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What are the best banks in Malta for opening bank accounts?

Malta has a stable banking system: there are local, non-core, and international banks in the country. The Malta Bankers' Association comprises 21 banks. The largest banks are HSBC Malta and Bank of Valletta (BOV), with 72 branches.

Both residents and non-residents can use banking services and open bank accounts in Malta to feel financially secure. This process usually takes about 2 weeks.

Read on to find out which banks in Malta are best suited for opening accounts and how you can get a residency in Malta to use all banking services freely.
What are the best banks in Malta for opening bank accounts

Banking system in Malta 

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) regulates the banking industry in Malta and issues banking licences. 

The Malta Bankers' Association comprises 21 banks. Six of them are systemically important: they keep the stability of the country's banking system.

Bank of Valletta (BOV) and HSBC Malta are the largest banks in Malta. They have a considerable market share with 72 branches. These banks offer a more diverse list of services than other banks in Malta and have extensive experience working with non-residents. 

Malta has branches of international banks, for example, Akbank, Credit Europe, Finaro, and FIMBank. Most of their head offices are concentrated in Valletta or St. Julian's, but some companies open branches in other locations.

Some banks have a specific purpose. For example, AgriBank is a commercial bank for the UK agricultural sector and operates only online. Credorax (Finaro) offers payment processing to EU merchants. So, it would help if you chose a bank according to your goals. 

List of popular banks in Malta

AgriBank p.l.c.agribankplc.comMalta International Airport
Akbank T.A.S.akbank.comSt. Julian's
APS Bank
Bank of Valletta p.l.c.bov.comSt. Venera
BNF Bank p.l.c.bnf.bankGzira
Credit Europe Bank
Credorax Bank Ltd. (Finaro)finaro.comValletta 
Ferratum Bank p.l.c.ferratumbank.comSliema, Valletta 
FCM Bank Julian's, Valletta 
FIMBANK p.l.c.fimbank.comSt. Julian's
Garanti BBVA Malta Branchgarantibank.comSt. Julian's, Sliema
HSBC Bank Malta, Qormi, Balzan 
IIG Bank (Malta) Ltd.iigbank-malta.comSt. Julian's
Izola Bank p.l.c.izolabank.comValletta 
Lombard Bank Malta p.l.c.lombardmalta.comValletta 
MeDirect Bank 
Merkanti Bank Ltd.merkantibank.comSt. Julian's
NBG Bank Malta 
Novum Bank Ltd.novumbankgroup.comTa'Xbiex
Sparkasse Bank Malta p.l.c.sparkasse-bank-malta.comSliema 

Which banks in Malta are better suited for opening bank accounts

Malta offers three options to open a bank account: to go to large local banks, use services in online banks, or open an account with multinational banks.

Maltese banks allow both residents and non-residents to open accounts for personal and business purposes. 

For non-residents, it can be trickier to open an account because the list of documents they have to provide is longer than in many other countries. Non-residents may also have difficulty passing Due Diligence checks. If potential clients have not passed verification, they are refused without explanation. 

These are the most popular banks for opening an account, but you can also check the conditions of other banks.

Popular banks in Malta for opening bank accounts

BankBank typeFeatures Conditions
Bank of VallettaLocal bankThis is the largest bank in Malta, with a wide range of reliable services. They provide fast processing of your request, but the commission may be higher than in other banks.This bank requests:
1. A Maltese ID card or a passport.
2. A reference letter from your current bank.
3. A reference from your employer if you’ve already closed other accounts.

They also ask you to provide one of the following documents:
1. Work contract.
2. Reference from your bank, an employer, or a lawyer.
3. Real estate purchase contract.
4. Rental agreement, with at least 6 months validity. 
HSBC Bank MaltaMultinationalThis is the largest international bank in Malta. 

It isn’t easy to open accounts with this bank, but if you already have an HSBC account in another country, they can quickly transfer your data.
This bank has similar terms to the Bank of Valletta. Therefore, you must provide the following documents:
1. A Maltese ID card or a passport.
2. If you don't have a residence card or proof of address, like a utility bill or rental contract.
3. Bank reference.
4. Proof of income.
BNF BankLocal bankThis bank doesn’t require a reference from your current or previous bank. 

However, BNF Bank doesn’t provide references to their clients, so if you later decide to switch banks, this could create a few challenges. 
This bank requests:
1. A Maltese ID card or a passport.
2. A 12-month term deposit of €500.
3. If you don't have a residence card, a recent utility bill as proof of address.
4. Work contract or other proof of income.
MeDirectLocal online bankThis is the third largest bank in Malta, specialising in savings and investment products. The bank allows opening a bank account online. Bank requirements: 
1. Be over 18 years of age.
2. Be a resident of an EU country.
3. Have your mobile nearby.
4. Hold a valid ID card or a passport.

You can submit documents online, and to verify your ID, you can either upload a scan or take a selfie. 

How to open a personal bank account in Malta

Maltese banks allow the opening of a personal bank account and a corporate one. These options differ in terms and the list of documents that you must provide to open such accounts. The process of opening an account usually takes about 2 weeks. 

1. Select a bank. You must visit a Malta bank branch or apply online to open a personal bank account. A preliminary application for opening an account can be sent via the bank's website, and then you can come to the bank to sign the contract.

Individuals usually open personal bank accounts to save money or provide some payments. The interest on the account balance or term deposits in Malta is practically 0, so it will not be possible to get a noticeable additional income.

2. Choose the necessary type of account . Banks usually ask about the purpose of opening an account. 

For example, the Bank of Valletta offers to choose one of these goals: personal savings, rental income, salary or pension, social security benefits, or Investment income.

Then banks usually offer the following personal bank accounts:

  • Current Account. This type is used to provide non-cash payments and is intended for everyday use. In most cases, you will be issued a debit or credit card as soon as the account is activated.
  • Basic Account. This is a free current account designed to meet basic banking needs.
  • Savings Account. This type allows holders to deposit funds, limiting their withdrawal. Its primary purpose is to receive interest.

3. Pay for service. Most Maltese banks do not charge a monthly fee for current accounts. Banks make money by charging fees for payments, minimum deposit fees, early account closure, and other services. The cost of services depends on the bank. 

4. Provide the documents. In Malta, banks usually require the following documents to open an account:

  1. Passport, residence card, or ID for non-residents.
  2. A bank reference, either from your current bank or a previous one. This document is always required for citizens of non-EU countries.
  3. A utility bill with your full residential address.
  4. The application form may vary depending on the selected bank.

When you pass the verification, your account will be opened.

How to open a corporate bank account in Malta

1. Select a bank. A corporate account can be opened in the largest banks in Malta, for example, in the Bank of Valletta or HSBC. The duration of opening a corporate bank account in Malta depends on the requirements of the banks. The bank account is opened after checking the necessary documents. When it is available, you can carry out banking transactions even with online banking services.

Some managers or business owners open a corporate bank account at the same bank where they have a personal account. 

Check the following data before opening business savings or checking bank account:

  • transaction fees;
  • minimum account balance fees;
  • introductory offers;
  • interest rates for checking and savings;
  • interest rates for lines of credit;
  • early termination fees.

If you need to open an account with merchant services, pay attention to the transaction fee, discount rate, Address Verification Service (AVS) fee, and minimum monthly fees. 

2. Register a company. You must first register a company in the country. This procedure usually takes 1—2 weeks.

Sometimes registering a company in Malta helps to optimise taxes. Shareholders have the right to refund up to 100% of the corporate tax paid by the company, depending on its type of activity, organisational and legal form.

3. Provide the documents. The package of documents that companies need to prepare to open a corporate bank account differs from the one required for a personal account. 

Companies must provide the following documents:

  1. Copies of passports or local ID cards of all shareholders and managers.
  2. Copies of the company's incorporation documents.
  3. References from the banks in which shareholders and managers currently have accounts.
  4. Proof of a good reputation.
  5. Confirmation of the address of all shareholders and managers.

Foreign companies cannot open a bank account in Malta without this package of documents. The history of bankruptcy or debt can also minimise the chances of a successful outcome.

4. Receive your corporate bank account. When you pass the verification, your account will be opened.

Benefits of opening a bank account in Malta

Malta's banking system is stable. The stability of the EU banking system is ensured by the European Central Bank, or ECB. 

ECB determines the overall strategy of monetary policy. Malta is achieving the goals set by the ECB. The country also has a stable credit rating — the deterioration of the economy in the country is not expected.

Loan rates are low. For example, the car loan rate is about 5% with a loan term of up to 7 years.

The car loan rate in Malta

Deposits of up to €100,000 are insured against bank bankruptcy. Sometimes the insurance amount increases to €500,000, for example, if the money was received from the sale of real estate or was intended to purchase housing. It’s better to open deposits in different banks to ensure a significant amount from bankruptcy.

The Maltese Financial Services Authority, or MAFS, monitors compliance with banking rules. MAFS issues banking licences and monitors compliance with industry regulations. The Office also maintains a register of Malta's legal entities and oversees the insurance and investment sectors.

How to get a permanent residency in Malta to freely use banking services

Malta Permanent Residence Programme allows non-EEA, non-EU, and non-Swiss residents to obtain permanent residency in Malta by investment in the country’s economy.

An investor can participate in the program alone or with family members, including spouses, children, and grandparents.

To participate in the program, investors should be 18 years or older, have no criminal records, and have no visa denials in countries that have a visa-free regime with Malta. Applicants also should have legal income, own capital of €500,000, and at least €150,000 must be financial assets.

To get a permanent residency, investors also have to fulfil one of the following conditions:

  • Purchase real estate in the north or centre of Malta for at least €300,000.
  • Purchase real estate in the south of Malta or Gozo for at least €350,000.
  • Rent a property in the north or centre of Malta for €12,000+ per year.
  • Rent a property in the south of Malta or Gozo for €10,000+ per year.

In addition, participants pay an administrative fee, charitable donations, and other fees. The total expenses depend on the number of participants in the application.

Foreigners should rent or buy a property for five years to apply for a program. Five years later, they can buy or rent another one to get a new registration address in Malta. 

Frequently asked questions

Which banks are available in Malta?

The Malta Bankers’ Association comprises 21 banks. Six of them are systemically important: they keep the stability of the country’s banking system. They are HSBC Bank Malta, Bank of Valletta (BOV), APS Bank, BNF Bank, Lombard Bank Malta, and MeDirect Bank.

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Malta?

Foreigners can open a bank account in Malta for personal and business purposes. The process of opening an account usually takes about 2 weeks. Opening an account in this country can be tricky for non-residents because the list of documents you have to provide is longer than in many other countries.

They may also have difficulties passing Due Diligence checks. If a potential client has not passed verification, he is refused without explanation. Thus, the best option is to obtain a residence permit and apply for a bank account. The Government of Malta has issued a special program that allows foreigners to obtain a residence permit by investing in real estate.

What is the biggest bank in Malta?

Bank of Valletta is the biggest bank in Malta, with a wide range of reliable services. HSBC Bank Malta is the largest international bank in Malta. MeDirect is the third largest bank in Malta, specialising in savings and investment products.

How much does it cost to open a bank account in Malta?

The procedure is usually free. However, some banks require a minimum initial deposit when opening a bank account. For example, BNF bank requires upfront a 12-month term deposit of €500.

What are the best banks in Malta for opening bank accounts?
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