• How to Apply Credit Cards for Foreigners / Expats in Malaysia

    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 is RM24,000. However, some banks require you to have a higher gross annual income level for selected credit cards.

    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 2018

    Updated on 3rd August 2018

    Card Name
    Rewards
    Welcome Bonus
    Annual Fee
    Know More

    4x AEON Points for every RM1 spent on AEON and AEON BiG purchases

    1x AEON Points for every RM1 spent on other purchases

    5% cashback on AEON and AEON BiG purchases

    2% cashback on online utility bills transactions

    3 AEON Points for every RM1 spent on petrol and overseas transactions for a year

    Principal card: RM200

    Supplementary card: RM100

    Waived for a minimum combined spend of RM18,000 each year

    3x Timeless Bonus Points for every RM1 spent on overseas retail purchases

    2x Timeless Bonus Points for every RM1 spent on grocery, utility and petrol expenses

    1x Timeless Bonus Points for every RM1 spent on other domestic retail expenses

    None

    Principal card: RM438

    Waived for a minimum annual spend of RM5,000 or 12 swipes a year/p>

    Supplementary card: Waived for life

    1x Rewards Points for every RM10 spent on retail purchases

    None

    Principal card: Waived for life

    Supplementary card: Waived for life

    2 PremierMiles for every RM3 spent on overseas purchases

    1 PremierMile for every RM3 spent on domestic purchases

    None

    Principal card: RM600

    Supplementary card: Waived for life

    5x Treats Points for all retail purchases on the American Express card

    1x Treats Points on all retail purchases on the Visa card

    None

    Principal card: Waived for life

    Supplementary card: Waived for life

    (applicable on both American Express and Visa cards)

    Unlimited 0.3% cash bonus on domestic and overseas retail purchases

    None

    Principal card: Waived for life

    Supplementary card: Waived for the first card

    Subsequent cards: RM250

    AEON Platinum Visa Card

    This card offers rewards points and cashback on purchases made at AEON and AEON BiG stores. It also offers welcome rewards points for the first year.

    Key Benefits:

    • Earn 5% cashback on all AEON and AEON BiG purchases on the 20th and 28th of each month.
    • Enjoy a 2% cashback on all your online utility bill payments.
    • Get a rebate of up to RM14 for purchasing movie tickets at selected cinemas.
    • Enjoy complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges 6 times a year.
    • Enjoy unlimited access to AEON Lounges across Malaysia.
    • Get complimentary travel insurance of up to RM200,000.
    Additional Points Description
    How to Use It
    • Use your card to pay for any purchases at AEON and AEON BiG stores.
    • Purchase movie tickets at participating cinemas.
    • Pay all your utility bills online using this card.
    Good about It
    • Rewards points on AEON purchases.
    • Cashback on AEON purchases.
    • Complimentary travel insurance.
    Keep in Mind
    • Requirement of bank statement with a minimum balance or fixed deposit of RM150,000 for the MM2H programme.
    • Annual income requirement is RM60,000.

    Who Should Get It:

    • Those who prefer to shop at AEON and AEON BiG stores.

    Alliance Bank Platinum Card

    This card offers rewards points on all domestic and overseas transactions. It also offers air miles redemption.

    Key Benefits:

    • Enjoy unlimited complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge at KLIA.
    • Redeem 1000 Enrich Miles for every 6000 Timeless Bonus Points.
    • Redeem 1000 AirAsia BIG Points for every 3000 Timeless Bonus Points on Visa card.
    • Convert your purchases at participating merchant outlets into 0% instalment payment plan.
    • Withdraw cash of up to 100% of your available credit limit.
    Additional Points Description
    How to Use It
    • Pay all your grocery bills, utility payments and petrol purchases using this card.
    • Pay with this card for all domestic and overseas retail transactions.
    • Redeem your rewards points for air miles.
    Good about It
    • Rewards points earned on domestic and overseas retail purchases.
    • Rewards points earned on petrol and utility bill payments.
    • Annual fee waived subject to conditions.
    Keep in Mind
    • Requirement of working permit valid for at least minimum 1 year from the date of application.
    • Annual income requirement is RM60,000

    Who Should Get It:

    • Those looking for rewards points on fuel and utility bill payments.

    Bank Rakyat Gold Credit Card-i

    This card offers rewards points on your retail purchases. It also allows you to redeem your earned points for cash.

    Key Benefits:

    • Earn 1x Rewards Point for every RM10 spent on retail purchases.
    • Convert your rewards points into cash at a rate of RM0.10 for every 10 rewards points.
    • Enjoy complimentary Takaful cover for death and total and permanent disability.
    • Enjoy low profit rates exclusive for member of Bank Rakyat shares.
    • Get an annual fee waiver for life without any attached conditions.
    • Enjoy a profit rebate of 0.5% for the first 3 years.
    Additional Points Description
    How to Use It
    • Use your card for any domestic and overseas retail purchases.
    • Redeem your rewards points for cash or other products available on the rewards catalogue.
    Good about It
    • Complimentary Takaful cover that pays the total outstanding card dues in the event of death or TPD.
    • Annual fee waived for life.
    Keep in Mind
    • Requirement of Bank Rakyat savings account and confirmation letter from employer.
    • Annual income requirement is RM36,000.

    Who Should Get It:

    • Those who have or want to open a savings account with Bank Rakyat.

    Citi PremierMiles Visa Signature

    This card offers air miles on all domestic and overseas retail purchases. It also offers bonus air miles for annual fee payment.

    Key Benefits:

    • Earn 2 PremierMiles for every RM3 spent on overseas purchases and selected merchant outlets.
    • Earn 1 PremierMile for every RM3 spent on domestic retail purchases.
    • Get 10,000 PremierMiles upon annual fee payment every year.
    • Convert your PremierMiles to air miles at the rate of 1,000 air miles for every 1,500 PremierMiles.
    • Redeem your annual fee with 30,000 PremierMiles.
    • Enjoy unlimited complimentary access to Plaza Premium lounges across Malaysia.
    • Get 45% discount on premium dining privileges at selected restaurants across Malaysia.
    • Enjoy 0% discount on green fees on weekdays at selected golf clubs across Asia.
    • Get complimentary travel insurance of up to RM300,000.
    Additional Points Description
    How to Use It
    • Use your card for any domestic and overseas retail transactions.
    • Pay for your dining bills at selected premium restaurants across Malaysia.
    • Pay your airline tickets and overseas accommodation expenses with this card.
    Good about It
    • Payment of selected retail purchases with PremierMiles.
    • Exclusive privileges at more than 900 luxury hotels across the globe.
    • Complimentary access to Plaza Premium lounges.
    Keep in Mind
    • Requirement of working permit valid for at least minimum 6 months from the date of application.
    • Annual income requirement is RM100,000.

    Who Should Get It:

    • Those who travel frequently and looking to earn air miles on all expenses.

    Maybank 2 Platinum Cards

    These cards offer rewards points on all domestic and overseas retail purchases. The cards include an American Express Platinum card and a Visa Platinum card.

    Key Benefits:

    • Earn 5x Treats Points on all retail purchases on the American Express card.
    • Earn 1x Treats Points on all retail purchases on the Visa card.
    • Earn 5% cashback on weekend purchases made on the American Express card.
    • Enjoy up to 50% discount on dining expenses at SPG Hotels and Resorts across Malaysia.
    • Get complimentary travel insurance of up to RM1 million.
    Additional Points Description
    How to Use It
    • Pay all your retail purchases with your American Express card.
    • Pay for utility bills, insurance payments and education expenses with the Visa card.
    Good about It
    • Rewards points on all retail transactions.
    • Annual fee waived for life.
    • Complimentary travel insurance.
    Keep in Mind
    • Requirement of Maybank account, and a letter from the employer confirming the employment contract.
    • Annual income requirement is RM60,000.

    Who Should Get it:

    • Those who want to earn rewards points on all retail purchases.

    Public Bank Visa Infinite

    This card offers cash bonus on all domestic and overseas retail transactions. It also offers air miles on annual overseas expenses.

    Key Benefits:

    • Earn unlimited 0.3% Cash MegaBonus on all your retail expenses.
    • Enjoy complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges in Malaysia, thrice a year.
    • Earn 7,000 air miles for every RM10,000 spent on overseas purchases.
    • Enjoy complimentary travel insurance of up to RM500,000.
    • Get an annual fee waiver on the principal and the first supplementary card.
    Additional Points Description
    How to Use It
    • Use your card to pay for any domestic or overseas retail purchases.
    • Pay your airline tickets and overseas accommodation expenses with this card.
    Good about It
    • Unlimited cash bonus on all retail transactions.
    • Complimentary travel insurance.
    • Complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges.
    Keep in Mind
    • Requirement of latest Assessment Notice and salary deposit account statements.
    • Annual income requirement is RM100,000.

    Who Should Get It:

    • Those to travel frequently overseas.

    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
    AEON Platinum Visa Card

    4x AEON Points for every RM1 spent on AEON and AEON BiG purchases

    1x AEON Points for every RM1 spent on other purchases

    5% cashback on AEON and AEON BiG purchases

    2% cashback on online utility bills transactions

    Alliance Bank Platinum Card

    3x Timeless Bonus Points for every RM1 spent on overseas retail purchases

    2x Timeless Bonus Points for every RM1 spent on grocery, utility and petrol expenses

    1x Timeless Bonus Points for every RM1 spent on other domestic retail expenses

    Bank Rakyat Gold Credit Card-i 1x Rewards Points for every RM10 spent on retail purchases
    Citi PremierMiles Visa Signature

    2 PremierMiles for every RM3 spent on overseas purchases

    1 PremierMile for every RM3 spent on domestic purchases

    Maybank 2 Platinum Cards

    5x Treats Points for all retail purchases on the American Express card

    1x Treats Points on all retail purchases on the Visa card

    Public Bank Visa Infinite Unlimited 0.3% cash bonus on domestic and overseas retail purchases

    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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