Best Credit Cards for Expats
Having a credit card not only makes everyday payment convenient, it is also a great way to enjoy perks and rewards while you spend. However, banks in Singapore typically take a cautious approach when it comes to foreign applicants. Most banks require an annual income of $60,000 for foreigners here to apply for a credit card. While it may not be too difficult to fulfil this requirement, a self-employed expat or someone who does not yet have a few months’ salary statement to show the bank may face some barriers in their application. Think about it, the banks need to protect themselves too, risking a default if the applicant returns to his country and never coming back to pay the bills. Here, we list a few suggestions to get around the income requirement so that you can still enjoy the privileges of a credit card:
Secured Credit Card
A secured credit card works a bit more like a debit card than a normal credit card. It uses money that you have placed as a security deposit account with the bank as collateral. The difference with a normal credit card is that the latter is an unsecured credit line extended by the bank where you only need to pay at the end of the month. For a secured credit card, you will need to put up a sum of money with the banks as collateral first, usually at a minimum amount of $10,000. The good thing is that most banks with this option will not require you to make any income declaration.
Cards that you might want to consider include the HSBC’s Secured Platinum Visa card which offers reward points to its card owners, or CIMB’s range of secured credit cards.
The key advantage to getting a secured credit card is that you will be forced to have more discipline when it comes to swiping your cards since you don’t really have an huge credit line. It also offers the convenience of card payment in situations where paying cash is not practical(such as a $1000 deposit for a new furniture). It also gives you a chance to build up a good credit score while waiting to get a normal credit card later.
Getting a supplementary credit card from someone is obviously the easiest way to apply for a credit card. You only need to be above 18 years old to be eligible. Additionally, you are helping the primary card holder to earn reward points or cash rebates when you spend. This can be a good choice for foreign spouses who might not be working in a full-time job or are self-employed. As long as you pay for what you spend, this is a great alternative.
Low credit line cards are often known as “student credit cards” as they come with a credit limit of just $500. However, their usage are definitely not limited to students; adults who are drawing a salary of less than $30,000 a year, or perhaps work on commission-based jobs might use them as well. Some of such cards include the Standard Chartered Manhattan card and the DBS Live Fresh Student Credit Card.
If you are an expat here and can qualify for the income requirements for credit card eligibility, you might want to make a comparison of the best credit cards to earn air miles here.