for a credit card

Be prepared. Don’t be daunted by all the questions and paperwork in a credit card application. Even if you are a low income earner you generally only have to show a minimum income of only $15,000 to be approved for a low income credit card. This is roughly $290 a week.

Apply for a joint credit card. The income on a credit card application can be a total of the household’s income so apply with your partner or spouse and combine your incomes to reach the minimum. Check this page for a list of institutions that offer joint account credit cards.

Know your current debt and commitments. A credit card provider will look at your current debt ratio before allowing you to take on any more debt. This means that you too need to look at how much of your income is already going towards a mortgage, a personal loan, a car loan or any other sort of debt. If you need to, pay down some of your existing debt before you apply for a credit card to lower your debt ratio.

Increase your income. Take on extra shifts at work or start a second job. If you’ve already taken on extra work make sure to include it in your income information on your application.

Check your credit record. While income is one important factor which determines your eligibility for a credit card, the other big one is your credit record. A credit record can be a real surprise packet, and if you don’t check it, you won’t know what’s on there that could make you ineligible for a credit card. Once you’ve checked your credit file, you need to pay the bad debts that you can to increase your standing.

Only apply for one card at a time. This tip relates to your credit record once more. If you apply for more than one credit card at a time, the credit reporting system marks those applications against your name, and I can be the difference between getting a credit card and not.

Don’t lie on your application. Lying on a credit card application is considered fraud, so don’t do it.

Example

Low income credit card - Terry

Terry is working as a part time retail assistant while he studies to become a mechanic. He earns an annual income of $17,000. This translates to a weekly income of roughly $325 before tax. He’s applying for a credit card to be able to make emergency bill payments or purchases. His wife Demelza earns an annual income of $35,000.

If Terry applies for a credit card and includes both his own income and that of his wife, he may be able to qualify for a platinum or gold credit card, which may even come with a rewards program. Their combined income in this case would be $52,000.

Terry might still want to apply for a low rate credit card with only his income if his wife already has a credit card of her own. If he does this he’ll have a credit card with a low credit limit for emergency purchases and payments.

Credit card alternatives for low income earners

If a credit card is out of reach due to your income, there are a number of ways you can shop with security and convenience when overseas or online.

A prepaid credit card doesn’t allow you to spend more than you’ve loaded onto the card at any one time. It’s also a good way to get the security benefits and flexibility of a credit card while travelling overseas or shopping online. Simply transfer funds from your savings account either online, through BPAY or over the phone.

Example

Glenda credit card ozforex

Glenda is travelling overseas next year after she graduates from university. She’s already paid for her trip with the help of a gift from her parents, and now wants to sort out how she’ll keep her spending money safe while travelling. Her credit card application was recently rejected because she only makes approximately $12,500 a year.

Glenda decides to use an OzForex Travel Card. She can load up to nine different currencies onto the card, and can lock-in exchange rates for each of them. The card also has a security chip and PIN so her money is safe from credit card scammers.

Debit cards

Debit cards may also be a good alternative to credit cards. They allow you to use your savings but with the added features and worldwide acceptance of a Visa or MasterCard. They don’t have a line of credit like a credit card has, which means you can’t borrow funds from your provider to make purchases. On the flip side they also don’t require credit checks or have a minimum income – and you can’t get yourself into debt trouble.

Having a low income isn’t a death sentence when it comes to credit cards, but it can narrow your options. Think about your needs and why you want a credit card. Applying for a credit card simply for the ability to use it overseas or online might be better served with a prepaid credit card or debit card. If you have considered this and still need a credit card there are options like the credit cards on this page.

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8 Responses to What is the best way to choose a low income credit card?

  1. Default Gravatar
    jo | July 21, 2014

    Hi I now earn $30,942.08 and would like a credit card from $2000 to $5000. I have already had 4 enquiries on my file in the past 12 months.

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 21, 2014

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please check the minimum income requirements of the cards on this page, to help you determine if you’re eligible.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

    • Default Gravatar
      jo | July 21, 2014

      yes I do qualify but unsure about credit file as I have had four (4) enquiries on my file in the last twelve months???? as that figure is yearly gross (before tax)

    • Staff
      Shirley | July 22, 2014

      Hi Jo,

      Generally a credit inquiry every 3-6 months is acceptable by credit card providers.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  2. Default Gravatar
    adam | March 7, 2014

    I have an annual income of $10,000. What would be the best credit card to get and earn frequent flyer points as well.

    • Staff
      Jacob | March 7, 2014

      Hi, Adam.

      Thanks for your question.

      There are no cards in the market that offer frequent flyer points and have a minimum income requirement of under $15,000 p.a.

      Have a look at our low rate credit card comparison page. The cards on this page have some of the lowest minimum income requirements in the market. You can view the eligibility requirements for a card by having a look at the application requirements at the bottom of each card’s review page.

      I hope this helps.

  3. Default Gravatar
    Shyam | January 23, 2012

    My salary is only Rs15000/month, which credit card is suitable for me?

    • Staff
      Jacob | April 9, 2013

      Hi Shyam. This cards are available to permanent Australian residents only. If you do meet this criterion, you may want to consider a low rate credit card as this is a low salary and does not meet the minimum income requirements listed on this site. Jacob.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated October 24th, 2014
Interest rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Cash advance rate (p.a.)
ANZ Low Rate
ANZ Low Rate
A low rate on purchases, balance transfer and a low annual fee. 13.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 16 months $58 p.a. 21.74% p.a. Go to site More info
Citi Simplicity Card
Citi Simplicity Card
$0 annual fee credit card with a long term balance transfer offer. 19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 12 months $0 p.a. 19.99% p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Earn rewards points plus a balance transfer offer. Access to prestige services including a personal concierge service and VISA Platinum reward program. 19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 8 months $0 p.a. 21.99% p.a. Go to site More info
Westpac Low Rate Card
Westpac Low Rate Card
A low interest rate credit card with a low annual fee and balance transfer offer. 12.49% p.a. 0% p.a. for 14 months $45 p.a. 21.49% p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Credit Card
HSBC Credit Card
No annual fee for the life of the credit card. Plus a low balance transfer offer. 17.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 6 months $0 p.a. 21.99% 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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