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Can I get a credit card from a Chinese bank?

If you’re in China for an extended period, you might wonder whether it’s possible to get a credit card from a Chinese bank. The short answer is yes - but doing so is not necessarily easy. 



If you apply successfully, getting your card will cost you nothing. The process should take around two weeks from submission of your application to the time you receive your card. 

However, applicants must meet the following requirements: 

  • Be 18 years old or over.
  • Must be in China on a “Z” visa and with a residence permit.
  • Have a minimum monthly income of 10,000 yuan.


Applicants must also present the following documents:

  • A statement proving that they have been receiving such an income for more than three months.
  • Their passport and residence permit.
  • Their rental agreement (bring your contract with your landlord).
  • A copy of your employment agreement in Chinese.
  • Some banks will also require you to have a current account with them before you apply for a credit card.


The application process

1. Choose which bank you want to apply to; you might want to ask a friend or colleague for advice. Also, bear in mind that you may be required to open an account at the bank of your choice.

2. Take the following items to a branch of your chosen bank:

  • A copy of your passport and residence permit.
  • Evidence of place of residence (a bank statement, a phone or utility bill, or a lease contract).
  • Proof of income (ie. your payslip – providing several consecutive months will help your application).
  • A document stating your monthly income (your employment contract or a tax certificate).

3. The bank needs a guarantee that you can be held accountable if you fail to repay your debts. Convincing the bank to give you a credit card will be easier if you: 

  • Are married to a Chinese person.
  • Work for a Fortune 500 company that holds an account at the same bank.
  • Have a Chinese friend who is willing to vouch for you.
  • Have fixed assets, like a property deed or title for a car bought in China. 
  • A deposit of at least 10,000 yuan.

4. Complete an application form. Make a note for yourself of the application number on the top of the form (or take a photo), as well as the phone number of the bank’s credit card center. This allows you to follow up if your application is rejected or the bank doesn’t get back to you.

5. Your application will be sent to the bank’s credit card center for consideration.

6. If your application is rejected, it may be worth applying again.


Useful Chinese words and phrases

信用卡 xìn yòng kǎ   credit card
申请 shēn qǐng application
银行 yín hang bank
护照 hù zhào  passport
密码 mì mǎ password
余额 yú é balance 
金额  jīn é amount
自动取款机 zì dòng qǔ kuǎn jī ATM
取款 qǔ kuǎn withdrawal
年费 nián fèi annual fee
账单 zhàng dān bill


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One Response to Can I get a credit card from a Chinese bank?

  • I’m a Chinese credit card user living in China, and I received a unauthorized transaction last week, less than 1000 USD, which happened in Los Angeles. My dear bank manager sugest me to call the police in the USA, and another one sugest me to call the police in China. “But, why don’t you cancel the payment? It happened just 5 hours before.” I asked. The bank’s answer was:”We are not sure, it all depens on the police, you can pay for the bill first and maybe we’ll give the money back to you if the police catch the thief.” So, I cut the credit card into pieces and will never never use credit card again. NEVER.

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