Business Credit Cards for Expats

Mon, Sep 17, 2012

Financial Advice

Are you an expat living and working abroad, trying to sort out the best business credit card? Easy access to money is one of the top concerns for anyone living in another country, especially in light of all the other complexities you have to get used to whilst living overseas.

Truly, the last thing you need to worry about is access to money. This is especially true for small businesses that routinely rely on some form of credit card in order to make needed or unforeseen purchases.

Businesspeople like you need security; you need to know that your card will be accepted, that you have overdraft protection if that card is tied to a current account or savings account, that your interest rates will be reasonable, and that currency conversions won’t be prohibitively difficult or expensive. Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as it should be to get quick answers to these concerns; furthermore, banking practices and rules can also differ from country to country.


The UAE’s central bank had recently discussed capping credit card interest rates at 18 per cent annually, however, that proposal was rejected given that the banks shoulder significant risk with some of their clients. The news does affirm the government’s effort to keep UAE banks strong by allowing them to determine the amount of risk and assess rates accordingly.

Lines of credit are attractive in this business-friendly country given that the UAE features powerhouses Dubai and Abu Dhabi, multiple tax-free enterprise zones, a plethora of business opportunities in industries related to tourism, shipping, finance, oil services and import-export companies, and has a vibrant banking community. The UAE also has strong national and international banks that cater to expats.

Have a look at the business credit card from HSBC to get an idea of the kind of packages available to expats who are also residents.


The UK doesn’t transfer your credit rating from your home country to the UK, and so as an expat, if you want to obtain a business credit card in the UK you need proof of address, proof of employment, and — most likely — a UK bank account before attempting to apply for a business credit card.

Additional steps can help you establish a credit rating and thus increase your chances of a UK business credit card, including registering on an electoral roll, paying bills through direct debit, and, on occasion, taking on a higher-interest credit card and paying it off on-time. Those with significant assets and investments will of course find the process to obtaining a business credit card much easier and quicker than those who don’t have significant assets or high bank balances.

Hong Kong

While opening a current account can often be done in Hong Kong without a permanent Hong Kong address, applying for a credit card or business credit card will require proof of Hong Kong address, proof of salary, and a form of Hong Kong identification.

For more information — including information on overdrafts, borrowing, and savings, and for sensible advice related to all your banking questions, specifically questions related to obtaining and using a business credit card abroad, visit HSBC UAE today. There you will learn how to apply for a business credit card.

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