Open Bank Account in Malaysia

Malaysia is known to attract people to and within its borders because of its stable economy, better living standards, pleasant climate and people’ friendliness. The country enjoys excellent schools, improved infrastructure and strong economy thereby attracting people.

Migrating to Malaysia as a student, worker or investor, you will need to open a bank account. With the MM2H visa program, it is easy to open a bank account in Malaysia. If a foreigner has a fixed amount of money in a Malaysian bank, he is allowed to renew his visa. Such programs have made it easy to live and work in Malaysia. This article will guide on how to open a bank account in Malaysia

Types of banks and bank accounts in Malaysia

In Malaysia, there are local banks and foreign banks. Some of the popular local banks include CIMB Bank, May Bank, AM Bank, RHB Bank. Among the foreign banks are HSBC England Bank branch, Citi Bank of India branch and Bank of China branch.

These banks offer current accounts and savings account. Current accounts are reserved for people with work permits to work in Malaysia or those who have businesses in Malaysia. Savings accounts can be opened by foreigners like students in Malaysia.

What documents are required to open a bank account?

The following documents are necessary when opening a bank account in Malaysia. You will need to present a residence permit or the MM2H visa documents and a passport. You will also need to give employment details such as a letter from the employer and a minimum deposit from the bank. It is important to get accurate information from the bank about the particular requirements. If you forget to carry all the documents, you can talk to the bank manager but make sure to be accompanied by a friend who has a bank account in that bank. It is crucial in facilitating the process as an account referral.

Opening bank account in Malaysia for foreigner

Is it possible to open a non-resident bank account in Malaysia? Yes, it is possible to open a non-resident bank account in Malaysia which does not require proof of Malaysian address. If you want to open bank account in Malaysia for foreigners, you can even start the process while you are still abroad.

What are the best banks in Malaysia?

There are many banks in Malaysia which will give you a wide range of banking services like ATM services, investment products and other essential services. Look for a bank with ATMs that are conveniently located within your location and also one that has favorable prices.

1. May Bank Malaysia

May Bank is the biggest bank in Malaysia and offers a wide variety of products and services. Among the services they offer are current accounts, savings accounts and also accounts for children. It also has debit cards and internet banking. It has an extensive network of branches and ATMs all over the country.

2. CIMB Malaysia

CIMB is a big bank in the country that has many branches and ATMs conveniently located all over the country. It has many customers and it offers credit cards, debit cards, online banking all of which are customized.

3. RHB Malaysia

RHB Bank offers a wide range of financial services such as savings account and mortgages. They have many branches and ATMs located across the country. However, most of their best offers target Malaysian citizens or those who have acquired permanent residence in Malaysia. The bank has a wide variety of loans options for businesses and individuals and it also offers multi currency accounts.

4. Public Bank Berhad Malaysia

Public Bank Berhad is the largest retail bank in the country. It has special offers such as cash back and deposits that accrue interests. They offer debit cards while credit cards are optional. They offer multi currency accounts which are very useful for people doing international business. The bank has several branches and ATMs.

Online Banks in Malaysia

  • Using virtual banks in Malaysia means that you can open bank accounts without having to visit a physical branch of the bank.
  • Wise, formerly Transferwise, is an online multicurrency account that allows you to have your Malaysian account number, Euro IBAN, US routing number, UK sort code and account number, Singapore dollar details, Australian dollar details, etc. The account allows you to receive payments in 10 currencies like a local. In addition, you can convert and hold 53 currencies. Holding multiple currencies is completely free.
  • Other well known online banks such as Revolut and N26 do not support Malaysian residents. However, if you are a Malaysian national with an address in the EU and other supported countries, you can open an account.

Complete list of banks in Malaysia

As of 2019:

  • Maybank
  • CIMB Bank
  • Public Bank Berhad
  • RHB Bank
  • Hong Leong Bank
  • AmBank
  • UOB Malaysia Bank
  • Bank Rakyat
  • Affin Bank
  • Bank Islam Malaysia
  • Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia
  • Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN)
  • CitiBank Malaysia
  • OCBC Bank Malaysia
  • HSBC Bank Malaysia
  • Alliance Bank

Is it easy to open a bank account?

English is one of the official languages of Malaysia and virtually all bank employees are able to speak English. Also bank websites offer guidelines in English making the process easy for English speakers. After activating the account, make sure to get an ATM card. Ensure that you read all the terms of the contract to avoid getting surprises in some charges. Some of the charges that might be present include that of keeping the account open, ATM usage fee and charges that sometimes accrue if you do not use the account frequently. In case you do not want to be using your account regularly, visit international banks such as HSBC and Citi which have better packages.

How cheap is it to send money abroad using a bank?

Sending money from Malaysia using the bank can be very expensive. Banks tend to charge an excess fee above the market rate. The alternative money transfer option that is cheaper and faster is Wise, formerly TransferWise.

Go to Wise money transfer website


Vincent is a writer and researcher with an interest in finance, banking, startups, and remittance. He holds a Bachelors degree in Applied Statistics with computing. He founded Nexin Startups, an online platform offering startup advice to investors and entrepreneurs. Read more about us and our authors.