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Credit cards for temporary residents

If you're on a visa and want to get an Australian credit card as a temporary or non-resident, here's what you're eligible for.

Name Product Purchase rate p.a. Balance transfer rate p.a. Annual fee
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
13.49%
0% for 28 months with 2% balance transfer fee, then 21.74%
$0 first year ($59 after)
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for the first 28 months (with a 2% BT fee). Plus, save with a $0 first-year annual fee.
ANZ Low Rate - Credit Back Offer
13.74%
21.99%
$58
Get $250 back on your card when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
St.George Vertigo Card
13.99%
0% for 28 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$55
Get a 0% p.a. interest rate on balance transfers for 28 months (with a 1% balance transfer fee).
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
23.99%
$0 first year ($195 after)
Save with a $0 annual fee in the first year. Plus, $200 Travel Credit every year.
ANZ Platinum Credit Card
20.99%
21.99%
$0 first year ($87 after)
Get $300 back on your card when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months and a $0 first-year annual fee. Plus, complimentary overseas travel insurance.
Qantas American Express Ultimate Card
23.99%
$450
Get 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a yearly $450 Travel Credit. Ends 28 May 2024.
American Express Velocity Escape Card
23.99%
$0
Save with a $0 annual fee and earn 0.75 Velocity Points per $1 on everyday purchases.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
23.99%
$375
Get 60,000 bonus Velocity Points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus a return domestic flight each year.
ANZ Rewards Platinum - Velocity Points
20.99%
21.99%
$149
Get up to 100,000 bonus Velocity Points: 70k points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months and 30k points after 15 months.
St.George Vertigo Card - Cashback Offer
13.99%
6.99% for 12 months, then 21.49%
$55
Get up to $400 cashback at eligible supermarkets and petrol stations in the first 180 days. Plus, a low interest rate for purchases.
American Express Platinum Card
0%
$1,450
Earn 150,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $450 Travel Credit each year.
St.George Amplify Signature
19.49%
0% for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee, then 21.49%
$199 first year ($295 after)
150,000 bonus Amplify Points (worth $675 in gift cards) when you spend $12,000 in the first 12 months. Plus, a first-year annual fee discount.
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Major banks in Australia let you apply for a credit card when you are a temporary resident, non-resident or a recent immigrant. But your options could vary depending on what type of visa you hold, your income and other individual details.

For example, the conditions and requirements for people holding a working visa may differ from those that apply to someone with a 417, 482 or 485 visa. And New Zealand citizens that are residents of Australia can apply for most credit cards offered to Australian citizens.

Which banks offer credit cards to temporary residents?

ANZ, CommBank, NAB, Westpac and other major lenders offer credit cards that temporary residents in Australia can apply for when they meet the eligibility requirements.

This table has details for Australian banks that offer credit cards to temporary residents, including eligibility requirements.

BankEligible?What are the eligibility requirements?Available cards
American ExpressYesTo be eligible for an American Express credit card, you must:
  • Have a Business Long Stay Visa
  • Other eligibility requirements may be outlined for individual cards
ANZYesTo apply for an ANZ credit card as a non-resident, you will need:
  • Your passport
  • Your permanent/temporary resident visa or a working permit
  • Your employment agreement with at least six months remaining

ANZ also reserves the right to decline requests for credit at its own discretion based on non-resident status.

The entire range of personal ANZ credit cards
Bank of MelbourneYesTemporary residents with valid visa can apply for a Bank of Melbourne credit card if they meet the following requirements:
  • You must have a regular income
  • You have a valid visa with a minimum of 1 year before expiry at the time of applying

Bank of Melbourne may also find other temporary resident visas eligible on a case-by-case basis, so you may want to call them to discuss your circumstances directly.

The entire range of personal Bank of Melbourne credit cards
BankSAYesTemporary residents with valid visa can apply for a BankSA credit card if they meet the following requirements:
  • You must have a regular income
  • You have a valid visa with a minimum of 1 year before expiry at the time of applying

BankSA may also find other temporary resident visas eligible on a case-by-case basis, so you may want to call them to discuss your circumstances directly.

The entire range of personal BankSA credit cards
CommBankYesCommBank lets you apply for a credit card before you come to Australia, providing you meet the following requirements:
  • 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 annum
  • You have an eligible visa (457, Permanent Resident, temporary business visas) or hold an Australian/NZ passport
The entire range of personal CommBank credit cards
NABYesNAB will consider your credit card application if you meet the following conditions:
  • You must have been working in Australia for a minimum of three months
  • You must have completed any probationary period at work
The entire range of NAB credit cards
St.GeorgeYesSt.George will consider credit card applications from temporary residents who meet the following conditions:
  • You have a St.George transaction account
  • You have a valid visa with a minimum of 1 year before expiry at the time of applying
  • You must have confirmed employment in Australia with an Australian taxable income

Temporary residents can only apply for a St.George credit card in person at a branch or by calling Customer Service on 13 33 30.

The entire range of St.George credit cards
WestpacYesWestpac accepts temporary resident credit card applications providing you meet the following requirements:
  • You have a minimum fixed salary of AUD$50,000 p.a. OR a minimum deposit of AUD$250,000 in a Westpac account OR an ongoing source of income after arriving in Australia
  • You have a valid visa with a minimum of 1 year before expiry at the time of applying
  • You are moving to Australia within six to eight weeks of submitting your application
  • You have an Australian residential address (excludes hotels and hostels)

Eligibility requirements for getting a credit card as a temporary resident

You can use the following list as a guide to the general conditions you should meet before applying for an Australian credit card as a temporary resident.

  • Age. You must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a credit card.
  • Employment. You should have employment or proof of upcoming employment in Australia at the time of your application. You may also have to supply details of previous employers in Australia, or at your last job before you moved. If you can include official written confirmation of your employment contract, including details of your salary, it will help verify your situation.
  • Income and assets. You must have a regular, Australian taxable income to apply for a credit card. Minimum income conditions also apply 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 and/or a certified copy of your passport for the application.
  • Visa status. You must have a valid, eligible visa. Depending on the credit card issuer, you may need to have a minimum amount of time left on the visa to apply (for example, 1-2 years before the visa expiry date). If you don't know if your visa is eligible, contact the bank or credit card brand directly for more details based on your situation.
  • Australian address. You must have a residential address in Australia to apply for a credit card.
  • Australian bank account. You must have applied or opened an Australian bank account to get a credit card.

It’s important to remember that credit card eligibility requirements depend on the bank (or issuer) and the credit card you apply for. But being prepared with all of these details will help you speed up the application process.

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Graham heads Finder's insights team and specialises in a variety of financial topics, including credit cards, loans, insurance and investing. He regularly appears on TV including ABC News, Sunrise and Today, and edits Finder's Insights column.

Graham's top credit card tips

  • Your eligibility for a credit card depends on your visa type, employment status and how long you've lived in Australia. Start with a basic or secured credit card to build Australian credit history. Provide complete documentation, including your passport and visa information.

Credit card eligibility for New Zealand citizens living in Australia

The Australian government has a special visa for New Zealand citizens, which allows them to study, work and live in Australia as long as they remain NZ citizens and meet the visa's character requirements. So New Zealand citizens can usually apply for most Australian credit cards, as long as they have a permanent address in Australia and meet the card's other eligibility requirements.

Can I transfer my existing credit card to an Australian one?

You can't transfer an overseas credit card balance to an Australian credit card. But if your credit card is issued by a company that offers global services or "moving abroad" transfers, you may be able to open an account more easily in a new country.

For example, the American Express Global Card Relationship service allows you to apply for an Amex card in your new country by logging in to your existing account. So if you moved to Australia, you would need to log into your current Amex account, choose a new Amex card and then apply using your Australian address and contact details. Your account history could be used as part of the application, and the existing account will remain open unless you close it.

As another example, HSBC offers a range of support options for existing customers around the world if they are moving (or have recently moved) to Australia. This includes credit card applications and, for Premier customers, the ability to see all global HSBC accounts in one place.

What else do I need to know before I apply for a credit card in Australia?

Credit card issuers may consider individuals with no permanent ties to Australia as a risk for any type of credit product. So, make sure you consider the following when choosing a bank and credit card to apply for:

  • Unexplained denials. Australian credit card issuers that offer credit cards to temporary residents reserve the right to decline applications without giving you a reason.
  • Reference checks. You may be asked to supply names and contact information for Australian residents who can confirm the details you provide on your application. This could include the person who you rent your home from, your employer or any other individual that you have financial obligations with.
  • Utility bills. Your Australian payment history with utility companies (such as phone or electricity companies) may also be reviewed to check for late payments or defaults. If you want to qualify for a credit card in Australia as a temporary resident, you should ensure that you have excellent financial history while you are here.
  • Low credit limits. As a temporary resident, you may be granted a credit card with a lower credit limit than you would normally expect. If you use the card regularly and make your repayments on time, you may be able to apply for a credit limit increase at a later date.

The credit card application requirements that you must meet as a temporary resident differ between different banks and providers. So, it's a good idea to discuss your individual circumstances with your chosen provider before you apply for a card. Taking this step will give you the most accurate information possible and increase your chances of approval for your chosen card.

Do Australian banks consider overseas credit history?

Banks and credit card issuers in Australia only consider your Australian credit history. This means if you have an excellent credit rating overseas (or a bad credit rating), it won't impact your application for a credit card.

But if you don't have many details on your Australian credit file as a temporary resident, providing accurate details and additional documents will help support your application and your chance of approval. You can also check your Australian credit history and get your score for free with the Finder app.

Establishing credit history as a recent immigrant to Australia

When you arrive, you can start building your credit history in a few steps:

  1. Open a bank account. Having an Australian bank account will make it easier to receive income from work here, and use it for spending.
  2. Set up your utility accounts. This includes energy, internet and mobile phone plans. Finder's guide to utilities has more details and a comparison of different options.
  3. Check your credit score. You can get a free copy of your credit report and credit score through Finder, which will help you keep track of what details are added to your Australian credit history.
  4. Apply for credit products that you're eligible for. Not all utility accounts are added to your credit report, so you may not have any credit history in Australia until you get a credit-based account. For example, a credit card or personal loan. But it's important to only apply when you have found an account you want, that's also affordable for you.

Pros and cons of getting a credit card as a temporary resident

Pros

  • Build your credit. If you plan to become a permanent resident, getting a credit card as a temporary resident will help you build your Australian credit history.
  • Flexible payments. An Australian credit card will allow you to make purchases in local stores using credit, which you can then pay off in full or over time.
  • Increased borrowing power. It may be easier to get approval for personal loans, including car loans, if you already have a credit card issued by an Australian bank.
  • Other types of credit. Once you have an Australian credit card, it could be easier to enter into other financial contracts, such as a mobile phone plan, or utilities for your residence.

Cons

  • Limited availability. Not all financial institutions offer credit cards to temporary residents, and those that do may not offer all of their products to you.
  • High rates and fees. To compensate for your residency status, you may find that you have to pay higher rates or fees for the privilege of having a credit card.
  • Income requirements. With no credit file to refer to, many banks have strict income requirements to help offset the risk of lending to you.
  • Credit history. If your application for an Australian credit card is declined, it may negatively affect your credit history here.

When you're looking at getting a credit card as a recent immigrant or temporary resident, remember that the application requirements and eligibility could be different to what's listed for permanent residents and Australian citizens. Make sure you compare cards based on their features and fees so that you can find one that suits your budget and needs while.

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55 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    JohnJuly 4, 2017

    When applying for a credit card, the question poised for residential status, Own home outright, mortgage, renter, boarder, living with parents are the only options. We live rent free in home held in trust. How do we answer this?

      Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 5, 2017

      Hi John!

      That’s quite a tricky question you have! :)

      Usually boarders are those who are getting services from the owners or landlords such as cleaning services, food, etc. and can be “accessed” anytime, whereas renters are those who have exclusive possession in their place. Based on the data you shared, it is likely that you’re a renter, even if you don’t pay a rental income.

      You may need to verify the card issuers as well as the state law definition and see which one suits you.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    DeborahJanuary 7, 2017

    We are retiring and moving to Australia where our son and his family live. We are applying for the contributory parent visa. Since we are retiring we won’t have jobs in Australia. We wish to get a Visa credit card and have excellent credit. How do we apply for an Australian credit card and which one should we apply for? Can we apply in the US prior to arrival ?

      AvatarFinder
      MayJanuary 16, 2017Finder

      Hi Deborah,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Generally, you should be able to apply for a credit card once you arrive in Australia and have an Australian address. For a possible credit card that you can apply for, you may check first the guidelines outlined on our page about credit cards for retired applications. You should also find a list of credit cards available to retired applicants on the same page. And to confirm which cards accept temporary residents, you should refer to the banks listed on this page.

      I would suggest that you contact the bank/credit card issuer first before you submit any application once you arrive so that you can discuss your chances of approval.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    NelsonOctober 28, 2016

    HI

    I am a 19 years old full time international student at a university. Working part time with 573 visa. Just arrived melbourne 3 months ago . Am i eligible for any credit card or loan ?

      AvatarFinder
      MayOctober 28, 2016Finder

      Hi Nelson,

      Thank you for your question.

      The banks/credit card issuers that may accept applicants on a visa are listed above. Though please note that your approval may still be on a case-by-case basis depending on the bank’s assessment of your financial circumstance, type of visa, etc.

      It would be best to contact the bank first before you submit your application to discuss your chances of approval.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    AllanOctober 5, 2016

    I have just arrived I Australia on a 489 visa ,I am in full time employment with a good income and I’m just wondering how I go about getting a credit card or if I can get credit for a car .

      AvatarFinder
      MayOctober 6, 2016Finder

      Hi Allan,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Whilst we are not sure if you’ll be approved for a credit card or not, you can discuss your chances of approval with a bank featured above. As for a car loan, this is usually restricted to PR and citizens, but you can find a guide on loans for non-residents through our website.

      Cheers,
      May

    Default Gravatar
    ivanMarch 21, 2016

    What are my chances of getting approved a $12,000 credit card balance transfer as I’m holding a 457 Visa for 4 years and my income is $55,000 per year? It’s a MasterCard from CBA which credit limit is $15,000 and been offered to increase it up to $20,000 two months ago

      AvatarFinder
      SharonMarch 21, 2016Finder

      Hi Ivan, thanks for your inquiry.

      As a financial comparison service, we’re unable to confirm whether you’d receive approval or not.

      You might like to get in touch with the credit card issuer directly to discuss your eligibility, financial history, income and ability to repay to discuss your chances of approval before applying for the card. Please note that rejected applications will have a further negative impact on your account, so it’s wise to discuss your options or work on improving your score before you apply for a new card.

      I hope this helps,

      Sharon

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