This guide to the best banks in Malaysia for 2020 will walk through some key points about the major bank brands. We’ll look at important criteria for choosing the right bank for you, including the account types available, bank size and number of branches.
To help you save money when banking across borders, we will also touch on a smart way to cut international payment fees, using Wise.
If you're an expat in Malaysia, you might need to send money abroad regularly.
A crucial thing to remember when sending money abroad is to always check exchange rates. The true cost of an international transaction isn’t just the upfront transfer fees.
|Banks/providers||Transfer time||Transfer fee||Exchange rate (1 MYR → EUR)||Recipient gets|
|Maybank||in 1-3 days||10.00 MYR||Exchange rate with a markup (0.198349)||1,981.51 EUR|
|Public Bank||in 2 days||32.00 MYR||Exchange rate with a markup (0.198076)||1,974.42 EUR|
|Wise||in 3 hours||54.56 MYR||Real exchange rate (0.201291)||2,001.93 EUR Send money|
(August 17, 15:14(GMT+3))
Maybank may look like the cheapest option in the example above. But when you factor in exchange rates, you’ll see that your recipient actually receives more when using Wise even when sending the same amount. So, in this case, the total cost is actually cheaper with Wise. You can check more banks’ telegraphic transfer fees here.
If you’re looking for a bank in Malaysia, you have plenty of choice. There are some strong local banks, banks with a regional presence, and global banking giants all operating in Malaysia. Each has its own features and benefits - so choosing the right one for you will require some research. Here are some key pointers to get you started.
Maybank is Malaysia’s largest bank, operating throughout the country and broader region.²
Maybank2u is Maybank’s online banking system, which provides a convenient and reliable way for customers to engage and manage their money. With Maybank you can also open accounts - including savings accounts - online. You can budget, make cashless payments, access Shariah compliant features and more, through Maybanks’ MAE.
Maybank also has some great specialist accounts including a range of saving accounts.
CIMB is one of the largest investment banks in Asia and one of the largest Islamic banks in the world.³
CIMB Clicks is the online banking service from CIMB. In Malaysia alone, there are 3.3 million customers using CIMB Clicks accounts.
Public Bank is Malaysia’s 3rd largest bank with 19,000 staff and a representation across South East Asia and beyond.⁴
Public Bank has a full range of products and services including accounts, loans and insurance. In fact, Public Bank has a market share of close to 20% of all residential property financing, and nearly 30% in the passenger vehicle financing market.⁵
RHB operates for both private and commercial customers, with a full range of banking and investment products.⁶
RHB is the 4th largest financial services group in Malaysia, with strong online and mobile banking options to make life more convenient for customers. You can apply for some accounts online, and manage your money on the move through your preferred device.
Hong Leong has an existing - and ever growing - footprint in the Asian region, with global services and Islamic banking products also available.⁷
Hong Leong has a strong regional presence and has been recognised with awards including Best Domestic Bank and Best Digital Bank at 2018’s Asiamoney awards. You’ll find a full range of banking products and services available, and a range of smart ways to manage your money online or using your mobile devices.
Looking for a better way to send money overseas? With Wise, you can send money to 70+ countries with low, transparent fees and the mid-market exchange rate. Compared to Malaysian banks, it can be up to 4 x cheaper to send money abroad with Wise. Most likely much faster as well.
If you receive money from overseas regularly, it’s good to know that with a Wise multi-currency account, you can get paid from the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and any Eurozone country, just as if you had a local bank account in those countries. Hold your money in 50+ different currencies, and switch it using the mid-market rate whenever you want to.
To send money with Wise,
- Create a free account
- Choose an amount to send
- Add recipient’s bank details
- Verify your identity
- Pay for your transfer by bank transfer or debit/credit card
And that is it! You can track your transfer in your account and your recipient will also be notified when a transfer reaches them.
Join 8 million customers and enjoy a cheaper, faster and transparent way to send money abroad with the “real” exchange rate.
The AmBank group includes brands which focus on retail and business banking, Islamic banking, insurance and investment. This means a wide range of products and services for AmBank customers.⁸
AmBank has a good range of services for customers, and online and mobile banking which is growing in use and functionality. In fact, between 2017 and 2019, the number of transactions carried out online went up 250%, with an increase of 150 times for mobile transactions.
UOB - United Overseas Bank - has over 500 branches in 19 countries, and has been in Malaysia since 1951. You can access banking and Islamic banking products through a network of local branches, and online.⁹
UOB started out in 1935, mainly serving the Fujian community. These days, UOB is represented in 19 countries and is one of the largest banks in the region. As you would expect of a large and well established bank, you can get a broad range of products suited to different customer needs.
Bank Rayat is the biggest Islamic Cooperative Bank in Malaysia, and the 2nd largest Islamic financial institution in the country offering personal and business banking based on Islamic principles.¹º
Bank Rakyat offers a comprehensive range of products and essential services including basic banking in underserved rural areas. You can manage your money via a branch, online and mobile banking, call centre and more.
OCBC is a long established bank with a significant presence in Malaysia and around the region. As you’d expect, you can get a good range of products and services with strong online and mobile banking options.¹¹
OCBC in Malaysia offers consumer, business and investment banking, as well as Islamic banking services under its dedicated subsidiary.
HSBC is one of the best known global banking brands, with a strong presence in Malaysia and around the South East Asia region. In fact, HSBC has had a footprint in Malaysia since 1884.¹²⁺¹³
HSBC has a long history in Malaysia. Back in the early 1980s, it was HSBC which introduced the first ATM to the country, and HSBC was a front runner in bringing electronic banking to Malaysia too. These days, you can access a broad range of products and services for personal and business customers, online, in branches and via your mobile.
Finding a bank in Malaysia won’t prove difficult. But getting the right bank and account for your needs requires a little research. Take this guide as a starting point to help you find the bank that best suits you - and don’t forget to check out Wise for low cost international payments.
- Wise | Compare exchange rates (August 17, 15:14(GMT+3))
- Maybank | Annual Reports
- CIMB | 2019 Annual Report
- Public Bank | Annual Reports
- Public Bank | Corporate Profile
- RHB group | 2019 Annual Report
- Hong Leong Bank Berhad | Annual Report 2019
- Ambank | Annual Report 2019
- United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd | Annual Report 2019
- Bank Rakyat | Annual Report
- OCBC | Who we are
- HSBC | HSBC in Malaysia
- HSBC | About HSBC
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