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How to open a bank account in Malta: the most reliable banks

More than 20 local and international banks are operating in Malta. Foreigners with Malta residence permits can open bank accounts in any of them: to do it, they should usually provide an ID, proof of an address in the country and other documents.

The requirements, costs and application processing time depends on the bank itself.

How to open a bank account in Malta

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Malta?

In general, a foreigner can open a bank account in Malta. However, most banks require them to have a registered address in the country.

Malta authorities fight against fraud and money laundering. It is easier to check the sources of funds of those who are Maltese tax residents or reside in the country. That’s why banks are more likely to decline applications from foreigners without residence permits in the country. 

Non-residents also might require additional documents proving the legality of income and connection to the country.

Bank accounts you can open

Maltese banks offer their clients to open different types of accounts. The most common are current and savings accounts.

A current account is the most basic one. It keeps the money that you need for everyday transactions. The account usually comes with a debit card that can be used for making purchases or withdrawing money.

Some accounts have maintenance fees and minimum balance requirements that allow one to avoid fees.

Usually, banks offer different types of current accounts: for teens, students, seniors and others.

A savings account is an account that one can use to hold money for a particular time. It accumulates interest on the deposited money daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. It usually comes with no card and either doesn’t allow withdrawals or limits their amount.

Savings accounts have fixed or unlimited terms. A fixed savings account is opened for a period during which money accumulates interest. After the time is up, you can either withdraw money with interest or transfer it to a new account. 

Documents required for opening a bank account in Malta

Personal account. The list of required documents for opening an account may vary from bank to bank. However, the minimum package usually includes the following: 

  • a passport, an ID card, or a residence permit;
  • proof of address in Malta: a recent utility bill that contains the address or a rental contract for more than six months;
  • an application form.

Banks can also require documents such as proof of the legality of the person’s income, tax identification numbers, a bill from a telephone service provider to verify a contact number, and a reference letter from your previous or current bank.

Business account. To open an account for a company, you would need to provide the following documents:

  • a certificate of registration issued by the Malta Business Registry;
  • the Memorandum and the Articles of Association;
  • a corporate structure chart that explains the company’s ownership and control structure;
  • IDs of all directors, shareholders, ultimate beneficial owners, key controllers, signatories and entity representatives of the company;
  • an application form for everyone whose IDs were provided.

A bank can require other additional documents, such as reference letters from your previous or present bank.

Opening a bank account in Malta: step-by-step procedure

The period for opening a Maltese account depends on the bank itself and the individual situation of each applicant. It can take several days to several months.

Consider all the banks operating
Consider all the banks operating

in Malta and choose the one with the required services and suitable conditions.

Schedule an appointment
Schedule an appointment

It can be done through a phone call or via the bank’s website. The appointment should be made in advance as Maltese banks have narrow working hours: usually from 8—9 a.m. to 13—14 p.m. They might not have available slots right away.

Prepare all the required documents
Prepare all the required documents

Each bank has its own particular list.

Fill in the application form
Fill in the application form

It can be done online or at the bank’s brunch. Forms also vary from bank to bank and are usually available online. There is no need to print the application form.

Come to the bank
Come to the bank

Even though you can apply online, opening an account is only possible upon a personal visit to the bank.

Wait for the account to be opened
Wait for the account to be opened

There is no specific time frame for opening an account. After you’ve submitted all the required documents, the bank checks them. When everything is verified, the bank opens an account in several days.

Best banks in Malta for foreigners

Malta has a stable and reliable banking system that meets EU standards. 

About 20 banks operate in Malta. Only a few of them are local: APS Bank, Bank of Valletta, and BNF. Other banks represented in Malta are international.

Banks in Malta: local and international

Name TypeAccount administration fees
APS BankLocal€0 — for individuals;
€50/100 — for corporate equities
Bank of VallettaLocal€0 — for individuals;
€10/25/30 — for corporate equities
Sparkasse BankInternational€25 — for individuals;
€175 — for corporate customers

APS Bank was founded in 1910, so it is considered the oldest bank in Malta. Its headquarters is in Birkirkara, and six other branches operate in different parts of the country. APS Bank offers personal and business services and has a licence as an investment services firm.

Bank of Valletta (BOV) is the largest bank in Malta. It has operated since 1974 and offers services to individuals and businesses. BOV has 39 branches in the country.

In 2022, the Global Finance magazine named the Bank of Valletta the best in Malta.

BNF is a Maltese bank that also operates in the UK. It has 12 branches across Malta and works with individual and corporate clients.

BNF has been called Malta’s best bank by the Banker magazine in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

HSBC is a British bank that was founded in 1865 in Hong Kong. Now it is one of the largest financial institutions in the world, with a presence in 63 countries and territories. There are also around 30 branches of HSBC in Malta.

In 2022, the Global Finance magazine named HSBC the Best Emerging Markets Bank.

Sparkasse Bank is owned by an Austrian company. It has operated in Malta since 2000; its office is in Sliema. It offers banking and investment services to individuals and companies.

How to obtain residency or citizenship in Malta

Citizens or residents of Malta can open bank accounts easier than non-residents. There are some ways for investors to obtain a residence permit or a passport in the country.

The Malta Global Residence Programme. To obtain residency in Malta under the GRP, the investor needs to:

  • pay an administrative fee of €5,500+;
  • buy or rent a property for €220,000+ or €8,750+ per annum, respectively, and the real estate can’t be rented out or subleased;
  • pay an annual tax of at least €15,000 per annum under a special tax regime.

With a Maltese residence permit, you are allowed to:

  • travel visa-free to the Schengen countries;
  • optimise taxes: pay 15% of the income earned abroad and received in Malta and no tax at all on the global income not transferred to the country;
  • visit Malta anytime, even if the borders are closed to foreigners.

The Malta Permanent Residence Programme. Permanent residence under the MPRP can be obtained by those who buy or rent a property for at least five years. The cost of the real estate must be:

  • €10,000+ per annum — if you rent it in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo;
  • €12,000+ per annum — if you rent it in the north or centre of Malta;
  • €300,000+ — if you purchase property in the south of Malta or on the island of Gozo;
  • €350,000+ — if you buy real estate in northern or central Malta. 

Additional conditions include:

  • paying an administrative fee of €40,000;
  • paying a contribution fee of €28,000+;
  • making a charitable donation to a non-government organisation of €2,000;
  • owning 500,000+ in available assets, including at least €150,000 of liquid financial assets.

Explore the benefits and requirements of the Maltese investment programme

Malta permanent residence gives its holder the right to come to Malta at any time and to travel to other Schengen countries visa-free for 90 days out of 180. It also has a benefit over the residence permit: while the latter is issued for 1—2 years, permanent residency is given for life. You only need to update your residency cards every five years.

Malta citizenship by naturalisation by exceptional services by direct investment. Malta citizenship can’t be obtained by investment, only by naturalisation. First, a person gets a temporary or permanent residence permit by investment and then applies for citizenship after a year or three.

The requirements are the following:

  • to contribute to the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF) — €600,000+;
  • to donate to the non-governmental organisation — €10,000;
  • to buy or rent a residential property — €700,000+ or €16,000 per annum respectively, the property must be rented or owned for at least five years.

A person who seeks to get one of the Malta statuses must:

  • be over 18 years old;
  • have no criminal record or prosecution;
  • have a stable and legal income and be able to prove it;
  • have no visa denials in countries that have a visa-free regime with Malta.

The investor can also add their close family members to the application: a spouse, dependent children, parents and grandparents.

With Malta citizenship, you can:

  • enter 187 countries visa-free;
  • live in Malta permanently or visit it anytime;
  • settle in another EU country without getting a residence permit in advance;
  • run a business not only in Malta but in other EU countries as well;
  • access high-quality medicine and education;
  • keep your first citizenship.

In brief: how to become a client of a Maltese bank

  1. A person is generally required to be 18 years or older and to have a registered address in Malta to open a bank account there.
  2. The documents required for opening an account vary from bank to bank. There are also different documents needed to open a personal or a corporate bank account.
  3. A bank can also ask for additional documents, such as a reference letter from your previous bank.
  4. A person can apply to open a bank account in Malta online. However, one must come to the bank’s branch in person to complete the procedure. It’s better to schedule an appointment in advance.
  5. The fee for opening a bank account depends on the bank; in many cases, it is free of charge. However, some banks require their clients to pay administration fees.
  6. Local and international banks provide financing services to individuals and companies in Malta. The majority of the banks in the country are international.
  7. The status of a permanent resident or a citizen of Malta simplifies the process of opening a bank account. Investors obtain permanent residence under the Malta Permanent Residence Programme, and one of the possible paths to citizenship is naturalisation by exceptional services by direct investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can foreigners open a bank account in Malta?

Yes, a foreigner can open a bank account in Malta. However, most banks require them to have a registered address in the country.

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

The cost of opening an account in Malta bank depends on the bank and its conditions. In many cases, it is free of charge. However, banks usually charge administration fees for maintaining an account that can be from €0 for individuals to €100—200 for corporate clients.

If you open a deposit account, you might need to put a minimum deposit on it. For example, APS Bank’s minimum deposit is €25.

What do I need to open a bank account in Malta?

Banks can impose individual requirements on their clients. In general, to open a personal bank account, you must be 18 years or older and have a registered address in the country.

You would also need to provide a package of documents:

  • an identification document: a passport or an ID card;
  • proof of address in Malta: a recent utility bill that contains the address or a rental contract for more than six months;
  • a photo;
  • an application form.

To open a business account, you would need to submit the following documents as well:

  • a certificate of registration issued by the Malta Business Registry;
  • the Memorandum and the Articles of Association;
  • a corporate structure chart that explains the company’s ownership and control structure;
  • IDs of all directors, shareholders, ultimate beneficial owners, key controllers, signatories and entity representatives of the company;
  • an application form for everyone whose IDs were provided.

In both cases, a bank can require additional documents such as proof of income or tax residency details.

Which bank is good in Malta?

There are both local and international banks in the country. Among the most reliable banks in Malta are the Bank of Valletta, APS Bank, HSBC, BNF, and Credit Europe Bank.

Can a non-EU resident open a bank account in Malta?

In general, a non-EU resident is allowed to open a bank account in Malta. However, there may be a higher risk of getting a refusal than Malta residents.

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How to open a bank account in Malta: the most reliable banks