sbiddle: IMHO I fail to see why credit card companies should be double dipping - they charge a retailer for accepting their card as a form of payment and then receive revenue in the form of interest and yearly fees from the card holder.

Merchants are charged by their bank (the acquirer) a merchant service fee which is usually a proportion of the total credit purchases or a set minimum.  This fee goes towards the acquirer's internal costs and the use of the international switch network provided by the credit card companies.

The annual fees paid by a cardholder are used by the issuing bank to pay the card companies for the use of their logos and transaction systems.  The interest is the cream on top for the issuer (we have to get something out of the whole deal Laughing).

So yes, the card companies can be perceived as double-dipping but technically the dual streams of income are for different services.

richgamer: i was looking at westpac's online application form and it says your income must be over $15,000.00 p.a otherwise you can't get one. on kiwibanks online form it says you have to earn more than $25,000 per year.

are these requirements for online applications only?

The income criteria may be applicable to a specific card product offered solely online; however, each issuing bank will have differing criteria based on target market and the risk position they're willing to take assuming the debt (e.g. conservative, etc.).

Also, Visa is better than MasterCard.  They have better international support, better systems, and more recognition by merchants.  There is a reason why they're number one.