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How old do I have to be to apply for a credit card?
Learn the requirements for obtaining a credit card as well as some alternatives for under-21s.
In Singapore, you must be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in your name. This is the age you are legally considered an adult in Singapore and – as minors can’t be held liable for contracts – only adults can apply for credit products.
This policy is part of the strict lending rules that protect young Singaporeans from accumulating debt they are not yet mature enough to take on. Let’s take a closer look.
Other credit card application requirements
While 18 is the minimum age to own a credit card in Singapore, in reality, most applicants will have to be at least 21 years old. It’s also worth keeping in mind that age is only one key application criteria you’ll have to consider when applying for a credit card.
Requirements vary between providers and individual products, but the following are some of the most common conditions:
- Residency status. The majority of cards require you to be a Singapore citizen, permanent resident or foreigner with a valid work permit.
- Credit history. Credit history is very important when applying for a credit card, and your credit report and credit score should be very good or excellent.
- Minimum income. The minimum annual income requirement for credit cards is set at S$30,000. This requirement can go as high as S$120,000 or more for prestige cards.
- Employment details. You should have permanent, full-time work, but there are cards you can apply for while working part-time, casually and even when you’re retired or receiving passive income.
- Personal details. You will also need to provide personal information as well as documentary proof of identification and income.
If you’re above 18 but below 21, you are eligible to apply for student credit cards with a parent or guardian’s consent. These credit cards are offered by most Singapore banks and require no minimum income, such as the Maybank eVibes Card - The Student Card. However, the drawback of such cards is that the credit limit is usually S$500.
Alternative options to getting a credit card
Besides owning a credit card, you can consider the following options:
- Request to be an additional cardholder on your parents’ credit card. If you’re at least 18 years of age, your parents may add you as a supplementary cardholder to their credit card account. This means that you will receive a credit card linked to their account, and they will remain legally responsible for all expenses incurred on your card.
- Get a prepaid credit card. A prepaid credit card lets you preload the card with money. This means it’s technically not a “credit” card because you are responsible for providing the money you spend, but it can be useful for convenience, flexibility and learning about budgeting. With this card, you won’t fall into debt, and shopping is convenient since the card is accepted just like a Visa or Mastercard.
- Use a debit card. A debit card is similar to a prepaid card, except it is linked to a bank account. When you use this type of card, you are spending money that you have in the account. The difference between a debit card and a prepaid credit card is that the debit card is limited by your bank account balance, while your prepaid card balance is limited by the amount of money you preload on it.
- Focus on savings. The importance of saving throughout your life is often underrated. Learning to save should be a critical focus, especially before you get a credit card. This will ensure you have funds that you can use when necessary and also prevent unmanageable credit card debt in the future.
Before applying for a credit card, make sure that you’ve researched your chosen card and understood the terms, conditions and eligibility requirements.
Rather than thinking of these requirements as restrictive, understand that credit card application requirements help uphold responsible lending practices and protect consumers.
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Frequently asked questions
Can I get a student credit card that offers rewards?
Yes, most student credit cards available in Singapore offers some form or rewards or cash rebates, much like a regular credit card. You can then use the reward points to redeem for a variety of shopping, dining or entertainment treats.
What happens if I miss a payment on my student credit card?
It is important to be prompt in making your monthly bill payments since the finance charges and interest payments can quickly accumulate. Interest charges on the balance are at a prevailing rate or between 24 to 28%; you may also be charged a late payment fee if the minimum payment is not received by the due date. Most credit cards here require a minimum balance payment of S$50 or 3% of the statement balance, whichever is greater. Late payment charges may be anywhere between S$50 to S$100. Due to the high charges for late payment, you should always aim to pay at least the minimum amount off your card by the due date on your statement and contact your issuer to discuss your circumstances if you’re struggling to meet these payments.
Visa vs Mastercard: What’s the difference and which is better?
So what is the difference between Visa and Mastercard credit cards? See the comparison between the two.
What credit cards can help to build up my credit history?
A secured credit card may be suitable if you want to build up your credit history. Providers usually offer a credit limit that’s equal to a fixed deposit that you use as collateral. However, these types of card typically come with a minimum age requirement of 21 years of age, and your annual income needs to be at least S$30,000.Back to top
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