Can I get a credit card if I am on Centrelink?

outside street signage of centrelink building australia

Receiving payment through Centrelink or having a small income can make getting a credit card more difficult, but it does not necessarily disqualify you.

The eligibility requirements for each credit card greatly vary, so it’s best to take time to understand the criteria.

If you’re unsure if you qualify for a credit card, reach out directly to the card issuer to see if it suits your lifestyle and financial situation.

Let’s answer a few key questions:

Can I apply for a credit card if I’m receiving government assistance?

While also taking into account credit score, employment status and debts and financial obligations, many credit card companies will consider applications from customers that receive income through Centrelink, such as pensions, parental leave pay, and Family Tax Benefit A and B.

Can I apply for a credit card if I have multiple sources of income?

Many credit card providers accept applications from customers with multiple small sources of income. If, for example, you take in a combination of casual employment, foster carer allowance and Job Seeker payments, that should not be a problem for most banks and providers, as long as your total income meets the card’s minimum earning requirement (if there is one).

When applying, it’s essential to provide the credit card provider with information on each income source. You will likely need to select one as your primary income and then include the others in the financial section of your application. The credit card provider will require supporting documentation for each payment source, such as bank statements, employment contracts and payslips.

How can I increase my chances of getting approved for a credit card?

Although getting approved for a credit card may be more difficult if you have a low income or receive government assistance, here are some steps you can take to help increase your chances:

1. Compare credit card options

There are many credit cards available to customers, so you should try and find the one that best suits your spending habits. If you receive Centrelink payments or have low income, you should consider a low rate credit card for low and manageable payments. If you are only planning to use your credit card for emergencies or know you will always pay down your balance each month, try a no annual fee card to save money on fees. In the Mozo database, annual fees range from $0 to $1,200, so it could be a hefty saving.

2. Make sure you meet the credit card eligibility requirements

Before you pick a credit card, it is important to look at the various eligibility criteria for each card. Generally, these requirements include:

  • Age - You must be 18 years old or older.
  • Residency - Some card providers require Australian citizenship, permanent residency or a valid Australian visa.
  • Credit history - Most credit issuers will have a minimum credit score requirement.
  • Income - Additionally, Most credit card providers will also require a minimum income, usually starting from $15,000 per year.

3. Get your documents in order

There are two main things you will usually need to apply for a credit card in Australia:

  • Identification: The bank or credit card provider will ask for your identification details like a passport or your Australian driver's licence. You will also need proof of Australian residency.
  • Financial details: They'll also want to know details of your employment and how much you earn. Each provider will have its income requirements.

4. Don’t apply for multiple credit cards at the same time

It’s best to assess the credit card options available and apply for one at a time.

To maximise your chance of being approved, don't apply for a credit card without first checking that you can meet the application requirements. Also, don't apply for a credit card unless you seriously intend to use it.

A card provider may also reject your application if you've applied for several credit cards in a short space of time, as this can lower your credit score and may indicate that you are struggling financially.

If you’re not sure if you meet the criteria for the credit card, it’s best to contact the credit provider directly and discuss options.

On the hunt for a new credit card? A great place to start is Mozo’s credit card hub for guides and credit card comparisons or check out our top recommendations for the best credit cards. 

  • ^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Credit Card Awards

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