Getting approved for a credit card in Australia when you are not an Australian permanent resident or citizen is not always easy. Even if you have a long-term temporary visa, such as the 457 work visa, it can be difficult to find a credit card provider that will approve your application.
We’ll also look at what you’ll need to apply for a credit card as a 457 visa holder, and how to improve your chances of being approved.
First up, let’s look at what the 457 visa actually is. The 457 visa, or temporary skilled worker visa, is common in Australia – bringing in skilled workers on long-term ‘temporary’ work. These visas are more common in newer industry sectors where skill sets have been defined in the last decade or so – where there is not enough experienced local workers who can be found to fill positions.
A 457 visa is great for visa holders, as it provides the right to work for up to four years in Australia, and opportunity to settle down into local life.
For 457 visa holders, signing up for bank accounts and superannuation is easy, however getting approved for credit is a more complicated task. But why?
One of the most important factors in assessing a credit card application is risk. When an application for credit is made, the credit card provider will assess the risk of providing that applicant with credit.
With a standard credit card application, the provider would look at the applicant’s income and employment status, as well as their credit history, in order to determine the risk of providing them with a credit card.
If the applicant has not been responsible with credit in the past, they may be deemed high risk, which may lead to their application being declined, or approved with higher interest rates.
In the case of a 457 visa credit card application, many providers believe it to be too high a risk. In the eyes of the provider, there would be nothing stopping the applicant from leaving the country – without paying back the money spent on their credit card.
Over the past year or so, creditcard.com.au has spent a great deal of time trying to get to the bottom of which providers offer credit cards to 457 visa holders, and which providers do not. In most cases, the information is not readily available on providers’ websites, and they are often not that willing to speak on the subject, even when directly asked.
After some back and forth with their representatives, it has been confirmed that ANZ, Bank of Queensland, Citi, CUA, HSBC and Suncorp currently do not offer credit cards to 457 visa holders. We are still waiting for updates from other banks and issuers.
However, from the information we have managed to pull together, the following providers may offer credit cards to 457 visa holders.
Remember! Before you apply for a credit card as a 457 visa holder, please contact the credit card provider first. It may be that they have changed their policy on 457 credit card applications since this post was written, or they may have changed their eligibility requirements. To be sure, speak to the provider first to find out exactly where you stand.
Westpac offers credit cards for migrants, applicants have to be at least 18 years old, hold the required work visa, have an Australian residential address, earn a minimum salary of $50,000 p.a., and meet Westpac’s normal lending criteria. To apply please go in branch.
Compare Westpac credit cards here.
As far as we can tell, 457 visa holders can apply for a NAB credit card. Applicants must be aged 18 or over, earn a minimum of $50,000 p.a., and meet NAB’s normal lending criteria. Applicants may also be required to have more than three months of banking history with NAB.
Compare NAB credit cards here.
Again, as far as we can gather, Commonwealth Bank also allows for 457 visa holders to apply for their credit cards. To be eligible, applicants must be at least 18, hold the necessary work visa, and have a Commonwealth Bank transaction account with a reasonable balance.
For student visa holders, CommBank also offers a Student Credit Card.
Compare Commonwealth Bank credit cards here.
If you find yourself flying around Australia fairly frequently – the Velocity Flyer card is well known for its buy one-get-one complimentary flight facility, meaning every time you fly, a partner or friend can get a free seat, up to 4 times a year. Virgin Money also offers a low interest rate card and a no-annual fee card if you’re after a more sensible no-frills option.
You must earn a minimum income of $50,000 and hold a 457 visa valid for 12 months or more, or be a recent permanent resident (within the last 12 months). Virgin is a good alternative to the more premium American Express cards.
Compare Virgin credit cards here.
As you’re probably aware, American Express is geared towards the affluent spender, and in Australia offers quite an extensive range of credit cards to 457 visa holders.
The ‘Long Term Visa’ is mentioned on the eligibility section of many of the credit card pages on the site, an example of which is shown below for the Platinum Edge card. American Express clearly targets this market and recognises that a large number of Australia’s young professionals are on 457 visas.
Example of American Express Eligibility Criteria
Before you apply for a credit card, it is best to make sure you can say yes to the following:
The minimum income amounts vary according to the type of card. 457 visa holders are welcome to apply for most of the card range including the entry level Qantas Discovery Card with a no-annual fee and minimum income $35,000, up to the American Express Platinum Reserve card with a minimum income of $65,000 and an annual fee of $395.
Compare American Express credit cards here.
As competition between credit card companies in Australia becomes increasingly tighter, some of the banks are now looking at 457 visa holders as a new niche market, knowing that applicants will often have a decent job and income, and are likely to be spending and exploring during their time here.
Pauline is a personal finance expert at CreditCard.com.au, with 8 years in money, budgeting and property reporting under her belt. Pauline is passionate about seeing Aussies win by making their money – and their credit cards – work smarter, harder and bigger.
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