Opening a Bank Account in Malta

Find out how to go about opening a Malta bank account: the documents needed and the process to expect...

Bank accounts are available for residents and non-residents, and it is possible to open an account from overseas before arriving in Malta.

Banks offer a range of services and often use incentives to attract new customers. It is important for a potential customer to know the type of account they require and the services they need before choosing a bank.

Opening a bank account is a fairly straightforward process, especially if there is no history of adverse credit or debt.

Documents required

Non-residents of Malta will generally need to provide the following to open an account:

  • Passport / ID Card
  • Recent utility bill
  • Reference from a current or former bank

Once the documents have been received, the Maltese bank will contact the bank providing the reference to verify the credit rating and debt history of the applicant. This process could take a number of weeks, and in some cases months, depending on the complexity of the case.

For non-EU citizens the above conditions are standard procedure while, in some cases, EU citizens may not be required to provide a bank reference.

For residents of Malta, with a Maltese e-Residence card and Maltese address, the process of opening a bank account is relatively quick and simple.

Documents for opening an account as a resident are:

  • ID card
  • Reference from a current or former bank

It should be noted that some banks in Malta may want to contact the bank providing the reference directly to check the applicant’s credit rating and debt history, so it is important to provide contact details.

How to Use an Account

There are three main types of retail bank accounts in Malta:

  • Current/Checking accounts – these provide instant access to cash and customers generally receive a debit/cash card and a cheque book
  • Savings accounts – a means of accruing interest on money set aside. Making a withdrawal from a savings account usually incurs a financial penalty
  • Deposit accounts – these allow the holder to deposit and withdraw money, while interest is paid on the balance. Often a fee is charged for this type of account

Many banks also have facilities for the opening of accounts in foreign currency.

Telephone and Internet banking are both extensively used in Malta. Bank statements are available in both English and Maltese.

Amounts are written as they are in the UK and USA, with a point separating the Euros from the cents and a comma separating the thousands.

Cheques and debit/credit cards

Cheques are still a very popular method of payment in Malta. They are widely accepted by businesses across the country and can be deposited at most ATM machines as well as over the counter in branches. They often take two days to clear.

Due to the issuing of cheque books and the continuing use of cheques in Malta, banks may block sections of non-resident accounts to stop fraudulent cheques being issued.

Debit and credit cards are also used widely across the country, and banks can offer their customers various types of Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards.

Banks often charge fees for cards, account maintenance and cash withdrawals. Fees vary according to the bank, account type and service provided.

Lost and Stolen Cards

If a card is lost or stolen it is important to call the institution or card issuer to inform them so that the card can be cancelled.