What annual income do I need to be approved for a credit card?

There's no single minimum income you need in order to get a credit card. Different cards have different criteria and you can find them here.

Updated

When you apply for a credit card, your income is an important factor that the issuer will use to determine whether you qualify for a credit card. But just how much income must you earn to be approved? And what other factors might be considered? This guide will answer those questions and more. Find out if you’re likely to be approved for a credit card then compare your options.

Is there a minimum income requirement to get a credit card?

There’s not a standard minimum across the market. Each card will come with its own minimum income requirements or in many cases, the card issuer may simply not declare a minimum.

Lenders in the UK are required by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to lend responsibly. In other words, they shouldn’t offer credit to the point where borrowers are at an increased risk of getting into unsustainable debt.

Simply put, a credit card issuer must consider your ability to repay the debt and in order to gauge this, there are a few key factors at play:

Firstly, the credit limit: that’s how much debt you’re allowed to run up on a card. Credit limits are always set to the individual. That means if a lender sees you have a very low income, then if you’re offered a credit card, it’ll likely be offered with a very low credit limit. The good news is credit limits can usually be reviewed after a few months of responsible card usage.

Secondly, lenders want to see you have a visible track record of repaying debt (i.e. your credit file). Again, if this is limited or shows any negative borrowing behaviour, then it wouldn’t be responsible of a lender to offer huge sums of credit.

Then, there’s the question of your income vs outgoings. You might have a super-high income but be in debt up to your eyeballs or have a large number of inflexible financial commitments. By contrast, you might have a low income, but very little in the way of financial commitments or outstanding debt.

A card issuer must ensure that given your credit history and your income and outgoings, you’d be able and likely to keep up the repayments on a fully maxed-out card.

Check minimum income criteria for UK credit cards

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
Tandem Bank Journey Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit £1,500.
£15000
24.9%
£0
24.9%
No fees for making purchases or withdrawing cash abroad – currencies are converted at the standard Mastercard exchange rate.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 24.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Credit Card 24.7pc Visa
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
24.7%
£0
24.7%
Stay in control of your account with online servicing, a mobile app, SMS and email alerts.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 24.7% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 24.7% APR (variable).
TSB Classic Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 10 months reverting to 26.95%
£0
26.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 26.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 26.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Foundation Clubcard Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,500.
£5000
27.542%
£0
27.5%
Collect 1 Tesco Clubcard point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 Clubcard point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco in each purchase transaction.  Must have available credit to collect Clubcard points. Clubcard points are turned into Clubcard vouchers every 3 months or sooner using Faster Vouchers. Clubcard vouchers can be used in Tesco or with Clubcard Reward Partners to get even more value on dining out, hotel stays and travel.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.542% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.5% APR (variable).
Bank of Scotland Classic Mastercard
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 6 months reverting to 27.95%
£0
27.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 27.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 27.9% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Chrome Card 29.3pc Visa
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
29.3%
£0
29.3%
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.3% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.3% APR (variable).
Vanquis Bank Aquis Visa
Min. limit £250, max. limit £1,000.
Not specified
29.84%
£0
29.8%
You could get a credit limit increase after your 5th statement and further increases every 5 months, up to £4,000.
Representative example: When you spend £1,000 at a purchase rate of 29.84% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
American Express Rewards Credit Card
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
22.2%
£0
22.2%
As a new Cardmember, earn 5,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend £2,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
British Airways American Express Card
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
22.2%
£0
22.2%
New Cardmember offer: Earn 5,000 bonus Avios when you spend £1,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday Card
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
22.2%
£0
22.2%
New Cardmember offer: Get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £100) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.2% APR (variable).
The American Express Nectar Credit Card
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
22.2%
Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum
27.3%
As a new Cardmember, earn 20,000 bonus Nectar points when you spend £2,000 in your first 6 months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
American Express Platinum Cashback Card
Min. limit £700, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
22.2%
£25 per annum
27.3%
As a new Cardmember, get 5% cashback on your purchases (up to £125) for the first six months of Cardmembership.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.2% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £25 per annum, your representative rate is 27.3% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£8500
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9%
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
M&S Bank Reward Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 6 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Double points on spend in M&S for first 12 months (2 points per £1). Then earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Santander All in One Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£7500
0% for 26 months reverting to 15.9%
£3 per month
21.7%
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Cashback paid Monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 15.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 21.7% APR (variable).
Bank of Ireland UK Matched Mastercard
Min. limit £1,000, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 24 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Tesco Bank Clubcard Credit Card Purchases Mastercard
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£5000
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.944%
£0
19.9%
1 point per £4 spent (£4 minimum) in Tesco and 1 point per £8 spent (£8 minimum) outside Tesco. Must have available credit to earn points. Points are converted to Tesco vouchers or can be exchanged for Partner rewards to receive money off a variety of restaurants, entertainment or Avios points.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.944% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
Sainsbury's Bank Dual Offer Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 20 months reverting to 20.95%
£0
20.9%
Earn 750 bonus Nectar points each time £35 or more spent on Sainsbury's shopping, up to ten times in your first 2 months, up to a total of 7,500 points, offer available for new customers. Earn 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel. Earn 1 Nectar point for every £5 spent elsewhere.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 20.95% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 20.9% APR (variable).
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Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Credit limits Minimum income Purchases Annual/monthly fees Rep. APR Link Incentive Representative example
M&S Bank Shopping Plus Mastercard
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 20 months reverting to 19.9%
£0
19.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent at Marks and Spencer's and 1 point for every £5 spent elsewhere. 100 points = £1 reward voucher. Points will be converted into reward vouchers 4 times a year.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
The Royal Bank Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
The NatWest Balance Transfer Credit Card (eligibility criteria apply)
Min. limit £300, max. limit not specified.
£10000
0% for 3 months reverting to 19.9% p.a. (variable)
£0
19.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 19.9% (variable), your representative rate is 19.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Purchase Plus Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
£8500
0% for 18 months reverting to 22.9%
£0
22.9%
Discounts and exclusive offers for dining experiences, leisure activities and shopping available through HSBC Home and Away.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 22.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 22.9% APR (variable).
first direct Credit Card Visa
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
18.9%
£0
18.9%
Earn cashback with selected retailers via Visa Offers, customers can register up to five separate first direct Visa cards.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership Mastercard
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
£6750
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9%
Earn 1 point for every £1 spent in store or online at John Lewis, Waitrose and John Lewis Insurance. Earn 1 Point for every £2 spent elsewhere. Earn double points on selected insurances taken out through John Lewis Financial Services. Vouchers issued once customer reaches 500 points in Feb, Jun or Oct when vouchers are automatically issued to customers. Every 500 points is worth £5.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
HSBC Premier Credit Card Mastercard
Min. limit £1,500, max. limit not specified.
Not specified
0% for 9 months reverting to 18.9%
£0
18.9%
A selection of rewards from a range of partners. Earn 1 point for every £1 spent within the UK and earn 2 points for every £1 spent outside the UK. Points can be redeemed for shopping vouchers and frequent flyer miles.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 18.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 18.9% APR (variable).
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What other sources of money could count as income?

If your income isn’t simply from an employer, lenders may still take it into account. Each lender will have its own policy on what can and can’t be included in your income, which could take into account some or all of the following:

  • Pension
  • Benefits
  • Child maintenance
  • Dividends
  • Regular overtime/commission/bonuses

Why do eligibility requirements vary?

Like most industries, the world of credit cards is full of different companies trying to make a buck in different ways. An old, established card issuer might only be interested in serving borrowers it deems the safest bets, but a smaller, younger card issuer might have found a way to serve other sectors of the market by looking more closely at borrowers’ situations, for example.

Some cards come with all sorts of intricate features and rewards, but a card issuer will usually want to recoup this expense by charging an annual fee or encouraging the cardholder to spend lots of money on the card. Cards aimed at those with lower incomes, by contrast, will often be pared-back and straightforward.

The bottom line

Minimum income criteria vary from card to card, but there are cards on the market serving those with low incomes. Most card issuers now offer an “eligibility checker” service, so you can find out before you apply (and without hurting your credit score) whether or not your application would be likely to get approved.

Credit card eligibility requirements help issuers reduce the risk involved in lending and allow them to offer you products that are appropriate for your financial circumstances. In turn, you can use these requirements to save you time and help you select and apply for cards that suit your individual needs.

Lastly, it’s a good rule of thumb not to try to borrow more than you can comfortably repay.

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