Malta is a republic that sits in the heart of the Mediterranean sea. It became an EU member in May 2004 and started transacting with the Euro as their currency four years later. The country has one of the most efficient corporate structures and an attractive tax system, which makes it a desirable place to settle for many foreign nationals and investors.
Citizens and companies can set up various types of bank accounts in Malta. Natural persons usually open a current or personal bank account, which is available for Maltese and foreign citizens. Foreign citizens usually must have a good credit score in order to be allowed to open a bank account in Malta. Companies usually open a corporate bank account in which they can link the operations of their business activities in Malta and overseas.
How to Open a Bank Account in Malta
It is fairly easy to open a bank account in Malta, both for EU- and non-EU nationals. Only those with a certain amount of debt might be subjected to special terms. For example, when having a debt it might be required to first spend a certain amount of time in Malta before being able to open a bank account.
Doing your research
To open a bank account in Malta, it is important to first do your research and choose a bank that can offer the account you need (personal or corporate) and offers the products and services you require, such as internet banking, mobile banking, SEPA transfers, or multi-currency accounts.
The two most reputable banks in Malta are HSBC and Bank of Valletta (BOV), which together account for more than 80% of the country’s banking market. The next three most popular banks in Malta are Lombard Bank, APS Bank, and Banif Bank. See what options all banks have to offer and the differences between them, and go for the one which one meets your needs the most.
Gather the application documents
Once you have decided on the bank you would like to go for you will need to gather the necessary documentation to open an account. For a personal account, this typically includes:
- A valid identification document, such as a passport or ID Card. In some cases, a second verification document might be required;
- A proof of address with your full name and address, such as a utility bill or rental agreement;
- A confirmation of tax residency, including your country of tax residency and Tax Identification Number (TIN);
- A document to confirm your link with Malta (not applicable to Maltese nationals), such as a valid work contract, VAT certificate, property ownership contract or preliminary agreement showing your intent to purchase a property within the upcoming 6 months, or a rental agreement;
- Any documents to fulfil the obligations under FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act).
In addition to the above documents, banks may ask for more supporting documents. For example, they might ask for a reference letter from your current bank or employer, or a proof of income.
Corporate accounts usually have to provide the above documents for each shareholder and director of the company plus in addition they might ask for the company’s statutory documents, and the company’s certificate of good standing.
Visit the bank
Once you have gathered all the required documents, in most cases you can submit them digitally by uploading them in the online portal of the bank. To start the account opening process, most often you will still have to visit the bank in person and fill out an application form.
After you’ve submitted all the documents and filled out the application form, the bank will review your application and may conduct a credit check or ask for additional information or documentation.
Once your account has been approved, you will need to deposit funds to activate the account. The minimum deposit amount may vary depending on the bank.
As soon as your account has been activated, the bank will provide you with your account details, including your account number and online banking login information.
It is important to note that an account opening process may vary depending on the bank and individual / corporate circumstances. It’s always a good idea to research the specific requirements and processes of the bank you are interested in and to seek professional advice if needed.