Credit cards are commonly used, widely accepted and serve as a convenient payment mode in Singapore. On top of that, they can offer a passport to generous rewards programs with advantages as you spend: these include dining perks, attractive cashback rewards and travel benefits.
Use this guide to learn how to apply for a credit card in Singapore, the eligibility criteria for S Pass holders and how to decide if a new card is a suitable option for you.
An S Pass is a visa which allows mid-level skilled foreigners – who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2,400 – to work in Singapore. Other criteria must be met as part of an S Pass application, which has to be made by an employer.
Yes, S Pass holders (or others with valid working visas obtained from the Ministry of Manpower) may be eligible to apply for a credit card in Singapore as long as you meet the eligibility requirements of the specific card you’re applying for.
Foreigners are typically required to earn at least S$40,000 to $60,000 p.a. to apply for a credit card in Singapore.
Eligibility varies from bank to bank
Do note that different banks (or card type) have their own set of eligibility criteria. Some may require that you hold at least an Employment Pass to apply, so be sure to read the fine print before sending in your application.
Before applying for a credit card, make sure you’ve considered these factors:
- Financial preparedness. Ask yourself if you’re able to establish a budget for your monthly credit card spending and capable of settling your monthly statement in full every month. If you tend to overspend and carry your credit card balance from month to month, you’ll incur extra interest charges and may even get into a debt cycle.
- Conducted thorough research. Before getting a credit card, you should compare all available options in the market and find one that suits you best. Pay attention to factors such as reward types, interest rates, card benefits and fees.
- Be aware of all potential fees. Make sure to scrutinise the fine print and be aware of all potential costs that come with the card, such as the annual fee, late payment penalty and cash advance fee. Also, take note that while Singaporean credit cards tend to offer generous rewards programs, they also come with some of the highest payment processing fees in the world.
- Eligibility to apply. Most banks will require you to meet a minimum annual income of at least S$40,000. Some may even require you to have worked for at least a year to apply. To ensure a higher approval rate, do contact the bank in advance for a detailed list of eligibility requirements and supporting documents you’d need to provide.
- Good credit history. Most card issuers will require you to have a good credit history before approving your application. So if you’ve just moved to Singapore, you may want to start paying your bills on time for a few months to a year before applying for a credit card. Our clear guide has useful tips on how to improve your credit score.
- Haven’t applied for a credit card recently. Multiple hard credit inquiries are seen as more of a risk than just one, so if you’ve applied for several cards recently, then you may want to wait at least three to six months before applying again.
Credit cards are convenient to have, but they’re not meant for everyone. Before you make a hasty decision to sign up for a credit card right after moving here, take a look at some instances where a credit card may not be suitable for you:
- Short length of stay. If you’re only going to be staying in Singapore for a year or less, or if your work requires you to travel out of the country often, it may be less of a hassle to retain your existing credit card from your home country instead of signing up for a new one.
- Unable to manage finances. You may face extra expenses when you move abroad, ranging from rent to utilities to commuting costs. If you have too much on your plate, you should get that sorted out before putting your spending on plastic.
- Existing loan or credit card debts. When you move to a new country, your existing debts are not left behind. Make sure to stick to a payment strategy and settle all your debts before taking up additional credit responsibility.
Read more on the pros and cons of applying for a credit card as a foreigner or S Pass holder.
If a credit card doesn’t suit your situation and you need a day-to-day expenses card for cashless transactions, a debit card may be a good option to consider instead.
If you’re a foreigner who holds an S Pass, you’ll typically need to be at least 21 years old and have a valid working visa (e.g. employment pass, S Pass, etc.) with at least 6 months’ validity to apply for a credit card in Singapore.
Here’s the list of minimum annual income requirement from the various banks in Singapore:
Although it is not widely advertised, most banks will also consider your credit card application if you’re unable to meet the minimum annual income criteria, but have fixed deposit collateral with them. The fixed deposit amount typically ranges between S$10,000 and S$50,000. You can learn more about secured credit cards in our guide.
If you’ve compared your options and decided on a credit card that is right for you, you can complete a secure application by clicking “Go to site” on the table above. The application should take approximately 10–15 minutes to complete. Before you apply, make sure you’ve met the eligibility requirements and have the necessary documents and information on hand. Take note that the exact documents required may vary among credit card issuers.
- Photocopy of your passport (with at least six months’ validity)
- Photocopy of your employment pass (with at least six months’ validity)
- Latest income tax notice of assessment and latest computerised payslip OR last three months’ computerised payslips
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- Identification documents supplementary applicant(s), if any
- Proof of residence (e.g. latest mobile bill, utility bill or bank statement with your name and address)