Good news for expats in Malta looking to transfer money: as guaranteed by freedom of capital under EU law, there are no particular restrictions in money transferring, both for incoming and outcoming transfers.
Even though the process of sending money to and from Malta is relative simple, it’s better to plan ahead. You should make sure to find a reliable financial intermediary that provides a good service at reasonable rates. Keep in mind that Eurozone cash transfers, although straightforward, do involve charges that will vary depending on the intermediary.
Sending money through international bank transfers
If you’re planning to send money through international money transfers, ideally you should have functional Maltese bank account. You can get your account before going to Malta, and many banks won’t make any obstacles to setting up accounts for non-residents. In any case, it’s best to do some research in advance and contact a bank you’re planning to join directly.
When opening a bank account in Malta, you should have some documents in hand: current proof of address, ID and a bank reference letter issued by your current bank (charges may apply to get this document).
Even if you’re already in Malta, you should be able to set up a new local bank account by simply withdrawing money in a local ATM and using that money to open an account.
Using cheques to create a new bank account for expats in Malta
If you have a cheque issued by your current bank, it’s possible to clear it to a new Maltese bank account. However, this process is usually time-consuming and involves expensive fees, so it’s not an advisable option especially if you will need a local bank account urgently to manage your living expenses in Malta.
Typical fees associated to opening a new bank account
It’s worth noting that even though bank accounts in Malta are relatively simple to obtain, the process often involves administrative fees. Charges will vary depending on the country where the transfer originates, with EEA Euro banks and banks in Switzerland using SEPA transfer being associated to the lowest processing charges. You can check with your current bank to ask what will be the cost of sending money to your new bank account in Malta.
Another option involves reaching out to a money transfer company. If that is something you’re considering, it’s worth taking some time to do research and find the company offering the most competitive fees. This is simple to do by checking a price comparison website to see the applicable charges from different companies. Remember that fees associated to a money transfer company are independent from bank processing fees, meaning you’ll have to pay processing fees to both entities.
An overview of Maltese cash control regulations
You have no limits to how much money you are allowed to carry when crossing the French border, but you’ll be required to officially declare the amount you have on you if it exceeds ten thousand euro (€10,000). This rule applies no matter if you’re carrying actual currency, cheques, coupons or other financial instruments. The only way to avoid having to declare how much money you have on you is by using international bank transfers to send the money.
Understanding repercussions of Eurozone crisis in Malta
If you’re an expat in Malta you will be wise to remember the banking crisis in Cyprus that happened recently in 2013, where several bank accounts were confiscated by the government. A similar scenario is not to be overlooked in Malta, since similar to Cyprus this country is also a widely used haven for offshore bank accounts. This means that both countries have banking resources far exceeding their GPD, which can be troublesome if local banks run into difficulties.
Given the situation above, there’s always a possibility of banking deposits being subject to unexpected taxing, so it’s better to plan ahead for such a possibility. Expats in Malta can minimize risks by keeping some of their money in another bank account within the Eurozone, but research is important when doing so. When doing substantial money transfers, you should always make sure to so some research on the safety of any bank where you’re planning to create a new account.