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Credit Card for expats (Bucharest)


I moved to Bucharest in January last year and due to Covid I did not see a necessity to get a credit card when I opened my bank account at ING. As borders are opening up again and a debit card is not always accepted, I now have the pleasure of getting a credit card.

First try - ING:
Filled in an online form, got a callback from someone that spoke English! All I had to do is take my registration in Romania and my passport and I could apply for a card at the branch office.

In the branch office the story became different. At ING you are only allowed a credit card if you have a house, or if you deposit 110% of the requested credit on the card. This made no sense to me, as that large sum of money would then be out of my savings account.

Second try - BRD:
After an hour at their office where I was being pleasantly served by two people, they informed me that in order to get a credit card at BRD I needed to open a bank account and have my salary deposited there for "a few months". This would give me a good credit score at BRD.

Third try - ING:
I went to another branch office because I figured the first person just tried to scare me so they wouldn't have to do work for me. Unfortunately the policy is the same. After telling them I would then move my business to BRD, they didn't respond.

Fourth try - Raiffeisen:
Their IVR when you call them is in English! This gives a false sense of positivity as the person you end up talking to (if they don't immediately hang up) doesn't speak English. On the fourth try (the IVR takes 1:30 to get through) I reached someone that spoke English. She told me the policy as it would be for Romanian citizen. I fear I'll end up with the same experience as with ING or BRD.

Fifth try - BCR:
Called the call center. English IVR. 20 minute wait. No information on policy, I need to go to a branch office.

My question: Who of you had success obtaining a credit card without owning a house?

I rent an apartment, I have substantial savings and I have a very good income. This doesn't seem to matter to any bank though...

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