Yes, credit cards do check your income when you apply. Credit card issuers are required by law to consider your ability to repay debt prior to extending a new line of credit, so listing your annual income is a requirement on every credit card application. To that end, credit card issuers may also ask for proof of income, such as pay stubs, bank statements or tax returns.
That said, credit card issuers don't always check the accuracy of the income you write down. Unless your income is suspiciously high or low, credit card issuers will often skip the hassle of verifying the numbers. But that doesn't give you leeway to fabricate higher earnings.
People sometimes inflate their income on credit card applications to increase their odds of approval or receive a higher credit limit. But knowingly lying on a credit card application is a federal crime and can result in expensive fines or prison time. So, it's best to stay honest when filling out a credit card application.
A good annual income for a credit card is more than $39,000 per annum for a single individual or $63,000 per year for a household. Anything lower than that is below the median yearly earnings for Americans. However, there’s no official minimum income amount required for credit card approval in general. It varies by credit card company and from individual card to card.… read full answer
For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card requires at least $425 more in income per month than you spend on rent or mortgage payments. Generally, the top 10 issuers either have no minimum income requirements or do not publicly disclose that information.
Reasons Why Income Is Required
By law, credit card companies are required to ask for your income. Lenders can only issue you a credit card if they’re confident you can make at least the minimum monthly payments and that you have the ability to repay any balance you may incur. In addition to employment income, you should also report any alternative sources of income. This includes alimony, Social Security or pension payments, and investment income, among other sources.
Applicants under 21 years old can only report “personal income.” This may include money earned from a job, of course, as well as things like investment income, inheritance distributions, or even an allowance that someone regularly deposits into your bank account. You cannot include your parents’ income unless they co-sign for your card, and major issuers don’t allow co-signers anymore. If you’re over the age of 21, you can add in someone else’s income that you may have reasonable access to, such as the salary of a working spouse.
There’s still another part of the equation, and that’s how much debt you have. Issuers will review your debt in relation to your income to determine how much more you can afford to borrow and how risky you would be as a borrower. Issuers set your credit limit based on this information and other factors like your credit history. There’s no specific cutoff for credit cards, but you’ll want to maintain as low of a debt-to-income ratio as possible.
Finally, you should always be honest and accurate when reporting income on a credit card application. Knowingly entering false info is illegal.
Annual income on a credit card application means the total income you receive and have access to in a calendar year. That includes personal income, gifts, your spouse’s income, retirement income, income from investments, scholarships, Social Security payments, etc. Applicants under 21 years old, however, may only consider their personal income, which excludes someone else’s income, but can include allowances and certain scholarships if the money gets deposited in the applicant’s bank account. Or, they can get a credit card if someone adds them as an … read full answerauthorized user.
What to include in annual income on a credit card application:
Net Income: This is your income after taxes, tax deductions, wage garnishments, retirement plan contributions, etc. Synchrony Bank, which is known for issuing retail credit cards, asks for net annual income.
Gross Income: Gross income is your annual income before taxes and deductions have been taken out. Issuers don’t always specify the type of annual income they prefer on an application. And if they don’t specify, use your gross income. Listing your gross income may also help secure a larger credit line.
Age 21+ Sources of Income: Accepted sources include personal income and reasonably accessible income from other household members. Allowances and gifts, trust fund distributions, retirement income, investment earnings, alimony and child support, and Social Security income count, too.
Ages 18-21 Sources of Income: Only your personal income is an accepted source, but that can include excess scholarship money that winds up in your bank account as well as allowance money regularly deposited into your account. Student loans do not count as income – they’re considered debt.
If You Are Unemployed: List income you have reasonable access to, such as the income of household members (as long as you’re at least 21 years old), government financial assistance, or disability pay. Another option is becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account, which you can do at any age. If you can find a card issuer that allows cosigners, you can have someone co-sign for a credit card with you, but don’t count on it as an option.
Accurately reporting your income helps credit card companies determine what you can realistically handle for a credit limit. You don’t want to leave out any reliable income that can demonstrate your ability to pay. Needless to say, it’s illegal to lie about your income on a credit card application – it’s considered fraud, so resist the temptation.
You can get a credit card without a job. Most credit card applications have a section for employment information, but you can also put student, homemaker or unemployed. Annual income and assets are more important than employment status when applying for a credit card, though.
Income is usually from a job, but it can also come from other sources like an inheritance or investments. Your assets are anything of value that you own. For example, if you have a rental property, the property would be an asset. And the rent you charge would be part of your income.… read full answer
If you’re under 21 years old, you’ll need your own income source to qualify for a credit card. That could include a regular allowance from your parents, though. If you’re over 21, you can list household income that you have reasonable access to. For example, a stay-at-home parent could list their spouse’s income. Without a job or any income, a credit card will be much more difficult to get.
How to get a credit card without a job:
Put down non-employment income: You can list alimony, disability benefits, certain scholarships, and investment or rental income, for example.
List shared income: If you have consistent access to someone else’s income, you can list that. For example, it could be an allowance from a relative (if you’re under 21 years old) or your partner’s pay (21+).
Become an authorized user or get a joint account with someone else: An authorized user can make charges on someone else’s account. But the primary cardholder owns the account and is legally responsible for paying the bills. This option is the easiest way to get a card and start building credit. You can also get a joint credit card from U.S. Bank without a job, as long as the co-owner has enough income. But in a joint credit card arrangement, both people are liable for the debt.
Get a secured card: To get a secured card, you must put down a security deposit (usually $200+), which serves as the credit limit. Since there is no possibility of borrowing more than you can pay, secured cards are easier for people with limited income or bad credit to get.
You can get a credit card without a job as long as you have enough income or assets to pay your bills. So being out of work doesn’t mean losing out on the opportunity to improve your credit score or enjoy the convenience of plastic.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines. This question was posted by WalletHub.
Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.
Ad Disclosure: Certain offers that appear on this site originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on an offer’s details page using the designation "Sponsored", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At WalletHub we try to present a wide array of offers, but our offers do not represent all financial services companies or products.