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Expatriates call for lowering of credit card application threshold

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Foreigners are urging Taiwan's bank operators to lower the threshold for them to open new credit card accounts, according to the Central News Agency.

Benoit Girardot, a manager working at a medical equipment company in Taiwan, said that living in Taiwan is very convenient, but local bank operators have set too many restrictions against non-Taiwanese citizens with regard to financial services.

Bank operators do not provide services for expats who wish to conduct Internet transfers, Girardot said, adding that foreigners are also not allowed to withdraw money while overseas with their locally issued debit cards.

Kimba Vetten, who came to the island in 1999, also commented on the issue of credit card applications in Taiwan.

Vetten said that the bank had asked her to pay NT$15,000 as a deposit, but that she only got a limit of NT$10,000 on her credit card.

Since 2007, bank operators have reportedly been allowed to come up with their own regulations with regard to foreigners applying new cards.

Certain bank operators, for example, require co-signers in the application process, while further limiting credit card usage for non-Taiwanese citizens.

Inada Mutsuko, a Japanese citizen who has been residing in Taiwan for six years, said that the thresholds for foreigners applying for Internet services and cellphone numbers are also too high.

“Even if foreigners have Alien Resident Certificates (ARC), they still have to pay a deposit or find a co-signer (in order to) apply for a cellphone number,” Mutsuko said.

A major telecommunications firm explained that some cellphone data plans are not pre-paid; therefore, many operators tend to worry about whether they are able to receive payments from foreigners if they should leave the country. As a result, operators usually set higher thresholds for foreign applicants.

An American-born Chinese reporter, Yang Lin (楊霖), said that the process of applying for work in Taiwan is more complicated than that of Singapore or Hong Kong.

Yang said that he only needed a resident certificate in order to work in Singapore. In Taiwan, however, he had to apply for a work certificate and an ARC.

The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has launched an Employment PASS card for foreign professionals, which is reportedly a combination of the Resident Visa, Work Permit, Alien Resident Certificate and Multi-Entry Permit.

The NIA, however, also said that there have only been over 300 people who have used the card.

The agency added that is considering to set up a website in the near future for foreigners to apply for the card online.

February 15, 2013    r@
Taiwan Banking is years behind other Asian countries. Chung Hwa bank is a prime example.

It’s also impossible to get a retirement visa here regardless of a cash deposit.
February 16, 2013    ludahai_twn@
Changhua Bank is horrible regarding foreigners...

I have a credit card from China Trust without any of these deposit issues, a credit limit that is more than I will ever need and a relatively low interest rate.
February 27, 2013    georgegrimey@
I tried to get a card with the bank my salary was deposited into and got turned down twice. The reason was that "I don't work for a fortune 500 company" so therefore I am not to be trusted. Besides the fact that I have a card from another bank with a good history. I asked to speak with a manager but the employees just say sorry and refuse to let me speak to anyone of higher authority.

There are other banks out there that are foreigner friendly but you need to shop around. I have nothing against these banks and they are likely making good money taking on foreign customers other banks refuse.

For the foreigner unfriendly banks out there, I wonder why they expect us to trust them with our money deposits when they refuse to trust us with a measly $10,000 limit credit card. I guess the way around this is to simply pull out all the money from the account on payday and stash it at home or wire it to your home bank. I know they won't care since we are a drop in the bucket but at least we won't be supporting these bad practices.
February 28, 2013    donacoke@
r@:
I've never had any problems with banks. In fact, I have had accounts with 3 different local banks. Also, since when does a bank have anything to do with granting a retirement visa? You are just ranting about nothing.

georgegrimey@
As above, I have never been challenged. All I needed to open an account was my correct paperwork, and a courteous attitude on the day. Plain and simple.
March 1, 2013    Leiduowen@
My experience with some local banks (e.g., Mega Int'l Commercial or Chunghwa Post) or foreign bank branches (HSBC) has been such a pain in the xxx that I came to believe the banking system in Taiwan is one of Bronze Age times, at least compared to an average European country. So even after a couple of years living and earning money here, I am still using my home country bank's credit card which can be quite limiting sometimes.
However, this paragraph is not true: "Bank operators do not provide services for expats who wish to conduct Internet transfers, Girardot said, adding that foreigners are also not allowed to withdraw money while overseas with their locally issued debit cards." I know of at least one example that proves otherwise.
March 4, 2013    georgegrimey@
@donacoke. Did you apply for a credit card? See if you are challenged then.

Of course they will open an account easy enough. They want your money, they just don't want to give you theirs.
March 5, 2013    donnacoke@
georgegrimey,

Yes, I was given two cards. No, I was not challenged. They checked my paperwork and told me everything was in place.

The credit limits were not as high as I would like but they were still usable.

Your reply, particularly the 'See if you are challenged then' part suggests that your attitude is far from the best. Ever wonder why you were 'challenged'?
March 7, 2013    dontmakemelaugh@
I lived for 5 years in Hong Kong until 2012 and the banking system there is super efficient, fast and professional. Here in Taiwan is quite bureaucratic, slow and inefficient but thankfully not as much as in mainland China which is by far the worst banking I ever faced. No doubt Hong Kong is likely the best model to follow if Taiwan really wants to improve its banking system.

Article says "Bank operators do not provide services for expats who wish to conduct Internet transfers" which I disagree. I have accounts in E-Sun and Standard Chartered and both allow transferring online but there is a big difference between them. E-Sun website is only in Chinese and SC also offers English to operate.

I heard that the credit card from China Trust is one of the most attractive in town as you can get many discounts in shops and restaurants.
March 8, 2013    georgegrimey@
@ donnacoke

I have cards as well, but it required shopping around. Some banks have a strict no foreigner policy and you can have a "good attitude on the day" all you want but it won't help you.

It has nothing to do with "attitude" as the people in the front lines who help you fill out the paperwork in the branch have nothing to do with the approval process when the application gets sent to Taipei. You can be as smooth as can be, but if that particular banks head office stipulates no foreigners may apply, that's it. You can complain or go to another bank, your choice. You are simply lucky that you were able to get two cards on the first go. You either found a foreigner friendly bank right away, or have a massive load of money in that bank, or you work for a fortune 500 company I would wager.

I am glad your experiences were better than mine.

Again, I have stated that there are banks that are friendly and willing to work with us when it comes to credit, but not all of them are like this.
March 9, 2013    blf_linz@
It is true that the banking system is inconvenient, however, as I stated in the interview, please don't forget that TAIWAN IS SUCH A GREAT COUNTRY! As a foreigner, I find it extremely welcoming and great, and by no means I feel annoyed by small details like the credit cards limit!!!

台灣加油
Benoit Girardot.
July 31, 2013    laurasot@
donacoke@ wrote:
r@:
I've never had any problems with banks. In fact, I have had accounts with 3 different local banks. Also, since when does a bank have anything to do with granting a retirement visa? You are just ranting about nothing.

georgegrimey@
As above, I have never been challenged. All I needed to open an account was my correct paperwork, and a courteous attitude on the day. Plain and simple.
Dear r: Could you please tell us which banks? I have had problems to get a decent sum for my credit card even if I have to go on business trips with a company they have collaboration with....

Taiwanese people told me they usually get at least a 200.000 credit but it is not the case for foreigners.
August 2, 2013    markharbour@
I find these comments very helpful....I know that some banks have faster and better service for all customers, and am interested to know which banks those are. So please, keep the comments coming!
August 5, 2013    Limitless_za@
I have a NT$120 000 credit from Mega Bank and NT$ 133 000 credit from American Express bank. I got those cards in 2003 so I don't know what is needed to get one now.
August 5, 2013    evertonian55@
It is time other countries impose the same measures to Taiwanese abroad-restrictions, different standards, ignorance, humiliation, etc.
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The undated file photo shows a foreigner paying his bill with his credit card in Taiwan. Expatriates in the country have said that bank operators have set too many restrictions against them with regard to financial services. Many foreigners have also said that they hope local banks will lower the thresholds and qualifications for credit card applications.(CNA)

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