Retirees being denied credit

I agree it is relevant to some industries travel related were discussed earlier. I thought I had mentioned that in the train of posts.

Being in the industry we don’t have information on card types and both debit and credit are not segregated out/treated differently.

In relation to pre-authorisation, the experience we have had us these occur on presenting the card in person on check-in or when collecting keys for a car (other businesses allowed to do pre-authorisations may be different). We have come unstuck when using a debit card for securing a booking and then the card being refused when sighted as a debit card on check-in/picking up hire car keys. I haven’t heard of any accommodation or car hire providers doing pre-authorisations without card presentation. In days gone by, pre-authorisations were credit card imprints on carbon paper. Today we find they are card wipes with details held by the service provider.

It should be worth noting pre-authorisations aren’t relevant to RSPs for phone or internet, but relate to hotels/accommodation, vehicle rental, cruise lines, boat rentals, trailer parks, bike rentals; and transportation, passenger railways, bus lines.

I suppose this works when there is an outage with one financial institution only. If it is say a blanket communication fault, no cards will work whether credit or debit.

With Visa/Mastercard debit cards, these will work if the corresponding credit card works.

Do you have a Visa and Mastercard (or other) to cover a scenario when one provider is out and not the other?

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The banks will sometimes change their network providers - typically only Telstra and Optus for the majors - and one of these two will fight to winback another bank if they have lost one of the majors. So difficult to pick a bank and know whether supported by Telstra or Optus. If Telstra is down, then I might lose access to both credit cards. But this is rare. That said, there was a major comms outage recently that took out many Australian organisations including my main bank. My wife’s backup card was ok.

I have both Visa and MC but in Australia, the majority CC switching/processing is done by the major banks, so if they have an issue, your card might not be processed.


You don’t even need to be retired to be denied a credit card.
I’m below retirement age and on a disability support pension and have a small supplemental income to that. This has been the situation for the last 12 years
I have had the same credit card for the last 17 years and recently decided that it no longer met my needs as the annual fee had increased and the reward points value decreased, so I decided I would be better off with a ‘no annual fee’ card.
I chose one with Commbank that had as a condition ‘spend 12,000 or more on the card per year’ and the annual fee would be waived. Suited me perfectly.
But Commbank decided that I would be incapable of ‘servicing’ that credit card.
The fact that I have an existing card (with a $10,500) credit limit that I have successfully ‘serviced’ for the last 12 years during which my income situation was the same as it is now, was not even considered.
Nor was there any consideration to the fact that: why would I apply for a card with a $12,000 minimum spend to be eligible for the waiving of the annual fee if I didn’t think I would be spending that much on my card?
All they wanted to know was what do I earn, what are my savings and what do I spend.
Ironically, their automated online ‘instant answer’ system had conniptions in my case so it took two phone calls, and three in-person visits to the bank (totalling nearly 2 hours of their staff time) before they could get their automated system to spit out its ‘rejected’ answer.
Since by then I had spoken to the manager at the branch, I had already suggested that perhaps my situation could be looked at manually in the case I was rejected the by computer system.
To their credit they did follow through with this, but still came back with the ‘rejected’ answer.
And yes they blamed the strict rules on the banking commission report.
My plan is to try again in 6 months with my existing credit card company to get swapped to a different card (unfortunately they don’t have a product with as good benefits as the Commbank one), but now I see that even having a credit history with a bank it no guarantee that they will be happy to swap you to a different card.
I consider that there is discrimination going on and would be very happy to put my name to any petition / action that Choice may put together on this situation.


Just wondering why a Retiree with a million dollars in Super, Shares and cash can’t get a new credit card.


Hi @LeahD, I have moved your post to an existing thread which has discussed the topic at hand.

Choice has also recently covered the topic in one of its recent articles:


Thank you

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It’’s a key discussion point covered in the Choice article linked in the previous post by @phb.

One reason suggested as to why seniors face difficulties in obtaining credit cards is how we manage our finances. Retirees are more likely to pay their credit card off in full each month to avoid paying interest to the bank.

The response of two of the big banks is included in the Choice article.

The ABA (Australian Banking Association) has suggested consumers should approach other banking service providers, and if needed change banks if their current bank will not agree to your application. Whether that delivers the best deal on banking services overall was not mentioned.

I’m aware of one relatively recent transaction where a single pensioner was able to negotiate a bridging loan to cover buying a new home to move into before contracting sale of the existing home. The alternative is to pay the cost of two removals and rental or storage and short term higher cost accommodation. The loan was for more than the likely sale price of the existing home. It may depend on who you approach or bank with. In this instance The Newcastle Permanent.

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It is discrimination because I DO have an ANZ credit card which I pay off each and every month. My credit score is very high. I have no loans and own my own property. I have been able change the type five or six times as well as increase the credit limit. My point is not being able to now have a choice of banks or have another credit card with a small credit limit for online or overseas purchases, etc.

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Check with the cred card issuer if they are willing to consider issuing a credit card and what information is needed to support the credit card application.

When we made our own inquires, at the time they required a signed, original statement of income and assets from a certified practicing accountant. This had to be done at our cost to allow the assessment to proceed. It didn’t guarantee approval of a credit card, but at least allowed the application to be assessed with all available information on our financial circumstances.

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Have you considered using PayPal and linking it to an account which you top up only when you intend to make a purchase?
Can I Have a PayPal Account Without a Bank Account? | Canstar


It’s the principal, not the convenience. And I now cannot get a Credit Card with another Bank. I have to stay with ANZ. Mind you, I have no complaints at present about ANZ.


It is also the core topic. A number of workarounds have been discussed to be helpful but they don’t change the landscape retirees and those on various pensions, eg everyone without a regular wage, experiences.

Some days I ponder whether the mega millionaire class who work for $1 p.a. and have incomes in the $10~100s millions from investments and bonuses have any trouble getting a card and need to go through similar hoops to the rest. - No need to answer :wink: .


Just read this, and wonder whether I will have a problem as a secondary card holder when my husband (89 years old) dies. Will the card stop working (Wespac one)?


If it is a secondary card it is your Husbands card and only gives you authority to use the account. On his death, the card will cease to be valid.


Possibly contact Westpac and see if the can change the credit card account from your husband’s to a joint account (both your and your husband’s names).


It does.

Joint credit card accounts are not common. According to CanStar,

If you wish to take out a joint credit card, you may find your options to be relatively limited, as not all providers offer them. In fact, none of Australia’s big four banks – ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac – currently offer one to customers.

It can add a further complication at the time of passing of the primary card holder if one pays regular recurring accounts by CC rather than a direct debit. EG mobile phone, internet etc, insurance etc.

Westpac may accept a seperate application for a card in your name, if you can qualify independently of your partner.


Thanks, will try that!