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Credit cards for new immigrants

Learn how to apply for a credit card in New Zealand if you're a non resident.

There are a limited number of credit cards you can apply for as a non resident, permanent resident or visa-holder in New Zealand. Before you can get approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet a range of specific requirements that relate to your residency status, employment and income. Here, you can learn about the different details and steps you need to take to get a credit card as an immigrant to New Zealand.

Compare cards that accept applications from non residents

Name Product Purchase Rate Annual Fee Balance Transfer Rate
AIRPOINTS
ANZ Airpoints Visa Credit Card
19.95% p.a.
$65
N/A
Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $130 you spend on your card.
AIRPOINTS
ANZ Airpoints Visa Platinum Credit Card
19.95% p.a.
$150
N/A
Earn 1 Airpoints Dollar for every $85 you spend. You'll also earn 1 Air New Zealand Status Point with every $250 spent.
LOW RATE
ANZ Low Rate Visa Credit Card
12.9% p.a.
$0
1.99% p.a. for 24 months
1.99% p.a on balances transferred for the first two years, plus save with $0 annual fee and a low rate of 12.90% on purchases.
ANZ CashBack Visa Credit Card
19.95% p.a.
$40
N/A
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Compare up to 4 providers

What requirements are there for a credit card?

If you’ve recently relocated to New Zealand, here are the key requirements you usually need to meet to get a credit card:

  • Residency status. When you apply for a card, you will need to provide details of your residency status, such as your visa details. Make a copy and provide it to the credit card issuer when requested so they can complete your application assessment.
  • Residential address. You usually need to have a stable residential address in New Zealand to successfully apply for a credit card.
  • Employment. Most credit card providers that accept applications from new immigrants will require you to have permanent employment.
  • Finances. Different cards may have different financial requirements, such as annual income.

Establishing credit history as an immigrant in New Zealand

While you may already have credit history in your country of origin, lenders in New Zealand might not take this into account when you apply for credit cards or other financial products here. This means you may need to establish New Zealand credit history by opening and maintaining credit-based accounts. Some of the most common options include:

  • Utilities. This includes electricity accounts, post-paid phone accounts, Internet accounts and other energy or telecommunications accounts.
  • Loans. This includes personal loans, car loans and home loans.
  • Credit cards. A credit card can be a quick way to build a credit history in a new country.

It’s also important to open a New Zealand bank account. While the details of your account will only be available to that particular bank, you may be able to provide statements to other lenders to show that you are managing your money responsibly in New Zealand. If you decide to apply for a credit card with the same institution you bank with, these details could also help improve your chances of approval.

What about my old accounts and credit cards?

It’s often practical to keep your credit cards and bank account from your country of origin, and continue to pay these debts so that your credit is not jeopardised there if you ever return.

Moving abroad credit cards

Some card companies offer “moving abroad'” transfers, such as American Express. They allow you to transfer your card to another country, and they make the transfer as painless as possible. All that is necessary is a current and eligible credit card with Amex, an address in New Zealand and a phone number. This transfer excludes existing balances, which must be repaid before the transfer is complete.

Another company that offers foreign travel moves and foreign exchange is ANZ, which helps you with your financial needs when moving to New Zealand. ANZ also helps with banks, accounts, foreign currency transfers, and even dual and multi-currency accounts.

Other factors to consider

If you’re moving to New Zealand, you may also want to consider the following details to help with the transition:

  • Mail Forwarding. Mail forwarding services allow you to manage correspondence from your country of origin to New Zealand or almost anywhere else in the world.
  • Online bill-pay. You may need to continue to pay bills in the currency of your previous home country, and continue using your debit and credit cards.
  • Foreign currency transfers. Many online services now allow you to transfer money from one country to another. This can be very useful if you have funds from your country of origin that you would like to move to New Zealand accounts, or vice versa.

There are all kinds of factors to consider when you immigrate to New Zealand. But keeping these details in mind will help you get your finances in order so that you can apply for a new credit card that suits your needs.

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