Malaysia Bank Account Opening
Online banking is now becoming more readily available in Malaysia, although not all of the banks provide online banking services, and those that do may offer only limited services, such as viewing account balances and account-to-account transfers. The use of credit, debit and cash cards is common for payments in major towns and cities, although cash payments are still more popular than cards or cheque. Telephone banking is also available with certain account types – check with individual banks for a full list of services that they provide.
The main types of bank account in Malaysia
The major banks in Malaysia offer a comprehensive range of financial services. As well as mortgage, insurance, loan and investment services, the banks offer a range of bank accounts and savings accounts.
The core accounts offered to retail banking customers are:
Current accounts – used for daily banking. Current accounts may include an ATM/debit card, a chequebook and credit card facility on request. They typically offer a low rate of interest, but provide easy access to account funds.
Savings accounts – typically offer higher rates of interest than current accounts, but may have limited access to funds, with restrictions or interest penalties applied for making account withdrawals. Savings accounts may offer either fixed or variable rates of interest, and may be fixed for a period of time (e.g. one year)
Deposit accounts – typically offer higher interest rates than savings accounts or current accounts, but access to funds may be limited or not available until the account maturity date. If you require regular access to funds, deposit accounts may not be suitable.
Offshore accounts may also be available, and can be useful for tax efficient long-term savings and for general tax planning purposes. Offshore savings accounts can be held in various worldwide currencies. You should get independent advice before opening an offshore account.
Opening a bank account when you arrive in Malaysia
Both residents and non-residents of Malaysia are able to open bank accounts, subject to individual account requirements and conditions, although accounts for non-residents may initially offer lower limits to reduce a bank’s exposure to debt. As in the UK, new customers will be required to provide proof of identity, and may also be required to provide evidence of either residency or employment status. Documentation, such as your passport, work visa, letter of employment, recent bank statements and a letter of reference from your current bank will all be helpful in the application process.
Opening a bank account before you arrive in Malaysia
In some cases it may be possible to open a bank account in Malaysia without being present at the bank. You could contact the nearest branch of your chosen Malaysian bank, which may have branches in the major cities in Europe, North America and Asia.
A flexible alternative to a local bank account in Malaysia is to open an international account, which can be opened before you relocate there. An international account will give you access to a wide range of international banking services, including tax efficient offshore account options, online banking and a debit card in a choice of major currencies.International accounts can be used by clients living or working in Malaysia, and also when travelling between international locations.
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