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Loan options you have as an expat in Malaysia

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I came across the question about personal loans for foreigners in Malaysia on Quora. So, we talked to a few banks to find out what their policies are regarding giving loans to expats and foreigners. Since we were already in the banks, we also asked them about credit card applications and all the different kinds of loans that expats can apply for.

Personal loans

The Quora question specifically asked about personal loans. All the banks we talked with said nope. They don’t give personal loans to expats. The CIMB personal loans representative even specified that their personal loans are only for Bumiputras (indigenous Malays).

Car loans and home loans

We grouped them because they have similar terms and conditions. Banks are willing to offer expats a margin of financing up to 90% of the total amount. Say if you want to buy a car worth RM90,000, then you should have at least RM9,000 and the bank settles the balance.

CIMB auto loans—also referred to as hire purchase—provides expats and foreigners with businesses in Malaysia up to 75% financing. Typically, many of the banks we called and spoke with provided margins of between 70% and 90%, with the latter subject to the bank’s decision. For instance, Maybank and Public Bank offer 70%.

For home loans, Malaysian real estate laws specify a minimum limit that foreigners can spend on acquiring homes in the country. The minimum values are based on the states that the property is located in. Generally, in East Malaysia—Sabah and Sarawak, the property (residential or commercial) must be at least RM300,000 and RM500,000 minimum in the peninsula—depending on your Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) status.

Source: Loanstreet

CIMB, Maybank and Public all offer home loans to expats up to 90%, also subject to the bank’s decision. If you’re buying a home here, you should know that there are two different property titles—freehold means you own it forever, and leasehold means you let it from the government for 99 years. You can renew after that for a fee.

Credit Cards

CIMB, Maybank and Public Bank all consider expat applications for credit cards. However, the bank still has the final decision about whether you’ll be getting one or not. To be eligible, applicants must be earning at least RM30,000 annual base salary (without bonuses) for workers, and have an employment/business visa.

Most banks require credit card applicants to have an account with the bank and have a fixed deposit of at least RM5,000. The amount in your fixed deposit account also represents, in most cases, the credit limit on your card.

TL; DR

  • Many Malaysian banks don’t offer expats personal loans.
  • You can get personal loans from the “loan sharks”, but unless you’re super extremely desperate, please don’t.
  • You can apply for and get home loans car loans from most banks.
  • Banks are usually willing to offer a margin of financing up to 90% in both cases.
  • Although you should probably be prepared with around 30% of the total amount.

Did we miss anything? Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments section. Share if you found this helpful.

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7 Replies to “Loan options you have as an expat in Malaysia”

  1. HI, am Karthikeyan and am a foreigner here am working in flex johor PTP as a senior engineer.
    i would like to take a personal loan. pls advice what are the requirements.

  2. Thank you sharing these interesting info.
    I wonder, however, if you can give a few examples regarding the part talking about the ‘minimum limit’ of home loans granted to foreigners. For example, in case of peninsula MY, does the foreigner need to purchase a home that worths MYR 1 million at least in order to get the loan to finance it? (in other words, no loans will be given to purchase homes whose prices are less than MYR 1 million?)

    or,

    S/he has to pay that RMY 1 million as the first instalment and pay the rest instalments monthly (assuming the property is purchased with RMY 2 million) ?
    Thank you again

    1. Thanks for commenting, Adam. The first option.
      You can only get a loan for purchasing a property that is above RM1 million. For instance, you want to buy a shop lot that costs RM1.7 million. You can get a bank to finance up to 70% (RM1.19 million) while you come up with the balance RM510,000 (minus other fees like stamp duties etc that you need to pay).
      Foreigners are usually not allowed to purchase properties below RM1 million unless you have Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) status. I’ll update the post to show the value of properties foreigners can buy with and with MM2H.

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