Banking in Malaysia has improved significantly in recent years as local banks strive to reach international standards. However the government still has very tight legislation in place to control and monitor the movement of money, both internally and externally.
There is a wide range of banks to choose from in Malaysia. Banks commonly used by expatriates include:
Ensure you have access to sufficient funds to get you through your first 3 - 4 weeks in Malaysia. There is no limit on foreign currency that you can carry in but it must be declared upon arrival. Cash in major currencies is readily exchanged. Money changers tend to give slightly better exchange rates than banks, but you should take the usual precautions with money changers and check the currency you receive at transaction time.
It’s a good idea to bring an international credit card and ATM card with you. Money changers, banks and automatic cash dispensers which accept major credit/ATM cards are available in all shopping malls and at the airport. Most retail outlets, restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards.
Open a local bank account as soon as possible, but before doing so, ask HR for the current list of banks into which your salary can be paid - you will need a Malaysian bank account to receive your salary. Banking hours are usually from 9:30 am to 4.00 pm on weekdays. However some banks also open on Saturday mornings.
To open an account you will need a letter of introduction from your HR Services Centre and your passport(s). To avoid delays it is advisable that both the employee and partner be present at the bank. After the account is open it will take a few hours to get an ATM card, and at least 14 days to get a cheque book. There are several forms to be completed and all applicants must be present to sign documents. Some will not be in English and you may need assistance. Don’t hesitate to request for a staff member to assist you.
To apply for a credit card, you will need a letter of employment stating your salary to establish a reasonable credit limit. A credit card for the non-working partner can be obtained under the employee’s name. Credit card processing takes at least three weeks. If your residential address is confirmed, have the details handy for posting of statements. Shell will only pay your salary into one of their recommended banks. Check with HR prior to setting up a new account. Note: if you wish to have an overdraft facility, please check if your salary must be paid into the bank providing this facility.
For insurance companies recommended by Shell, please contact your HR Services Centre for referrals.