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How to Apply Credit Cards for Foreigners / Expats in Malaysia

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If you’re a foreigner or an expat who’s looking to get a credit card in Malaysia, you need to apply for one after considering all eligibility requirements. Although getting approval for a credit card might be a little difficult for you as a non-Malaysian citizen, it isn’t an impossible task.

By following a proper channel of application and with a complete set of valid documents as specified by the bank, you can get a credit card within a few days. Here’s everything you need to know about applying for a credit card if you’re a foreigner in Malaysia.

Some banks in Malaysia offer credit cards to expatriates. Some banks insist on having a savings account or a fixed deposit with a specified amount to approve such cards. The application process for such cards is similar to other cards except that a few additional documents are required. You need to provide proof of your valid passport, visa and working permit of sufficient validity to apply for such cards.

How to Apply for Credit Cards in Malaysia for Foreigners

Steps to Apply Credit Card as Foreigners

  1. Visit the bank where you intend to apply for a credit card. Study their policies and rules about the credit card for expats.
  2. Fill a credit card application form of the bank. Before filing the application, check if you require to possess a debit card of the same bank as some banks need the expat applicant to obtain their debit card before allowing him/her a credit card.
  3. Make sure you have enough validity on your visa. The longer your visa lasts, the better. Thus a minimum validity of a year on your visa is a safe bet if you are applying a credit card. A right work permit along with copies of passport and visa are some of the important documents that could be cross checked at the time of application.
  4. Income criteria is one of the most important factors while applying for a credit card. For a foreigner, the required income limit is higher than a Malaysian citizen. Check out this benchmark before sending your application.
  5. Be patient once you have filed your application. For a bank, it takes around 15 days to reject or accept an application to the bank.
  6. Even though there are no fixed criteria for a foreigner apply credit card in Malaysia, the banks generally approve the applications that they feel are of minimum risk. Thus, if the basic necessities like visa validity and income limit have been taken care of, you can hope for a positive outcome.

Eligibility Criteria and Documents Required for a Foreigner

The qualifying criteria for a foreigner to get a credit card are similar to that of a Malaysian resident barring some variations in income limits and document requirements.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Age Criteria: Minimum 21 years old.
  • Income criteria: The minimum annual income requirement for an expat depends on the credit card they are opting for. While some banks such as Maybank specify a minimum income requirement of RM60,000 a year, banks such as HSBC have a minimum monthly income requirement of RM10,000.

Documents Required:

  • Copy of valid passport.
  • Valid work permit or letter of employment (stating the duration of the employment) from your employer.
  • Bank details that include your account statements for previous 3 to 6 months (as per the bank’s requirements).
  • Latest salary slips for 3 to 6 months (as per the bank’s requirements).
  • Copy of Business Registration Certificate (as a self-employed applicant).
  • Income-tax payment receipts.
  • Any other document as requested by a bank.

Here are the Best Credit Cards for Foreigners in Malaysia 2019

Updated on 18th January 2019

Card Name
Rewards
Welcome Bonus
Annual Fee
Know More

3x Timeless Bonus Points (TBP) for every RM1 spent on overseas purchases.

2x TBP for every RM1 spent on petrol and grocery purchases, and payment of utility bills.

Principal card: RM438 p.a.

Annual fee waived when you spend a minimum of RM5,000 or swipe your card 12 times in a year.

Supplementary card: annual fee waived for life.

8x Reward Points on overseas purchases and online transactions made in foreign currency.

5x Reward Points on online transactions made in local currency and purchases at selected local malls.

Complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge.

Principal card: RM600 p.a.

Supplementary card: RM300 p.a.

2x Citi Rewards Points on overseas purchases.

1x Citi Rewards Points on local transactions.

Complimentary travel insurance coverage.

Unlimited complimentary access to airports across selected countries.

Principal card: RM1,000 p.a.

Supplementary card: waived for life without any condition.

Up to 2x TreatsPoints on local transactions.

Up to 5x TreatsPoints on overseas purchases.

4,770 TreatsPoints = 1,000 Enrich Miles.

Complimentary travel insurance coverage.

Annual fee waived for the first year.

For subsequent years, annual fee for principal car: RM800.

Earn 2x TreatsPoints on all transactions made using this card.

Get an automatic Touch 'n Go Zing Card with reload facility.

None

Principal card: No charges.

Supplementary card: No charges.

Unlimited 02% Cash MegaBonus on local and overseas purchases.

Complimentary travel insurance coverage of RM500,000.

Principal card: RM333.

Supplementary card: RM150.

Up to 8% cashback on every purchases like petrol and groceries.

None

Principal card: RM240 p.a.

Supplementary card: RM120 p.a.

*Effective 1 September 2018, Sales and Services Tax (SST) of RM25 will be imposed on all the new cards and upon card renewal.

Alliance Bank Platinum Card

This card offers Timeless Rewards Points (TBP) on all local and overseas retail transactions. You also get to enjoy exclusive discounts and offers at all participating merchants.

Key Benefits:

  • Earn 3x TBP for every RM1 you spend on overseas retail purchases.
  • Get 2x TBP for every RM1 spent on grocery, petrol, and payment of utility bills.
  • Redeem TBP for Enrich Miles or AirAsia BIG Points (applicable for Visa cardholders only).
Additional Points Description
How to Use It
  • Make your local and overseas purchases using this card.
  • Earn reward points on all your retail transactions.
  • Convert your reward points to enjoy discounts on your flight tickets.
Good about It
  • Get 1x TBP for every RM1 you spend on all other domestic retail transactions.
  • Spend a minimum of RM5,000 per year or make at least 12 transactions with your card to have the annual fee waived off.
  • Enjoy Instalment Payment Plan at 0% profit rate.
  • Get unlimited access to Plaza Premium Lounge at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
  • Timeless Bonus Points do not expire.
Keep in Mind
  • Minimum income requirement for this card is RM60,000 p.a.
  • Remember that this card does not offer travel insurance coverage.
  • TBP not awarded on government transactions.

Who Should Get It:

  • Those who prefer to use their card to make day-to-day retail transactions.
  • Those who are looking for a card that allows you to redeem reward points for air miles.

What You’ll Need to Apply

  • Copy of a valid passport.
  • Latest 3 months payslip.
  • Latest bank statements showing salary crediting for 3 months or latest EPF statement.

HSBC Visa Signature Credit Card

This card from HSBC offers reward points on local and overseas transactions. You can also earn rewards when you shop at your favourite online store.

Key Benefits:

  • Get 8x Reward Points when you shop online and make the payment in foreign currency.
  • Get 8x Reward Points on overseas purchases.
  • Earn 5x Reward Points on online purchases made in local currency.
  • Earn 5x Reward Points when you shop at selected malls in Malaysia.
Additional Points Description
How to Use It
  • Use this card to pay for your purchases when you shop online or at selected local malls.
  • Earn Reward Points on both local and overseas spend.
  • You can redeem your points for shopping vouchers, gifts, selected merchandise, and more.
Good about It
  • Earn 1x Reward Points on payment of utility bills.
  • Enjoy exclusive privileges with the HSBC home&Away and SmartPrivileges programmes.
  • Convert your big-ticket purchases into convenient monthly instalments with the balance conversion feature.
  • Have immediate access to funds with the cash advance feature.
  • Enjoy 0% interest on balance transfer plan for 6 months.
  • Complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge in selected countries until 31 December 2018.
Keep in Mind
  • The minimum income requirement to be eligible for this card is RM72,000 p.a.
  • You have to pay upfront interest of 3% on balance transfer plan.
  • There is a cap of 15,000 Reward Points that you can earn under each spend category.
  • Reward Points that you can earn on local spends is limited to participating malls.

Who Should Get It:

  • Those who prefer to use their card to make local and overseas purchases.
  • Those who use their card to shop online.

Documents Required for Application

  • Copy of passport showing personal details and work permit with at least one year validity.
  • Letter of confirmation from employer stating position, duration of employment, and remuneration.
  • Latest month pay slip.
  • Applicant must be working for a multinational or a public listed company, or a government/ semi-government organisation. HSBC corporate lending employers are also eligible to apply.
  • Minimum monthly income must be RM10,000.

Citi Prestige Card

The Citi Prestige Card not only rewards you for local and overseas purchases, you can also enjoy a variety of travel-related benefits. As a Citi Prestige cardholder, you get access to exclusive privileges.

Key Benefits:

  • Get 1 Citi Rewards Point for every RM1 you spend on local transactions.
  • Earn 2 Citi Rewards Points for every RM1 spent on overseas purchases.
  • Get complimentary travel insurance coverage of up to USD1 million when you use this card to buy your ticket.
  • Get unlimited complimentary access to airport lounges across the world.
Additional Points Description
How to Use It
  • Pay for your local retail transactions and overseas transactions with this card.
  • Convert your points into air miles.
  • Redeem the points you collect for gifts or merchandise.
Good about It
  • You get 250,000 Citi Rewards Points when you apply for this card.
  • You don’t have to pay any cash advance fee, over-limit fee or late payment fee.
  • Use this card to get access to Citi Prestige Priority Line.
  • The Citi Reward Points are valid for life and there is no cap on the points you can earn.
  • Earn relationship bonus points on your annual spends.
  • Get a free night stay at a hotel of your choice with a minimum 4-consecutive-night stay.
  • Get a free ride to your destination from KLIA.
Keep in Mind
  • To enjoy the free night stay, you need to book your hotel via Citi Prestige Concierge
  • To enjoy the free airport transfer from KLIA, you need to swipe your card thrice overseas.

Who Should Get It:

  • Those who use their card to pay for travel expenses.

Documents Required for Application

  • Copy of passport.
  • Latest 2 months pay slip.
  • Copy of work permit. The permit has to be valid for a minimum of one year.
  • Letter of employment.

Maybank Visa Infinite

Card Name
Rewards
Welcome Bonus
Annual Fee
Know More

Up to 2x TreatsPoints on local transactions.

Up to 5x TreatsPoints on overseas purchases.

4,770 TreatsPoints = 1,000 Enrich Miles.

Complimentary travel insurance coverage.

Annual fee waived for the first year.

For subsequent years, annual fee for principal car: RM800.

The Maybank Visa Infinite Card allows you to earn reward points while offering exclusive travel privileges. Enjoy benefits like complimentary green fees at golf clubs, access to airport lounges, and more.

Key Benefits:

  • Earn 5 TreatsPoints for every RM1 you spend on overseas purchases.
  • Get up to 2 TreatsPoints for every Ringgit you spend locally.
  • Enjoy complimentary travel insurance coverage of up to RM2 million.
  • Convert your TreatsPoints into air miles. 4770 TreatsPoints = 1,000 air miles.
Additional Points Description
How to Use It
  • Pay for your local and overseas purchases with this card.
  • Earn reward points on the transactions you make, including payment of utility bills.
  • Convert your TreatsPoints into Enrich Miles for Malaysia Airlines, KrisFlyer Miles (Singapore Airlines) or Asia Miles.
Good about It
  • Earn 10,000 TreatsPoints when you activate your card.
  • Earn 1x TreatsPoints on payment of utility bills, insurance premiums, and more.
  • Enjoy complimentary green fees at selected golf clubs until 31 December 2018.
  • Enjoy 5x complimentary access at all Plaza Premium Lounges in Malaysia until 31 December 2018.
  • Get up to 50% off your food bill at all SPG Hotels & Resorts in Malaysia.
Keep in Mind
  • TreatsPoints are valid for 3 years.
  • You are eligible for the complimentary travel insurance coverage only when you use your card to buy your flight tickets.
  • No TreatsPoints are awarded on transactions made at government bodies.
  • The minimum income required to be eligible for this card is RM120,000 p.a.

Documents Required for Application

  • Letter from employer confirming duration of employment contract in Malaysia.

Maybank Islamic Ikhwan American Express Platinum Card-i

Card Name
Rewards
Welcome Bonus
Annual Fee
Know More

Earn 2x TreatsPoints on all transactions made using this card.

Get an automatic Touch 'n Go Zing Card with reload facility.

None

Principal card: No charges.

Supplementary card: No charges.

This Sharia-compliant card offers reward points on all expenses. You also earn points on payment of insurance premiums, petrol purchases, and more.

Key Features and Benefits of this Card

  • Get 2x TreatsPoints on every purchase made with this card.
  • Complimentary Maybank Touch n’ Go Zing Card.
  • Earn 1x TreatsPoints on payment of insurance premium, 0% EzyPay, and utility bills, and petrol purchases.
  • Express AutoPay facility to help you pay your bills easily.
  • Get a discount of 50% on your food bill when you dine with one other guest at any Starwood Properties in Malaysia.
  • Get 40% off food bill when you dine in a group of 3 to 10 people at any Starwood Properties in Malaysia.
  • Get 1x TreatsPoints on transactions carried out at education institutions.
  • Exclusive offers with American Express SELECT.
Additional Points Description
How to Use it
  • Pay for your everyday purchases with this card.
  • Earn TreatsPoints on all purchases, including petrol.
Good About it
  • Annual fee waived for life without any conditions.
  • TreatsPoints can be earned on a wide range of spend categories.
Keep in Mind
  • Annual income required to be eligible for this card is RM60,000 p.a.

Who Should Get it

  • Those who use their card to make everyday purchases.

Documents Required for Application

  • A letter confirming duration of employment contract in Malaysia from employer.

PB Platinum Mastercard Credit Card

Card Name
Rewards
Welcome Bonus
Annual Fee
Know More

Unlimited 02% Cash MegaBonus on local and overseas purchases.

Complimentary travel insurance coverage of RM500,000.

Principal card: RM333.

Supplementary card: RM150.

Make every purchase count with the PB Platinum Mastercard Credit Card. This card offers unlimited cash rebate on local and overseas spends

Key Features and Benefits of this Card

  • Earn unlimited Cash MegaBonus of 0.2% for every Ringgit you spend on retail purchases.
  • Unlimited Cash MegaBonus is applicable on both local and overseas transactions.
  • Annual Fee waived for the first year without any conditions.
  • Get automatic complimentary travel insurance of up to RM500,000 p.a. when you use your card to pay for travel arrangements.
  • Make quick purchases with the Visa payWave feature.
Additional Points Description
How to Use it
  • Pay for your local and overseas purchases with the PB Platinum Mastercard Credit Card.
  • Earn 0.2% Cash MegaBonus on all transactions.  
Good About it
  • There is no minimum spend or cap on the Cash MegaBonus you can earn.
  • Income requirement to be eligible for this card is RM50,000 p.a.
Keep in Mind
  • Annual fee after the first year is waived off when you make a minimum of 12 transactions in 12 months.

Who Should Get it

  • Those who are looking for a card that will help them save on their day-to-day expenses.

Documents Required for Application

  • Last 3 months’ salary slips.
  • Salary deposits account reflecting the last three months of salary crediting (for Brunei only).
  • Latest 1 year Notice of Assessment/Form IR8A/Form IR8E (for Singapore only).
  • Employment letter confirming duration of employment.

HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i

Card Name
Rewards
Welcome Bonus
Annual Fee
Know More

Up to 8% cashback on every purchases like petrol and groceries.

None

Principal card: RM240 p.a.

Supplementary card: RM120 p.a.

With the HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i you can get cashback of up to 8% on your everyday purchases. Enjoy a wide range of facilities, like automatic payment of bills, with this card.

Key Features and Benefits of this Card

  • Get up to 8% cash rebate on petrol and grocery purchases.
  • Earn 0.2% cashback on local and overseas retail transactions.
  • Enjoy low interest rates with the HSBC Amanah Balance Transfer Plans.
  • Exclusive offers on dining, entertainment, travel, and more.
  • Enjoy premium privileges from Visa.
  • Enjoy discounts and offers when you shop at selected partner malls in Malaysia.  
Additional Points Description
How to Use it  
  • Use the HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i to pay for everyday purchases.
  • Earn up to 8% cashback on petrol and groceries.
  • Get 0.2% cash rebate on all other retail purchases.
Good About it
  • Annual income required to be eligible for this card is RM36,000 p.a.
  • You can earn cashback on both local and overseas purchases.
 
Keep in Mind  
  • Annual fee is waived only if you swipe your card at least 12 times in a year.

Who Should Get it

  • Those who use their card regularly to make dailly purchases.

Documents Required for Application

  • Letter of confirmation from employer stating position, duration of employment, and remuneration.
  • Latest pay slip.
  • Copy of passport showing personal details.
  • Copy of work permit with at least one year validity.
  • Applicant must be working for a multinational or a public listed company, or a government/ semi-government organisation. HSBC corporate lending employers are also eligible to apply.

Conclusion

When you’re in a new country for work, you’ll most definitely need all the help you can possibly get to ease your way in. With digital payment options becoming the norm rather than an exception, a convenient-to-use and rewarding payment option is the need of the hour. On these lines, most credit cards have the potential to be just what you need and can help make payments a hassle-free experience. So, if you’re a foreigner looking to get a credit card in Malaysia, this list of the best cards is something you should consider. You can also take a look at the other cards offered by banks in Malaysia.

BBazaar's Best Foreigner Credit Cards of 2018

Use this guide to compare and choose the card that is best suited to you. Make sure you read all terms and conditions pertaining to the card before opting for one. Identify your preferred spending category and budget to pick a card that will meet your financial needs. This table below will explain the categories that each individual card is ideal for. Utilize this table when comparing cards to choose the best card for yourself.


Credit Card Rewards
Alliance Bank Platinum Card

3x Timeless Bonus Points (TBP) for every RM1 spent on overseas purchases.

2x TBP for every RM1 spent on petrol and grocery purchases, and payment of utility bills.

HSBC Visa Signature Credit Card

8x Reward Points on overseas purchases and online transactions made in foreign currency.

5x Reward Points on online transactions made in local currency and purchases at selected local malls.

Citi Prestige Card

2x Citi Rewards Points on overseas purchases.

1x Citi Rewards Points on local transactions.

Maybank Visa Infinite

Up to 2x TreatsPoints on local transactions

Up to 5x TreatsPoints on overseas purchases.

PB Quantum Visa Credit Card

5% cashback on entertainment and departmental stores transactions.

1x VIP Point for all other local retail spends.

2x VIP Points for all other overseas retail spends.

AEON BiG Visa Classic Card

5% cashback on the AEON BiG Thank you Member Day.

5% cashback for petrol purchases on Sundays.

5% cashback at AEON BiG Stores when you use Visa payWave.

2% cashback for online and overseas purchases.

4 AEON BiG Member Points on the 10th of every month.

Bank Rakyat Gold Credit Card-i

1x Rewards Point for every RM10 spent on retail purchases.

*Effective 1 September 2018, Sales and Services Tax (SST) of RM25 will be imposed on all the cards.

How to Choose the Best Credit Card for Foreigners

As banks impose varying requirements for expats and foreigners, check for the eligibility requirements and required documents before you apply for a card. Compare different cards to check the benefits and privileges of each card. Choose a card that suits your lifestyle and budget needs in Malaysia.

If you want to know about cards in different categories, then read the best credit cards in Malaysia for more information.

Ways to Apply For a Credit Card

  • Online application: You can go to the bank’s official website and apply for a credit card. All you have to do is download the card application form and submit it to the nearest branch after filling out all the necessary information. Now, make sure that you have all the mandatory documents and send them to the bank (via mail, fax, or manually) to initiate further processing of your application.
  • Offline Application: Drop by the nearest branch of your bank and fill out the credit card application form. Submit all the essential documents to the bank officials.

Things to Consider When You’re Applying for a Credit Card

  • Make sure that your visa is valid for at least a year while making an application.
  • Some banks may need you to have their debit card before approving your credit card request.
  • To improve your chances of getting a credit card, build a healthy relationship with the bank. Open a current or savings account (CASA) with the bank with which you are considering to apply for a credit card. Additionally, open a fixed deposit account with the bank which will lessen the (payback) risk factor.
  • Show all your income and not just applicable income to boost your chances of getting a credit card. The more you earn, the better your chances of paying the credit card dues, and a bank will consider this while granting you a card.
  • Apply for a ‘beginner’ credit card and then go on upgrading it later. Chances are that a low-limit card might get a quicker approval than a higher limit one.
  • Try to visit the bank personally to make an application. You can boost your chances of getting a credit card by personally talking to a bank representative and convince them about your worthiness. On the other hand, you may not get an ‘on the spot’ opportunity to improve your application or provide any additional supporting document while going through an online method.
  • Don’t call your bank repeatedly to check your application status. The bank requires a certain amount of time to evaluate every application.
  • Don’t apply to multiple banks at the same time. This may affect your application negatively as the banks might consider you to be too desperate to get a card.

There’s no point in getting discouraged if your credit card application gets rejected. Keep in mind that every bank has its own set of requirements and evaluation process. While your application may be rejected by one bank, you can end up getting a credit card from another bank.

But, if you check your eligibility for a card beforehand, satisfy all the requirements, and follow the right steps to apply, the chances of your application getting rejected are minimal.

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