Getting approved for a credit card in Australia when you’re not an Australian citizen can be tricky – but it’s not impossible. There are a number of banks that offer credit cards to non-citizens and non-permanent residents, it’s simply a matter of finding one that can help you.
The Commonwealth Bank for example, only requires a current student or working visa for credit card applications to go ahead, while BankWest, ANZ, Aussie, HSBC, American Express, NAB and Westpac all have options for non-permanent residents.
One of the most common visas for longer-term non-permanent residents in Australia is the 457 visa. The following banks all offer credit cards to temporary residents with a 457 visa – although you may need to meet certain requirements to be eligible.
Temporary residents can apply for a CommBank credit card through the standard credit card application process. If you want to apply, make sure your visa is valid for more than six months from the date of application, and that you meet application requirements. Visitors on 417 and 462 visas are not eligible to apply.
HSBC allows non-permanent residents to apply for credit cards – with certain requirements. To be eligible, you must be contracted to work in Australia for at least two years, you must have a 457 visa (although check with the bank to see if other visas are accepted), and you must be earning over $50,000 p.a.
If you are a temporary resident with a 457 visa, you can apply for a NAB credit card – as long as you earn at least $50,000 a year and have at least three months banking history with NAB.
Westpac offers credit cards for temporary residents in a number of formats, including Rewards, Low Annual Fee, Low Interest Rate and Platinum Card.
To apply you must have a 457 visa with at least two years on it, and the application must be made in-branch. There are no minimum income requirements on this card, but your credit limit will be dependent on your income.
To apply for the Student Visa Credit Card, you must have a student visa and be studying full-time at a recognised tertiary institution. You also need to be working part time, and again, your credit limit will be dependent on your income.
If you have a 457 visa, you can apply for an American Express credit card. Check with Amex for conditions that apply.
If you have another type of visa, such as a partner visa or a different type of work visa, it still could be worth your while discussing your options with the above banks and other credit card providers.
For example, ANZ offers credit cards to temporary residents with a visa valid for four years or more, but not to 457 visa holders or tourist visa holders. To be eligible, you must earn over $50,000 per year.
As you can see, many credit card providers offer credit cards to non-permanent residents, but to be eligible, minimum income requirements are usually involved. For example:
The reason for this is the added risk credit card providers have to shoulder to offer non-permanent residents credit. A non-permanent resident could leave the country while still owing money on the credit card, leaving the issuing bank in the lurch.
If you want to get approved for a credit card as a non-permanent resident, you will also need to have an excellent credit history. The credit card provider will usually check your credit history to decide whether or not to approve your application.
If you have a poor credit history, or no credit history at all, you may find it more difficult to get approved.
Go into a branch to discuss options and to make sure you are eligible. The provider may ask you to provide more information, and they may look into your application more thoroughly than they would with an online application.
Speak to your own bank. If you have a number of banking products with your bank, and you have banked with them for some time, you may be more likely to get approved than if you applied elsewhere.
When you apply for a credit card, be prepared to offer as much information as the provider needs. This could include tax information, pay slips and references.
Opt for a basic credit card first. You may be more likely to get approved for a cheaper, basic card with a lower credit limit. Treat that card correctly, and you should be able to step up the ladder in time, and get a credit card with more features in the future.
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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