Кредитка Visa+UnionPay в China Merchants Bank

Visa credit card in China for foreigners

If you live and work in China, you probably have a UnionPay debit card, with no name printed on it, and no overdraft available. It is usually used for a paycheck, and you probably have this card linked to your Alipay and WeChat.

However, if you go abroad, UnionPay may not always be accepted. Same goes for foreign online services. Perhaps you asked a Chinese Bank about the Visa or Mastercard and were rejected. But don’t worry, you can actually get a Visa credit card, even without Chinese ID!


First, make sure that you meet the minimum criteria:

  1. You have long-term residence permit (居留许可 or 居留证, sticker in the passport, exactly like a visa)
  2. There is an official source of income
  3. Experience at current workplace not less than 6 months.
"Residence permit" to work in China
“residence permit” for working in China

the Educational, tourist and business visa will not work. Family visa might theoretically work, but with virtually no source of income, it is highly unlikely.

The documents

Here’s what you will be asked by the bank employee:

  1. Passport
  2. Copies of the main page, current visa, latest entry stamp
  3. Registration at the place of residence from the police (派出所登记表)
  4. Certificate of payment of taxes in the last 6-12 months (完税证明)
  5. The second document proving the identity. Take the internal ID, driving licence or something similar
  6. Certificate of employment (在职证明) from the employer
  7. Income statement (收入证明) from the employer
  8. Statement of cash flow (银行流水单) branch of the Bank where you get paid
Certificate of employment
Certificate of employment
Tax certificate
Tax certificate

Which Bank to choose

Not all banks are willing to make the credit card to the foreigner. Select the Bank which you get paid, and go it the largest Department in the city. The greater the separation and the closer it is to the city center, the more likely that there will be willing to work with foreigners.

How to fill out an application

You will have to fill out a big questionnaire. Most likely, it will be in Chinese. If you can’t read hieroglyphs, take a friend who will help you. Don’t count on employees of the Bank. If the Bank will say that unable to issue credit cards to foreigners, or that you need Chinese ID, try to insist to at least fill the form and leave the application. Bank employees do not always have a wide outlook, and, as you know, in China it is easier to say foreigner that something is 没办法 or 办不了 than deal with his problems. Typically, the questionnaire asked the following information:

  1. Full name, passport number
  2. Home address in China
  3. Cellphone number
  4. The revenue for last year
  5. The last three places of work (official company name in Chinese, title, date)
  6. Education
  7. Name of spouse
  8. Name and telephone number of 1-2 colleagues from your current job
  9. Delivery address for card, if approved

How long to wait

At least for two weeks. They can give you a tracking number to check the status of your application, or telephone number of an employee of the Bank. If denied, try again in a few months. I know people who have a card issued on the second or third time in the same branch of the same Bank.

Credit card Visa+UnionPay in China Merchants Bank
credit Card Visa+UnionPay in China Merchants Bank

Usually issued co-branded Visa card+Mastercard or UnionPay+UnionPay you can pay for any system. The credit limit for foreigners is usually low, apparently, for security reasons. But the card will work worldwide, you can even connect it to some Uber service in Malaysia if you want to. That’s all, folks.



15 thoughts on “Visa credit card in China for foreigners

  1. It’s almost impossible. You shall be big company director or be involved in politics or deposit a lot of money. Without at least one of these your chances are zero. Property, credit history and car are meaningless.
    It’s a xenophobic and racial discrimination policy.

    1. As you can see from the screenshot above, I have a credit card, and some of my friends does, and none of us are politicians or company top management. But it’s way more complicated than abroad, because China is like that, very much ***** and ****** towards non-Asians.

  2. There is still the third way “deposit a lot of money in the bank”. Another reason may be the branch manager really likes you. I have two credit cards that I have got in another way I showed on the link in the first comment.

  3. What city are you in? The only way I was ever able to get a Visa card was when my employer agreed to co-sign the application. When I left that job for a better position the card went with it. Now its basically impossible to get a card without at least being married and owning a house/car.

    1. Never said it’s easy or available to everyone, but it’s possible in general.
      I’m in Hangzhou, and never asked the company to co-sign anything for me, but maybe the company’s name helped somewhat. Not sure what will happen to the card once I left it though.

      And again, China is not getting any friendlier to foreigners in the past few years.

  4. How much money I can put on my UnionPay card for one time? If I have a working visa can I put 60.000 CNY on my card, or it is not legal for foreigners?

  5. Hi
    I need a visa card for buying internet but i am living in iran. can you help me this about?

  6. As I said above, the link in the first comment shows the truth (VPN on only). China does not lend money to foreigners unless you deposit a lot of money or you are in a very important position.

    I have apartment in China (legal real estate) plus married with Chinese, legal working visa, outstanding tax records (7000 RMB per month of taxes paid to Shenzhen gov.). It’s a nono. Only after I threatened them to report the issue to the European Central bank and other worldwide central bank with a plea to punish their overseas center, only then I have got it!!

    China is really putting this in our axxes: they have overseas centers everywhere in the world borrowing millions at ridiculously low interest rates but they will never lend even one RMB to foreigners.

  7. even the Visa or MasterCard prepaid debit/credit card is not available yet. The very poor thing for banks like CMB, ICBC, BOC.

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