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What Is Accessible Income?

In general terms, your income is typically the money you earn from jobs that you work. But accessible income accounts for more than just your paycheck, as it includes most of the money you receive over a year. This definition of income is typically relevant on credit card applications. In turn, getting your accessible income estimation as high as possible will open up more opportunities for better credit cards.

Make sure you have a strong financial plan in place before you apply for too many credit cards. Talk to a financial advisor about your plans today.

What’s Considered to Be Accessible Income?

As its name suggests, accessible income is used to describe all of the money you have reasonable access to at any given time. This involves more than just income or tips you earn from jobs. Tips, bank accounts, scholarships and even government program payments are included in accessible income.

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 20, your accessible income is limited solely to personal income, scholarships, grants and allowances from parents or other individuals. However, once you turn 21, you can report even more as accessible income. Here’s what typically included:

  • Paychecks
  • Tips
  • Income of a spouse
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Investments
  • Retirement funds and Social Security payments
  • Trust funds and gifts
  • Student financial aid
  • Child support and alimony
  • Passive income

Loans and other forms of borrowed assets should not be listed as accessible income. That’s because this money was given to you to pay specific expenses. Therefore, it’s not accessible to you in the same way that your bank account or retirement account balances are.

Accessible Income on a Credit Card Application

Accessible income is only used for personal reasons on credit card applications. In fact, outside of this situation, you may never come across the term again. When reporting this on a credit card application, you should tally up all of your eligible income and report that number instead of just listing the salary of your main job, for example.

Although credit card companies rarely take significant steps to verify your accessible income, it’s still a good idea to report it as truthfully as possible. Often, it’s difficult to get an exact number when it comes to accessible income, but try to get as close as possible to avoid being untruthful.

Bottom Line

What Is Accessible Income?

You’ll find “accessible income” on a credit card application, as it allows the issuer to see all the money you have access to spend in a given year. If you’re only taking into account income you get from a job, you’re likely missing out on other income that is just as valuable. This could not only make getting approved for better cards more difficult, but it will also be much harder to accurately budget and plan out your life expenses.

Tips for Managing Your Money

  • Getting your finances in order is no easy task, so sometimes it’s better not to go at it alone. A financial advisor can help, and finding one doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area in just five minutes. Get started now.
  • Investing is a great way to grow your finances to help you save for retirement or other financial goals you may have. SmartAsset’s free investment calculator can help you figure out how much you’ll need to earn to reach your targets.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Morsa Images, ©iStock.com/Business

Sam Lipscomb, CEPF® Sam Lipscomb is a writer for SmartAsset. His work spans a wide variety of personal finance topics with expertise including retirement, investing and savings. He is particularly well versed in credit cards. Sam has been featured in The Economist and on The Points Guy. He is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). Sam graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in Economics and enjoys being a go-to resource for family and friends when it comes to personal finance. Originally from Washington, DC, Sam loves all things aviation and is a Cleveland sports fan. He currently lives in New York.
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