Sunday 25 July 2021
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How to Open Bank Accounts in Malaysia as a Foreign National

If you’re moving to another country for work, it will be helpful to have a local bank account. A chequing or savings account will make it easier to receive your salary or pension, as well as to pay utility bills and rent and buy groceries at the local market. Here is the information you’ll need for opening a bank account while living in Malaysia.

Who Can Open Accounts?

If you’re not a Malaysian national, then you’ll need to show some documentation to open a chequing or savings accounts while living in the country. If you’re willing to invest a certain amount of your money into a bank account, you could be rewarded with a more flexible visa, such as the MM2H visa. This visa is part of the Malaysia My Second Home programme and allows holders to stay in the country as long as they wish.

Necessary Forms

Before opening an account, research bank policies so you know what you will need to take with you to get yourself a reliable Malaysia bank account. Some of the documentation you’ll need to show at a bank when opening an account includes the following:

  • A residency permit or MM2H visa
  • A work visa, a letter from your employer, or proof of your business activities
  • A photo ID, such as your passport
  • The minimum deposit amount

They may take your fingerprint for identification as well. While you’ll probably receive a debit card from the bank, you may need to provide more information, such as proof of your income, if you also wish to get a credit card from the bank.

Deposit Requirements

If you are under the age of 50, then you will be required to deposit at least RM300,000, which is approximately 54,000 pounds. If you are older than 50, then that amount is only RM150,000, which is about 27,000 pounds. Of course, the amounts fluctuate, so check for deposit requirements before opening an account.

Choosing a Bank

If you live in a large city, an international bank may be your best choice, but if you live in a smaller town, you should consider opening an account in a local bank. The international banks are not as popular in smaller communities, so you could have problems finding branches or ATMs from which to get cash if you live in a smaller community.

Consider having a Malaysian friend accompany you to the bank when opening an account if they also do their banking there. This can sometimes help you get an account if the management seems reluctant to open an account for a foreign national living in Malaysia for work. However, as long as you have the required minimum deposit, most bank managers will be glad to open an account for you.

While technically you could open an account online before arriving in the country, most banks require an “existing relationship” before doing so. Since you probably won’t have an existing relationship with a Malaysian bank, you should wait until arriving in country to find a bank with which to do business.


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