Why was my credit card application declined?

Information verified correct on October 21st, 2016
application declined

Not sure why your credit card application was rejected? Read this guide to find out about the reasons you could be declined and what you can do to improve your chances next time.

There are a number of different steps and requirements you need to meet to get a credit card application approved. This also means there are many reasons your application could be unsuccessful – and most lenders won’t automatically tell you why it was declined.

From making a mistake on the application to not including supporting documentation or dealing with poor credit history, here we take a look at the most common reasons credit card applications are rejected and what you can do about it.

Reasons your credit card application may be declined

Understanding the different reasons your credit card application may be rejected can help you figure out your next steps. Some of the most common problems include:

  • Your age. If you are under 18 years of age then your credit card application will be declined.
  • Incorrect information on your application. Something as simple as entering your driver’s licence number wrong or misspelling your residential address could mean the credit card issuer is unable to verify your details and move forward with the application process. If a mistake is the reason your credit card application is declined, you may be able to resolve the situation with the issuer by amending your application.
  • Recent changes in your circumstances. If you have recently moved or changed jobs and you haven’t updated this information across all your networks, it could be hard for the issuer to verify your identity or access your credit report. As with mistakes on the application, you may be able to deal with this by calling the credit card issuer and/or by providing additional documentation.
  • Not meeting income requirements for the card. Many credit cards have minimum income requirements. If your annual earnings are less than this amount, you’re application will be declined.
  • Poor employment circumstances. Stable, ongoing employment helps show issuers that you can meet repayments for a new credit card. So if your employment is temporary, casual, part-time or hard to verify for some other reason, you may find it hard to get approval for certain cards.
  • Other financial risks. When you apply for a credit card, you have to enter information about your income and expenses. If you have a lot of expenses in comparison to your income, the issuer may determine that there is a high risk you won’t be able to meet repayments and decline your application.
  • Not meeting citizenship or residency status. While there are some credit cards available for temporary residents, other cards are only available for permanent residents and citizens of Australia. So your application could be rejected if you don’t meet these requirements for a particular card.
  • Bad credit history or “adverse bureau” information. When you apply for a credit card, the issuer will request a copy of your credit file from a credit reporting agency. If you have negative or “adverse bureau” information in your credit history – such as late payments, defaults, too many applications for credit or even not enough credit history – the issuer may find you do not meet the requirements for the card and decline your application.Get Your Free Credit Score

It’s important to remember that credit card issuers assess applications on an individual basis, so the specific reasons your application may be declined will vary depending on the circumstances. Some issuers may be willing to discuss these details with you but others may not. Either way, it’s a good idea to keep a copy of your application and go over all the details above to figure out the likely reason/s it was declined.

How can I improve my chances of credit card approval next time?

Keeping the following tips in mind helps increase the chances of approval when you apply for a new credit card:

  • Choose a card that suits your circumstances. Make sure the credit card you apply for is right for your needs by considering how it will fit with your current financial situation. For example, if you don’t earn a lot of money, you may want to look at credit cards for low income earners. Similarly, if you are retired, on a pension or self-employed, you could look at the range of cards that accommodate these circumstances.
  • Get a copy of your credit report. You can request a free credit report from all of the major bureaus once every year. This allows you to make sure all the details listed are current and accurate. It can also give you a better understanding of how you can improve your finances. For example, if you see a lot of listings for late payments, you may want to focus on paying your bills on time to help improve your credit score.
  • Update all of your details before you apply. Make sure your residential address, phone number, email address and employment information is updated across all your networks so that it is easy for credit card issuers to verify the information on your application.
  • Read over the application before you submit it. Going over the details in your application will help you pick up any errors before you hit the “submit” button.
  • Have your supporting documentation ready. Credit card issuers require a range of documents before they can fully process your application, including copies of your passport or driver’s licence, payslips and bank statements. It can speed up the application process if you have these documents ready before you apply because you’ll be able to provide them as soon as they’re requested.

Dos and don’ts for credit card applications


  • Do compare credit cards before you apply
  • Do check all the application requirements
  • Do provide accurate information on your application


  • Don’t apply for a credit card too many times
  • Don’t apply for another card soon after being rejected
  • Don’t apply if you can’t meet the application requirements

Credit card issuers require a wide range of information before they can make a decision about your application. By learning more about these requirements and the common reasons applications are declined, you can make informed decisions about what cards to apply for and increase your chances of approval in the future.

Frequently asked questions around credit card applications

I have a high interest rate on my current credit card. I've tried to move it to another card with a balance transfer offer but my applications keep getting rejected. What should I do?

Frequent applications and rejection can hurt your credit rating. In this case, you may want to wait a few months and then find a card that suits your needs and also has eligibility requirements you can meet.

I am retired. Will this affect my application?

It depends on the card. Lenders may look at both the employment details and income of a person, which means you could still get a credit card when you are retired if you meet the minimum income requirements. You can compare credit cards for retired applicants here.

I am new at my current job. Should I wait for some time before making an application?

Card issuers generally require a minimum of two to four months of employment with your current employer. Alternatively, you may be asked to provide a letter from your employer confirming the terms of your employment and salary.

Is it harder to get approval for your first credit card?

Credit card issuers consider many different factors before approving or declining an application. While you may not have much credit history if it’s your first credit card application, other details such as your employment and income can help you get approval. You may also want to check out our guide to applying for your first credit card for more information.

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31 Responses to Why was my credit card application declined?

  1. Default Gravatar
    Dawn | October 3, 2016

    If my card application was declined by an online 60 second response will it be recorded on my credit file?

    • Staff
      May | October 4, 2016

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your question.

      Most likely yes. Usually, when you apply for any form of credit, for instance, a credit card, the bank will surely check your credit file to examine your ‘creditworthiness’ and by doing so, that will leave an “enquiry” on your file.


    • Default Gravatar
      | October 4, 2016

      Yes but this is a 60 second response….how can they do a credit check in that amount of time?

    • Staff
      May | October 4, 2016

      Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for getting back.

      Unfortunately, all applications are recorded in the file and the “speed of response” is not a factor at all. So, in future, in order to avoid any possible enquiry on your credit file, you may have to contact the lender or the credit card company first and discuss your chances of approval with them before submitting an application.


  2. Default Gravatar
    simon | July 20, 2016

    How long must I wait after been declined,

    • Staff
      Chester | July 20, 2016

      Hello Simon,

      Credit card companies and banks across Australia do not have the same application approval criteria. There are various reasons why your application might be declined. I have sent you an email so to provide some information in regards to your current status.


  3. Default Gravatar
    Lean | January 26, 2016

    I’ve been wondering if I’m eligible for a credit card? I’ve been doing farm work for 8months all up but currently moved to another farm been there for one month now would I still be able to apply for a credit card? Not quite sure how this works? Also wondering if it would be harder to apply for one considering its my first time?

    • Staff
      Ally | January 27, 2016

      Hi Lean,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Kindly note that finder.com.au is an online comparison service that does not represent any credit card issuer.

      However, you might want to take a look at the different credit card options featured on our site here. Compare the different options on the table until you find one that you think will suit your needs best. Once you’ve chosen a credit card from the table, click on the product name so that you’ll be led to its review page wherein the eligibility requirements and steps on how to apply are indicated.

      Also, you might want to read through our post about How To Apply For Your First Credit Card as you might just find it useful.

      I hope this has helped.


  4. Default Gravatar
    Ivy | July 3, 2015

    Is applying for a credit card the same as applying for medical finance?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | July 8, 2015

      Hi Ivy, thanks for your inquiry!

      Credit card facilities and medical finance loans can be assessed from your personal credit file. Credit cards differ in the way they are used, as they provide purchase, cash withdrawal and other features. You may like to compare credit cards on this page.



  5. Default Gravatar
    sandra | June 13, 2015

    My son applied for a GO MasterCard to use at Harvey norman, it was declined. Just wondering why as he has full time work, no outstanding bills, paid both his car loan and HSBC credit way ahead of time, only has his rent and phone to pay so what went wrong?

    • Staff
      Jonathan | June 15, 2015

      Hi Sandra, thanks for your inquiry!

      Banks/lenders have individual lending policies and application requirements. It would be best to contact GO MasterCard directly to inquire further about the application.

      I hope this helps,


  6. Default Gravatar
    Leslie | April 14, 2015

    I am looking for a balance transfer card but haven’t applied yet but would like some advice to increase my chances of being accepted.

    I have an excellent credit Veda score and I own my house outright with no loans , have been at my job for almost 3 years ,but have very high credit card debt of over $X and all close to limits(due to a messy divorce).
    My salary is not very high but over $Y. I have roughly $Z in the bank.I have a housemate just move in and will be paying a small rent and half the utilities.
    My question is -it better to take some of the cash and put it towards the credit card balances before I apply so the cards so not to be almost maxed out? Or is it better to have available cash?

    I also have a small investment portfolio in the US but should I list that as it is overseas?

    thanks in advance

    • Staff
      Jonathan | April 15, 2015

      Hi Leslie, thanks for your inquiry!

      In regards to paying credit card debts, it is usually advantageous to minimise debt amounts to avoid higher interest repayments. An ideal method of consolidating credit card debt, especially on multiple cards can be a balance transfer card, more information on this type of card is available on this page. You may also like to see more information on credit records and getting your credit card application approved.



  7. Default Gravatar
    Ktee | January 12, 2015

    The other day i had a credit card application declined. The credit card was a 12% interest free on purchases (i already have a credit card that has an interest free period but about to run out, that is also not owing anything) and i have closed one credit account before, as well as paying off a personal loan very early and having a car loan now. I earn pretty good money, and i don’t have many doubts about my credit history but for some reason i get declined? It just makes me wonder if the banks decline if they think someone has a TOO good of chance of repaying them before the interest free period is over (meaning they make no money, besides yearly fee) Extremely frustrating as it does not look good for someone who has an otherwise great history.

    • Default Gravatar
      Ktee | January 12, 2015

      Sorry, meant to say 12 months interest free**

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | January 14, 2015

      Hi Ktee,

      Thanks for your comment.

      As you can see from the page above, there are various reasons why a credit card application might be declined. Card issuer’s use a variety of criteria to determine someone’s eligibility, and unfortunately it’s not always obvious why your application might not have been accepted. As you mentioned, the card application will appear on your credit file as declined so it may be worth waiting until you apply for your next card to give yourself the best chance at approval.



  8. Default Gravatar
    why? | October 31, 2014

    Ive applied for a credit card but have not heard anything back although their website claims a 60 second response, is this an indication that I have been rejected. ?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | October 31, 2014


      Thanks for your question.

      The response you received may have been that your application will take more time to process, so if you received this message then this might be considered your response. You might want to get in contact with the card issuer to discuss the progress of your application and ensure it was successfully received.

      I hope this has helped.



  9. Default Gravatar
    Scott | October 3, 2014

    I know this thread is old but westpac declined my credit card application and when I spoke to them they said
    It had nothing to do with my credit history nothing to do with my credit file nothing to do with my income or assets or employment status ?? So what the hell was it then? My score was good as well she said she cannot have it reviewed but I could get my branch my manager to request it be reviewed but like why would they decline it if there wasn’t a problem in the 1st place could anyone please explain?

    • Staff
      Elizabeth | October 3, 2014

      Hi Scott,

      Thanks for your question.

      As you can see from the information on this page, there’s a few reasons why your application may not have been approved. The banks don’t necessarily have to advise you as to why they’ve rejected your application, but they would have their own criteria in place they you would not have met if you were to be rejected. If you feel like you want the decision reviewed then you have that option open to you, as explained by Westpac.

      I hope this has helped.



  10. Default Gravatar
    Shant | August 23, 2014

    Got a home loan approved, waiting for settlement. Would getting a new credit card impact my settlement?

    • Staff
      Shirley | August 27, 2014

      Hi Shant,

      Thanks for your question.

      This could have an impact on your settlement depending on your lender’s policies. I’d recommend speaking to your lender about whether a credit card application will affect anything.

      Please note that your home loan application could have an impact on your credit card application.

      All the best,

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* 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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