Malta is a popular destination for tourists, business travelers, and expats alike. It is also part of the Euro, the EEA and SEPA. This is a guide to help you open a bank account for use in Malta.
Documents Needed to Open a Bank Account in Malta
The following documents are typically required to open a personal bank account in Malta:
- Passport or your Maltese ID card (if you are a resident)
- A recent utility bill proving your address
- A reference statement from your current or previous bank
- An application form
In addition to the documents listed above, non-residents may also be required to provide the following:
- Proof of income (e.g., bank statement, employment contract)
- Tax identification number (if applicable)
- Visa or residence permit (if applicable)
To open a business account, you will need to provide additional documents such as articles of incorporation, a list of the shareholders and the purpose of your business.
Bank account for non-residents: It is possible to open a bank account as a non-resident in Malta. However, it is important to note that banks have more stringent requirements for non-residents than for residents. For example, some banks may require non-residents to have a minimum deposit or to provide additional documentation.
Online Banks in Malta for Foreigners
If you are a foreigner looking to open a bank account in Malta, you may be faced with some challenges. The major banks in Malta often have strict requirements for opening an account, which can be difficult to meet for foreigners. One of the reasons is that it was greylisted by the world’s money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog (FATF) until 2022. Additionally, the application process can be lengthy and time-consuming, which may involve submitting passports, residence card, wage slips, work contracts, 1 year of bank statements from current bank, and rental agreement.
One way to avoid these difficulties is to open an account with an online bank. Online banks typically have much less stringent requirements for opening an account, and the application process is often much faster. Additionally, online banks often offer a wider range of features and services than traditional banks. With a virtual bank account, you get European IBAN which you can use to make free cash transfers within SEPA, including Malta.
Revolut is a crypto-friendly bank that offers multi-currency accounts in 28 currencies IBAN for personal accounts and business accounts, virtual cards, money transfer services, and stock and crypto trading. It is a popular online bank for foreigners in Malta, offering a variety of features for day-to-day transactions and investments.
Revolut’s key products and services include prepaid debit cards, currency exchange, peer to peer payments, withdrawals in over 120 currencies and transfer money directly in over 29 currencies. You can buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin with Revolut app. You can also receive your salary and pay bills in Malta with your account.
With Revolut, you can withdraw a monthly maximum of 200 Euro, or 5 ATM withdrawals, in Malta. Plus users can withdraw a monthly maximum of 200 Euro without fee. Premium users 400 Euro, Metal users 800 Euro.
Monese is a British online bank that accepts customers from residents of the UK and most of the EU. It offers a multicurrency digital bank with IBAN and supports SEPA payments. You can open EUR or GBP personal, joint or business accounts with Monese. Monese accounts works with contactless payments like Google Pay, Apple Pay and PayPal.
Wise is a great option for foreigners who need to open a bank account in Malta quickly and easily. It supports a wide range of currencies, including EUR, GBP, USD, AUD, CAD, CHF, CNY, DKK, HKD, JPY, NOK, NZD, SEK, and SGD.
To open a Wise account, you will need to provide your personal information and verify your identity. Once your account is verified, you will receive a Euro IBAN, which you can use to receive and spend money in EUR. You can also use your Wise account to send and receive money in other currencies at competitive exchange rates and low fees.
Wise is one of the cheapest and fastest money transfer services to Malta. Transfers are typically completed within 1-2 business days, and Wise offers a variety of payment methods, including bank transfer, debit card, and credit card.
Best Banks in Malta
There are many international and local banks where you can open personal or business accounts, and one of the benefits of traditional banks in Malta is that you can get a loan, which is not possible with most virtual banks. The following are some of the banks where you might consider opening an account:
Bank of Valletta
Bank of Valletta (BOV) is one of the most popular banks in Malta, with over 100 branches and well-networked ATMs across the country. BOV offers a variety of account types, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit card accounts. All BOV accounts come with a debit card and enhanced security features, and the bank also offers 24/7 English phone service.
One of the main advantages of BOV is its extensive branch network. This makes it easy for customers to access their accounts and get assistance when needed. However, BOV has also been criticized for its long waiting periods for customer support over the phone. Additionally, BOV is not known for offering loans to foreigners. As of October 2023, the bank has maximum daily transfers of 500 euro and card purchases of 1,000 euro.
HSBC Malta is one of the largest banks in Malta, with 65 branches across the country. HSBC Malta offers a wide range of accounts to choose from, with no minimum balance required and no monthly fees. Its customers also enjoy phone and internet banking services, a quick cash card, an Advance international debit card, and free travel insurance.
HSBC has excellent customer service, but its bureaucratic processes can be frustrating. It is known for its lengthy account opening process, which can even take months. However, if you are from a country such as the UK, you can open an HSBC Global Money Account, which is a faster and more convenient option with no daily limits on online spending, and it offers many of the same benefits as a local account.
IIG Bank is a famous bank among the locals. With an IIG account, you can enjoy the following perks.
- Internet banking
- Debit cards
- Savings accounts
Sparkasse Bank Malta
Sparkasse Bank Malta is not very common in Malta. However, it is a common bank worldwide, some of the benefits that customers of the bank enjoy include secure banking services, standing order, debit card, online banking and multi-currency.
APS Bank is a Maltese bank that offers a wide range of services, including internet banking, current accounts, debit cards, insurance packages, retirement planning, student loans, and perks for investors. APS Bank is also known for offering mortgages to foreigners without significant Maltese banking history, as long as they make a deposit of at least 25%.
APS Bank is a convenient and flexible option for foreigners looking to open a bank account in Malta. However, it is important to note that there are not that many APS ATMs around the island, and you can only use other banks’ ATMs for four times a month before they start charging you.
To open an account with APS Bank, you can call or email the bank to schedule an appointment. Appointments are typically available within the week, and you can open an account in one day. You will receive your VISA card within a week or two.
FCM Bank is another popular bank for expats in Malta. It is a hybrid bank that offers both traditional and online banking with SMS notifications. You can open an account online and FCM Bank offers a variety of ways for customers to diversify their savings and prepare for a better financial future. FCM Bank’s savings accounts offer a competitive interest rate of 2.58% p.a.
If you intend to buy a house as a foreigner in Malta, Lombard Bank is one of your best options. Lombard Bank has the best interest rate for home loans. It is a traditional bank with a long history, and it offers current account and investment accounts. It also has a large network of ATMs and branches in Malta.
International Cash Transfers
It is costly to send money internationally through banks because banks do not adhere to the mid-market rates. Also, they charge other fees such as currency conversion fees, SWIFT fees while they also maintain a profit margin. Unfortunately, they do not use real-time currency exchange rates.
If you wish to make international cash transfers, consider using Wise.
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Opening a Bank Account in Malta as a Foreigner: Online vs. Traditional Banks
Opening a bank account in Malta as a foreigner can be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with the country’s banking system. The major banks in Malta often have strict requirements for opening an account, which can be difficult to meet for foreigners. However, there are a few ways to make the process easier.
One option is to open an account with an online bank. Online banks such as Revolut and Monese typically have much less stringent requirements for opening an account, and the application process is often much faster. Additionally, online banks often offer more competitive exchange rates and lower fees than traditional banks.
Another option is to open an account with a traditional bank in Malta. Traditional banks offer a wider range of products and services, and they are more likely to be able to provide you with a loan or mortgage. However, the application process for opening an account with a traditional bank is often more complex and time-consuming. Additionally, traditional banks typically have higher fees and less competitive exchange rates than online banks.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to open an account, and you don’t need a loan or mortgage, then an online bank may be a good option for you. If you need a loan or mortgage, or you want access to a wider range of services, then you may want to consider opening an account with a traditional bank.