Acclime helps you set up, manage & advance your business in Malaysia and beyond.
This ultimate guide provides you with everything you need to know about opening a corporate bank account in Malaysia.
After successfully registering your company, the next step is opening a corporate bank account for your company’s financial transactions.
Let’s get started.
Big four banks in Malaysia
The top banks in Malaysia include:
Can foreign corporate entities open a bank account in Malaysia?
It is possible to open an account; however, some banks may not allow it. To ensure that your foreign entity is able to open an account, we recommend engaging with Acclime’s services to negotiate with the bank on your behalf.
What to consider when choosing a bank
Before you choose which bank you are going to open a business account with, there are several factors you should consider to ensure that the bank you have chosen meets your needs.
- Monthly fees
- Services and facilities offered
- Bank reputation
- Availability of online banking
- Minimum account balance requirements of the account by the bank
- Currencies you will be transacting in
Malaysia has tightened its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules, which banks may be more cautious when opening an account for foreigners. Banks will conduct customer due diligence on potential customers before opening a new business account.
The process for conducting customer due diligence includes:
- Identifying the customer and verifying that the customer is using reliable documents, data and information;
- Identifying the identity and verifying that the person acting on behalf of the customer is authorised;
- Identifying and verifying the identity of the beneficial owner using relevant information or data from a reliable source so that the bank knows who the beneficial owner is; and
- Understanding and obtaining information on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship.
You may be considered as a high-risk customer if you are:
- Non-resident customers;
- From sanction countries;
- Unregulated industries;
- Politically exposed persons; or
- From countries with weak anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism laws and regulations, such as the non-cooperative countries and territories (NCCT).
High-risk customers will have to go through enhanced customer due diligence, which include:
- Obtaining additional information and verification of the customer and beneficial owner;
- Obtaining additional information on the intended nature of the business relationship;
- Investigating the source of wealth and source of funds of the customer; and
- Obtaining approval from the senior management before establishing business relationships with the customer.
Special facilities offered
Corporate bank accounts in Malaysia are also known as a current account, and these accounts offer special facilities that other bank accounts do not.
Some of the facilities include:
- Foreign banking
- Issuing cheques
Requirements for opening a business account in Malaysia
The basic requirements for opening a business account in Malaysia include:
- A completed application form from the bank
- Letter of introduction and recommendation from an existing customer of the bank (some banks do not require this)
- Photocopies of the identifications of the company directors and authorised signatories
- Certified true copies of the:
- Resolution from the Board of directors to open the account and a list of the authorised signatories
- Return of allotment of shares (section 78)
- List of directors (section 58)
- Registered office address (section 46)
- Company’s Constitution
- Certificate of incorporation (section 17)
How long does it take?
The process of opening a corporate bank account in Malaysia is relatively straightforward once you have all documents and bank requirements prepared. Opening an account in Malaysia could take a couple of weeks, depending on the bank and how much investigation the bank must carry out. The process might take even longer if you are not physically in Malaysia. Therefore, we recommend being present in Malaysia.
If you choose to open an account with the big four banks in Malaysia, provided that you follow the steps and prepare the documents as listed above, opening a corporate bank account in Malaysia will not be a problem for you. However, if you wish to open an account with foreign banks, there are also several banks you can choose from such as HSBC, UOB, Citibank and the Standard Chartered Bank. To help you go through this process, you can always contact Acclime to support you throughout the process.
Acclime is Asia’s premier tech-enabled professional services firm. We provide formation, accounting, tax, HR and advisory services, focusing on delivering high-quality outsourcing and consulting services to our local and international clients in Malaysia and beyond.