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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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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.



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