February-13Pensioners are struggling to quality for credit cards. In a recent letter to the Sunday Express, a pensioner and Lloyds customer for almost 60 years reported that she her application for a credit card had been turned down due to her age.

From the original letter:

“A TSB and Lloyds customer since she was 17, Olive had a bank card but swapped it for an M&S store card for a couple of years. ‘Now I want a credit card to use on the odd occasion I buy on the Internet,’ she says.

I have contacted Saga, TSB and some other banks and have been told that I am too old, that the cut-off age is 74 or that my income, about £6,200 a year, is not enough.”

According to finance website Moneyfacts.co.uk, there are no fixed cut-off rules about credit cards. Cards are issued based on factors such as income, age and ownership of your own home.

Interestingly, older customers are deemed “more risky” at many banks. As many old customers are on a pension, they often do not qualify for a credit card due to income requirements used by many banks.

Saga, for example, requires new customers to have an income of at least £12,000 in order to qualify for a credit card. While TSB doesn’t automatically turn down older applicants, it does refer customers 75 and up to a central lending unit in order to assess their income and reliability.

Moneyfacts.co.uk recommends that older customers looking to acquire their first credit card instead look at “credit repair” cards. These cards offer a smaller credit limit and are primarily used by customers aiming to improve an otherwise poor credit score.

Prepaid credit cards – in which an account balance is loaded onto the card prior to use – are also an option for pensioners in need of a credit card for use online. These cards are widely available and have far less restrictive minimum qualifications.

Like credit cards, they offer protection form theft and fraud, making them a fantastic option for pensioners and older customers looking for a reliable credit card to use for online shopping.

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