Open a current account or Bank Account in Malta in a Flash

Logo Central Bank Malta

Open current account Malta

To open a bank account in Malta, it is customary to appear in person at the bank. With good preparation, the account application is done in a few minutes. However, it takes several weeks for the bank to open the account. Do not waste time by not being prepared. If you work in Malta, you will have your salary in your Maltese account the very next day.

How to open a bank account in Malta

Opening a bank account in Malta is certainly one of the biggest challenges for immigrants and emigrants. In the UK, France or Germany, an online account with video identification can be opened in less than 10 minutes. In Malta, opening a bank account can take up to 3 months. Maltese compliance requirements for banks are surprisingly strict. Bank processes are not completely digitized.
Only Ferratum Bank p.l.c. offers online application in Malta (as of 6/2021). Ferratum Bank attracted negative attention a few years ago. There are many customer complaints on the internet from 2017 to 2018. Ferratum “lost” funds and transfers from customer accounts. Some Ferratum customers complained on review portals that the Ferratum banking app has not been doing what it is supposed to do for weeks or even months: Manage one’s account.

Speedway opening a Maltese bank account

In our step-by-step guide, we show how to get a Maltese current account from a branch bank in a fast way. Allow 3-4 weeks until you are ready to use it for the first time. The offers on the Internet with “open a bank account and Malta uncomplicated in one day”, we can not confirm after years of experience for branch banks in Malta. You will notice from the questions on the application forms that Malta’s banks ask for a lot of personal data and check it thoroughly.

Who can open a current account in Malta?

All residents of Malta can open a bank account in Malta. Non-EU citizens not resident in Malta and foreign companies may also open accounts with Maltese banks. However, not every bank accepts interested parties living outside Malta.
The fact that non-EU citizens without permanent residence in Malta need a Maltese bank account is extremely rare in practice. We limit ourselves in this article to the opening of a private current account for residents of the island of Malta and Gozo. For business accounts of companies and self-employed persons, there is a different procedure for opening an account. We will write an article “Opening a business account in Malta”.

Why does an employee require a bank account in Malta?

The employer transfers your salary on one of the last two working days of the month. With a Maltese current account, you have your money in a flash, either on the same day or on the following banking day. Just like you know it from Germany. Many landlords receive the rent in cash. Therefore, we recommend that you try to get a Maltese account as early as possible. Then you will have the rent payment safely at hand on the 1st of the month.

Are there cheap checking accounts for international students in Malta?

Most bank accounts in Malta are free of charge. For international students, there are special rates offered by Malta’s banks. For example, APS Bank pays 0.2% interest on balances under 5,000 euros (as of 7/2021).

Logo EU for Erasmus Programme

Why not use the homeland bank account?

Not all homeland banks are willing to maintain the current account for their emigrated private customers. Many banks we interviewed cancel the existing private bank accounts after moving to Malta. Thus, there may be 2 problems:

What do you do if your bank cancels your bank account when you leave the country?

You decide against Malta and return to your homeland after a few months.

To permanently conceal the change of residence to Malta from your homeland bank does not make sense. The possible consequences:

  • Termination of the account in your homeland without notice or with notice. Also, problematic upon return.
  • Cancellation of an account is a problem when opening a bank account in Malta.
  • The concealment of an account termination can lead to the termination of the bank account in Malta
  • Maltese banks inquire about terminated accounts in the application.
    Untruthful statements usually lead to the termination of the current account in Malta.

We do not know the sources from where Maltese banks obtain their information for customer verification.

World of Malta Insider Tip:The British HSBC has many kidney branches worldwide. HSBC is also represented by branches in Malta. If you open an account by HSBC in your homeland before you deregister, you can change the account number at an HSBC branch. You will receive a new account number for Malta. Certainly, HSBC Malta will grant you a smooth transition so that you are not without an account.

Malta’s Financial Sector added to the FATF Grey List

Malta is on the “grey list” by the world’s money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog for financial crimes. The small country Malta has significant strategic deficiencies in the fight against money laundering (as of June/2021). This non-compliance is a violation of the rules of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as well as the fourth EU Money Laundering Directive. Some large European banks have partially ceased business relations with Malta’s banks as early as 2019. If false information is provided during the application process, an account termination with reference to “grey list” is to be assumed.

Required documents to open an account in Malta for employees

Maltese banks require the following documents and papers to open an account. Take everything with you in the original.

  • Passport/Identity card
  • Malta ID
  • Various application forms (you can ask in advance or look at homepage)
  • Employment contract
  • Confirmation/extract from Jobplus (keep record of your occupation)
  • Social security number and tax number

World of Malta Insider Tip:

A small time-saver for opening an account quickly is: Make copies of these documents. You will save yourself the waiting time at the bank. Because otherwise, the clerk copies the forms necessary for the bank. This can take a quarter of an hour, depending on the rush at the bank. Maltese banks are not as focused on efficiency as you are used to in Germany.

Requested by bank, but not mandatory

  • Consumption bill (water/electricity/internet)
  • Bank reference
  • Maltese mobile phone number

If you move into a furnished room on a temporary basis, you usually do not have your own consumption bills. These bills are in the landlord’s name, and a copy will be provided to you for pro rata billing. Landlords of flats often facilitate the move-in by taking care of the provision, i.e. registration of water, electricity, and internet. In both cases, this means you will not have a bank reference.

A bank reference from your previous bank some banks ask for in the application form. A “no” will not prevent you from opening an account. If you are opening a self-employed account, a bank reference will be requested.

A Maltese mobile phone number e.g. a prepaid from Vodafone is useful. Most Maltese companies are prohibited from calling the more expensive international numbers from Maltese phone numbers. You will probably have to do without a Maltese phone number to get calls back from the bank.

Which banks are recommended in Malta for emigrants?

Due to some imponderables for us emigrants, the big Maltese branch banks like Bank of Valletta, the Catholic APS Bank, HSBC or BNF Bank are the first contacts. Beforehand, reading information or reviews on the Internet is helpful. There are also banks in Malta that offer conspicuously weak customer orientation and poor service. There was a joke in Malta years ago: H is for headache at HSBC.

Extract from balance sheet of the top 6 banks of Malta
Extract from balance sheet of the top 6 banks of Malta (source Rizzo Farrugia)

However, it may make a difference for you if the selected bank requests some forms several times or if the bank is not reachable, e.g., in case of problems with the bank account.

The following situations are conceivable, which make immediate assistance in the branch possible:

  • Online account or app cannot be activated
  • Check deposit
  • Problems with debit card or credit card
  • General consultation in case of problems
  • Subsequent opening of a business account

How much does a current account cost in Malta?

For us immigrants, there is usually a mostly free basic account without an overdraft limit (Basic Payment Account). In addition, you will receive a bank card (debit credit card). The prerequisite for the free account is that your salary or pension is received in this account. HSBC requires a minimum turnover of 777 EUR on average over the last 3 months as a prerequisite for free account management. This is roughly equivalent to the minimum wage in Malta. Otherwise, a monthly fee of EUR 5 will be charged. (As of 05/2021) Online account is standard in Malta. Cash withdrawals at ATMs are free of charge. The deposit insurance (Depositor Compensation Scheme) has been set at 100,000 euros since 2009. The Depositor Compensation Scheme protects your money as a customer, not the institution or the bank.

World of Malta Insider Tip:Do not rely on the website of the state supervisory authority MFSA for the fees. As a matter of principle, check the information provided by the bank of your choice. In Malta, banks must publish all costs and fees incurred.

Step-by-step guide to opening a current account in Malta.

We will take APS Bank from Birkukara as an example. It generally waives a flat account fee. It is easily accessible from anywhere in Malta through 12 branches. APS Bank offers online banking conveniently through an app. APS has comprehensive banking services for entrepreneurs, which facilitates the path to self-employment in terms of business account opening.

In addition, APS Bank has a licence for an investment company. It thus offers its own investment products under APS Funds SICAV p.l.c. APS Bank was founded as early as 1910. The majority of shares are held by the Archdiocese of Malta and the Diocese of Gozo.

Step 1: Get information on the website of APS Bank

APS Bank has an extensive website. You will find a lot of information there for an account offer. The forms needed to open an account are available for download under the “Personal” tab. You can fill out the application form online and then save it on your PC.

Step 2: Contact APS Bank and request a consultation appointment

Through the APS website, you can book a consultation appointment with APS Bank under “Book an Appointment“. Usually, most Maltese banks will display the different branches. You can choose your preferred branch. Different time periods are offered for the consultation.

An APS Bank watch is to suggest, book bank appointment online
book bank appointment online
Step 3: Wait for appointment confirmation and keep an appointment

You will often find larger crowds in front of or inside the bank. The reason is simple: some older customers do not use online banking. They rely on in-person appointments. Another reason is, not every business transaction and banking is possible digitally via online banking.As of July 2021, you need a face visor to enter banks. The otherwise mandatory mask is no longer allowed in the bank for security reasons.

Step 4: Present yourself at the bank

You register at the counter or bank reception. After your body temperature has been measured, you announce your request. You will need your ID card for identification. As soon as your representative is available, he or she will meet you at the counter or reception.

Step 5: Open current account with a bank advisor

Do you have the required documents with you? Then the bank advisor will open the account with you. Maltese bank advisors are generally polite, helpful and patient. It is not uncommon for the banks in Malta to request additional documents later in writing. In fact, our experience is that they always (surprisingly) request additional documents after the appointment. This is due to the high compliance requirements.However, the application questions are sometimes unspecific, so that questions still arise during later internal review. The fixed occupation list is geared towards Malta’s specific occupations. The Maltese social security system does not recognize miners’ pensions or accident pensions from the employers’ liability insurance association. This leads to questions regarding prevention in connection with money laundering guidelines. With the application, the APS Bank requires a small deposit into the account of 25 euros.

Step 6: The bank account is set up

Once the account is usable, you will be notified in writing by letter from APS Bank. When you open your account at the bank, ask for an opening confirmation by e-mail. This way you will know your account number early. This way, at least salary deposits will be possible earlier if the APS letter for account opening is a long time coming. A little later your bank card will arrive, as well as with a separate letter, the PIN. The Basic Payment Account is a VISA debit card.

APS Visa Depit Card in 4 different colors
The VISA Card of APS will be available in 2021 in different colors

Summary: Opening a private current account in Malta takes patience

It is already time-consuming to open a bank account in Malta. There is no secret recipe for opening an account quickly. By conscientious preparation for the bank appointment, you can shorten the duration by a few days. Due to the risk of bank failures, we advise using one of the 5 or 6 largest banks for the salary account.In the short term, it is possible to open an online account with Ferratum or with the British Revolut for opening. Both banks do not enjoy the best reputation in Internet forums and also from our own experiences. Revolut, however, is a sensible second account in Malta.Professional preparation can save you weeks of time. You should not cancel the German current account until you have confirmation of the bank account opening.Professional preparation can save you weeks of time.