Can foreigners get a credit card in Taiwan?


I'm not getting that at all from this thread, or from my personal experience. What I'm reading here is it's all about chance and luck, coming across an individual who wants to go out of their way for a foreigner.

Certainly income was not a consideration in my being denied 3 times. My monthly income at the time was nearly double that of my Taiwanese partner, as demonstrated by bank book photocopies of months of direct salary payments into my bank account, yet he has over a dozen credit cards.


May i ask you what kind of account you have with HSBC?
(I mean, do you have an account anybody can apply for, with no minimum balance requirement, or one that requires a minimum balance or some other substantial investment?)


at cathay united i was told a foreigner requires a yearly salary of 1.5 mil (nt) to get one. i had a friend who got one from another bank, but only after his house loan went through (they denied him before that). he's here on a normal arc, dunno what bank though.


There is no pattern or logic. There is no rhyme or reason. There is no path to follow. You have to stumble across the right person at the right time.


When you shopping for credit cards, get a department store one. I had one for each of 3 major department stores in Kaohsiung.

Each week these department stores would have a promotion. Spend something like 100 or 300 at the department store. Take those receipts to the top floor, present them and present your card. You then would get a free gift! These were quality gifts! Bed sheets, pillows and of course lots of candy dishes, umbrellas and water bottles.

You don't even have to use the card.
Before we had kids, we'd just go to the food court, buy lunch and maybe and item or two in the supermarket.
I still have a closet full of free goodies. But now we canceled all but the Costco and American Express card.


the one in this country is a premier investment account. It has some benefits over an ordinary account, but needs a large minimum balance.


Roger. Thanks for the info.


I believe I was once told by HSBC that they would give me a credit card if I opened an account with a balance of NT$100,000. A manager told me that they often have upset foreigners there complaining about being denied credit but that these foreigners did not understand that HSBC in Taiwan is a Taiwanese bank operating under Taiwanese law and business practices.

I declined since I am perfectly happy with Taiwan Cooperative Bank which issued me an unsecured Mastercard some 7 years ago. My understanding is that Visa has does not allow member banks to issue credit cards to foreigners. Mastercard does not have that policy but some banks have their own policies or do not offer Mastercard.


I am an American living in Taiwan (IE: a foreigner). I have a Visa card issued by First Bank. The debit card on my Mega Bank is also a Visa. So much for Visa not allowing member banks to issue credit cards to foreigners.

The inclination will be against issuing foreigners in Taiwan credit cards as we are generally perceived as flight risks. If you're looking for a reasonable, rational sure-fire way to get a credit card in Taiwan, aside from having a pile of money on deposit, there isn't one. There will always be some excuse, or some criteria that is not met. I've noticed no pattern from people's posts, or my own experiences, that indicate otherwise. Law? Policy? :saywhat:

The trick is to find and schmooze the right person. :2cents:


Like Craig TPE I can't find any real rules they follow. For example, some people seem to have their card expiry linked to their ARC. I got my newest (VISA) card in 2006 and it expires in 2016. My ARC is renewed every three years.


This is Taiwan. Rules and no rules operate simultaneously in a tenuous state of quantum superimposition.


Wow... a VISA credit card with a ten year expiry? x_x;


Seems I was quite lucky.
My experience was the following.
Came to TW, had an ARC and went one time to Taipei 101 in 2003 and saw the credit card of Chinatrust. (The Taipei 101).
At this time my wife had to co-sign, 2 weeks later I got a Taipei 101 Gold-Visa Card.
A few days later we went RT-Mart, and they had a co-branded Visa Card from Bank of Overseas Chinese. Got it 2 weeks later after apply, was just standard.
Then applied also the Master Card of B.o.O.C, got it also.
Few weeks later, asked a Chinatrust sales man, whether I can upgrade my Gold Card to Platinum. No problem. Cancelled the gold card and used the Platinum Card.
After B.o.O.C was taken over by Citibank, I received 2 Platinum Cards from them in exchange to my previous ones.
I built over the years a good credit score, (lot spendings, pay back on time), so recently it was no problem for me to get also the Titanium Card and Business Card from Chinatrust. The credit limit was over the years also topped up


New article in China Post on Feb 15 about the issues with foreigners getting credit cards, financial services like online internet transfers, and foreign withdrawl with ATM cards.

It also touches on difficulties on getting cell phones and that some people feel the ARC is restrictive compared to other countries. … s-call.htm

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Foreigners are urging Taiwan’s bank operators to lower the threshold for them to open new credit card accounts, according to the Central News Agency.

Benoit Girardot, a manager working at a medical equipment company in Taiwan, said that living in Taiwan is very convenient, but local bank operators have set too many restrictions against non-Taiwanese citizens with regard to financial services.

Bank operators do not provide services for expats who wish to conduct Internet transfers, Girardot said, adding that foreigners are also not allowed to withdraw money while overseas with their locally issued debit cards.

Kimba Vetten, who came to the island in 1999, also commented on the issue of credit card applications in Taiwan.

Vetten said that the bank had asked her to pay NT$15,000 as a deposit, but that she only got a limit of NT$10,000 on her credit card.

Since 2007, bank operators have reportedly been allowed to come up with their own regulations with regard to foreigners applying new cards.

Certain bank operators, for example, require co-signers in the application process, while further limiting credit card usage for non-Taiwanese citizens.

Inada Mutsuko, a Japanese citizen who has been residing in Taiwan for six years, said that the thresholds for foreigners applying for Internet services and cellphone numbers are also too high.

“Even if foreigners have Alien Resident Certificates (ARC), they still have to pay a deposit or find a co-signer (in order to) apply for a cellphone number,” Mutsuko said.

A major telecommunications firm explained that some cellphone data plans are not pre-paid; therefore, many operators tend to worry about whether they are able to receive payments from foreigners if they should leave the country. As a result, operators usually set higher thresholds for foreign applicants.

An American-born Chinese reporter, Yang Lin (楊霖), said that the process of applying for work in Taiwan is more complicated than that of Singapore or Hong Kong.

Yang said that he only needed a resident certificate in order to work in Singapore. In Taiwan, however, he had to apply for a work certificate and an ARC.

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has launched an Employment PASS card for foreign professionals, which is reportedly a combination of the Resident Visa, Work Permit, Alien Resident Certificate and Multi-Entry Permit.

The NIA, however, also said that there have only been over 300 people who have used the card.

The agency added that is considering to set up a website in the near future for foreigners to apply for the card online.


[quote=“dan2006”]The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has launched an Employment PASS card for foreign professionals, which is reportedly a combination of the Resident Visa, Work Permit, Alien Resident Certificate and Multi-Entry Permit.
The NIA, however, also said that there have only been over 300 people who have used the card.[/quote]
Possibly because nobody has ever been told of its existence. Has anyone here actually heard of this? Is it the same as the “plum blossom” card?

My goodness. What a radical idea. :unamused:

Actually, I don’t think the Taiwanese procedure/requirements for work permits is particularly onerous or restrictive, at least not compared to Europe or the US. But it sure is confusing sometimes.


Finley, I never heard about it. I’m interested because back home I was an insurance professional so I’d love to know how to qualify for this.
A website would be helpful for sure.

As far as credit cards go, I got one by being a pest at one bank, but my salary bank now won’t issue one as it is their policy unless the bank manager writes a letter in your support. I went last week and they said the manager would write a letter, but I doubt it will go through because they refused it twice previously.


Wow, some interesintg news in this old thread. :wink:

As we’ve found out about this point ( see … 88&t=95280 ), it’s not always easy but also not black-and-white…

Generally, concerning the worries (= lack of trust) providers of credit cards, phone contracts, apartments, etc., have in regards to foreign customers, i would like to paraphrase and expand on the approach that i think various people have suggested (in various other threads about credit cards, phone contracts, etc.):

The first step is to understand and acknowledge that the other side’s worries are justified. Then, when starting negotiatons with a service provider, it is useful to explicitly mention those worries and to offer a guarantee or to ask what kind of guarantee would be satisfactory to them. If possible one may also want to provide the other side with information about similar situations where something has been worked out satisfactorily (looking at precedence).



Yuli, I absolutely agree with you, but in many cases, most banks do not give the opportunity for someone to show proof that they are trustworthy.

I do agree that the banks concerns are justified (that someone can pull a runner), but the first thing is that whether this is true or not, the person who is applying is a legal resident of the country. Therefore, whether they think you might be a deadbeat or not, as long as there is no such record of you being said deadbeat, they should not be allowed to discriminate. I can fully understand giving someone a small $10,000nt limit for 1 or 2 years to start to mitigate losses, but once a record is built up it shouldn’t be a problem. I can understand asking for a deposit but after a year or 2 of good payments giving it back. I can understand asking for a copy of the foreigners credit report back home to review. But most banks don’t do that. They just say get lost. As someone said before, you can have a great history built up here at one bank, but go to another bank and they say, sorry, you are a foreigner.

In some cases I even showed the bank my JCIC clear record, but they still insisted on a guarantor or deposit. So no problem, I just shop around until I find a bank that will work with me. Why give loser banks the business is how I feel.

Anyway, I am happy that the issue keeps getting trotted out. Not sure if anything will be done on the government level however to stop the practice.


If it is a matter of someone being lazy or not interested, then that is a business problem, and your solution is a good one: go to a business that has a different attitude. :slight_smile:

Hm, i don’t think there is any need or justification for the government to become involved. But for a comparison, i would be curious to know of any country that has rules about how banks or phone companies or people having apartments for rent are supposed to treat foreign residents?


Hm, I don’t think there is any need or justification for the government to become involved. But for a comparison, I would be curious to know of any country that has rules about how banks or phone companies or people having apartments for rent are supposed to treat foreign residents?[/quote]

My purpose for government intervention is not to tell the banks that they must approve everyone just because we are a foreigner. Just set the regulation that anyone who is a legal resident of Taiwan is not to be discriminated against when it comes to credit products. So if the pimply faced 20 year old xiaojie that works at Mcdonalds can be approved for a card under a certain set of criteria, the same criteria would be applied for foreigners. So see, we are not forcing you to give credit cards to foreigners, but we are :laughing:

Thus endeth the discrimination

Again I do not mind if there is other criteria involved, like a year of salary deposited, a good credit record etc, but there has to be a specific reason why a foreigner application would be rejected, not just seeing our face on the photocopy of the ARC and the application going in the garbage. :smiley: