guide to opening business bank account in malaysia for local and foreign entrepreneur

The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Opening A Business Bank Account In Malaysia

Regardless of business entity, having a dedicated business bank account is a necessary step to transact and operate smoothly in Malaysia.

close up of RM50 note to show importance of opening bank account to run a business in malaysia
Look closely and you’ll see a nod of approval.

This guide provides an overview of general requirements and processes involved in opening a business bank account in Malaysia, including:

  • required documents
  • SME-friendly bank practices
  • time taken, and
  • eligibility for 100% online account opening

Quick disclaimer: Requirements and rates vary between banks, and this guide is not intended to explain or compare specific options – so be sure to check with a bank representative or get in touch with us.

Otherwise, let’s begin!

Requirements to open a business bank account

The specific requirements vary by business entity but are related to details that prove the legitimacy of your business and its owners.

For Sdn Bhds

  • Form 9 (Notice of Registration)
  • Form 13 (Notice of Registration of New Name)
  • Form 24 (Return for Allotment of Shares)
  • Form 49 (Notification of change in the Register of Directors, Managers & Secretaries)
  • Company Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Copy of all directors’ MyKad / passport 
  • Resolution of the Board of Directors to open and operate the account

Note: Documents must be Certified True Copy by your Company Secretary

For Sole Proprietorships and Conventional Partnerships

  • Photocopy of MyKad of proprietor / partners
  • Form A (Business registration form)
  • Form D (Certificate of incorporation)

Additional requirements for Partnerships:

  • Partnership Deed
  • Partnership Mandate to open business bank account

For Limited Liability Partnerships

  • Photocopy MyKad / Passport of Partners
  • Practicing Certificate
  • Notice of Registration or Certificate of Registration from Registrar of LLP
  • LLP Agreement
  • Certified Extract of the Resolution for the LLP
  • Letter of Approval from Governing Body
  • Annual Declaration of LLP

Note: Documents must be Certified True Copy by your Compliance Officer.

Is a recommendation letter mandatory?

Yes and no. It is a fairly common requirement, but not all banks in Malaysia make it mandatory.

Again, it’s all about assurance of business legitimacy.

Locally owned businesses where directors or business owners can present themselves physically at the bank are more likely to be exempted. 

example of a small local business in malaysia that may not need a recommendation letter to open a business bank account
You’re good.

Foreign owned businesses with directors based overseas are more likely to be asked to submit a recommendation letter for assurance.

How to find SME-friendly banks

We have a full guide to SME friendly bank practices, in which we highlight four features you want in a bank as a small business owner:

  • doorstep service
  • efficient bulk-transaction handling
  • manageable minimum deposit requirements, and
  • fast account opening

Frankly, many banks in Malaysia fit this profile, and MISHU isn’t a bank, so we’ll leave you with this and trust you to find an SME-friendly banking partner 🙂

How long it takes to open an account

Once the application has been submitted, banks take anywhere from less than a day to several weeks to verify the authenticity of the information.

Factors that affect the time taken include:

  • Foreign vs local business ownership
  • Number of partners or directors, and
  • Whether directors are based in Malaysia or overseas
  • Whether it’s a completely new bank or a separate branch in a new country

A local business with a few local partners is more likely to receive account approval faster.

Directors of foreign businesses can speed up the account approval process by working with their existing banks and being available to visit a local branch physically.

Qualifying for 100% online account opening

Several banks in Malaysia have begun offering fully online business account registration as part of their dedicated banking mobile app.

It’s quite convenient since:

  • business owners don’t have to visit a branch
  • account approval is usually extremely fast, and 
  • the app can be used for usual business banking needs 

As of writing this guide (June 2024) fully online account opening is only offered to Malaysian owned businesses whose directors / partners are Malaysian residents.

For businesses with foreign involvement, initial applications can be done online but getting the account approved will still benefit from a physical branch visit.

Let MISHU help with your business account

The MISHU team is here to help you find the ideal banking partner for your business bank account. Speak to us today for SME-friendly recommendations.

FAQs about opening a business bank account in Malaysia

  • Can I open a business bank account without traveling to Malaysia or the bank branch?
    💡Yes, but be prepared for a longer waiting period as the banks conduct their due diligence which can include a request to meet you virtually.

  • What is a typical initial deposit in Malaysian banks?
    💡Malaysian banks have different requirements for initial deposits and can start as low as RM500.

  • What is the minimum balance requirement for most business bank accounts in Malaysia?
    💡Again, it varies between banks, and some require a minimum balance as low as RM1,000.

  • Can foreign companies open a bank account in Malaysia?

  • What KYC information might Malaysian banks request from foreign companies?
    💡Banks may ask you to justify why the company needs a Malaysian bank account.

  • What factors influence the time required to open a business bank account in Malaysia?
    💡The number of shareholders / directors / partners and whether it is local or foreign owned are primary factors that affect how long it takes to open a business bank account.

  • Do banks in Malaysia offer online account application services?
    💡Yes, several banks in Malaysia now offer online account application services, though fully online account registration is, to our knowledge, only open to local businesses.

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