Banking For Foreign Expatriates In Penang

If you’re looking to explore the opportunities of making Penang your next home, you’ve probably heard about the amazing reasons why a foreign expatriate should consider Living in Penang. However, you will definitely want to know more and compare the various personal banking products and services that are available to you.

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So whether you’re looking for a bank with a global reach, to have easy access to ATMs, or looking for personal financing options to help you explore the sights and sounds of Penang, we’ve compiled some of the best choices for you in this quick guide to banking for foreign expatriates in Penang.

First up, we’ll take a look at the foreign and multinational banks, followed by our choice of the best local banks to help you get your personal finances in order when you first arrive in Penang.


The Foreign and Multinational Banks

Citibank Malaysia

Citibank is part of the Citigroup and offers global banking services for foreign expatriates in more than 160 countries worldwide. There are over 11 Citibank branches in Malaysia, and Citibank is the only foreign bank to be rated AAA for 15 years in a row. In Penang itself, Citibank’s main branch is located on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Penang and they also have another branch which is located in Bukit Tengah, Seberang Prai.

HSBC Malaysia

HSBC bank is one of the largest banking groups in the world, and HSBC Malaysia is also the largest foreign bank in Malaysia with over 40 branches nationwide. HSBC also has a network of over 6,100 offices in 72 countries across the world. If you are looking for Sharia-compliant banking services, HSBC also offers Islamic banking services via HSBC Amanah.

In Penang, HSBC has three branches with its main branch located on Downing Street being one of the oldest bank branches in the country.

Standard Chartered Bank

Standard Chartered is also one of the oldest foreign banks in Malaysia and its first branch opened its doors in 1875 in Penang, on Beach Street. Today, Standard Chartered has three branches in Penang with over 40 branches located nationwide in Malaysia. For Islamic banking services, you can also choose to open an account with their subsidiary, Standard Chartered Saadiq Berhad.

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The Local and Regional Banks


Maybank is Malaysia’s largest financial services group and is the fourth largest bank in Southeast Asia. It has a global network of 2,200 offices in over 20 countries and in Malaysia; Maybank has over 400 branches with 2,600 ATMs and self-service terminals across the country. In Penang, Maybank has over 32 branches and over 90 ATMs across the island and Butterworth.


CIMB Bank is one of the largest banking groups in Southeast Asia and has over 1,080 offices across the ASEAN region with more than 290 branches, plus over 2,200 ATMs and self-service terminals in Malaysia. CIMB also operates in 17 global markets and there are over 30 branches and 59 ATMs for CIMB Bank in Penang.

Public Bank

Public Bank is one of the largest banks in Malaysia, with over 180 branches and 1,800 ATMs and self-service terminals. Public Bank’s presence in Penang is spread out over 21 branches and more than 50 ATMs across the state.

There also other banks that offer their services in Penang, such as UOB, OCBC, Scotiabank, Kuwait Finance House and the Bank of China that you may want to consider during your time here in Penang.


Online and Mobile Banking

If you’re not keen on having to brave the seemingly endless queues at the bank, online or mobile banking is a great alternative that gives you the option of hassle-free banking at your convenience.

In Malaysia, there are over 18.8 million online banking (31 banks) and 6.6 mobile banking (13 banks) subscribers* who enjoy the convenience of banking on the go or from the privacy of their homes via the Internet.

The number of online banking subscribers in Malaysia has grown over 90% in the last five years and the banks in Malaysia have made it even easier for you to settle your bills, transfer funds and apply for credit cards and personal loans online.

*Source: Bank Negara Malaysia: “Malaysia’s Payment Statistics – Internet Banking and Mobile Banking Subscribers”

Whatever your final choice might be, we’re confident that you’ll come to enjoy the amazing lifestyle that only Penang can offer you in Southeast Asia. Selamat datang and enjoy your stay!

This guest post by Michael Vincent Mislos.  Find him on twitter @mmichaels_21