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 authorized 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.
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