Credit cards

I tried to apply for a credit card with the China Trust Bank: later received a letter from them in which they
suggested to apply for a Visa debit card
For this purpose I had to open an account with them. I did that. Two weeks later I received another letter from the bank stating that I am not eligible for their Visa debit card…
I have an ARC, legal employment and enough money in a bank…
Is this situation an exception, or it’s a normal treatment of foreigners in
Taiwan? Is there any other bank that issues credit /debit cards to foreigners without
a local guarantor?

I received a regular visa card with no guarantor from Taipei Bank, the bank where my paychecks from my job were deposited.

China Trust were snooty with me too. “You don’t work for a Fortune 500 company,” was their reason why I wasn’t eligible, but I guess that’s a face-saving way of saying you don’t make enough money. :frowning:

I got two cards easily from Chang Hwa bank - without a guarantor - because my salary is deposited there, although I wouldn’t recommend the bank itself. I also got an Amex card (the blue one) easily by filling out one of the forms available in convenience stores.

soddom, you have been lucky.

I got myself a yellow AMEX card by applying. I have tried to get my hands on a visa or mastercard ever since, but it would seem that you need a local guarantor in most instances. Even foreign banks (except standard Chartered, but they have a very conservative policy) would appear to demand this. I get my paycheck deposited in Taishin Bank. It is not very well run and they don’t want to give me a card without a guarantor.

Try Citibank and Shang Hai bank, I believe they issue credit cards to foreigners with no hassle.

Shang Hai Bank = HSCB I guess …

No, Shang Hai Bank is Shang Hai Bank and HSCB is HSCB. HSCB is Hway Fong, they are from Hong Kong and have few branches in Taiwan.

I have only one credit card and I use it only for air ticket and hotel reservations… credit cards scare me…

Shang Hai Bank? Dunno? , but HSBC, despite its name, is Hong Kong and Shanghai (sic) Bank which is from the UK. (Duh?) :shock:

Soddom my message was in response to Racal’s, I am not sure what you are getting at…

It’s HSBC (used to stand for Hong Kong and Shang Hai Bank Corporation Limited), and yes, it’s different from Shang Hai Bank.

I’ve got mine from ABN AMRO and HSBC Taiwan, and I don’t have any savings/other accounts with those banks. I am applying for a supplementary card now for my wife. Dunno if this works hassle free.

Just wanted to point out that HSBC is one bank, not two and not from HK, despite its name. As for Shang Hai Bank, Is there one? I don’t know of such a bank other than the Shang Hai Commercial & Savings Bank, here. Not trying to split hairs, just clear up confusing names.

Shanghai Bank require a gurantor… well that is what they told me…

Thanks Soddom for the explanation… Yes HSCB is one bank. However, I was told just recently by a Taiwanese that it is indeed a bank from Hong Kong… Maybe they were wrong…

Shang Hai Bank = Shang Hai Commercial & Savings, that is what I was referring to, sorry for the confusion.

[color=brown]No splitting hairs, I cannot afford to lose anymore![/color]

Sorry for the confusion. Based on the old name of HSBC (Hongkong and Shanghai Bank) I assumed that JeffG was referring to it when he said “Shang Hai Bank”.
HSCB is indeed a UK based bank - but you can get a CC from there, too. I would recommend it over Citibank.

If I am not mistaken you need a guarantor in any case …

The only bank not requiring a guarantor is Standard Chartered. But you need a very strong employment/credit record to get one.

It could be that if you are applying for the card yourself that you do, but if you are married you can get a co-card with no problems, but this is a completely separate matter. They told me I didn’t need a guarantor, I never told them I was married either… I think it depnds on what day you go into the bank and who you talk to. I am sure they have there policy about this, but each employee has there own opinion about it…

JeffG, you couldn’t be more wrong about Citibank. This is a subject that launches me into paroxysms of rage.

Citibank have an incredibly offensive policy on issuing, or rather not issuing, credit cards to foreigners. I couldn’t believe it when they turned down my application, and when I kicked up an enormous stink, they openly admitted that “Foreigners cannot easily obtain credit cards in Taiwan, unless you have a relative here.”

They’re advertising like crazy for jobless, penniless, incomeless kids to accept their credit cards, offering all kinds of gifts and incentives to push their cards into as many local wallets as possible. But if you are a foreigner, you are a deemed to be a credit risk per se and will not even be considered as fit to hold one of their cards, no matter what your financial credentials may be.

Just for the record, I am a so-called “gold” customer at Citibank and have been for several years. I own my own home in Taipei, registered in my own name, with no outstanding mortgage. I have always kept at least several million NT dollars in my Citibank accounts (though I’ll soon be switching to somewhere else). I have held the same high-status job with the government for ten years. And I have a perfect credit record, never having owed any money anywhere in the world. If they turn me down for a credit card, who the hell will they give one to?

I don’t know if most other banks here are as bad as that, but you’d better steer well clear of Citibank.


I am not going to argue with you about Citibank, I don’t really like them either and never have, however I will tell you, I have a card through Citibank, but it is a co-card. And I also know for a fact there are several expats in Taiwan with a Primary card from Citibank. I have also just called Citibank to ask them about this directly. They also told me that becuase they are on the English calling line, that they mostly deal with foreigners living in Taiwan and these foreigners have primary and secondary cards through them. They did say that the longer you have been in Taiwan, etc, etc the easier it will to have your application accepted. They said that if someone is denied a credit card that they should call them and find out why. I cannot understand why you had so many problems with them as you would be a model for them, which is exactely your point.

Admittedly there are few friendly banks in Taiwan that will easily offer a foreigner a credit card, but this is not the only area where foreigners cannot easily apply for something…

I am a foreigner, do not have relatives in Taiwan or anywhere in Asia, have never been a customer of Citibank and yet I got a Credit Card. So you statement cannot be entirely correct.

However I must also admit that they pissed me off, first their branch office told me I don’t need an ARC but asked for it when I applied (after getting all the necessary paperwork together). So finally I got it and the application was send to the CC department, which rejected the application. But they only told me that when I called to enquire about it.
Reason was that I did not have enough money in my bank account which I also opened with Citibank (CC directly linked to it).
So it took another month or two to fill my account and then I finally got the application approved.

I know that HSBC has a much lower limit but otherwise similar conditions (ARC, statement of employment / salary, guarantor etc.); also I was their customer for several years in Malaysia and felt they provided a good, later fair, service.