Malaysian banks provide a wide range of services and many foreigners opt for finance through local banks. Below is a general overview of what to expect from banking services in Malaysia.
Foreigners can freely set up bank accounts in Malaysia. The main purpose for setting up a Malaysian bank account is for a mortgage or ongoing local expenses and income relating to your property investment in Malaysia.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Malaysia and many ATM machines accept Visa and MasterCard if your card has a Pin number. Major credit cards are accepted at up market hotels, shops and restaurants. Automated teller machines allow travellers to withdraw money from their overseas savings accounts or credit cards.
Foreign Currency Accounts For Non-Residents – Commercial and merchant banks are freely allowed to open foreign currency accounts for non-residents. There are no restrictions on movement of funds through non-residents’ foreign currency accounts.
Cash Point Machines/ATMs - While most users of ATMs use the withdrawal, transfer and inquiry functions, you can also deposit cheques and cash. Cash deposit machines allow you to deposit cash 24 hours a day. The machines are designed to accept Ringgit notes in a wide range of denominations, including 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Ringgit. A receipt is given acknowledging receipt of the cash.
Foreign Currency Changing Machines are located mainly at airports. These machines are very convenient when changing foreign currency.
The Malaysia My Second Home programme (also abbreviated to "MM2H") is a government run international residency scheme allowing foreigners to live in the country on a long-stay visa for up to 10 years. To qualify for the programme, applicants must meet certain financial and medical criteria and successful applicants are entitled to enter and leave the country.
Applicants below 50 years old must open a fixed deposit account in Malaysia of RM300,000.00 at any international bank with a local branch. After a period of one year, they can withdraw up to RM 240,000.00 for approved expenses relating to a property purchase, education for children in Malaysia and/or medical purposes. However, a minimum balance of RM 60,000.00 must be maintained from the second year onwards and throughout stay in Malaysia under this program.
Applicants above 50 years old can open a fixed deposit account in Malaysia of RM150,000.00 at any international bank with a local branch, or show proof of monthly off-shore income of at least RM10,000.00. After one year, participants who fulfill the fixed deposit criteria can withdraw up to RM 90,000.00 for approved expenses, however a minimum balance of RM 60,000.00 must be maintained from the second year onwards and throughout their stay in Malaysia.
As a foreigner, Malaysian banks will normally lend you up to 70% and in most cases and they are more than willing to finance your purchase. Loans are granted provided the property value is RM 250,000 or more. There is no upper limit in property value to be purchased by overseas purchasers of property in Malaysia. The current base lending rate is 6.8% per annum (end 2006) and loans are for a maximum period of 45 years or up to age 75, whichever is earlier.
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