Updated 23.02.2023

Credit Cards for Low Credit Scores in South Africa

Credit cards are secured or unsecured loans that allow a cardholder to buy goods and services on credit. A secured credit card requires a cardholder to deposit a predetermined amount of money in a special account, as collateral, while an unsecured credit card has no collateral. Often, secured credit cards are issued to individuals with poor credit scores to help them boost their credit rating and become less risk to the lender. Fortunately, you can upgrade your card to an unsecured credit card and your collateral money refunded to you after you portray excellent debt repayment behaviour.

According to the Delphi System, credit scores below good or 500-600 are considered low. In South Africa, these credit cards low credit scores are categorised into two: the sub-prime, 490-550, and poor, below 490. Consequently, lenders consider anyone with a subprime or poor credit score as a high-risk individual. On the flip side, individuals with high credit scores are considered the least risky.

What you Need to Know Before Shopping for a Credit Card

Credit cards are double-edged swords. They serve individuals with financial discipline and become a master to those without. When used properly, credit cards can help you build a good credit score. They are also essential when travelling because they are the most accepted mode of payment in hotels, car hire services, and other services.

Above everything else, you should acknowledge that credit cards are a financial contract. Therefore, you have to read and understand the terms of your contract, and where necessary, consult a finance professional or a lawyer before signing any contract.

Before choosing a credit card, you have to assess your options and understand the credit card basics to be sure it is right for you. First, understand the yearly fee charged by the lender and the interest rate to be paid after using available credit. Without proper research, you might choose a credit card with the highest payable interest rate in South Africa, at 17.5%. To avoid paying this amount, you need to shop around for better offers.

High-end credit cards offer better deals to users. Some of the benefits of this card is having your own ‘personal banker’ and reward programs. A personal banker is beneficial to owners of small businesses with a need for a financial advisor. Nonetheless, these cards have a high annual fee. Therefore, only get one if you can use all the available programs.

Credit Cards for Low Credit Scores South Africa

In this category, the typical user of credit card has a bad credit score, or is a beginner or is a low-income earner. Cards in this category help you build your credit score and climb the credit ladder to better credit card options.

You should focus on the card’s monthly fee and the minimum monthly income necessary to apply for the card instead of looking at the benefits of the card. Ideally, you need to find a credit card with low monthly fees to avoid spending huge percentages of your earning on owning a credit card. Additionally, the card’s minimum income requirement should be lower than your monthly income.

As a beginner or anyone with a low credit score, you need to focus on getting accepted, low card maintenance, and building a good credit history. Here are some of the cards that will help you achieve this.

Absa Flexi Core Credit Card

To get the Absa Flexi core credit card, you must be 18 years old with a minimum monthly income of R2000. You must have a legitimate South African ID, proof of income, and proof of residence. The card charges a monthly fee of R14.

Your annual interest rate (APR) is personalised.

ABSA Flexi Core Credit Card

Features of Absa Flexi Core Credit Card

  • Digital banking enabled. Essentially, you can log in to your Absa banking app and stop your card before replacing it. You can also manage your card limits and report fraud, among other services.
  • The card comes with an automatic basic travel insurance cover for a variety of travel emergencies.
  • Free lost card protection that covers you when your card is stolen or lost. But first, you have to inform the bank through their official channels.
  • Receive cashback Absa rewards each time you pay using your card, both internationally and locally
  • Participate and complete straightforward challenges on the Absa banking app for instant rewards
  • Unique Visa advantages like the Visa Global Merchants benefits
  • Enjoy contactless payments using your wearable device, smartphone or tipping your card at any POS machine worldwide.
  • NotifyMe for added credit card security
  • Credit life protection in case of critical illness, disability or death
  • Credit history feature that allows you to improve your credit score

Click here to learn more and start the Flexi Core Credit Card Online application.

Capitec Global One Credit Card

With an R100 initiation fee and an R40 monthly fee, anyone above 18 years with an R5000 monthly income can apply for the Capitec Global one credit card. The card comes with credit insurance to anyone without one and basic travel insurance.

Your annual interest rate (APR) ranges between 7.00% – 17.50%

Features of the Capitec Global One Credit Card

  • Earn an annual interest of 2.25% a year on a positive balance
  • R250,000 credit limit
  • Interest-free term of up to 55 days
  • Personalised credit according to your affordability and profile
  • Pay a customised interest rate between 7 and 17.5% per annum
  • Conduct safe online transactions
  • Manage the credit card through the bank’s app
  • Scan to pay using the bank’s app
  • Tap to pay through the credit card
  • Enjoy cashless payments worldwide

Click here to learn more and start the Global One Core Credit Card Online application.

Absa Gold Credit Card

The Absa gold credit card packs a range of options that’ll help you meet your credit needs at a reasonable price. Some of the benefits that you will enjoy by having this card include secure online shopping, in store swipe, tap or scan to pay with your card or Absa bank app, respectively, at any POS machine worldwide. This card has a credit limit of R90,000 and charges R23 as a monthly fee. It is available subject to affordability to anyone with an R4000 monthly income.

Your annual interest rate (APR) is personalised.

Features of ABSA Gold Credit Card

  • An R1.5 million insurance for automatic basic cover protecting you against a variety of travel emergencies
  • Access to digital banking
  • Access the Bidvest Airport Lounge at preferential charges
  • Exclusive visa benefits
  • Credit history
  • Credit life protection

Click here to learn more and start the ABSA Gold Credit Card Online application.

African Bank Gold Credit Card

The African Bank gold credit card is available subject to affordability to anyone with an R5000 monthly income. The monthly payable fee for this credit card is R69. The bank offers a 60-day interest-free to anyone who pays their credit before the due date and pays a 3 percent interest per annum on a positive balance.

Your annual interest rate (APR) is personalised.

Features of African Bank Gold Credit Card

  • The credit card is issued immediately at your bank branch
  • 60 days interest-free credit on all point of sale purchases paid before the due date
  • Free SMS notifications on transactions
  • Swipe your card to complete a transaction
  • Universal acceptance on any Visa outlet
  • Access to global emergency help if you lose your card or need replacement or need emergency funds
  • Travel assistance
  • Credit life insurance
  • Access up to R4000 daily in an ATM and R5000 at any Till point

Click here to learn more and start the African Bank Gold Credit Card Online application.

Apply for any of these credit cards and build a good credit history to increase your chances of accessing more credit card options.


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Job is a seasoned writer with a good understanding of the emerging markets, Africa to be specific.


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