The banking system in Maldives

Updated 2021-07-20 15:19

If you plan to live, work or do business in the Maldives, you will need a bank account. Is it easy for expats to open bank accounts in the country? What are the related procedures and expenses? Find out in this article.

The Maldives is a popular destination among expats ' and not only for vacation. A large number of expats work and have businesses in the country. Opening a bank account in the country is a pretty straightforward procedure ' and, since English is widely spoken, you won't even have to worry about the language barrier.

Banking system

Almost all of the country's commercial and financial activity is centred in the capital city of Male. The city covers an area of only six square kilometres and, thus, has territorial limitations when it comes to administrative and other buildings. With that, there is quite a high concentration of banks in the city: you will have eight establishments to choose from. The banks currently operating in the Maldives are:

  • Bank of Maldives Plc. (BML), the national bank with majority ownership by the Government of Maldives.
  • State Bank of India (SBI), a foreign branch
  • Habib Bank Limited (HBL), a foreign branch
  • Bank of Ceylon (BOC), a foreign branch
  • Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. (HSBC), a foreign branch
  • Mauritius Commercial Bank Maldives Pvt. Ltd. (MCB), subsidiary of the Mauritius Commercial Bank
  • Maldives Islamic Bank Pvt Ltd. (MIB), owned partially by the Islamic Corporation for Development and the Government of Maldives
  • Commercial Bank of Maldives Pvt Ltd. (CBM), owned in part by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon

How to choose your bank

While you can keep using your home bank when you are in the Maldives, having an account at a local bank will become a necessity if you plan to reside in the country long-term, work or run a business.

Having a local bank account will let you receive your salary, pay household bills, make transfers back home, and more.

Banking rates and services vary from one establishment to another so it's always best to get in touch with the bank you have in mind and inquire about the specifics in person. With that, there are a few things to keep in mind when making your choice:

  • operation language: does your ban offer English-language services or will you need to have a translator by your side when handling financial procedures ' this will incur extra costs.
  • online banking: being able to handle your finances remotely is a very convenient feature, especially in foreign and country and, even more so, if you will not be living in the country's capital city
  • fees: find out how much you will be charged for standard banking operations like sending transfers, withdrawing money from ATMs, etc.
  • the range of services: make sure the bank you choose is able to perform all the services you will be needing

Good to know:

Typically, if you come to the Maldives for work, your hitting company will arrange for you to open an account at a particular bank for easy salary transfers.

Bank remittance

While service fees differ from one bank to another, you will always need to pay the same amount of remittance tax when sending money back home. There is no personal income tax in the Maldives for the expats working in the country. Instead, you will be required to pay a 3% remittance charge when sending money back home.

Useful links:

Maldives Monetary Authority
Bank of Maldives

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