As an expat or foreigner living in Malaysia, getting a credit card can be a very difficult task. As many banks do not have specific nor uniformed requirements for expats to be eligible for a credit card, it can be a lengthy and difficult process.
To make things easier, we’ve provided some helpful guidelines for expats in Malaysia to follow so that the application process can be as smooth as possible.
Firstly, you must know the requirements and factors for expatriates that banks look at when applying for a credit card, such as:
- Minimum working or employment period
- Working Visa
- Working contract (and length of contract)
- Length of stay in the country
Secondly, keep in mind that the credit card requirements of every bank can be significantly different from one or the other. For example, HSBC requires the minimum income for an expatriate to be RM10,000, whereas for MayBank, the minimum income is RM15,000. Another thing that you should keep in mind is that not every bank will be open to giving credit cards to expats, though this may vary.
How to apply for a credit card in Malaysia
- Visit the bank in person! Go to a bank office and ask one of the staff about the credit card requirements for a foreigner. There are online applications available with the requirements stated, but if you're still unsure, it's always best to get clarification in person.
- Make sure your visa lasts more than a year. Banks will not approve credit card applications that are deemed to be high risk, so the longer your visa lasts the better. At the very least, make sure it lasts for a year.
- Check the minimum required income. The requirements for an expat when applying for a credit card differs from that of a local's, so make sure you check properly for the minimum income. It's also a safer bet to have an income that's higher than the minimum.
- Take into account the duration of the application. It should take roughly between a week or two for your credit card application to be approved or rejected, so be patient!
Malaysian banks do not have a standard approval or rejection requirements for credit card applications by expats. Banks commonly look at the risk levels of providing you with a credit card. Generally, the lower the risk the more likely the approval.
What not to do when applying for a credit card as an expat in Malaysia
- Do not call the bank to apply. Most applications these days happen only through an online form or in person. Besides that, the customer service contact for banks tend to have a lot of tedious menus and long waiting times. It might be a good way to check for the requirements, however.
- Try not to email the bank. Emailing a bank with your queries is a good idea, but that is if you have the time to wait as it might take a very long time for them to respond to you.
- Do not switch banks if you already have an existing account with one. A bank prefers to have records of your previous spending patterns to allocate your risk status. Therefore, stay with the bank which you already have a debit card and ask for their credit card application requirements.