It’s not looking easy to access banking services in Malta. A couple of weeks ago, following a bank-wide freeze by the Maltese financial services authority, Satabank customers protested for their deposits to be returned. Just one week later, expats took to social media to lament the sheer difficulty to open a bank account in Malta.
The MFSA wants to do something about this.
The Basic Payment Account educational campaign launched by the MFSA is part of an initiative to raise awareness on all citizens’ rights to open a basic bank account in Malta. Informative videos, leaflets and a Q&A are available for anyone to have a look at.
“The Authority’s efforts are intended to safeguard the right to access basic banking services”
This right isn’t limited to Maltese and EU citizens only, but also those who legally reside in Malta as well as people with no fixed address, refugees, stateless persons and asylum seekers. But banks will still require to carry out their due diligence procedures.
What even is a basic payment account?
You go to a bank and ask to open a basic payment account. You won’t be charged at all for this, or if you are it will be at a very low cost. Nobody can be disqualified from opening an account, though your application will have to go through some due diligence process of the bank
A payment account with basic features allows consumers to: deposit funds; withdraw cash at the counters of the bank or at ATMs in Malta, Gozo and other EU Member States; pay by direct debits within the European Union; effect payments with a debit card, including online payments; receive and order credit transfers; set-up standing orders.
Where does the MFSA come into all of this?
The Payments Accounts Regulations explicitly states that the right to open a basic bank account should be enjoyed by all persons legally resident in Malta or another EU Member State.
They’re trying to achieve this objective by communicating directly with the banks to ensure that citizens’ rights are respected and through its Basic Payment Account campaign.
You can open a basic payment account at APS Bank Limited, Bank of Valletta P.L.C., BNF Bank P.L.C., HSBC Bank Malta P.L.C., or Lombard Bank Malta P.L.C. For further information kindly email [email protected] or call freephone on 80074924 or +356 2548 5700 (foreign calls).