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How to apply for a credit card

30/04/2019

What you need to know before applying for a credit card.

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A credit card application will probably take you less than 15 minutes to complete, but to have the best chance of being approved quickly you will need to have all the right documentation in place. If you haven’t read our post about figuring out if you’re ready to apply, here’s a quick recap:

1. You need to be 18 years or over

2. Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

3. You should be meeting minimum income requirements as determined by the lender

4. Have a good credit history.

If you’re unsure whether you are eligible to apply for a particular credit card, it’s a good idea to ring the lender to discuss your situation before applying. 

Credit card application checklist

If you’re applying for a credit card, ensure you have all the documentation ready to go before you start the application process. 

Personal information

  • Proof of identity: this should be a photo ID such as a passport or driver’s licence.
  • Your address details: you will need to supply your current address details, and may also be asked to supply details from your previous address if you haven’t lived there very long.
  • Your contact details: this includes your phone number and email address. Most lenders will give you the option as to how you wish to be contacted, including how you wish to receive your monthly statements.  
  • Your dependents: if you have a partner or children that you financially support, the lender will need to know about them. This information helps the lender assess the suitability of the limit you have applied for.

Your assets and debts

  • Assets: this includes any savings, investments, property and vehicles you own. 
  • Expenses: from rent or mortgage payments to your mobile phone bill, a lender will want to know all your regular financial obligations.
  • Existing credit: if you have any other credit cards, a home loan or a personal loan you will be required to provide details of each.

Income and employment history

  • Your occupation: you will need to provide information about your current job, including information such as your role, the length of your employment and your employer. You may also be asked to provide your employer’s contact details to confirm this. If you are self employed, you may need to supply your accountant’s details and tax assessments so your income can be verified.  
  • Salary information: expect to be asked for your income before tax, as well as any additional income you may receive (e.g. rent from an investment property or dividend payments). Lenders may request copies of recent payslips, bank statements or your last tax assessment notice from the ATO.
  • Superannuation or pension information: if you are retired or a pensioner, you may be asked to provide proof of regular income including pension benefits or details of your superannuation account.

Your credit card preferences

  • Credit limit: you will be required to nominate a limit you would like to have on your card.
  • Extra cardholders: if the card you are applying for allows it, you may wish to add cardholders. You will need to provide some details including their name, date of birth and contact details.

How soon will I be approved?

This will depend on each financial institution, but it can take up to two weeks to find out if your application is approved (or sometimes longer, for example if the lender has to request additional information or documentation in order to assess your application).

What happens next?

If your application is successful, and you have received your new card, it’s time to put some good credit card habits in place. This will help ensure you don’t get in over your head. 

If your application is denied, ask the lender to explain why before applying again. You may be required to improve your financial situation and credit score, or simply re-evaluate whether the credit card product and credit limit was appropriate for your needs.   

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Before you act on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. Applications subject to credit approval and fees and charges are payable. Terms and conditions apply and are available on request.

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