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How to Open a Bank Account in Malaysia in 2024

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You can open a bank account in Malaysia simply by filling out an application and verifying your identity. Some banks mandate in-person verification.

Required documents include ID such as MyKad, MyPR, or passport and contact details.

Non-residents can open Malaysian bank accounts, but they need extra documentation such as work permits, active visas, and a reference from a local contact. 

For a business account, prepare IDs for all directors and authorised signatories, Articles of Association, Certificate of Incorporation, Business Registration, proof of address, a Board of Directors' Resolution, and other relevant business information.

Malaysia's GDP is projected to grow by USD 157.6 billion, or 35.37%, between 2024 and 2029.  This economic growth offers significant opportunities for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, it means a stronger job market. For businesses, it translates to better investment opportunities.

If you're planning to relocate to Malaysia or establish a business there, securing a bank account is essential. 

So, where should you start? This guide provides an overview of banking in Malaysia, outlines the steps to open a bank account, and addresses common questions regarding costs, processing times, etc.

Banking in Malaysia

The most distinctive characteristic of Malaysian banking to understand is its dual system, which incorporates both conventional and Islamic banking options.

  • Conventional Banking: This system operates like most international banking systems, using interest rates for deposits and loans. 
  • Islamic Banking: Adhering to Islamic principles, this system prohibits interest. Instead, Islamic banks use profit-sharing structures for financial products. For example, if a bank lends to a business, the business repays without interest and shares profits with the bank. If the business doesn't profit, the bank doesn't benefit either. Islamic banking is accessible to everyone, regardless of religion.

The choice of banking system depends on your financial objectives. If you prefer banking without interest, Islamic banking could be suitable. However, it's advisable to verify whether they offer the specific products you require, as some may have fewer options, especially in investment.

Can a Foreigner Open A Bank Account in Malaysia?

Yes, a foreigner can open a bank account in Malaysia, but eligibility depends on the bank's requirements. Generally, you'll need to provide more documents than residents, and you need a reference from your employer or a Malaysian contact. 

Most banks will require you to be present in person during the verification process.

A dropdown of some supported currencies by the Statrys business account.

What Documents Are Needed to Open A Bank Account in Malaysia?

To open a bank account in Malaysia, like anywhere else, you'll need proper documentation. The required documents vary based on the bank and the type of account you're applying for, but below is a common list:

Required Documents For a Personal Account



Identification documents 

Most banks accept MyKad ID (Also known as NRIC) for Malaysian citizens, MyPR for permanent residents, passports, or other government-issued identification documents.

Contact information in Malaysia

Malaysian phone numbers and address

Additional Documents for Non-Permanent Residents

Non-permanent residents and non-residents can open bank accounts in Malaysia, but additional documents will be required depending on the bank's requirements. Often, a valid passport and an active visa or proof of legal status in Malaysia are necessary. 

Here are some of the common documents:



Work Permit (Employment Pass), along with the employer’s confirmation letter

If you are employed by a Malaysian company or work in Malaysia as a foreigner, you will need to provide a government-issued work permit and a confirmation letter from your Malaysian employer.

A letter from an employer should include the employer’s contact information.

Dependent Pass (If applicable) 

The Malaysian Dependent Permit is a certification that allows individuals to enter the country as dependents of Malaysian employees or student pass holders for an extended period.

MM2H Permit (If applicable) 

The Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) is a program that allows foreigners to reside in Malaysia under a long-term visa by meeting certain financial and medical criteria established by the Government of Malaysia. 

Residence Pass (If applicable) 

A Residence Pass is issued to foreign nationals who have family ties to Malaysian citizens or Malaysian Permanent Residents (such as parents, spouses, etc.) and former Malaysians.

Required Documents For a Business Account



All director, shareholder, and authorised signatories' identification documents

MyKad for citizens or passports for foreigners. 

Memorandum or Article of Association

Sometimes referred to together as the "Company's Constitution" in Malaysia. They outline the company's purpose, structure, and governance.

Certificate of Incorporation for Sdn. Bhd. companies (limited liability companies) 

A certificate of Incorporation is issued by the Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (Companies Commission of Malaysia; SSM) upon successful registration. The bank requires this document to verify your company's legal existence.

Business Registration for partnerships and other business structures

Business Registration confirms your business is officially registered and authorised to operate in Malaysia.

Proof of your business location in Malaysia, such as a tenancy agreement or utility bill.

Other business details

Additional information that confirms the activities of your business, such as the Board of Directors' Resolution, shareholder structure, and Business Plan.

Letter of Business Partnership (for partnerships)

If you jointly own a business in Malaysia with a Malaysian citizen as your partner(s), provide a signed letter of acknowledgement of your business partnership.

Letter of Introduction

Although not always mandatory, obtaining a recommendation from an existing bank customer can enhance your application in Malaysia.

5 Steps to Open A Bank Account in Malaysia

Now that we've covered general banking information in Malaysia and the usual required documents, this section breaks down the account opening process into five common steps. 

These steps will guide you through the common requirements, regardless of whether you're a resident or non-resident and whether it's for personal or business purposes.


Choose a Bank Account Type

The first step is to determine which type of account suits your needs. Here are common types of accounts available for both residents and foreigners in Malaysia.

  • Savings Account: A savings account helps you set aside money for future needs and allows you to access your funds with a debit card. You'll need an initial deposit, and some banks require a minimum balance. 
  • Current Account: An everyday banking account may require a good banking history and credit score to open. In Malaysia, your credit score can be obtained from two primary credit reporting agencies: CTOS and CCRIS. However, some banks offer basic current accounts with minimal eligibility checks.
  • Fixed Deposit: A savings account where you deposit a set amount for a fixed period at a fixed interest rate, offering higher returns than regular savings accounts.
  • Foreign or Multi-Currency Account: An account allowing you to hold and transact in one or multiple foreign currencies, useful for international transactions and currency management.

Tip: Learn more about the types of bank accounts for businesses.


Choosing a Malaysian Bank

Once you've decided on the type of account you want to open, it's time to choose a bank that offers the account types and the functions you need. 

There are many Malaysian banks to choose from, each with its own perks and advantages. 

Here's a list of the “Big 4”, or the most popular banks in Malaysia:


Maybank is the largest bank in Malaysia, operating in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. The bank provides a wide range of personal and banking services and is renowned for its Internet banking infrastructure and its extensive network of ATMs throughout the country.

Products are available to residents and non-residents.

Public Bank logo

Public Bank Berhad (PBE) is Malaysia's second-largest bank, offering a wide range of services, including banking, digital banking, foreign currency services, and more. The bank’s special emphasis is on serving small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Products are catered to both residents and non-residents.

CIMB logo

CIMB  is a Malaysian universal bank operating across ASEAN with an extensive retail branch network. They offer personal and business banking services, including the CIMB Clicks comprehensive online portal. 

Non-residents can open accounts with CIMB, but a number of services are exclusive to Malaysian citizens with MyKad. Some groups of non-residents have transaction limitations.

RHB logo

RHB Bank is a leading regional financial services provider in Malaysia with a significant presence in ASEAN. Operating across 8 countries, they offer a variety of services including multi-currency options for both personal and business banking.

Most products are available to residents and non-residents, with some exclusively for Malaysian citizens or permanent residents.

You can explore additional options by referring to this directory of authorised banks in Malaysia provided by the Malaysian Central Bank.


Fill in the Application

Once you've selected the bank and the type of account, visit the bank to check eligibility and prepare the necessary documents.

In addition to the documents, you should be able to download an application form to fill out or obtain one through the bank's contact channels.


Go through the Verification Process

Once submitted, the bank will review your application. Depending on their assessment, you might need to communicate with them or provide additional documents.

Some banks will require you to visit a branch to obtain a fingerprint stamp for background checks and identity verification.

Verification processes for business accounts are mandatory and more complex than those for personal accounts. 


Activate Your Account

Once your application is approved, the bank will notify you and provide instructions on activating your account. This process may include:

  • setting up online banking, where you will likely receive login credentials or be guided through creating them
  • depositing an initial amount

Some banks may require you to visit the branch to activate your account.

Can I Open a Bank Account Online in Malaysia?

Opening a traditional bank account online in Malaysia is challenging, especially for foreigners. Most banks allow you to apply online but require a visit to a bank branch to complete or activate the account. For foreigners, the process is even more complex due to stricter verification requirements.

Let’s look at some of the top bank online account opening conditions:

  • CIMB offers the OctoSavers Account-i, which can be opened entirely online, but eligibility is limited to Malaysian citizens with MyKad identification. For business accounts, all authorised signatories must physically visit branches for verification despite the availability of online account openings.
  • RHB facilitates online account opening and electronic KYC (Know Your Customer) processes; however, you need MyKad to activate the account.
  • Maybank provides online account opening services exclusively for existing customers.

If opening an account completely online is crucial, it's advisable to research the specific bank and account type beforehand. Checking their website or contacting them directly can provide clarity on the online application process.

A dropdown of some supported currencies by the Statrys business account.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Bank Account in Malaysia?

In Malaysia, most accounts don't have an opening fee, but you often need a minimum deposit to start. Minimum deposits range between MYR 200 and MYR 1,000 for personal accounts and MYR 1,000 to MYR  3,000 for business accounts.

How Long Does It Take to Open a Bank Account in Malaysia?

Opening a bank account in Malaysia takes a few hours to a few days, but for foreigners, it might take up to a week or more.

The time varies based on the bank, account type—with basic savings accounts being the fastest—and whether you have all the required documents. In some cases, such as opening a business account, being a foreigner, or having missing paperwork, the process can take longer due to additional verification requirements.


Setting up a bank account in Malaysia is a straightforward process, provided you have all the necessary documentation and understand the requirements specific to your residency status, whether you're a resident or a non-resident.

While Malaysia offers products for non-residents and has some online options to begin the process, completing the application may require some time and effort, particularly for non-residents, as verification likely requires in-person presence. 


What documents do I need to open a bank account in Malaysia?

To open a bank account in Malaysia, you'll need identification (MyKad, MyPR, or passport) and contact details. Non-residents require a work permit, visa, and a Malaysian contact’s reference. For business accounts, you need directors' IDs, incorporation documents, business registration, business details, and proof of address.

What are some of the banks in Malaysia?


Can foreigners open a bank account in Malaysia?


Looking for a business account?