Credit cards: current situation?

I know this is a frequently rehashed topic, but for those of you who have actually applied for a Taiwanese credit card without any guarantor and either been accepted or declined, I’d like to know the circumstances behind your application.

I’ve held an account with Taishin for about 2 1/2 years now, but from what I remember the only activity it’s seen has been a GBP3,000 (NT$180,000) transfer from the UK a few months back. I spend so little on myself each month that it’s actually more cost effective to leave my money in the UK and withdraw funds with my Cirrus card. I’ve always had a good relationship with Taishin and know the staff at my original branch pretty well.

Anyhow… when you applied for your card, what were the banks most interested in? Regular monthly deposits? Account turnover? Balance of your account? Assets in Taiwan? Assets overseas? Type of visa? Luck? All of the above? For those doing business in Taiwan on investor ARCs, did this help at all? What will make them consider me a ‘good’ customer worth of a credit card? NT$1m in deposits? NT$10m?

I could do with a Visa/MC for travelling in the US but if I’m going to have to start filing my underwear with the government to do so, it’s not worth the effort. I’d like to know beforehand what I’d be letting myself in for. If I have to transfer a crapload of money from the UK to prove my financial standing, the losses on interest would instantly make this a stupid idea.

Try applying for a Mastercard at Taiwan Cooperative Bank. They seemed to be most interested in my monthly income and how long i had had my job, but they just took my word for it.

So did you open and maintain the account first or just walk in and say ‘I make NT$x per month and want an account with CC’?

I opened an account and noticed that they offered a combo ATM/mastercard and told them that I wanted it. They asked a few questions, and that was it. In other words, it was a new account.

Okay… I’ll try with Taishin first and see what happens.

Do you mind telling us what limit they gave you?

For the record, I applied to American Express (now defunct, see this thread) with my previous year’s tax return, a certificate of employment from my company, my last three payslips, and a photocopy of my bank book. They accepted all this and issued me with a gold card with a 100k credit limit. China trust were the same except my boss had to ring up and persuade them it was OK to give a foreigner a card that he wouldn’t run away. Probably. To be fair, I didn’t submit any documents with that application (as I bank with Chinatrust) and in fact I should have. Got a platinum card with a 100k limit. HTH.

Chinatrust use a points-scoring credit rating system, if that helps. I scored no points because I supplied no doccos. Neither card required a guarantor, and I wouldn’t accept one which did (translation: No-one in his right mind would guarantee my cards!).

Okay, I went to Taishin (first time at the Taichung Wenxin branch) and they said I had to phone their call centre for an application form. Hmm. I really like to do these things sitting face-to-face and know that if I have any problems I can go to a branch with any problems instead of an automated phone line.

The form wanted the name and number of one close relative and one friend in Taiwan. And my blood type. 'Cause we all know those O-types are a lousy bunch of no-goodnicks! :loco: I don’t feel comfortable asking even my close friends whether I can put their name on a credit card application and my close family is about 6,000 miles away.

I’m self employed so I don’t get payslips, but I have business tax/business bank statements from the UK. Neither do I have last year’s tax return because I just moved back.

I’ve heard bad things about Chinatrust so I’m a bit iffy about using them. Any idea what scores you the big points documents-wise?

This is turning into a bang-head-against-the-wall excercise for me.

  • Taishin, Wen-xin Road Branch: no ROC ID, no credit card
  • Taishin, The Other Big Taichung Branch: you can apply but no guarantor, no credit card
  • Chinatrust: let me apply then 3 weeks later knocked me back. When I applied the (nice but absolutely clueless) lady had to run off for help with every single box on the application and I think the refusal was due to a lack of proper documentation. She took every document under the sun EXCEPT stuff with actual figures (like my Taishin bank book pages or UK personal/business bank statements with very substantial turnover).
  • Citibank (online): apparently the online application system is unable to recognise my sex from my funky foreigner Tong Yi Bian Hao (無法辨識性別). Funny that, last time I checked I had a winky anyway.

Next up: Citibank (in person), Fubon and Cooperative (nnggg) - but do serial credit applications affect some kind of big credit database like in the US/UK?

This is frustrating because of the number of 20/21 year old student kids I know with gold and platinum cards who are earning a tenth of what I do and twice as likely to default. I don’t even want the goddamn credit - it’s just impossible to do business these days without a Visa/MC. Like today when I had to drive 1 1/2 hours to buy a plane ticket in person, grrr.

I have today received a Visa Platinum credit card through Eslite and Ta Chong Bank. No local guarantor. Credit limit of NT$100,000. Took 10 days to process after giving a photocopy of ARC, Passport & Visa. I was told that since I had an Eslite Discount Membership Card (spent NT$X000 in an Eslite store in one go) it was no problem to get the credit card! :slight_smile:

I honestly reckon the problem with llary’s application might be that he’s self-employed and they don’t like that. Just a guess. I would just keep trying. What about HSBC or Chinatrust’s Costco card?

I just got knocked back by Chinatrust, for the 2nd time. The first time they knocked me back, I went into the bank to ask why, and they said that I didn’t earn enough money. WTF? My pay goes directly into a Chinatrust account and I earn the typical foreigner English teacher salary - much more than the Taiwanese teachers at my school who all have numerous credit cards.

I had thought it may have actually been due to my ARC at the time - it only had a month or so left on it when I applied, so they could have thought I was a flight risk.

So I reapplied a few weeks ago. Got the letter today - rejected again. It didn’t say why, and I haven’t had time to go in and ask them. But I have 2 1/2 years left on my ARC, so that cannot be a reason.

This time, I showed them my passport, ARC, bankbook and let them fill in the paperwork for me. At the place that it wanted 2 references, I dialed the numbers of a very good Taiwanese friend, and my boss, then simply handed the phone over to the bank teller to talk to them. Even that didn’t help - 2 Taiwanese people (1 my boss) telling the bank that I’ve been in Taiwan for 3 years already, and am planning on staying here a lot longer.

I also contacted HSBC awhile ago - they said that credit cards are only available to foreigners with a Taiwanese guarantor. So I didn’t bother applying for one from them.

All I want a credit card for is to be able to buy books from Amazon and my Australian visa has expired (and the bank won’t send a new one to Taiwan).

:slight_smile: How much do I need to spend at Eslite in ‘one go’ to get an Eslite Discount Membership Card?

All banks have a points scoring system. If you have the right criteria and score enough ‘points’ you will be granted a credit card. They will typically not tell you the reason for rejection. The general rules for applications without a TW guarantor are (based on the information provided by a friend who works for a local TW bank) :

  1. Minimum income of NT$47,000 per month
  2. Healthy bank balance of NT$300,000 or more for the last 3 months
  3. 2 names and telephone numbers (preferably house phone number, not mobile phone, don’t ask me why - I don’t make the rules) of someone in Taiwan (not guarantor, just referees)
  4. ARC/work permit validity of at least 1 year and above

The more documentation you provide, the better your chances are. So photocopy your pay slips and bank statements for the last 6 months or so to show you have a stable income. It also helps if you know the bank well and you have been banking with them. If your company pays your salary into the bank, it would be helfpul if you get your boss to call in to put in a good word in for you. If the branch managers writes in an endorsement of your application to the centralised approval center, then you have a good chance of the card being accepted.

Hope this helps!

This was my first thought - it was a problem even back in the UK. I know what Taiwan’s like though - I want to find out if the problem is a missing document or self employed status or something else. I have personal + business bank statements, company accounts, documentation etc. and this was sufficient for UK lenders.

I went back to Chinatrust to get some answers and was dumped on a phone by the ‘security guard’. Didn’t even get the call back I was promised today. Not impressed and will just close my account there unless they offer me a CC.

I dropped into my local Citibank on the way to an appointment today and felt everything was dealt with much more professionally than the other banks so far. Staff were discrete, attentive and knowledgeable. They knew exactly how the process works and didn’t need to run off every 10 seconds to check with Mrs. Wang about document x or y. Even if they decline my CC application I think I will still want to transfer my Taishin account there.

HSBC said they want a guarantor and besides, I received some awful treatment from them a few years ago in the UK and vowed never to use them again.

I’m also looking to apply for a mortgage in the very near future. Am I

Looks like I’ll be doing a lot of reading this month :slight_smile:

Check.

Check (in my UK accounts anyway - Taishin account has about NT$120k transferred from the UK every month).

Check. Got ming pians coming out of my bum.

Check, 3 years.

Don’t get payslips because I’m self employed (is this the problem?) It seems half of Taiwan is self employed so surely they must have some system for vetting small businesses? I just gave Citibank copies of my passport, visa, ARC, local driving license, last 3 months personal + business bank statements (UK), (recently expired) UK gold mastercard number + accompanying 3x statements, Taishin and Chinatrust bank books, authorisation to set up shop from MOEA, name and address of a Taiwanese friend, contact details for my two biggest Taiwanese clients and a big sloppy kiss. If that ain’t enough then to hell with it, I’m moving somewhere civilized like Tuvalu.

Very informative, cheers!

:slight_smile: How much do I need to spend at Eslite in ‘one go’ to get an Eslite Discount Membership Card?[/quote]

NT$5,000 in one go, or maybe less??? Not sure. Drop by a store.

Check.

Check (in my UK accounts anyway - Taishin account has about NT$120k transferred from the UK every month).

Check. Got ming pians coming out of my bum.

Check, 3 years.

Don’t get payslips because I’m self employed (is this the problem?) It seems half of Taiwan is self employed so surely they must have some system for vetting small businesses? I just gave Citibank copies of my passport, visa, ARC, local driving license, last 3 months personal + business bank statements (UK), (recently expired) UK gold mastercard number + accompanying 3x statements, Taishin and Chinatrust bank books, authorisation to set up shop from MOEA, name and address of a Taiwanese friend, contact details for my two biggest Taiwanese clients and a big sloppy kiss. If that ain’t enough then to hell with it, I’m moving somewhere civilized like Tuvalu.

Very informative, cheers![/quote]

Good luck! I feel your pain! I really do! FYI, in my innocence I applied for a Citibank CC within the first 3 months of arriving to TW. Promptly got rejected by them as I didn’t fulfill the NT$300,000 healthy balance part as well as building a decent enough ‘credit history’ in TW. 3 months into TW was probably pushing my luck a little. I kinda laid low and only just recently applied for my CC with my local bank (First Bank) after building up a year of credit history. In addition, my local bank manager did write in a recommendation letter to support my application. I think it’s a combo of many factors, but I bet the recommendation letter helped! TW is all about ‘guanxi’ as well, so I’m sure it increased my scoring on they system.

Okay, BIG thumbs up for Citibank. I now have accounts with five Taiwanese banks and this is the first time I’ve felt like I was dealing with a real financial institution.

I received a call within two days of my application explaining exactly what I needed to prove my identity and income. An appointment was made for me in the Taichung branch where I was able to discuss my affairs with some modicum of privacy thanks to the individual booths. This is much appreciated after being forced to shout out my financial situation to a thick cashier in Taishin surrounded by eager Taiwanese ears primed for juicy gossip material. My first impressions are that Citibank Taiwan are a class act - full range of international currency accounts, discrete service, very knowledgeable staff, efficient procedures, good account security, English/Chinese contracts (no matter how good your Chinese is, just how many people can understand the difficult banking terminology when you’re signing away your life savings?)

Being self-employed was not a problem but I was asked to open a bank account and deposit NT$250,000. Fair enough, I guess. They will consider credit card applications without such a deposit from long-term Citibank Taiwan customers. I was offered a standard Visa card with NT$50k limit for 6 months and subject to a reasonable monthly turnover, a platinum card with NT$250k limit after that.

This whole thing is getting f*!ing silly now. STILL no card.

Citibank promised me that everything would be okay once I deposited the NT$300,000 in my NT$ account. Then they demand an NT$50,000 deposit. Fine. Originally they tried to fob me off with a zero interest two-year deposit but I told them to stick it where the sun don’t shine and we ‘negotiated’ to a 6 month deposit at 1.1% (I get 7.7% net in my UK account!) That was 3 weeks ago and every two days I get another call from the same lady asking for some new document or extra piece of information. Maybe she just fancies me? Who knows, but it’s getting me down. I feel like the whole banking system in Taiwan is one big scam where everyone is laughing at me behind my back.

In the meantime a good friend tried introducing me to his contact at the Bank of Overseas Chinese. He’s very rich and well respected so I thought this would be a surefire thing. But nope, apparently they don’t want my business which I really can’t understand. I have substantial assets, a proven successful business, high banking turnover and use a lot of funky (and expensive) international banking services. I am in a foreign country and have to be on my best behaviour lest I lose my visa/business license/livelihood. Shouldn’t that be the perfect customer for a salivating Taiwanese branch manager?

I have a number of friends who would act as guarantor without a moment’s thought but I would never ask them out of principle. Friends are friends, money is money and never the twain should meet. Before I left I slapped down one of my Taiwan bank books with about US$10,000 on deposit and offered to transfer it there and then as deposit on the measliest little high-risk high-interest Mastercard they had. ‘Mei ban fa’. Fair enough, f*** you all and your f***ing ban fa. I need a stiff drink.