How to Get an International Mastercard without a US or UK Bank Account

Winner Ajibola


Do you travel a lot? Or perhaps you make a lot of subscription payments and shop online. Then you absolutely need an international card. However, in addition to the fees, there are many hurdles in getting one as an African. For starters, many banks would ask you to open a foreign bank account before you can get an international or foreign card.

That’s why in this article, we will show you how to get an international Mastercard without needing a domiciliary US or UK bank account. We will also give you tips on what to look for when choosing a global card provider.

Why Do You Need to Get an International MasterCard?

If you already have a virtual or physical card in your local currency, there’s so much you are missing out on. Ideally, we recommend that everyone should have an international debit card. Some of these reasons include the following;

  • Faster international payments: When it comes to online shopping, bill payments, booking an international flight ticket, or even paying for subscriptions, you’re assured of a smooth transaction.

  • ATM withdrawals: If you travel a lot, you might need some cash in the local currency. International cards allow you to withdraw cash from ATMs for a small fee. So having one of these cards on you is always a good idea.

  • Mastercards are widely accepted around the world. This means you’ll never be stranded wherever you go, especially as a digital nomad.

  • Be safe from regulations: In Nigeria, you cannot use your regular debit cards to make any foreign payments due to the CBNs regulation on Forex. This is why you need an international card to protect you from any restrictions banking services might impose on your local currency card.

Challenges in Getting a Foreign Card as an African

While everyone should be able to get a foreign or international card, the process is a bit tricky for Africans. Usually, to get one in Nigeria, Kenya, or Tanzania, you would need to have a domiciliary bank account first, which isn’t an easy process. Once you have this dom account, you apply for a physical card linked to it.

Because of the rigorous process, only a few people can get a foreign card when they need to. Also, since it’s linked to a domiciliary account in your country, you’re not entirely safe from government regulations.

Fortunately, there are now virtual cards to the rescue. With this update, you can get an international Mastercard without the confines or restrictions of a domiciliary account. You can also use this card to make local and international payments wherever you are.

Things to Consider Before Applying for an International Mastercard

Since many platforms offer virtual card services to Africans, we recommend doing enough research before choosing one. Some things to look out for are;

  1. Fees: Granted, every card comes with a cost, but your international card should be inexpensive to maintain. So typically avoid services that charge you maintenance fees and exorbitant conversions fees. Also, ensure that the service you choose has transparent prices. Else, you might end up paying twice the amount in hidden fees.

  2. Limitations: The entire point of getting an international card is to avoid restrictions. So research what the card limitations are. Limits on daily spending are reasonable because they can help you keep track of your expenses.

    However, limits on shopping platforms might be something you might need to worry about. Just ensure that the limitations don’t affect what you intend to use your card for.

  3. Security: Perhaps the most essential feature to look out for is how secure this service is. What security measures have they implemented to protect your details from fraudulent transactions?

    You also need to consider how you can protect your funds if your card gets lost. Can you block it yourself, or do you need to call customer support which might put you on hold for hours?

We recommend getting a Grey virtual card if you’re unsure of what service to opt for. With a Grey international card, you don’t have to worry about hidden fees, unnecessary limitations, or whether your funds are secure.

Other Benefits of Getting a Grey International Dollar Card

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a Grey Dollar card is that you don’t need a US or UK bank account. All you need to do is top up your Grey account in your local currency and swap it to USD.

Here are a few more ways the Grey virtual card is different from other alternative options;

  • Card statement: Similar to a bank statement, you can track all your monthly purchases by generating a card statement from your Grey app.
  • Globally accepted: The Grey virtual card is accepted on every digital store and platform worldwide.
  • Real-time notifications: Get notifications whenever there’s an activity on your card
  • Freeze option: choose to freeze your card when you lose it or whenever you want to restrict spending

How to Get an International Dollar Card without a Foreign Account

Ready to get your international Mastercard on Grey? Simply follow the steps below;

On Web

  • Log in to your Grey account. If you don’t have one, you can create one for free here
  • Once you’re logged in, on the left side of your screen, tap on ‘Virtual Cards’
  • Under this section, tap on ‘Create Card’
  • Follow the subsequent steps to get your card

On Mobile app

  • Log in to your Grey mobile app
  • On the navigation panel below your screen, tap on ‘Cards’
  • Tap on ‘Virtual Debit Card’
  • Confirm that the name on the card is yours, then tap on ‘Create Virtual Card’

NOTE: Currently, only virtual debit cards are available on Grey. If you have more questions on how these cards work, visit our help center here.

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