When you apply for a credit card, your income is an important eligibility requirement that the issuer will use to assess your ability to repay. In Singapore, the minimum annual income requirement to apply for a credit card generally starts at S$30,000 per year; but you may still have options if your salary is lower.
Use this guide to compare credit cards you’re eligible to apply for.
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On Finder Singapore, the details are listed in the ‘Application requirements’ section in the product reviews for individual cards.
If you can’t find minimum income requirements for a particular card, you can try getting in touch with the issuer to ask about your eligibility.
Why are some income requirements so much higher than others?
The relationship between income and credit cards can influence a wide range of credit card features, from the credit limit and interest rate of the card right through to complimentary extras or rewards programs. In general, cards with high minimum incomes will have a lot more features than low income credit cards, but there are still many different credit cards you can choose from if you make a relatively low income.
In Singapore, minimum eligibility for Singaporeans and permanent residents is more or less fixed at S$30,000 p.a. except for students and senior citizens who are eligible only for exclusive credit cards designed for them. These cards are issued at lower or no minimum income limit and carry limitations such as lower credit limits to mitigate the risk of default.
For foreigners, though the minimum income eligibility is generally S$40,000 p.a, some banks may ask for an income as high as S$60,000 p.a.
What should I consider when comparing for a low income credit card?
Minimum income requirements. The Monetary Authority of Singapore mandates that credit cards should be backed by an annual income of at least $30,000. The minimum income for Non-Singaporean residents is generally higher (usually from S$40,000 to S$60,000 per year). However, there are exceptions and not all cards on the market specify this as the minimum income requirements. While some allow applications from individuals who earn S$16,000 p.a. or more, some others increase this requirement to $18,000. Make sure that you have all of the necessary documents to prove your annual income before you apply.
Earnings. If you don’t meet the minimum income requirement of any given credit card, you still have options. For instance, you could apply for a joint account and add your spouse’s income to your income as the total household earning. If this is not an option, start by opening a transaction account and try to increase your work hours for a few months so you can meet minimum income requirements.
Credit history. If you suffer from a poor credit history, work on repairing your credit before applying for a credit card. You can consider getting a temporary part-time job to increase your monthly income. Making sure you provide all the required information in your application also increases chances of approval. If you’re not eligible to apply for a credit card, you might want to consider some alternatives for applicants with a bad credit rating.
Affordability. Before you apply for the card, make sure you’ve confirmed if you can afford it. If you end up borrowing more than you can repay and build up debt, this will have a negative impact on your credit rating. Use the reviews on finder and read the relevant product disclosure statement to make sure you understand the costs of the card before applying.
Other factors that affect your credit card application
Age, income and residential status of the applicant form the basic eligibility requirement for Credit Cards. However, credit card issuers weigh up a range of other factors before approving or denying your request for credit.
Age. In Singapore, you must be at least 21 years of age to apply for a credit card, except for student credit cards where the eligibility age is 18 years. Most credit card companies issue cards only for applicants under the age of 55.
Residency status. Whether you are a Singaporean, Permanent Resident or a foreigner impacts your chances of getting a credit card. Income eligibility also differs according to the residential status of the applicant with foreigners requiring a higher income per annum to be eligible.
Credit rating/ score. Your CBS credit score as generated by the Credit Bureau Singapore is likely to impact the lender’s decision to issue you a credit card or not as the credit score reflects your creditworthiness.
Employment status. Banks may be selective about issuing credit cards depending on the employment pass the applicant –foreign worker possesses in Singapore. They will also verify the validity of the employment pass before issuing the credit card.
Type of Occupation. Whether you are a full-time salaried employee, own a business, self –employed or a student will also affect your chances of obtaining approval.
Existing relationship with the bank. Banks generally favour those applicants that have an existing relationship with the bank as it minimises their credit risk.
Proper Documentation. Proper documentation with regard to identity, address, residential status, occupation and income is a must. False information, unauthentic documentation or discrepancy on verification can render you ineligible for a credit card.
Credit card income requirements help issuers assess the risk of lending and give you an idea of what cards are available to you based on your financial situation.
So, now that you have a better understanding of minimum income requirements, you can compare and apply for a card that fits your needs.
The $30,000 minimum income requirement for credit cards is a regulatory requirement in Singapore. That said, there are a few credit cards available for those unable to meet this requirement. For example, students wouldn’t be expected to earn $30,000 but they can still be approved for a credit card. There are also ways to avoid this minimum figure if, for example, you have high net financial assets. Be aware that the benefits and perks, like rewards, offered by ‘no income’ or ‘low income’ credit cards, are likely to be restricted.
You could use the credit card to build up a healthy credit rating if you pay off your debt each statement period. With good creditworthiness, you’ll have increased chances of approval when applying for other loans in the future.
In some cases, it may be possible. Low income credit cards usually have lower minimum income requirements, such as S$16,000 p.a. If your annual income fits within the S$16,000 and S$18,000 bracket, applying for a low income credit card could be possible. Just keep in mind that your income is only one factor that’s taken into account during the application process. You still must be able to prove that you have a history of managing credit responsibly.
Sally McMullen is Finder's credit cards and frequent flyer editor by day and a music maven by night. She's also one half of the Pocket Money podcast. Her byline can be spotted on Yahoo Finance, Dynamic Business, Financy and Mamamia as well as Music Feeds and Rolling Stone. Sally has a first-class Honours degree in Communications and Media Studies (majoring in Journalism and Professional Writing) from the University of Wollongong.
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