Credit cards

How is credit built in Taiwan? To my understanding, I’ll need an ARC first, in order to apply for a credit card, but since they don’t use social security numbers there, how does that work?

nevermind. I found out through a few threads in Legal Issues. I’ll need a guarantor. Thanks Bu En Lai and the others for putting that stuff up.

Getting a credit card through a guarantor won’t help you build credit - if you default, it’s your guarantor that’s held accountable, not you.

Credit cards CAN be had here without a guarantor, but not through local banks. American Express gives out Gold Cards like candy, and Standard Chartered will give you a Visa or Mastercard, as long as you fulfill the criteria. God love 'em, they don’t require foreigners to jump through any hoops that locals don’t have to. Citibank will give foreigners a credit card, but only if you are working for one of Taiwan’s top 500 companies. I guess they have a list, because they said that while my stats were fine, my company wasn’t “famous” enough. (Infamous, maybe…)

Here’s a useful thread for you…

I wonder do any of the English schools fall into this category… HESS must be the biggest ?

Citibank will give foreigners a credit card, but only if you are working for one of Taiwan’s top 500 companies.

Not true. I work for a very small Taiwanese company and got my CC from them - after some hassle though. You need an ARC to apply and you must open an account and have at least NT$250,000 in it *). You need a guarntor though, e.g. your boss.
The account you open is multi-currency (up to 12 I think), so you can pay any currency into it without conversion but interest rate is very low of course.

*) Afterwards you can reduce the amount but you will be chared a service fee of NT$500 per month then.

However I recommend you try HSBC, you “only” need NT$150,000 in your account so no fee is charged. For applying a CC you need the same as above.

You can obtain a credit card through Citibank without having to open an account, and i am not sure if the company i work for is included in the top 500 list.
I also have credit cards with Chinatrust without a guarantor or any such malarkey, though i did have to badger them like hell to get it.
There is a small annual charge on the local credit card dependent on how many times it is used during the year. If memory serves me correct if a use it 20 times in the year then it is free.

If you have a contract with a firm other than a bushiban, you have a higher chance of getting a credit card. This is a fact. I applied for a card while working at a private school and was turned down even though I have plenty of funds in my bank account. Then, after I got a new job with a Taiwan company, it was relatively easy to get a VISA, and I did not need any kind of guarantor… I just filled out the application and gave them a copy of my three-year work contract…


  1. If you are paid a salary through a bank account, apply for a credit card through that bank and see what happens.

  2. Before applying for the credit card through a particular bank, check the credit card regulations at that bank: some banks automatically reject applications from any foreigner, while others allow anyone to apply for credit cards as long as you supply adequate documentation.

  3. Supply evidence of your work situation: that means, photocopy your employment contract and hand it in with the credit card application form, and make sure it is the Chinese language version.

  4. Try again at another bank if not successful the first time. Eventually you will get what you need.


I managed to talk a local bank into giving me a credit card without a guarantor. I did have to have a lengthy discussion with the manager (about 5 cups of tea).

I argued that I could hardly expect others to be held responsible for my actions, especially since in the worst case I could leave the country and the guarantor could do little to prevent it. In fact, I think someone would be stupid to be a guarantor for a foreigner. I discussed the issue of trust (you look after my money and I’ll look after yours). The fact that I am a senior manager in a listed company I think helped somewhat.

The reason I did it was I got fed up with Citibank’s charges.

There does not appear to be such a thing as a credit history.

An ARC is required to open any account. I doubt this is negociable.

in Taiwan when you apply for credit card what do they look for? I heard you need to work for a good company or something…do they look for if you have money in bank or real good job or what…in usa it was very easy to get a cc since I was in college…

for now I want to use the credit card I applied in usa but how do I pay the bill? can I get cashier’s check or money in taiwan and mail it to credit card company in usa and pay the bill like that?

Foreigners can’t get credit cards without a Taiwanese guarantor.

As for paying your credit card bill back in the States, I suppose that could work, although it would be awfully inconvenient. I have my parents pay mine for me, and wire them money every so often to cover it. The best way would be to maintain a bank account in the States and have your credit card payments automatically deducted every month.

so do cc company accept cashier’s check or money order? and what should I get here to pay my bill? like american express cashier’s check or something?

I have a US credit card. I told them I am working in Taiwan temporarily and need my statements mailed here. I buy American Express Traveler’s checks and mail it to them.

It is easy to get a local credit card. You copy your ARC (maybe a passport will even work) and tax return paperwork or bank account book (to prove your annual income) and get a Taiwan citizen to co-sign for you.

thanks ali that was helpful…how much is the american express traveler’s check and can I get it in any bank?
so I guess all cc company they will accept travelers check then?

I second what Little Buddha says, except that it really isn’t that inconvenient to pay in the US. Most banks have on-line access now and allow you to pay credit card bills whenever you want to. You can probably access your credit card statement on-line as well.

Paying from my US account works very well for me, because I am paid in the US anyway. But, If I had to keep feeding the account from here it would still be fairly easy to wire money to my own account.

It is important to maintain some accounts in the US, especially if you end up staying here along time. When you do move back, you could have MAJOR problems getting a mortgage, or even renting a decent apartment, if you disappear from the credit radar screen for a few years. (I have friends who had this problem.) I also suggest that you have your credit card statements sent to a US address, and only check them on-line. Your card will be cancelled if you stay abroad beyond whatever arbitrary limit the card provider sets.

Ditto what archinasia said about credit difficulty when you drop off the credit radar screen. Strangely eneough, when I got back to the US after almost 10 years in Taiwan, the only credit I could get at first was a mortgage and a car loan. The mortgage was tough to swing and took some convincing. The car loan was easy b/c it was through an auto company’s credit agency, but the interest was a bit higher than it needed to be. FWIW, remember that your credit history in Taiwan won’t count in the US. I asked about that when we applied for a mortgage, b/c we had a car loan and credit cards in Taiwan, but the mortgage company said they charged something like $300 to do an international credit check!!! We also had to get a letter from our old landlords saying we had paid our rent on time and left in good standing, etc; get a letter from my old employers; and submit 3 years’ worth of income tax return statements (fortunately I had already done that when we were applying for my wife’s visa).

I agree with the others on their comments.

But you do have to watch out for the FX (foreign Currency Exchange) that is charged to you when you use a US credit card in a foreign country. I believe from Amex, you are charged an additional 4% for FX handling. Which is why I made sure I got a local credit card.

You need a TW guarantor inorder to get a credit card here unless you know the bank managers or execs. With Amex, I had no problem getting a TW card on my own. Since Amex is global and I have been with them for over 10+ years, it was not a problem.

Paying online is the best way to go. Most US credit card bills, you can obtain online. And if you have a US bank account with a major US bank, then you can easily pay your bills online.

That’s [color=red]not true.[/color] Click here for more info. And don’t pass off as fact what is only hearsay.


What I mentioned in my last posting is through actual experience, not hearsay. What is the law behind the guarantor? I don’t know and probably there isn’t any. But it is definitely a company policy practiced by many TW banks. If you know of of a bank who will issue a card without a guarantor, please do tell us. I’m sure alot of us would want to know.

(TW Amex is not a prob., I have that. But I would like to get a TW Visa or Mastercard.)



What I mentioned in my last posting is through actual experience, not hearsay.

then it would be nice to say “in my experience” or list the banks…or even preface with qualifiers like “many”, instead of making a blanket statement like “you need a TW guarantor in order to get a credit card here unless you know the bank managers or execs.” perhaps you went to a lot of banks and they all require a guarantor, but unless you went to all the banks in taiwan, you can’t be sure the statement you made is fact.