App Hustling – Apple Will Not Accept Expat Credit Cards

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Apple make expat lives difficult to use the Apple app store:

Do you know someone who has bought a nice new iPad or iPhone who live in another country than where their bank account details perhaps show.

App Store Blocked To Expats
App Store Blocked To Expats

A very common situation is for people who have permanently left their native land such as the UK to keep their existing bank accounts open for ease of use in many areas where there are still financial ties with the country of origin, in the case of Expats this could be for pension payments or simply paying bills that are perhaps still needed back in the homeland.

And with the selling point of credit and debit cards being the fact that they are universally accepted it appears odd that we have an issue like we have seen here.

But in the case of Cyprus expats (and we assume others) those of you who have bought a new iPad for instance, are finding it impossible to access the market that makes this device so great, the Apple app store.

The reason people are having problems is apparently due to the apple app store not accepting credit card details with an address in a separate country from the one where your issuing bank is located.

A Nicosia resident who owns an iPad and a UK credit card states:

“I can’t get into either the UK or Cyprus iTunes stores. I understand it is because I have a UK card but a Cyprus billing address.”

Apple have stated that you can only register for the Cyprus iTunes store with a Cyprus issued credit card, despite having a change of address from her UK cards stating her new address in Cyprus, the trouble is compounded by the fact that she can not even go back to the UK version of iTunes and the app store and ask for acceptance there unless she had a genuine UK address and changed all these details back which would not be an option in may cases.

Her only way forward is to open a new account up in Cyprus and get a new Cyprus credit card using her address details in Cyprus and go forward using that card, though this seems like a pain in the bu** for many.

License issues appear to be the reason:

As usual when Apple are concerned it all boils down to who owns what and where the legal boundaries lie with content owners rights and the sale of these digital assets in a global world, or at least this is what Apple woudl tell you but I suspect that there is a more worrying reason that Apple try to mitigate with this policy:

App Hustling:

Apple need to know that you as a buyer do not reside in a country other than the marketplace you access to buy content, this makes some sense when there are potentially financial gains to be had from “app hustling” where you would simply find the cheapest marketplace with the best conversion rate for your currency and join this as opposed to being dictated to, the problem Apple would then face would be that potentially only one store would reign supreme as we would all jump ship to the cheapest “per app” store, (where possible).

A few ways around these issues:

As the situation currently stands, the problem Apple may be looking to mitigate is actually causing more problems than it would ever solve as buyers of Apple devices are being barred from the very life blood than makes the gadgets so desirable; Apps, some free and some paid.

There are a few ways around this current issue though unfortunately not one of these is particularly desirable especially if you have no one to call back home who can lend a hand or you are afraid of losing your warranty or scared about tinkering with your devices software….here are your options though currently:


  • Change your billing address back to the UK or wherever your card originates from in terms of the actual bank if this is causing issues
  • Jailbreak – Follow this link and then use your Mac or PC to install this amended new operating system and remove the license restrictions that are currently applied to Apple iOS software, thus allowing you to access a new app store with all the same godoies and get many free applications without the need for credit card details.
  • Get a friend to open a new account in iTunes with their credit card details


It has to be said that when users only want to access basic applications that are free it does appear to be pretty damn annoying especially if this is your first apple device, and I wish Apple would look into this matter and allow a little more freedom to people who do not sit perfectly into the safety zone of what Apple deem to be legal when it comes to jurisdictions further away from “home”.

Source: Cyprus Mail

Anthony Munns