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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.

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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.

Name Product Reward Cashback Offer Annual Fee Min Income - Singaporean and PR
DBS Live Fresh Student Card
Get AirPods with charging case (worth S$239) when you sign up and meet the minimum spend requirement.
5% cashback on McDonald’s, McDelivery, Starbucks, Golden Village and your favourite music, movies & TV series streaming services.
S$0 annual fee for the first 5 years and S$192.60 thereafter
N/A
Get AirPods with charging case (worth S$239) when you sign up.
Standard Chartered Manhattan $500 Card
N/A
Earn 0.25% cashback on everything you spend.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$32.10 thereafter
S$18,000
Maybank eVibes Card - The Student Card
Earn 1% cash rebate on retail purchases. Also enjoy up to 8% off accommodation bookings globally with Agoda. T&Cs apply.
1% cash rebate on all retail spend.
S$0 annual fee for the first 2 years and S$20 thereafter
N/A
Get an Adidas wristwatch worth S$120 when you use your card in the first month. First 500 successful applicants only.
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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.

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 S$1 spent on qualifying purchases.
Choose between a S$150 cashback or Samsonite suitcase if minimum spend requirements are met. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
S$0 annual fee
S$30,000
New cardholders can choose from a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage worth S$670 or S$150 cashback. Minimum spend of S$800 within the qualifying spend period is required. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card
Earn 1.4 miles for every S$1 spent locally with no minimum spend or cap.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend a minimum of S$1,500 within 30 days. First 200 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Enjoy up to 20,000 bonus miles if you charge S$50,000 to your card in a year. Apply today and enjoy free transfers to Changi Airport.
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 S$600.
S$0 annual fee for the first 2 years and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can receive a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp suitcase (worth S$670) or S$150 cashback, if a minimum of S$800 is spent using the card in the qualifying spend period. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Earn 3 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 when you spend with Singapore Airlines, Scoot, SilkAir or KrisShop and 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 on all other spend.
Get S$150 cash credit if you spend S$1,500 or more within 30 days. First 200 new customers only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can receive up to 10,000 KrisFlyer miles when applying and spending a minimum of S$1,500 within 30 days card approval. Ends 30 September 2020. Existing UOB cardmembers get 3,000 KrisFlyer miles after the first transaction of S$5 minimum. T&Cs apply.
UOB Yolo Card
Enjoy a wide variety of discounts and cashback rebates on dining, entertainment, online shopping and travel.
Up to 8% cashback on some weekend dining, travel, and entertainment and 3% cashback on online fashion, weekday dining, travel and more.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
UOB Lady's Card
Earn 10X UNI$ (or 20 miles) per S$5 spent on a chosen spending category with no min. spend required, and 1X UNI$ (or 2 miles) on other purchases.
New customers can get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.Ends 30 September 2020.
HSBC Advance Credit Card
Choose between a sign-up gift of a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage or S$150 cashback when minimum spend requirements are met.
Enjoy up to 3.5% cashback on all purchases with no minimum spend
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year (permanently waived for HSBC Advance banking customers) and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
New cardholders can choose between a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage worth S$670 or S$150 cashback if minimum spend of S$800 within the qualifying spend period is made. T&Cs apply. Ends 31 Dec 2020.
UOB One Credit Card
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 200 eligible applicants only.
Up to 10% cashback with some merchants including Grab,7-Eleven and Cold Storage; 6% for Singapore Power Utilities bills; and 5% back on all other retail spending.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$192.60 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and get up to S$150 in bonus cash credits. T&Cs apply.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card
Earn 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spent on local purchases, with no cap.
N/A
S$337.05 annual fee
S$50,000
Get up to 56,200 KrisFlyer miles with S$16,000 minimum spend within six months. Also enjoy a complimentary stay at a Hilton hotel in Asia Pacific each year.
UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card
6 air miles for every S$1 spent through Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel
Get S$150 cash credit when you apply. Minimum S$1,500 spend within 30 days. First 200 eligible applicants only.
S$0 annual fee for the first 1 year and S$256.80 thereafter
S$30,000
Apply today and enjoy up to S$150 in cash credits. Plus, free travel cover.
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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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