The amount of time you are allowed to spend in Australia, and the activities and employment opportunities available to you depend on that visa classification. Your visa classification may also affect your chances of being approved for a credit card. While some visas – such as the 457 visa – are widely accepted by card providers, others are not.
Is it more difficult to get approved for a credit card if you are a temporary resident?
It can certainly be more difficult to get approved for a credit card if you are a temporary resident. One of the main reasons for this is the risk involved. When you apply for a credit card, the card provider wants to know you will repay any money you spend on the card. Temporary residents are deemed more risky, as they may decide to leave the country – without repaying their card debt.
But, while it may be more difficult to get approved for a credit card as a temporary resident, it’s not impossible. You simply need to find the card providers that issue credit cards to temporary residents, and then make sure you meet their eligibility requirements. As a temporary resident, these requirements are generally higher than those required of Australian citizens.
Do you need to have a good credit history to apply?
When you apply for a credit card in Australia, the card provider will check your credit file. This provides information on how you have dealt with credit in Australia in the past. The card provider will not access any information on your dealings with credit anywhere else in the world – good or bad – so it’s up to you to provide as much accurate information as possible.
As we mentioned before, credit cards for temporary residents may be considered higher risk than credit cards provided to Australian citizens. That means card providers generally look for temporary resident applicants to have excellent credit history, as this can indicate a higher level of responsibility when dealing with credit.
As a new resident in Australia, you may not have a credit history here. This may make it more difficult to get approved for a credit card. Be prepared to meet all other eligibility requirements – and any other requirements as set out by the card provider – to improve your chances of approval. You may need to build your credit over time before applying for a credit card.
Compare Credit Cards for Temporary Residents - Frequently Asked Questions
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
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.
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.
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.