Immigrants' credit cards, passport and travel ticket

Credit Cards For Immigrants – Information for Recent Immigrants to Australia

Information verified correct on February 20th, 2017

Information for immigrants to Australia who would like to apply for a credit card

It can be difficult for a newcomer to Australia to get approval after filling out a credit card application. The credit history is not transferred from country to country, so you're starting off with no credit. Sometimes this can be a good thing, because it is a fresh start, however, getting established in a new country can be frustrating, to say the least.

Like all other lenders, credit card issuers base credit approval on credit histories. Of course credit limits and decisions to extend credit are also based on salary, and you must be gainfully employed, or at least have some source of income. A home address in the country in which you reside are also sometimes a requirement.

Establishing credit

A good strategy involves keeping your credit cards and bank account from your country of origin, and continue to pay these debts so that at least your credit isn't jeopardised there. And you never know you may go home someday. It will take a while to get established, and using what you already have, will not leave you without a card.

HSBC Low Rate Credit Card

HSBC Credit Card Offer

HSBC is one of the largest foreign banks in Australia. Founded in China, HSBC Bank now has branches all over Sydney, in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australian and NSW. It is also looking to expand the number of branches in Sydney, with a recent branch opening in North Sydney. The HSBC Low Rate Credit Card is currently one of the most popular credit cards being applied for in Australia.

  • $55 p.a. annual fee
  • 13.25% p.a. on purchases
  • 0% p.a. for 15 months with 2% balance transfer fee on balance transfers
  • Cash Advance Rate of 21.99% p.a.
  • Up to 55 days interest free
  • Minimum Income Requirement of $20,000 p.a.

There are some banks that have branch networks all over the globe, so looking for and finding one that you already have a relationship with is advisable, just until you get established. Even if your interest rates are higher, or the card doesn't offer you points or rewards. It's worth getting to establish credit.


If you are employed in the new country, getting a card or a loan is much easier than you think. Granted, you might not have a history, but most banks secure loans and cards based on income, and stability of residence. Speaking to a loan or card representative might help remedy this if you moved to Australia for a new job.

Secured credit cards

You can always get a prepaid credit card. The concept is similar to a prepaid phone card, or prepaid cellular. You put money on the card via a deposit to the company issuing the card, and you have a limit for as much as you deposit.

Prepaid cards sometimes do not report to your credit agency, therefore be certain before you sign up for one of these prepaid cards, that they report. This is a great way to establish credit.

Moving abroad credit cards

Some card companies offer 'moving abroad' transfers, one such company is American Express. They allow you to transfer your card to another country, and they make the transfer as painless as possible. All that is necessary is a current and eligible credit card with AMEX, an address in Australia and a phone number. This transfer excludes existing balances, which must be repaid before the transfer is complete.

Another company that offers foreign travel moves and foreign exchange is ANZ, which helps you with your financial needs when moving to Australia. ANZ also helps with banks, accounts, foreign currency transfers, and even dual and multi-currency accounts. They claim an international network in key locations, to assist you. They also help arrange bank accounts and manage your investments.

Mail Forwarding

If you are moving to Australia, there are several inexpensive mail forwarding services that allow you to maintain your current address, in which to keep the current credit cards you have, before you begin obtaining credit in AU. This gives you a home address in which to keep in your current residence, so you don't lose your card privileges or bank information.

The most popular are Mailbox Forwarding, and Earth Class Mail.

Online Bill-Pay

Almost every bank in the world offers this service. This service that manages, accepts and pays all of your bills with the touch of a keystroke. If you keep your current accounts, this will help avoid raising questions about your move. You can continue to pay your bills in the currency in which you resided, and continue using your debit and credit cards.

Moving can be stressful enough, having to worry about financial matters can add to the stress, and using some of these services might lighten your load.

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