If you have a low income, you may still qualify for a credit card.
But be sure to weigh the pros and cons of getting a credit card, especially if you’re not sure you’ll be able to repay your expenses in full each month. It can be easy to rack up credit card debt, so ask yourself if you really need a credit card or if you’re better off sticking with a debit card instead.
Can you get a credit card with low income?
If you have a low income, you may qualify for a credit card, but your options may be more limited than someone with higher disposable income. Some credit cards have minimum income requirements, which can be as low as $15,000 per year for some cards. Other cards don’t list specific income requirements, but you’ll still need to meet the provider’s eligibility criteria to be approved.
Generally, if you have a low income, you are more likely to qualify for a basic no-frills credit card. These cards generally don’t offer the same benefits as rewards or premium cards, such as the ability to earn frequent flyer points, free insurance, or access to travel lounges. The more “premium” a credit card appears and the more benefits it offers, the higher its minimum income requirement tends to be.
But in contrast, basic credit cards often charge lower annual fees or lower purchase rates. This could help you save costs, compared to taking out a loyalty card or a more expensive loyalty card.
What is the minimum income to get a credit card?
Minimum income varies by credit card. However, as of this writing, some basic credit cards are available for people earning between $15,000 and $25,000 a year.
When you apply for a credit card, you must prove to the provider that you can afford the credit card refunds. In Australia, credit card providers cannot legally give you a credit card if they think you cannot afford it.
You will usually need to give your chosen provider information about your employment and income (such as payslips and bank statements), as well as information about your assets, debts and general living expenses. This means that even if a particular credit card does not have a minimum income requirement, the card provider may consider your income when deciding whether or not to approve your application.
What are the pros and cons of getting a credit card if you have a low income?
- You may still be able to get a low-fee or low-rate credit card, which might be cheaper than a card with rewards points or other features.
- If you make your repayments on time, it could help build your credit history.
- It can be easy to get into debt on a credit card. If you fall behind on your credit card payments, you may be charged quite high interest rates.
- Fees on some credit cards can be quite high.
- Your options may be limited because you may not qualify for as many credit cards as someone with a higher income.
- If you miss your repayments or make too many credit card applications, it could hurt your credit score.
What should I look for in a low income credit card?
If you are comparing credit cards as a low-income person, consider factors such as:
- Minimum income requirements – check if the provider lists a minimum income requirement and what kind of income they will accept. For example, some suppliers may not accept certain types of government payments. If no minimum income is listed, check what other eligibility requirements are listed and the minimum credit limit available.
- Costs – you may be able to get a low-cost credit card. Check the annual or monthly fee amount for any cards you are considering. Also check other fees, such as late payment fees, cash advance fees, and international transaction fees.
- Interest rate – you might also be able to get a low purchase rate card. The purchase rate is the interest rate that will apply if you do not repay your balance in full by the due date.
- Interest-free days – it is also worth checking the number of interest-free days offered. Credit cards typically offer up to 44 or 55 days interest-free on purchases. This applies as long as you pay your closing balance in full on time each month.
- Characteristics – also check if the card comes with additional features or benefits that are important to you.
Before applying for a credit card, make sure you meet all eligibility requirements. In addition to any income requirements, you will also generally need to be at least 18 years old, be an Australian resident or hold a qualifying visa, and have a good credit history.
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