How to Open a Bank Account Online

Claire Millard
Şeyma Mektepli
Last updated
12 September 2023

Do you want to skip the queues at the bank and open a bank account online? Opening a bank account online may seem complicated, but with so many options available from traditional banks and online alternatives like Wise, it’s easier than ever. What’s more, it’s often free.

This article will help you to understand how to open a bank account online, including what you need and what to look for when choosing an online bank account. We will also compare the features of different online bank accounts and explore alternatives. But more on that later, so read on.

Learn more about Wise

Can you open a bank account online for free without going to the bank?

Yes, several banks and financial services providers allow you to open bank accounts online. Many are free, while some banks may require minimum deposits, depending on the type of account you want to open.

To open an online account you have two main options: traditional banks and digital banks like Maybank and Public Bank or online service providers, also known as neobanks, like Wise.

Traditional banks usually have physical branches where you can go and perform transactions in person. These banks also offer other services like investment accounts and personal loans. Some traditional banks charge high transaction fees and may require minimum deposits when opening an account.

Neobanks like Wise and BigPay operate completely online and have no physical branches. They usually don’t offer services like personal loans or interest-bearing accounts. The fee structures of neobanks are often simpler and cheaper than traditional banks.

What do I need to open a bank account online?

While each provider requires different documents, there are standard documents that providers may require, including:

  • A valid Malaysian ID.

  • Residence permit or visa, and passport for non-Malaysian applicants.

  • Some providers may ask for proof of residence in the form of a utility bill or proof of a Malaysian phone number.

  • Proof of employment such as a letter from your employer.

  • Minimum opening deposit, if the bank requires. This varies by bank.

For security purposes, banks may require biometric information like a fingerprint or facial scan.

How to open a bank account Online in Malaysia

Many major banks in Malaysia allow you to open accounts online, however, these may be restricted to certain accounts. Some banks require you to visit a branch or ATM to open an account.

For security purposes, banks may require biometric information like a fingerprint or facial scan. Some biometric data can be collected online via the bank’s smartphone app.

While it may differ slightly between banks, the steps to open an account online are usually very similar:

  1. Download the bank’s smartphone app, or access the application online.

  2. Prepare your documents: Check with the bank or provider what information and/or documents you need to open a bank account online and keep it handy.

  3. Fill in and verify your details: This may include documents like your ID number, physical address, employment details, tax information, referral letters, and proof of residence.

  4. 4. Verify your details: Some banks may require you to confirm your phone number or email by sending an OTP or code to that specific number or email address. In some instances, you may need to submit a selfie to confirm your identity.

  5. Register an online profile: Many banks and service providers require you to register an online profile in order to use the online account services. This is usually an extra security measure to make sure your account is safe.

  6. Make your first deposit: Some accounts may require a minimum amount to be deposited before the account can be used. These may differ by bank and account type.

What is the best bank to open an account online?

ProviderAccount feesOther features

Free to open

No monthly or annual maintenance fees
Closing the account is free

Debit Card,

Foreign Currency Accounts,

International Money Transfers,

Business Accounts Online


Free to open

No monthly maintenance fees

Closing the account is free.

Debit Card,

Foreign Currency Accounts,

International Money Transfers,

Business Accounts Online 

Public Bank

Opening fee - 250 MYR

Monthly maintenance fee - Free

Close account fee - 20 MYR

Debit Card,

Foreign Currency Accounts,

International Money Transfers,

Business Accounts Online 

Hong Leong

Opening fee - 20 MYR Monthly maintenance fee - Free

Close account fee - 20 MYR

Debit Card,

Foreign Currency Accounts,

International Money Transfers,

Business Accounts Online


Opening fee - 20 MYR

Monthly maintenance fee - Free

Close account fee - 20 MYR

Debit Card,

Foreign Currency Accounts,

International Money Transfers,

Business Accounts Online


Opening fee - 200 MYR

Monthly maintenance fee - Free

Close account fee - 20 MYR

Debit Card,

Foreign Currency Accounts,

International Money Transfers,

Business Accounts Online

* If closed within 3 months of opening

** If closed within 6 months of opening

Information is correct at time of writing, 29 June 2023

You can open accounts online with most traditional banks. They all offer similar services like linked debit cards, foreign currency accounts, international money transfers, and more.

Fee structures are very similar among these banks, and most charge a fee to open an account, as well as early closing fees. Some charge annual maintenance fees on debit cards.

Alternative providers like Wise and BigPay, while not banks, offer similar services, but without closing fees. However, BigPay does not offer multi-currency or business accounts.

Wise account

Trusted by more than 15 million people worldwide, Wise offers an account that provides local bank details in 10 currencies, and lets you hold and exchange more than 40 currencies, and move money to more than 160 countries. Wise also offers low-cost international money transfers based on a mid-market exchange rate, with transparent fee structure.

  • Wise debit card can be used around the world.

  • Wise Multi-currency account allows users to keep more than 40 different currencies in one account.

  • Wise accounts are free to open.

  • No annual or monthly fees.
  • Uses mid-market exchange rate for currency conversion, without markups.

  • Send money to 160+ countries with low and transparent fees.
  • It's free to hold money in your account.
  • You can open a MYR account for free.
Go to Wise
Advantages of a Wise accountDisadvantages of a Wise account

Local currency bank details: Receive MYR bank details and receive payments in MYR.

Low fees, transparent currency conversion rates, and cost-effective transfer fees.

Multi-currency capabilities: Hold, exchange, send, and spend in 40+currencies.

Free account opening.

International debit card for fee-free ATM withdrawals.

Limited banking services compared to traditional banks.

No options for cash or cheque deposits. 

Some currencies may not be supported.

Go to Wise

BigPay account

BigPay is a mobile-only financial services provider that specializes in international money transfers. The company was founded in 2017 and is present in Malaysia and Singapore.

  • Offers a prepaid debit card

  • Features a range of personal financial management tools

  • Transfer money to 11 countries
  • No opening fee or annual fees.
  • 2.50 MYR account service fee per month if there are no card transactions.
  • Spending in Malaysia and overseas are fee-free, except for withdrawals.
  • 6 RYM fee per transaction for local cash withdrawals and 10 RYM per transaction for international cash withdrawals.
  • Convenient prepaid debit card that’s accepted by 40 million merchants worldwide.
  • Competitive exchange rates and up to 1% currency conversion fees + network charges.
Learn more about BigPay
Advantages of a BigPay accountDisadvantages of a BigPay account

Transparent transfer fees.

Easy to transfer, deposit, and withdraw money via the mobile app.

Pay almost anywhere with the BigPay card where Visa or Mastercard debit cards are accepted.

Free to sign up.

Can only send money to 12 countries, as well as the UK and Europe.

Can’t keep multiple currencies in one account.

Card top-up is limited to 5,000 MYR.

Public Bank

Established in 1966, Public Bank Berhad offers a comprehensive range of personal and business banking services. The bank has more than 250 branches and 2,000 ATMs situated around Malaysia.

  • Linked debit and credit cards to certain accounts

  • Personal and business account options.

  • Offers a multi-currency that lets customers keep more than 10 different currencies in one account.

  • Opening fee of 250 MYR and closing account fee of 20 MYR.

  • Initial deposit of RM500 for a Basic Current Account.

  • No monthly maintenance fee.

  • No fees for cheque book issuance (excluding stamp duty) and various free services, including deposits, fund transfers, bill payments, and monthly statements.

  • Personal and business account options.

    Advantages of a Public Bank account Disadvantages of a Public Bank account

    Wide range of banking products and services, including savings accounts, loans, credit cards, and investment options.

    Strong reputation and long-standing presence in the Malaysian banking industry.

    Extensive branch network and ATM coverage nationwide.

    Robust online and mobile banking platforms for easy account management and transactions.


    Markup for exchange rates.

    Online payment services only available Monday to Friday, between 9:30am and 4:00pm.

Hong Leong

Hong Leong Bank is one of the oldest banks in Malaysia and has been operating for almost 120 years. It has a major presence all over South East Asia where it offers customers a wide variety of banking services.

  • Offers online banking services through the HLBConnect portal.

  • Linked debit or credit cards on many accounts.

  • Caters to both individuals and businesses.

  • Open an account with just RM500 for a current account and 20 MYR for a savings account.

  • Close account fee of 20 MYR.

  • No monthly maintenance fees.

  • Cheque book facility.

  • Features include foreign currency accounts, international money transfers, and online business accounts.

    Advantages of a Hong Leong accountDisadvantages of a Hong Leong account

    A wide range of banking products and services.

    Hold and spend in 11 currencies.

    User-friendly online and mobile banking app.

    Extensive branch and ATM network, ensuring widespread accessibility for customers across Malaysia.

    Markup for exchange rates.

    Service fees and minimum opening balances apply.

    No linked debit card.

    No interest on current account.


Maybank is one of the largest financial services providers in South East Asia. They offer a wide variety of services and account types that cater to specific needs of customers. Maybank2u is the bank’s online banking portal.

  • Apply online for a linked debit or credit card

  • Many accounts features are accessible via their online or mobile banking app

  • No maintenance fees on certain accounts
  • 20 MYR account opening fee.
  • No monthly maintenance fee.

  • 20 MYR closing account fee.

  • Choose from a wide range of personal and business accounts.

  • Services include online and mobile banking, bill payments, fund transfers, and account enquiries.

    Advantages of a Maybank accountDisadvantages of a Maybank account

    Strong reputation and established presence in the Malaysian banking industry.

    5% bonus interest on interest with a monthly average balance of RM5,000 and above.

    High multi-tiered interest that’s calculated daily and credited monthly.

    Minimum balance of RM20 is maintained to avoid service or maintenance fees.

    Accounts will be automatically deactivated if not logged into for more than 6 months and terminated if not logged into for more than 12.


Founded in Kuala Lumpur in 1994, RHB Bank Berhad is one of the largest banks in Malaysia. RHB has more than 180 branches all over Malaysia.

  • Offers personal and business accounts and services

  • Accounts can be linked to debit cards and/or various credit cards

  • Some accounts offer loyalty points on certain transactions

  • 200 MYR account opening fee.
  • No monthly maintenance fee.
  • 20 MYR closing account fee.
  • Services include home, personal, auto, commercial property, and investment financing
Advantages of an RHB accountDisadvantages of an RHB account

Unlimited ATM cash withdrawals and over-the-counter transactions.

Cheque book facility.

Ranked one of the top banks in Malaysia.

Minimum balance of RM5.00 on accounts that are below the daily average balance of RM1,000. 

How long does it take to open a bank account online?

In today’s digital world, opening an online bank account is generally a quick and easy process, but the time it takes may vary depending on the bank or provider of your choice.

With Wise, you can open an account in minutes, plus you have flexibility to register online through their website or handy app - all you have to do is provide your email address. For extra security and verification purposes, you may also need to submit some documents, such as your passport, ID card, or driver's licence.

Hong Leong Bank also lets you open an account online instantly using their Apply@HLB App. Once your application is successful, you'll receive an email or text notification to inform you that your application will be processed within three working days.

Other banks take slightly different approaches. BigPay Bank is a Bank Negara licensed e-money issuer, meaning they prioritize security and must verify your identity. Once you've submitted all the required documents, the verification process usually takes no longer than one working day. Some banks also need customers to visit their local branch in person after submitting their online application for extra security and additional verification purposes.

Overall, the time it takes to open a bank account online can vary, but many banks and providers aim to make the process as fast as possible, so you can start managing your finances in no time.

Go to Wise

Types of Accounts

Most traditional banks give you a choice between savings accounts, checking accounts or digital accounts. Online providers like Wise and BigPay offer digital accounts instead of savings or checking accounts. Let’s look at the different types of accounts and what they are most suited to:

Savings accounts: These are the most basic accounts and are often cheap to maintain. Many savings accounts are interest-bearing but are usually low compared to dedicated investment savings accounts. Most savings accounts offer debit cards, some at an additional cost.

Savings accounts are best for: Savings accounts are for those who want simple banking for low fees and don’t necessarily intend to use the money for day-to-day spending.

Checking accounts: Checking accounts are predominantly used for day-to-day expenses, and while many are interest-bearing, the rates are usually low. Checking accounts often have linked debit and/or credit cards, and offer features like overdraft facilities.

Checking accounts are best for: Checking accounts are perfect for everyday use like shopping and online bill payments.

Multi-currency accounts: Multi-currency accounts are mainly used for online foreign currency transactions, however, some services like Wise and BigPay offer linked debit cards for use at physical retailers. Some banks allow you to pay via their mobile app. Multi-currency accounts are usually not interest-bearing and don’t offer services like overdrafts, but their fees are often lower than savings or checking accounts.

Multi-currency accounts are best for: Multi-currency accounts are preferred by people who travel often, get payments from overseas or make payments to foreign contractors.

Best Multi-currency accounts in Malaysia

Free online bank accounts

When opening an online bank account in Malaysia, you'll find many options from banks and other financial institutions that don't charge an account opening fee. Still, it's good to remember that each bank has different requirements and that many bank accounts advertised as free may actually charge you monthly or annual payments, minimum account balances, overdraft fees, and more. Let's take a look at two popular providers and their fee structures:


  • BigPay is a digital account that gives you control over your money through a mobile app.

  • It simplifies sending money, offers transparent expense tracking, and eliminates mark-up fees that are charged by traditional banks.

  • You can transfer money to bank accounts in various countries at lower costs compared to big banks.

  • Joining and annual fees are waived for BigPay accounts.

  • It offers convenient features like card-to-card transfers and free bank transfers through FPX.


  • Wise accounts are free to open, with no annual or monthly fees.

  • Wise offers a multi-currency account for sending, spending, and receiving money in 170 countries and 40+ currencies.

  • Send payments to 70+ countries.

  • Wise provides a universal international card, allowing you to pay with the local currency or convert it using the mid-market rate.

    Open a Wise account

By opting for a free online bank account with either BigPay or Wise, you can enjoy convenient digital banking services without the unnecessary costs. Both platforms provide innovative online solutions to manage your money efficiently, allowing you to keep more of your hard-earned cash.

Opening a Business Account Online

If you are a freelancer or business owner you may want to open a business account to separate your personal and business finances. Many banks and online financial services providers allow you to open business bank accounts online. Some online business accounts may be free.

Wise Business

Online international money transfer provider Wise offers low-cost international business accounts that include features like bulk international payments to employees and vendors.

Go to Wise Business

What are the costs

Opening an online bank account is usually free, however, some banks may charge fees for things like debit or credit cards. Many online bank accounts require minimum deposits. Some common costs include:

  • Annual card fees

  • Early account closing fees

  • Monthly management fees

  • Dormant account fees

  • Fall-below fees

How do I fund my account?

You may find your online bank account via direct deposit from a bank account or via debit or credit cards. The available funding options may differ between banks, providers and types of accounts.

Adding money to your bank account in Malaysia is a straightforward process with multiple options to suit your needs. Here are the main ways you can fund your account:

  1. Cash deposits: Many banks in Malaysia, such as Public Bank, Hong Leong, Maybank, and RHB Bank, allow you to make cash deposits at their branches or through their designated ATMs.

  2. Money Transfers: Transferring money from another bank account is a popular, convenient, and secure way to add funds to your account. All you have to do is go to your existing bank’s online platform or app to initiate the transfer. You can use services like Wise to transfer money internationally, making it an excellent option for those outside Malaysia.

  3. Card Payments: If you prefer a digital payment method, you can link your debit or credit card to your bank account to conveniently make payments or transfer funds online. BigPay is a popular free money app in Malaysia that provides a debit card linked to your account, allowing you to make hassle-free transactions.

  4. Digital Wallet Technology: Digital wallets, provided by banks and brands such as Apple and Google Wallet, send money fast and conveniently to your bank. For Apple Wallet, simply open the app, tap your cash card and the ‘More’ button and then ‘Transfer to Bank’.

Opening a bank account online in Malaysia has never been easier. Just remember that each bank may have varying procedures and requirements for funding your account, and it’s always a good idea to check with your chosen financial institution or visit their official website for further instructions.

Can I open an online bank account in Malaysia from abroad?

Some traditional banks and online providers allow you to open online bank accounts in Malaysia from other countries, however, you may need a Malaysian phone number to complete the process. Online specialist providers like Wise allow Malaysians to open multi-currency accounts from anywhere in the world.

Conclusion: Open account online in Malaysia

The internet has made banking more convenient and it is possible to open a bank account online without having to go to a branch. Many traditional banks, as well as alternative providers, allow you to open bank accounts online. These accounts are often free and some require small opening deposits. Online financial services providers like Wise specialise in digital banking and make it quick and easy to open an account online.

Learn more about Wise

FAQs on Opening a Bank Account Online

Which banks allow you to open an account online?

Many major Malaysian banks allow you to open bank accounts online, including Maybank, RHB and Hong Leong. However, Public Bank requires you to visit a branch to open an account.

Can I open a bank account online without going to the bank?

Yes, you can open accounts at many traditional banks online without ever going to a branch.

What is the easiest bank account to open online?

RHB and Hong Leong offer the quickest and simplest steps to open a bank account online.

Can I open an account with no money?

In Malaysia, most banks and providers require a minimum deposit to open a bank account. Some banks may require proof of funds.

What bank does not have a monthly fee?

Most major traditional banks in Malaysia offer online bank accounts at no monthly fee, however, they may charge an annual fee for linked debit or credit cards.

Can I open a checking account online instantly?

Most banks allow you to open a checking account online in just a few minutes. However, this varies depending on the bank and its policies.

Can I open a bank account online with no deposit?

Yes, it's possible to open a bank account online with no initial deposit, with many banks offering no-deposit or low-deposit options.