Credit Cards for Temporary Residents

Pauline Hatch     

Temporary residents in Australia can still get a credit card - even ones with features and extras - if you look for cards that cater to non-Australian citizens.

While eligibility requirements vary, there are credit card providers who allow temporary residents to apply. You may have to meet some of the eligibility requirements like these:
  • Hold a certain class of visa, often with a specified period of time left on that visa before it expires
  • You may have to have a job or a job offer from a company in Australia
  • Meet minimum income requirements, or have a certain amount of money in savings
  • Have an Australian bank account or an Australian residential address
Of course, beyond your eligibility for a card, you also need to think about well the card will work for you. Our at-a-glance visual comparison tool helps with this, allowing you to see how each card rates on essentials such as purchase rate, balance transfers and annual fees. From there, delve deeper by clicking or tapping on the card for all the need-to-know info.
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What classifies you as a temporary resident?

A temporary resident is someone who resides in Australia temporarily. As a temporary resident, you may be here for work or study, you may be here for training or for diplomatic activity. There are a number of visa classifications provided to temporary residents here in Australia, with one of the most common being a 457 visa.

Apply for a credit card as a temporary resident

You have to be a permanent resident to apply for most credit cards here in Australia. But, you may be able to apply if you hold the right type of visa and meet certain conditions. Compare the options here on CreditCard.com.au, and check out our guide to find out more about what you need to apply as a temporary resident.

Credit Cards for Temporary Residents

As a temporary resident, the visa you hold determines the types of activities you are legally allowed to do during your stay here. That means, depending on the classification of your visa, you may be able to study or work, as long as you abide by certain guidelines. Your visa may also specify how long you can stay in Australia before you either have to leave the country, or apply for another visa or an extension.

What about the financial side of things? While it’s easy enough to open a bank account as a temporary resident, things can get a bit tricky when you want to apply for credit. So, what can you do if you want to apply for a credit card and you are not a permanent resident or citizen? Fortunately, there are some card providers that accept applications from temporary residents, but to be eligible, you may need to meet certain conditions to be approved.

In this guide, we will look at the all the important stuff you need to know about applying for a credit card as a temporary resident. Covering everything from what you need to know before you apply, to what to look for when comparing your options, we have all the essentials covered, right here.

Why is it more difficult to get approved as a temporary resident?

There are two major factors at play here, but they are both rooted in risk. Let’s take a look.

As a temporary resident, you have no credit history.

When you apply for a credit card, your card provider wants to know how responsible you are with credit. By looking at your credit history, your card provider can see how well you have dealt with credit in the past, and from there, make a reasonable assumption regarding how well you will deal with it in the future.

If your credit file shows you have late payments or defaults, it suggests that you may not be very responsible with credit. This may mean your application gets declined. If you have a good credit history, on the other hand, your application is more likely to be approved.

When you apply for a credit card as a temporary resident, your credit history is limited. That means there is no way for your card provider to assess how responsible you are with credit. Even if you have exceptional credit history at home, Australian card providers cannot access this information, and will not take it into account.

As a temporary resident, you may leave at any time.

Another potential risk for card providers is the fact that, as a non-resident, you may choose to leave Australia at any time. If you happen to leave the country with debt owing on your credit card, that may make it difficult for your card provider to retrieve what you owe. If it’s too time-consuming or expensive to retrieve those funds, the card provider would have to write off the loss.

How do you get approved for a credit card as a temporary resident?

While these factors may make it more difficult for temporary residents to get approved for a credit card, that doesn’t mean getting access to credit is impossible. Card providers willing to offer credit cards to temporary residents may be willing to overlook the above risks if the applicant is able to meet an expanded selection of application criteria.

Depending on the card provider, that may mean:

  • You must hold a certain type of visa. Card providers that allow temporary residents to apply may specify the type of visa you must hold to be eligible. If you are unsure whether your visa is accepted, ask your card provider to confirm the details of what is acceptable before you apply.
  • Your visa must be valid for a certain period of time. Card providers may also stipulate how much time you have left on your visa before it expires. This may be a period of one or two years, but if you are unsure, it’s a good idea to ask.
  • You must have a certain amount in savings. Some card providers ask that temporary resident applicants have a certain amount in savings when they apply. This may mean simply showing proof of that amount, or holding it in an account with the provider.
  • You must have an ongoing source of income. Your card provider may require you to have an ongoing source of income. In some cases, you may need to make more than a certain amount per year. Other providers may ask that you have worked in Australia for at least three months, and have completed your probation period.
  • You must have an Australian residential address. Most providers ask that you have an Australian residential address. Typically, this cannot be a hotel or hostel.

When you apply as a temporary resident, you may not be able to do so online. Some card providers require non-residents to apply either in person at a branch, or over the phone. You may also have to provide proof of the necessary eligibility requirements. This may mean handing over your passport and visa documents, your employment agreement or your last two payslips.

However you choose to apply, and whatever information your card provider asks of you, you need to remember that each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. That means your card provider may ask for further documentation, and even if you meet all eligibility requirements, your application still may not be approved.

What credit cards can you apply for as a temporary resident?

While your choice may be restricted as a temporary resident in Australia, there is still a good range of cards available to you. Check out a selection of options here on CreditCard.com.au, to find rewards cards and premium cards, cards with low annual fees and interest rates. You may be able to find options with intro offers on purchase rates, rewards points and balance transfers too.

With all that in mind, you still need to meet the card provider’s eligibility requirements in order to be approved. Let’s take a look at the cards available to temporary residents in Australia, and what each card provider expects from applicants to approve their application.

  • American Express: To be eligible for an American Express credit card, you must have a 457 visa, you must earn at least $40,000 per year (this varies according to the card), and you must meet all other eligibility requirements as outlined for each individual card. Some cards issued by American Express available to temporary residents include:
  • American Express Essential Credit Card
  • American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
  • American Express Velocity Platinum Card
  • American Express Velocity Escape Card
  • American Express Qantas Premium Card
  • American Express Qantas Discovery Card
  • American Express Qantas Ultimate Card
  • David Jones American Express Card
  • ANZ: To apply for an ANZ credit card as a temporary resident, you will need your passport, your permanent/temporary resident visa or working permit, and your employment agreement with at least six months remaining. Take note, ANZ reserves the right to decline requests for credit at its own discretion based on applicants’ non-resident status. The entire range of personal ANZ credit cards is available to non-residents, as long as they meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Bankwest: To be eligible for a Bankwest credit card, you must hold a valid 457 visa and provide a copy of your visa with the expiry date, your passport (this needs to be sighted in a Bankwest branch), and your last two payslips. The entire range of personal Bankwest credit cards is available to this type of visa holder, but the applicant must meet all eligibility requirements for the card, and any further requirements set out by the bank on a case-by-case basis.
  • Bank of Melbourne: If you have a 457 visa, you may apply for a Bank of Melbourne credit card if you have a regular income, and your visa is valid for a minimum of two years at the time of applying. Applicants here on other temporary resident visas may be assessed by the bank on a case-by-case basis. The entire range of personal Bank of Melbourne credit cards is available to those applicants who meet eligibility requirements.
  • CommBank: You may be eligible for a Commonwealth Bank credit card as a temporary resident if you have applied for a Commonwealth Bank transaction account, you have established full time permanent employment in Australia with a confirmed Australian income of more than $50,000 per year, and you have an eligible visa (a 457 visa, Permanent Resident visa, or temporary business visa) or hold an Australian/NZ passport. Some cards issued by CommBank available to temporary residents include:
  • Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Credit Card
  • Commonwealth Bank Low Rate Gold Credit Card
  • Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Credit Card
  • Commonwealth Bank Low Fee Gold Credit Card
  • Commonwealth Bank Awards Credit Card
  • HSBC: If you have a valid 457 visa, an employment contract for at least two years, and a minimum income of $50,000 per year, HSBC will consider your application. The entire range of HSBC personal credit cards is available to temporary residents who meet all eligibility requirements.
  • NAB: If you have been working in Australia for a minimum of three months, and have completed any probationary period at work, NAB will consider your credit card application as a temporary resident. The entire range of NAB credit cards is available to temporary residents who meet all eligibility requirements.
  • St.George: You may be eligible for a St.George credit card as a temporary resident if you have a St.George transaction account, you have confirmed employment in Australia with an Australian taxable income, and you have a valid visa valid for at least two years. You may only apply for a credit card with St.George as a temporary resident by visiting a branch or calling customer service. The entire range of St.George credit cards is available to temporary residents who meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Valid sub-class visa numbers accepted by St.George are: 100, 103, 115, 119, 120, 121, 124, 132, 134, 136, 138, 143, 151, 155, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 175, 176, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 405, 457, 475, 487, 489, 801, 835, 855, 856, 857, 858, 885, 886, 887, 888, 890, 892, 893.
  • Westpac: As a temporary resident, you may be eligible for a Westpac credit card if you have a minimum fixed salary of $50,000 per year, OR a minimum deposit of $250,000 in a Westpac account, OR an ongoing source of income after arriving in Australia. You must also have an employee sponsored visa, a Skilled Permanent or Skilled Independent Regional visa, a Business Skills, Investor or Talent visa. You must also have an Australian residential address (excluding hostels and hotels), and be moving to Australia within six to eight weeks of submitting your application. Some cards issued by Westpac available to temporary residents include:
  • Westpac Altitude Credit Card
  • Westpac Altitude Gold Card
  • Westpac Altitude Platinum Card
  • Westpac 55 Day Credit Card
  • Westpac 55 Day Gold Card
  • Westpac 55 Day Platinum Card
  • Westpac Low Rate Card

What are the eligibility requirements for a temporary resident?

Every credit card has eligibility requirements. While these requirements may vary according to the card provider, it’s important to make sure you meet each and every one before you apply. This is especially important as a temporary resident, as requirements for eligibility tend to be stricter. Here are some eligibility requirements you may be expected to meet:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a credit card in Australia.
  • Employment: You must have employment in Australia, or proof of upcoming employment in Australia when applying. You may be required to supply details of previous employers. It’s a good idea to get official, written confirmation of your employment contract, including details of your salary to verify these details to the card provider.
  • Income and assets: With a job generally comes an income. You must have a regular, Australian taxable income to apply for a credit card. You will find minimum income conditions apply for many cards. For some cards, you may also be required to have a specific amount of Australian dollars in an Australian bank account.
  • Passport: You will have to supply your passport number. You may also have to provide a certified copy of your passport.
  • Visa: To apply, you must have a valid, eligible visa, often with a minimum amount of time left on the visa before expiry.
  • Address: You must have a residential address in Australia to apply for a credit card.
  • Australian bank account: You must have an Australian bank account to get a credit card.

 

While these eligibility requirements may vary according to the card provider and the credit card you are looking to apply for, it’s important to remember that the provider may ask you for further information as well. Be prepared to provide this information as needed, and know that for some card providers, applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Who isn’t eligible for a credit card?

Depending on the type of visa you hold, you may find it more difficult to get approved. If you’re here on holiday, if you are on a bridging visa, a spousal visa or a student visa, your chances of approval are lowered by the fact that your eligibility for employment tends to be restricted. Without a steady income, it would be hard to prove to card providers that you could repay your credit card debt.

What can you do to improve your chances of being approved?

As long as you meet eligibility requirements, you can improve your chances of being approved by spending time to compare the options, to then find the right card. Read the small print and speak to the card provider if you are unsure. You may have to visit a branch rather than apply online. You may also have to provide extra info, such as references and utility bills.

You may have to start with a lower credit limit than you are used to, but over time, you should be able build up that credit limit over time, as long as you deal with your card responsibly. If you are here on a partner visa or any other type of visa that makes you ineligible to apply, you may be able to apply to be an additional cardholder on your partner’s credit card account.

Pauline Hatch

Pauline Hatch is a personal finance expert at Creditcard.com.au with 8 years of finance writing under her belt. She loves turning complex money concepts into simple, practical actions so you can win financially. You can ask Pauline any questions by submitting a comment below and get a personal reply.

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19 questions (showing the latest 10 Q&As)

saketh

saketh

9 February 2024
im looking for a credit crd with rewards and i am visa holder in australia with good income and never had a credit card its purely for rewards. mostly amex is what im looking for is it possible.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    14 February 2024
    Hi Saketh, feel free to explore our comparison page where you'll find a variety of rewards cards, including some AMEX card options. Take your time to review each card's offers, eligibility requirements, and T&Cs to find the card fit for your preferences.
Elizabeth

Elizabeth

1 November 2023
I am on an aged parent bridging visa for the last 12.5 years. I get an British pension every month. can I get a credit card
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    15 November 2023
    Hi Liz, some cards do accept applications if you’re on a Visa, but most only mention temporary residency. It would be a good idea to call before you apply to check that they accept a bridging visa. These cards have Visa eligibility and might be a good place to start. All the best!
Nadir K

Nadir K

16 October 2023
Hi, my wife and I are Australians working overseas. My bank (ANZ) told us that as we are non resident Australians their policy is that they can not issue us credit cards. Are you aware of another bank that will issue credit cards to non resident Australians?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    17 October 2023
    Hi Nadir, good question! If you click the part of the above page that says “What credit cards can you apply for as a temporary resident?“m you’ll see a list of Australian credit providers and what the conditions are. Usually, credit card providers issue cards to individuals who are permanent Australian residents or to non-permanent residents with at least 9 months of validity remaining on their Visa, which can vary depending on the specific card issuer. I suggest checking this with the card issuer first before making any application. Hope that helps!
Jish

Jish

15 May 2023
Hi there, I am a new permanent resident in Australia arrived within a month and currently holding a full time position. I also have Australian Drivers license and a residential address. Even then, my credit card application with Citibank and NAB got rejected. May I know how I can go ahead with a new application ? I have a solid credit history in my home country and able to provide the same to bankers. Thanks
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    19 May 2023
    Hi Jish, banks and credit providers in Australia keep their approval criteria very close to their chests, so you’ll never really know why you were rejected. You could try calling up your current banking provider to see what options they have available for you. We have a guide around how to build your credit history, that might give you some starting points on “what’s next”. Hope this helps Jish!
Sanusi

Sanusi

12 May 2023
I’m on protection bridging visa but I’m full time employee with 54.000$ annual income. Is that possible to apply for credit cards?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    15 May 2023
    Hi Sanusi, this will depend entirely on the issuer and the subclass of your bridging visa. You should definitely speak to the issuer before you apply.
h

h

29 March 2023
hi
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    30 March 2023
    Hi H, please let me know how I can help.
Nim

Nim

19 March 2023
Hi There, Just wondering currently I’m in 482 visa and I have 4 years remaining on that. Thinking of applying for a credit card not sure where to go. Applied for AMEX EXPLORER credit card and they declined the application. My income is 85k Tried to find out what was the reason for the rejection over the phone and via email all I got was that they are unable to provide the specific reason. It was just generic reason given stating that “overall assessment of the details provided on your application” even to apply again to avoid the same error can be corrected if I know the reason.. Went to NAB branch and they said branch only accept application from permanent resident or citizens but I can apply on line. Don’t want to get reject again. But it is very frustrating not knowing the reason for rejection. if they can asses before applying for the card and getting rejected. Rejection can be avoided.
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    20 March 2023
    Hi Nim, thanks for providing some context there. Seeing as you’ve already applied for a credit card recently it’s probably not a good idea to apply for a credit card directly after, especially since you’ve already been declined. Providers see multiple applications as a bit of a red flag and also because it can impact your credit file. When you apply for a card, lenders use your information to run a ‘hard’ search on your credit file, and can be seen by future providers too. Providers in Australia keep their approval processes and public reasoning very vague unfortunately. We list out all the big banks requirements for non-citizens above, including the income requirements so hopefully this helps you out a little more.
Richard

Richard

5 March 2023
I’m an international student studying business in sydney. I want to apply for a credit card benefiting for travel
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    6 March 2023
    Hi Richard, welcome to beautiful Sydney. As an international student you’ll have to satisfy the card's eligibility requirements, including your Visa status, before submitting an application. Read through our guide above to learn more about where to start. Enjoy your time in Australia!
Mason

Mason

24 December 2022
I am currently on a 485 visa and it is expiring in 7.5 month time, which credit cards can I apply?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    3 January 2023
    Hi Mason, there’s certain income and time constraints for cards like this. We’ve stepped out some of the more detailed requirements in this post about non-citizen credit cards that should help guide you through a decision.
Wong

Wong

26 August 2022
I have called to commonwealth, nab, westpac and anz, non of them can provide the credit card for temporary resident, even I have a stable full time job 50k+ taxable income annually. But still get rejected
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    29 August 2022
    Hi Wong, we're sorry to hear this. Each bank keeps their criteria very secret, unfortunately. This might also come down to how long is left on your visa too. Sorry we couldn't provide more assistance.
Helen

Helen

20 February 2022
I am a non residents business visa. I got saving account of $10,000. Just arrived to Australia for a month and have no income yet. How can I get a crecdit card if I only have $10000 saving on bank account?
    Pauline - CreditCard.com.au

    Pauline

    23 February 2022
    Hi Helen, credit card providers will need to see evidence of income hitting your account on a regular basis. This is to make sure that you can service any line of credit they extend you.
Neha

Neha

14 September 2021
Hi I am a NZ citizen and I make trips to Australia regularly. Would I be eligible for a Australian credit card?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    14 September 2021
    Hi Neha, there are some banks that do offer credit cards for non-Australian citizens. I suggest learning more about it in an article we’ve written. You can also check on our comparison tool at the top of the page to find a card that suits your needs. It’s important to note that different cards have different eligibility requirements. There are also some banks in New Zealand that also have a presence in Australia such as Westpac and ANZ that may have cross border cards. Best of luck in your card search.
Steph

Steph

22 February 2021
Hi Roland, I am currently on a bridging visa - WA/ 010 are you aware of any credit providers that will accept this type of visa? Thanks, Steph
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    22 February 2021
    Hi Steph, I am not aware of any providers that will issue credit cards to bridging visa holders. Most providers who will approve temporary residents require that you have a valid visa with at least 2 years remaining. Your best bet would be to try and work with your current bank and discuss your options - they already have your banking history and might be more flexible than a new bank.
Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo

16 December 2020
Hello Roland how are you? My name is Victor I'm holding a temporary visa (482 Medium-term stream) and it has 3 years to expiry. I just tried to apply for a NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Credit Card I'm already an NAB customer and I have money in my saving and investments funds with the bank. My application wasn't approved and I had a call with them and they told me that the reason I've couldn't get it because my visa it's not eligible. I asked them which non-residency temporary VISA is eligible and they said that they are not able to say me that. Do you know how I can find which temporary visa is possible to apply for those cards here https://www.creditcard.com.au/credit-cards-for-temporary-residents? Thanks!
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    17 December 2020
    Hi Victor, I am surprised NAB could not assist. You would need to meet all other minimum income to apply. Have a look at the ANZ Frequent Flyer Black. ANZ state, temporary residents are aok as long as you have at least 9 months left on your Visa.
P

P

15 September 2020
I hold a 485, post study visa. Which credit cards am I eligible for?
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    16 September 2020
    Hi P, it depends on the bank. Though typically as long as you have at least 9 months left on your Visa. Then also meet all other minimum requirements such as income. Then you can apply for a range of cards. ANZ are a strong bank and are flexible for temporary residents. Check out the ANZ range here - https://www.creditcard.com.au/anz-credit-cards/. If none of the ANZ cards are suitable. Reach out again. There are a number of banks, mostly majors, that you can look at.
Deb

Deb

20 May 2020
Hi, I've just arrived in Australia on a Diplomatic Passport and Visa, as a UK retired Police Officer, I have a pension of at least 15K . 5 yrs remaining on my visa and would like to earn Frequent Flyer Qantas Points, which Credit Card can I apply for as a non- resident? Thank you
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    21 May 2020
    Hi Deb, it is possible to get approved as a temp resident with a number of banks. Times are tough right now with COVID. This is impacting credit card applications in a big way. The concern is the income levels. Rewards cards are likely to require at least 40k in income for approval. At 15k I am just not sure what rewards card you could apply for even if you were PR. As a pensioner, then this makes it harder for approval also. Bottom line, I just cant think of a card. More you could just look at a standard credit card like the Westpac Low Rate.
Shirley

Shirley

16 May 2020
I want to loan 7000
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    18 May 2020
    Hi Shirley, that is great, are you after a personal loan but are a temporary resident? If yes, then this is very difficult. There are credit cards that could assist though $7,000 may be a difficult limit to get initially.
Jamal

Jamal

5 April 2020
Do you guys offer credit card for non residents? Im a sponsored student and get income from my government
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    6 April 2020
    Hi Jamal, you need to have at least 15k income to apply and over 9 months left on your Visa. Have a look at the ANZ First .
Demi

Demi

19 November 2019
Hello, I have been working full time in Australia for 2 years. I am on an 820 temporary partner visa (the precursor to 801 partner visa). I’m just wondering if I am eligible for any credit cards? Thank you
    Roland B Bleyer - CreditCard.com.au Founder

    Roland

    19 November 2019
    Hi Demi, yes it does sound like you could be eligible. You will need at least 9 months left on your Visa to apply. Then also meet any other minimum requirements. Have a look at the ANZ Low Rate. Its a reasonable card and a good place to start.
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