Open a bank account online in Malaysia: Fees and requirements

Hannes Ausmees
23.09.22
6 minute read

Hoping to open a bank account online in Malaysia? This guide covers all you need to know. We’ll look at how to open a bank account online in Malaysia, how to open a bank account in Malaysia for foreigners, and a run through the key accounts for online opening from our biggest banks.

We’ll also touch on how the Wise multi-currency account account might suit you if you’re looking for an easy online account in Malaysia, as getting your Malaysian bank account set up online may be harder than you expect.

Table of contents

Can foreigners open a bank account in Malaysia? How about tourists?

You do not need to be a resident in Malaysia to open a bank account - however, you’ll need a valid work permit or appropriate visa, which means short term tourists are not likely to be able to get a Malaysian bank account set up. Long term foreign residents in Malaysia with appropriate documentation should not have any problem opening an account.

Can I open a bank account online in Malaysia?

Opening a bank account online in Malaysia may be a bit trickier than you think. Whether or not you can open your Malaysian bank account online will depend a lot on your situation, the type of account you need, and your preferred bank.

Because each banking brand can choose their own process for account opening, there’s a pretty broad range of approaches. Some of the major Malaysian banks have started to allow some form of online application, or even digital wallets which are entirely operated online. Others still require you to attend the branch, and may even need a referral from an existing customer to get started.

Let’s take a look at how some of the main Malaysian banks compare with each other and Wise - a non-bank alternative specialist provider, which offers online account opening. We’ll look at which accounts can be opened online, how the process works, the documents needed, and whether a foreigner in Malaysia can open these accounts.

Accounts that can be opened onlineAccount opening fully online?Required documentsAvailable for foreigners?
MaybankMAE e-WalletOther Maybank accounts can be opened online if you’re already a registered Maybank customer - but for your first account you need to visit a branch in person

Malaysian IC or foreign passport

Secondary documents including driving license, utility bills or a letter of employment may also be required

Many Maybank accounts are available to foreigners with valid documents
CIMBCIMB savings accounts may be available for online opening based on your situationIn most cases you’ll need to send CIMB your contact details so they can talk you through account opening, which may require a branch visit

Identity card or passport

Utility bill

A range of CIMB accounts can be opened by foreigners with Malaysian residency
Public BankNot usually availableOnline account opening is not usually available

Passport or other ID documents

Foreign applicants may also need a valid pass or other supporting documents

Public Bank offers accounts to foreigners - but you may need an introducer, or a valid residency pass
Hong Leong

Basic Savings Account

Pay & Save Account

Some accounts can be opened online but the documents required means this is only really available to Malaysian citizens and residentsMalaysian ID card, MyKad, Malaysian phone number, and another Malaysian bank accountAccounts may be available to foreigners, but you’ll need to discuss your needs with a relationship manager to confirm your options
RHB

RHB Smart Account-i

MaxSave Account

RHB Savings Account-i

Online opening is available, subject to eligibility which includes having a Malaysian phone number

Passport or MyKad/MyPR

Proof of legal status in Malaysia if not a Malaysian citizen

Proof of ownership of a Malaysian phone number

Accounts are available to foreigners in Malaysia with valid documents
Bank IslamNot usually availableOnline account opening is not usually availableSend your contact details to Bank Islam to have a team member contact you and discuss the documents neededAccounts usually only available to Malaysian citizens and PRs
Wise (non-bank alternative)Wise multi-currency accountAccount can be fully opened online or in the Wise appGovernment issued ID - you may also need a valid visa if you’re not a Malaysia citizen or PR, and you may be asked to take a selfie for verificationAccounts offered to customers in most countries around the world, excluding a short list of locations where accounts can not be opened or used

Bank accounts you can open online without going to the bank in Malaysia

Here’s an overview of how some of the most popular banks in Malaysia allow customers to open an account at the time of writing:¹⁻⁷

  • Maybank - open account online: You can start an application for many accounts online, but may still be required to visit a branch to show your documents and complete the process. Check out the MAE e-wallet if you need a simple account you can set up entirely online.
  • CIMB - open account online: Some account types let you start your application online - but you’ll still often need to visit a branch to verify your identity and/or collect your debit card.
  • Public Bank - open account online: You’ll need to visit a branch to open your account - in some cases you also need an introducer, who is a present customer of the bank, and who can attend the branch with you.
  • Hong Leong - open account online: You can open several account types online - however, there’s a catch. You need to already be in Malaysia and hold a bank account there, making this tricky for non-residents and new arrivals.
  • RHB - open account online: Some accounts can be opened online, and RHB may even be able to deliver your debit card to your home. Not available in all areas, or for all account types.
  • Bank Islam - pass your details to Bank Islam online, and a team member will contact you to offer account opening support. Most accounts are only offered to Malaysian citizens and PRs.

An easy alternative: Wise multi-currency account

wise-account-card-photo

Opening a bank account online in Malaysia can still prove to be a bit of a challenge. One easy alternative is to open a Wise multi-currency account online or in the Wise app, to hold and exchange 50+ currencies, get a linked debit card for easy spending, and access currency exchange which uses the mid-market rate every time. If you’re a Malaysian resident you can also get MYR bank details, plus local bank details for 9 other currencies, to get paid fee free from 30+ countries.

Open your account easily with just a few steps:

  1. Download the Wise app or head to the Wise desktop site
  2. Register an account with your email address, FaceBook, Google or Apple ID
  3. Upload your documents for verification - your MyKad or passport and visa
  4. Order your linked debit card if you’d like one, for a one time fee of 13.7 MYR
  5. Add funds to your account in MYR, USD or SGD
  6. Open MYR account details for free
  7. You’re ready to start using your Wise account

Easy - and with no need to visit a bank branch, or even leave home at all!

Sign up for free🚀

wise-malaysia-account-design

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.


Required documents to open a bank account in Malaysia

The documents you need will vary a little depending on the bank and the type of account you’re opening. You can expect to need the following in most cases:

  • Proof of ID, such as a passport
  • Proof of legal residence in Malaysia - residence permit or visa
  • Proof of employment, such as a letter from your employer
  • Minimum opening deposit - varies by bank

Depending on the bank itself, you may also have to give biometric data like your fingerprint, for security purposes, or take along a friend to introduce you to the bank and vouch for your integrity.


Opening a bank account FAQ

How to write a letter to open a bank account for your employee in Malaysia

If you’re a business owner and a new employee needs help opening a bank account, you may be asked to write a bank opening request letter for company employees. Here’s a sample letter to open a bank account for an employee in Malaysia to get you started.

Sample letter
    Date
      Bank and branch details
        For the attention of Bank Name Customer Service Department
          We hereby confirm that employee name, passport or identification card number, is employed by company name.
            We are aware that employee name would like to open an account with Bank Name, to receive his salary and manage his daily expenses, and would be very grateful if you can arrange this together. Thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.
              Yours faithfully,
                Signature and Company Stamp

              How to open a company bank account in Malaysia

              Opening a company bank account usually requires more verification - and more paperwork - than opening an individual account. If you do not already have an account with your preferred bank, you’ll almost certainly need to visit a branch to set up your account.


              Summary

              Opening a traditional bank account online in Malaysia may not be easy but it is possible with one or two major banks. Banks are starting to move more towards greater flexibility in their services, and so you may well find that the options for online account opening increase in future.

              Getting your bank account up and running is far harder if you’re not a Malaysian citizen or PR, or if you don’t have all the required paperwork in place just yet. As an alternative - and for a more flexible account with no minimum balance and no monthly fee - check out the Wise multi-currency account and card, instead.

              wise-card-landed-big


              Sources:

              1. Accounts | Maybank Malaysia
              2. Maybank2U
              3. Current Accounts | Open a Bank Account Online
              4. How to open a Current Account
              5. Current / Savings Account Recommender - Hong Leong Bank Malaysia
              6. RHB Online Account Opening
              7. Online Account Opening

              Sources checked on 23.09.2022


              This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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