Every business requires a business account in order to operate successfully. Any size of business, whether self-employed, freelancers, start-ups or large corporations, a business or personal account is required in order to receive and send payments.
The most important things to consider is the access, such as apps, internet banking and physical presence, their services and competitive fees. These are all important factors to consider when choosing the financial institution that suits your business or personal needs best.
How to open a bank account in Malta
Every EU national is by law entitled to a basic bank account, as long as the applicant doesn’t already have one. Otherwise, banks are obliged to provide one. The documents required to open a bank account in Malta are:
- Copy of ID document
- Maltese residence permit (e-ID card)
- Proof of address (Utility bill or valid rental agreement)
- Contract of employment
- Recent payslips
- Letter of reference from a licensed bank in the previous country of residence, or your Maltese employer.
The basic payment account provides access to the following services:
- Checking and deposit
- EU direct debits
- SEPA transfers
- Online banking
Some banks have additional requirements or alternatives to the ones mentioned above. All banks have their own processes and possible additional requirements. Some banks do not provide cards and some require an additional deposit in order to open the account.
The preferred banks in Malta
The majority of Maltese residents have accounts with the 5 major personal account providers in Malta. These provide basic payment accounts and have a network of ATM's around the country. The following banks are the most prominent:
- Bank of Valletta Plc
- HSBC Bank Malta Plc
- BNF Bank Malta
- MAPS Bank Ltd.
- Medirect Bank
They generally require you to show up in person in order to open an account. The opening hours for banks in Malta are generally as follows:
Monday - Thursday: 8:30am - 1:30pm
Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm (some close at 1:30pm)
Saturday: 8:30am - 12:30pm
Some banks have shorter opening hours. It is best to check the branch you plan to visit and take into consideration queues.
How to Open a Business Bank Account in Malta
Similarly to personal bank accounts, business bank account application in Malta can generally be started online, but expect to have to visit a branch in order to set up an appointment and complete the process of opening a business bank account in Malta.
The following documents are generally required to set up a bank account in Malta:
- KYC (Know Your Client) Form duly filled out
- The preferred type of Business Account needed
- Trading Currency
- A Tax Declaration Plan
- Future Projections together with Past Business profit margins.
- Certified copies of:
- Companies Certificate of Registration
- Companies Memorandum and Articles of Associations
- Proof of Company’s Registered Address — in most cases in the form of the most recent utility bill of your office space.
- Certified and Authenticated Identification Documentation of all the company’s directors, beneficiaries, and company secretary. These copies need to have the approval stamp from a major bank or the local Maltese Embassy.
- Reference Letters issued by a Bank for either / Or each one of:-
- The entire senior management employed by the company
- The Board of Directors
- A Letter / Form of Intent. Articulating their intent for that particular choice of Bank in Malta
Types of Accounts Offered to Businesses
Licensed banks in Malta provide a variety of types of accounts, all with difference options and fees. Generally, the accounts offered to businesses vary from bank to bank, and so do their fees. There are also differentness financial requirements, such as minimum capital deposited, individual repayment plans and interest rates.
The following generic accounts are often available from banks in Malta:
- Business Checking/ Deposit Account
- Business Savings Account
- Business Loan
- Business Credit Card
- Business Overdraft
- Start-Up Business Account
Business Checking/Deposit Account
This account is on many levels the same as a personal account. It allows you to deposit, withdraw and access funds. One can transfer and receive payments as usual, but no interest is earning on funds in the account.
Business Savings Account
A business savings account often restricts the access to funds, opposed to the checking and deposit account. Often higher deposit amounts are required and interest is earned over generally over a fixed term.
Business Loan Accounts
Loan accounts offer access to capital and can be divided into two categories:
- Working capital finance, which is money borrowed to cover day to day expense of running the business.
- Asset finance, which is money borrowed to finance equipment and products needed to operate the business.
Although both types provide access the capital, they have very different reasons for borrowing and rules for what the funds can be used for. The loans are generally paid back over an agreed term and fees from the profits of the company.
Business Credit Cards
Credit cards can be issued to owners and employees of the company in order to facilitate business expenditure. These have a maximum amount of credit and are generally associated with high fees.
A overdraft account may also be available for businesses. Similarly to a credit card, it provides a buffer of available funds to ensure business continuity. Overdraft accounts can only be accessed through internet banking, in general, and carry some fees.
Start-up Business Account
This account type offered by some banks is tailored to some extend for new start-ups. They may contain easier opening requirements, lower interest rates but with lower, or no possibility for overdrafts and credit cards etc.
Requirements for Applying for a Business Loan
Loans issued to businesses and companies often require extensive documentation and forecasting of the business performance. Some of the requirements include:
- Forecasts of cashflow
- Current and future financial investments
- A detailed repayment plan
- Awareness and documentation on risk factors that may impede the repayments of the loan
Often it is a question of being able to document the ability to repay the amount borrowed from the bank.
Top Corporate and Business Banks in Malta
- Bank of Valletta Plc
- HSBC Bank Malta Plc
- First International Merchant Bank
- IIG Bank
- Akbank TAS
- Credorax Bank
- AgriBank Plc
- BNF Bank Malta
- FCM Bank
- Sparkasse Bank Malta Plc
- Medirect Bank
There are a few banks designated as core domestic banks by the Malta Financial Authority due to financial stability. These are:
- APS Bank p.l.c.
- Bank of Valletta p.l.c.
- BNF Bank p.l.c.
- HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c.
- Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c.
- MeDirect Bank (Malta) p.l.c.
However, there are other members and banks operating in Malta as well. There is a full list of listened banks available in Malta on the MBA website.
The Benefits of Opening a Bank Account in Malta
Malta has a renowned status with a stable and well regulated financial sector. Furthermore, efforts in regulating and supporting technology, such as iGaming and cryptocurrencies, have put Malta at the forefront of the International Banking Industry and EU. The innovation and well regulated financial industry has resulted in many international businesses choosing Malta as their home-base and preferred banking location.
Some of the main benefits are:
- Malta’s Strong Economy
- Strategic Location
- Diverse Business Markets
- Double Taxation Agreements
- Low Corporate Taxes
- International Trade Currencies