How to open a bank account in Malta as an American

Gabriela Peratello

Malta offers a relaxed, laid back lifestyle, affordable cost of living and incredible natural beauty, making it a popular pick for new arrivals including retirees, digital nomads and freelancers, entrepreneurs, young professionals and families.

If you’re hoping to live in Malta you’ll need a bank account to hold, spend and exchange euros. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started on moving your financial life to the island.


Can foreigners open a bank account in Malta from abroad?

You may be able to open a Maltese bank account from abroad if you choose a bank that exists in both the US and Malta; like HSBC®. If your preferred bank doesn’t have a local presence in the US the chances are that you’ll have to wait until you arrive to get set up.

Even where banks state that you can become a customer online, you’ll often find that you can start the process but you’ll ultimately need to visit a branch to complete the application and get your paperwork all sorted out.

Can a US citizen open a bank account as a non-resident of Malta?

Non-resident accounts are relatively hard to find from Maltese banks. You may want to reach out to your preferred bank individually to check if they have any services which may suit your needs.

If not, one option is to stick with a global bank which offers multi-currency accounts that you may be able to open from the US prior to relocating, to hold and spend euros conveniently.

What documents do you need to open a bank account in Malta?

To ensure that your application moves quickly, bring the following documents to the bank with you:

  • Passport and a valid residence permit

  • Proof of address such as a utility bill or government letter

  • Tax ID and information to show tax residence

  • Proof of your link with Malta - proof of employment, proof of property ownership, or local study for example

What does opening a bank account in Malta look like?

Usually opening a bank account can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, and must be completed in person.

Assuming you have the right documents in hand, you’ll simply go to the bank, fill out an application form and wait while the banker processes your account. Next you’ll wait to get to your debit card, which can take up to 10 days.

What are some of the best banks in Malta?

Banking in Malta comes with a range of options, from small local banks to huge international ones. While the best bank for you will vary depending on what perks and services you need most, the following are the most popular banks in Malta:

Bank of Valletta®

A local Maltese bank, the Bank of Valletta¹ serves customers all across Malta with branches and ATMs scattered throughout the tiny nation.

Services from the Bank of Valletta include:
  • Checking and savings accounts

  • Debit and credit cards

  • Personal finance and loans

  • Business banking

  • Wealth management services for private customers

HSBC Malta®

One of the biggest banks internationally, HSBC² has a decent selection of branches and locations stretched across Malta. Customers can choose from a range of accounts based on how large a deposit they keep in the bank, as well as the services they need.

HSBC services include:
  • Broad selection of accounts for different customer needs

  • Phone and internet banking services

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Varied types of insurance

  • Global View and global transfers

IIG Bank®

A much smaller bank, IIG Bank³ has just two locations on the island, but is still a popular choice among locals.

IIG services include:
  • Internet banking

  • Day to day and savings accounts

  • Debit cards

  • Corporate banking and international trade finance services

Maltese bank account costs and fees

No matter where in the world you bank, you’re going to encounter fees. Some of the most common are account maintenance fees, transfer fees and ATM fees.

While these types of charges typically can’t be completely avoided, it’s important to check the price list of your prospective bank to ensure the fees that come with the services you need most aren’t too high.

ATM fees

Taking out cash from an ATM that belongs to a bank other than yours will typically mean paying a fee. It’s a good idea to choose a bank with a branch, or ATM well located relative to your home or office to avoid these fees.

Other common bank fees

Usually a checking account comes with pretty nominal fees, although there may also be a fee for any linked cards you choose to get. Other types of accounts come with different fee ranges, all of which should be listed on your bank’s website, or can be requested in person before opening an account.

It’s also important to watch out for other surprise fees like an early closure fee if you shut your account within about 6 months, and an account dormant fee if you don’t transact for 2 years or so.

Fees for international transfers

If you’re sending money between Malta and the US, it’s worth checking the fees and the exchange rate your bank can offer you.

Often you’ll find a markup has been added to the mid-market rate to calculate the retail rate given to customers, which means you’re paying an extra fee in addition to any upfront transfer charge.

All in all, banking in Malta is an easy, straightforward process. With your finances set up, you’re free to enjoy all the benefits of a Maltese lifestyle, from incredible beaches to delicious cuisine. Good luck opening your bank account in Malta!


  1. Bank of Valletta
  2. HSBC Malta
  3. IIG Bank Malta

Sources checked on 10.19.2023

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 Wise Payments 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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