Banking and the processes adopted by banks in Malta might be overwhelming for new expats coming to the island. In this article you will learn about the most common frequently asked questions when dealing with banks in Malta.
Initially, the islands demographics were overlooked, primarily by young families and tourists. This assumption has, however, changed with the advancement in freelance culture and digital nomadism. Currently, there is an economic revolution that has seen Malta attract various audiences who are interested in starting companies or moving their businesses in the region. Another growing trend is working from home. People who can sustain their lives as online workers will find Malta as a convenient business location to carry out their projects from the comfort of their homes.
For people planning to have a more permanent residence in Malta, eventually, they would need to open a bank account for the safety and easy access of their funds. Opening a bank account in Malta, should be on top of your list if you intend to have an extended stay in Malta, and potentially start a business. The following guide will provide information on everything that you need to know if you want to transfer your financial life and operate from Malta.
As a non-resident, can I open a bank account in Malta?
Yes. If you are not tied to any significant debts, and your credit score is good, having a bank account in Malta is possible and quite straightforward.
If, however, your credit rating is not right, you are declared bankrupt or have significant debts, you may get challenges while trying to open a local bank account. Nevertheless, the process of opening an account is still not impossible. To qualify for a bank account, you may consider spending a relative time in Malta and become a residence, after which you will be allowed to run a checking or current account.
How long does it take, and what is the process of opening a bank account in Malta?
In can you have no major issues that may hinder you from opening a bank account, as mentioned above, you will have your bank account within thirty minutes to two hours. You need to visit the bank in person with all the relevant documents and fill an application form. The banker will then go through your papers and to ascertain that you have correctly filled the form. After ten days, you will have your debit card with you.
What documents are needed to open a bank account by foreigners?
The following documents will enable faster processing of your bank account:
– A valid passport
– A reference from your current or previous bank
– Proof of address in the form of a utility bill.
Can I open a bank account in Malta online or abroad?
Yes and no. For your bank account in Malta to be processed, you need to visit the bank account in person or use a bank, like HSBC, which exists in Malta and your country of origin. Alternatively, you can contract a lawyer and grant him or her power of attorney to open a bank account on your behalf.
What banking fees I will incur?
Just like any other bank in the world, you should expect to incur certain banking fees. The most common are ATM, transfer and maintenance fees. You, however, need to check with various banks in Malta to ensure that you choose the one with the lowest prices.
Withdrawing cash from an ATM owned by another bank, other than yours, will typically attract a fee of between €2 and €4. When planning on a bank that you will be doing your banking in Malta, it is recommendable that you choose one that has an ATM located closest to your office or home to avoid these charges. Foreign ATM fees and a percentage of the withdrawal amount will apply if you intend to use a debit card from a bank that is not located in Malta.
Normal bank charges
If you are running a checking account, there are minimal maintenance charges, usually €1 or less, charged monthly. Other types of bank accounts may attract different charges, which should be accessible from the bank’s website, or received on request while opening a bank account.
International transfer charges
International transfers by most banks in Malta can attract as much as 7% of the total amount transferred. The exchange rate is also quite high and may not be communicated to the customers during the transfer process. It is, therefore, recommended that you check the exchange rate before making an international transfer. For the clients who make international transfers more often, they can reduce these costs by using TransferWise to cut on transaction charges and experience a better exchange rate.