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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.

What credit card options are available for people under 21?

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.

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Reward Cashback Offer Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
DBS Live Fresh Student Card
Get 5% cashback from your favourite brands and your favourite music, movies and TV streaming services.
5% cashback on McDonald’s, McDelivery, Starbucks, Golden Village and your favourite music, movies & TV series streaming services.
$0 annual fee for the first 5 years and $192.60 thereafter
N/A
Get 5% cashback from your favourite brands and your favourite music, movies and TV streaming services.
Standard Chartered Manhattan $500 Card
N/A
Earn 0.25% cashback on everything you spend.
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and $32.10 thereafter
$18,000
Maybank eVibes Card - The Student Card
Earn 1% cash rebate on all spend. Also enjoy up to 7% off accommodation bookings globally with Agoda. T&Cs apply.
1% cash rebate on all retail spend.
$0 annual fee for the first 2 years and $20 thereafter
N/A
Get S$50 cash credit upon spending S$150 within the first two months upon approval. T&Cs apply.
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Alternative options to getting a credit card

Besides owning a credit card, you can consider the following options:

  • Use Buy Now Pay Later(BNPL) servicesA viable alternative to a credit card is a relatively new offering is BNPL. Instead of paying all upfront, you can split your payments over a set period. BNPL is becoming increasingly adopted in Singapore with a reported 38% of Singaporeans using services like Atome, hoolah and Rely.
  • 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.

Compare more credit cards

Name Product Reward Cashback Offer Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
HSBC Revolution Credit Card
Earn up to 10X Reward points or 4 miles per $1 spent on qualifying purchases.
Receive up to $200 cashback. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2022.
$0 annual fee
$30,000
New cardholders can choose from a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp with built-in scale (worth $670) or $200 cashback upon $500 minimum spend. Plus, receive up to $150 cashback when you apply for supplementary cards. Existing HSBC credit cardholders are eligible to receive $50 cashback. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2022.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
For every $1 spent, earn 1.2 KrisFlyer miles on local purchases, 2 KrisFlyer miles on overseas spend in June and December, Singapore Airlines and KrisShop and 3.2 KrisFlyer miles on Grab.
N/A
$337.05 annual fee
$50,000
Get 16,400 KrisFlyer miles upon annual fee payment and first transaction within 30 days from card approval. An additional 15,000 KrisFlyer miles when you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of Card approval. Valid until 30 Sep 2022. Also, earn 3,600 KrisFlyer miles based on the $3,000 spend above (based on 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent locally). T&Cs apply.
Citi Prestige Card
Deals and discounts in more than 90 countries. Also, get six complimentary golf games across Asia
Up to 20% cashback at selected merchants
$535 annual fee
$120,000
Receive 120,000 ThankYou Points (48,000 Miles) when you pay the annual fee ($535) and spend $800 within two months. T&Cs apply. Valid until 31 Oct 2022.
HSBC Visa Platinum Credit Card
Earn 1 Reward point for every $1 on all spend.
Up to 5% cash rebates on groceries, dining and fuel with minimum monthly spend of at least $600.
$0 annual fee for the first 2 years and $192.60 thereafter
$30,000
New cardholders can choose from a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp with built-in scale (worth $670) or $200 cashback upon $500 minimum spend. Plus, receive up to $150 cashback when you apply for supplementary cards. Existing HSBC credit cardholders are eligible to receive $50 cashback. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2022.
American Express Platinum Credit Card
Up to 50% off your food bill for unlimited visits at hotels around Singapore
N/A
$321 annual fee
$80,000
Get $100 CapitaVoucher upon payment of annual fee and first transaction within 30 days from card approval. An additional $100 worth of CapitaVouchers when you spend $2,000 within the first 3 months of card approval. Also, receive 2,500 Membership Rewards points from your base earn rate for the $2,000 spent. T&Cs apply. Valid until 30 Sep 2022.
Citi Cash Back+ Credit Card
Get up to 14% fuel discounts at Esso and Shell and 1.6% cash back on eligible retail purchases.
1.6% cash back on selected retail purchases
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and $192.60 thereafter
$30,000
Receive 10% cash back (up to $300 cash back) on up to $3,000 spend in the first 2 months. T&Cs apply. Valid until 31 Oct 2022.
HSBC Advance Credit Card
Receive up to $200 cashback when minimum spend requirements are met.
Enjoy up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) and $192.60 thereafter
$30,000
New cardholders can choose from a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp with built-in scale (worth $670) or $200 cashback upon $500 minimum spend. Plus, receive up to $150 cashback when you apply for supplementary cards. Existing HSBC credit cardholders are eligible to receive $50 cashback. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2022.
American Express True Cashback Card
Enjoy 1.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend or cap. Plus receive up to $80 CapitaVouchers when a minimum spend of $250 is made in the first month.
Earn 1.5% cashback on all eligible spending with no minimum spend or cap
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and $171.20 thereafter
$30,000
Apply today and get a 3% cashback bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first six months.
Citi Cash Back Card
Get up to 20.88% fuel discounts at Esso and Shell, 6% cashback on dining and 8% cashback on groceries.
6% cash back on dining, 8% cashback on groceries and petrol transactions. 0.25% cashback on other retail purchases, capped at $80 for all transactions per statement month.
$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and $192.60 thereafter
$30,000
Get a welcome gift of $300 cash back when you spend $800 in the first two months. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Oct 2022.
Aspire Corporate Card
Enjoy exclusive perks and discounts with Aspire's extensive range of partners, redeemable at anytime
1% Cashback for qualified spend of above S$5,000. T&Cs apply
$0 annual fee
N/A
A corporate debit card for SMEs and Startups with no annual fee and low FX fees. Enjoy 1% cashback on marketing and SaaS spend. T&Cs apply.
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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.

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