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Best Bank for the MM2H Fixed Deposit (for Americans)?

My MM2H has been approved and I was told by my agent that as an American citizen, there are really only 3 banks who will want to deal with me for the FD: HSBC, Maybank and one other bank who's name I forget. 

What are the pluses and minuses of doing the FD at these banks? Is there any other advice or tips one can give about doing the FD or banks?

Note: I have no dealings with HSBC in the USA - I would think I should be more concerned about HSBC's stability in another global financial crisis / downturn than a big regional Asian bank like Maybank that's not active in Western countries/Europe.

I do have a 10 year visa for China and travel there + around the region - I was told that if I have a Maybank, HSBC etc accounts, it sounded like I could use their ATM machines where ever they have an ATM presence in China/SE Asia.

Otherwise, my USA bank charges me $2 + a percentage at ATM machines. I use HSBC ATMs in Malaysia after a bad experience at an empty CIMB ATM debiting my account....

Maybank is OK. Their 12 month FD rates are usually a tiny bit better (unless they have a temporary deal going on - which would expire anyway and revert back to basic rates after 12 months). https://www.imoney.my/fixed-deposit

Maybank frequently has huge long queues to use their ATMs as most of the local population bank with them (same with CIMB).

Maybank set up a FD that corresponds to your requested credit limit when you want a Credit card but also have Debit cards without.

It all depends where you plan to live to some extent as its best to have a branch close by for the sake of drawing cash.

Maybank's online banking is OK too. I just find some of their systems very cumbersome and prone to sloppy actions - but I might have just been unlucky. I find their systems go down too often at payment terminals and they have black-out times when you cant use ATMs or their online systems. This is usually 12 midnight to about 4 am - which is OK locally but time differences when travelling may be an issue. 

Although I do some banking with Maybank - my main bill paying and daytoday purchasing is done with an international bank that provides me with SMS info (which I believe you can also get from Maybank - but it's like pulling teeth to get them to offer to set up sensible systems as part of their service culture). International banks seem to have a more intuitive approach which is sometimes lacking in the Maybank platform as basically it is written for local consumption.

One thing to remember with your MM2H FD is to make sure the annual interest is paid into a current account and not added to the principle. (Unfortunately the FD for a credit card with Maybank has to add the interest to the principle - it's just their rules)

Gravitas has explained it all very clearly.

My FD was with a foreign international bank and the interest on the FD went directly into my current account too. Once the FD is set up, and you have your MM2H, you can open accounts with other banks for day to day operations and spending like Maybank and CIMB.

I had accounts with four banks when I lived in Malaysia because it is useful having at least one local bank account, and because different banks come out with special offers on FD's for depositing fresh funds, so you end up moving funds from one bank to another in order to benefit from higher interest rates. However, you wouldn't be able to do that with your MM2H FD.

FD rates differ from bank to bank, so check what each bank is offering you before choosing where to place your MM2H FD..

I assume that I DON'T have to file Malaysia tax returns on the interest and if there were any taxes due, they would just withhold it? I might want to also use a local account to bill clients (all non-Malaysian & I deal in USD) as otherwise they have to wire the money to my US account with a bank having a SWIFT code (alot of US banks actually don't have one) - something that can be a turnoff for potential clients.

I would probably use the interest for Malaysia expenses. Its just that I will have FATCA nonsense to do and the interest amount will need to go on my US taxes.

Maybank ATMs seemed to have stopped taking my foreign ATM card some years ago (they keep changing chips in my ATM/CC cards). So I usually go to specific HSBC ATMs in the Bukit Bintang branch near my flat in KL and usually have no problems. I know Standard Charter / Citibank have been pulling back from emerging markets BUT I suppose HSBC at least won't leave Malaysia since they have been there for so long....

If you open a personal savings/current account with HSBC then only use it for personal banking. If you do any business transactions then open a business account and have the relevant income tax documents ready to show them. Mixing business transactions with your personal savings account may create problems. Other banks will be less stringent.

pretty much most bank will use 1 month rate as MM2H FD program. Affin Bank have special FD program for mm2h which now offering 3.7%

Hello. Our application was approved like 2 weeks ago! :)

Can I open a bank account WITHOUT visiting Malaysia?

I found Citibank having an MM2h section.

https://www.citibank.com.my/global_docs … uide1.html

I also read somewhere about HSBC bank.

So, we have to open a bank account and then contact MM2h people or the Malaysia embassy in USA; which I have called multiple times but they seem to know NOTHING at all about this. I mean they know the program exists but can't help in any way.

Please advise.

Thanks!!!

you have to be in malaysia to open the account and FD. Basic KYC principle

The approval is only valid for 6 months in which time you need to be in malaysia at some point to finalise medical examination  and  health insurance plus get FD certificate before the actual MM2H visa is endorsed in your passport.

expatinmalaysia :

I assume that I DON'T have to file Malaysia tax returns on the interest and if there were any taxes due, they would just withhold it? I might want to also use a local account to bill clients (all non-Malaysian & I deal in USD) as otherwise they have to wire the money to my US account with a bank having a SWIFT code (alot of US banks actually don't have one) - something that can be a turnoff for potential clients.

If in MM2H there should not be any Malaysian tax on the interest. It get's tricky with the billing as that might be seen as doing business IN Malaysia. If all the payments are coming from abroad it would most likely (and I am not a Malaysian tax expert) be viewed as foreign, untaxable income. However a Malaysian client-payment might be subject to tax.

expatinmalaysia :

I would probably use the interest for Malaysia expenses. Its just that I will have FATCA nonsense to do and the interest amount will need to go on my US taxes.

FATCA requires you to report all income to the IRS. Your need to file an FBAR from the banks.  Malaysian interest is potentially taxable as would the income from your clients even though that went nowhere near the US. You may still be eligible to deduct some of that income through the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) or the Foreign Tax Credit (FTC) .

One more point on those American Tax Deductions on Foreign Earnings/Tax Credits. They have to be legitimately "foreign". Simply using an overseas bank will not likely cut it. And generally they only apply to earnings that are taxable in Malaysia (or whatever foreign country you are applying for the credit deduction). If you think that this will allow substantial tax avoidance, or even reducing your US level of taxes by claiming foreign earnings at much lower tax rates....probably not. But talk to a tax lawyer who is trained in these issues. Read the laws carefully, quiz him/her on things explained in the FAQ and if s/he gives widely incorrect answers then drop them.

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