Credit card for temporary residents in Australia

Credit card for temporary residents in Australia

You may be living in Australia for a longer period for your work or an extended holiday. A credit card can be helpful during your stay to pay for expenses or build credit. The credit cards available to temporary residents vary from one bank to another and depend on the type of visa.

For example, your chances of getting approved for a credit card increases if you hold a 457 visa while the norms may be different if you are staying in Australia on a 417 or 462 visa.

Credit card eligibility criteria for temporary residents

Every credit card issuer may have different eligibility criteria for temporary residents in Australia. This list of things that are typically required inclure:

  • You must be 18 years or older.
  • You should earn regular taxable income in Australia; some banks may have a minimum income requirement and minimum bank account balance.
  • You must hold a valid visa; some issuers may specify how much longer your visa must be valid to approve your temporary resident credit card application.
  • You should have an Australian residential address and a bank account.
  • You must be employed in the country or must provide proof of upcoming employment while applying for a credit card.

If you are in Australia for a holiday or on a student or spouse visa, you may find it challenging to apply for a credit card. You have limitations on employment while residing on these visas, which means you may not be able to pay for your credit card spending.

Things to know before applying for a temporary resident credit card Australia

Since you don't have a permanent link to the country, credit card issuers see you as higher risk, as you may leave before paying off a credit card balance. So, before you apply for a credit card, keep these things in mind. 

  • You may need to provide reference checks of Australian residents who can validate the information submitted on your application.
  • Your financial history, including utility bill payments and bank statements will be reviewed.
  • You may be given lower credit limits, which may be later increased if you use your card responsibly and pay off your balance in full each statement period. 

How important is credit history for temporary residents?

Card issuers will consider only your Australian credit history. So, if you have a high credit score abroad, it will not impact your credit card Australia temporary resident application. 

As a temporary resident, you may not have a long credit history in the country. It is recommended that you open and maintain some credit-based accounts to build your history. Some of the easier credit-based account options include setting up utility accounts like an internet connection, electricity, and phone plans.

Having an Australian bank account is also important. You could submit your bank account statements to the card issuer to show that you are managing your finances in a responsible manner, which may increase your chances of approval.

How to find the best credit card for temporary residents

There are a few key factors to consider when searching for your best credit card option as a temporary resident. This includes:

  1. Interest rates: Credit card companies charge interest rates for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. The higher the interest rate, the greater your chances of snowballing debt if you cannot pay your balance in full each statement period. Also, keep an eye out for  promotional/introductory rates, also known as “honeymoon” rates, that can be as low as zero per cent, but then revert to a higher rate after a set period. 
  2. Fees: Always review  any potential credit card fees, like annual charges, fees for international purchases, cash advance fees, or foreign transaction fees, before applying. If you avoid paying interest on your balance, credit card fees can be some of the highest ongoing costs associated with a credit card. 
  3. Interest-free periods: Interest-free periods are the number of days you have to pay for your purchases before interest is charged. The higher this period, the more time you have for the repayments. 
  4. Rewards programs and extras: Rewards programs and extras may earn you points on your spending and may be redeemed for goods, converted to frequent flyer points, or be in the form of cashback offers. Check these extras before applying for a credit card.

A temporary resident credit card will help in building credit, which will be beneficial when you seek permanent residency. Choosing the best card for your financial needs, budget and purpose is important, so don’t skip comparing different cards to find one that suits you while living in Australia.

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Learn more about credit cards

How easy is it to get a credit card?

For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.

Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.

Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.

Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

What should you do when you lose your credit card?

Losing your credit card is a serious situation, and could land you in financial trouble. Here is a simple guide detailing what to do when you lose your credit card.

Lock you card – Contact your provider and inform them about your lost credit card. From here lock, block or cancel your card.

Keep track of transactions – Look out for unauthorised credit card transactions. Most banks protect against fraudulent transactions.

Address recurring charges – If your card is linked to recurring charges (gym membership, rent, utilities), contact those businesses.

Check credit rate – To ensure you’re not the victim of identity theft, check your credit rating a month or two after you lose your credit card.

Do you need a credit card to get a loan?

You do not need a credit card to get a loan, but you usually need to have a credit history. Without a credit history, a financial institution cannot assess your ‘credit worthiness’, or your capacity to pay off the loan.

If you don’t have a credit card, your credit history can reflect any record of paying off an asset. Without any credit credit history, you’re limited in the type of loans you can apply for. But you may be able to obtain a secured loan against an asset. For more information on improving your credit score, go here

How does credit card interest work?

Generally, when we talk about credit card interest, we mean the purchase interest rate, which is the interest charged on purchases you make with your credit card.

If you don’t pay your full balance each month (or even if you pay the minimum amount), you are charged interest on all the outstanding transactions and the remaining balance. However, interest is also charged on cash advances, balance transfers, special rate offers and, in some cases, even the fees charged by the company.

The interest rate can vary, depending on the credit card. Some have an interest-free period, otherwise you start paying interest from the day you make a purchase or from the day your monthly statement is issued. So avoid interest by paying the full amount promptly.

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.

How is credit card interest charged?

Your credit card will be charged interest when you don’t pay off the balance on your credit card. Your card provider or bank charges you the individual interest rate that is associated with your card, which is usually between 10 and 20 per cent. 

The interest will be added onto your bill each month or billing period if you don’t pay off the balance, unless you are in an interest-free period.

You will be charged interest on anything that hasn’t been paid for inside the interest-free period. Usually you will receive a notice on your bill or statement saying you will be charged interest so you have some form of notice before you’re charged.

Current Annual Fees

These are the current annual fees on your existing credit card.

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

What should I do if my ANZ credit card has expired?

Your ANZ credit card is considered expired only after the last day of the month and year marked on your card. For instance, if your card’s expiry date reads 03/22, it is valid until 31 March 2022 and expires on 1 April 2022. Typically, you should have received a new credit card by that date, and you won’t have to request a new card. 

Once you get the new card, you should remember to switch any automatic payments you have - such as a utility or mobile phone bill - from your expired credit card to your new credit card. Equally, if you are using CardPay Direct to repay your ANZ credit card debt, you may need to update the credit card account details for that service as well. 

In case the new card doesn’t arrive by the expiry date of your current credit card, you can call ANZ on 13 22 73 to find out the reason and if you need to request an expedited card. Please note that if you were planning to close your credit card account or request a credit card upgrade, you may need to call ANZ at least before the 25th of the month your current credit card expires in, as that’s when they may send you the new credit card.

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.