I have used a “debit card” from Chang hua Bank while overseas (applied for with local guarantor), with no problems. Of course, it debited my account immediately, but worked without a hitch.
Some Taiwanese banks will give credit cards to foreigners if you have a local guarantor. A number of my colleagues have these.
As evey teenager in Hsimenting (Xi-men-ding) in Taipei has a wallet full of them, there is no other real explanation other than discrimination against the yang-gui-zi. Let’s be honest, there are plenty of non-Taiwanese folks I wouldn’t lend a cent to either, but if a local person is willing to pay up if you abscond (ie your guarantor), there just doesn’t seem any basis for them to deny you a card.
My personal experience was that I also wanted a credit card with an international bank, which at this stage I will not name. I was, in fact, “recruited” by the bank through a friend. I was told that with my stable government job, good salary etc, as well as a guarantor with a good salary, I would be a shoo-in for their platinum card.
Then my application was denied. When I enquired as to why, I was told that I was a part-time worker. The fact is that I am a 40-hour a week, salaried employee (not hourly pay). I asked if they had contacted my employer to find out this information. Of course, they hadn’t. Eventually they admitted that in the bank’s view of things, anyone who has to sign a new yearly contract with their employer (something which, technically, all ARC-holders have to do, even if your school / company hasn’t made you do this ina while), is considered a part-time worker and therefore not elligible. They were willing to give me a gold card (was I to be thankful for small mercies), but it did not confer the same rights and privileges as a platinum card (eg. frequent flyer mile points etc). Again, my local friend with a salary half mine had the platinum card.
I asked if they had even a single foreign platinum card holder in Taiwan, and was told “No”.
To cut the story short, I eventually wrote an e-mail to the bank, promising to write to the English papers here explaining the policy of discrimination unless I heard from them within such and such a time.
I had my platinum credit card within about 10 days.
The point of telling you this story is that those of you who are complaining here, particularly about the so-called “International Banks”, need to make it clear to these banks that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable, and that you will do whatever is legal to ensure you are treated with the same respect as anyone else.
Now that I am a card-carrier, I must say that I am having excellent service from this bank. They just needed to understand that I was as worthy a client as anyone from here.