Opening a bank account for the maid

The maid has been with us for 6 months now so its time to start paying her directly. Those of you who have maids will know that we are required to pay a 6 months advance salary upfront but this 6 months advance salary does not go to the maid. It goes to the agency for the advanced loan that the maid takes from the agency to get them placed overseas. Imagine working for 6 months without pay. Hmmm….

I understand that different employers do this payment of salaries to the maid differently. Some show her a piece of paper as a record and records down each payment monthly. Some pay via a bank account. I even heard of some who pay into their own bank accounts because they think the maid should not be earning interests on their money! Gosh! I really don’t know what to say to that.

I asked my maid how her previous employer paid her. She said that the previous employer will pay her cash and put it into a petty cash box every month. My first thought was “What if there was a burglary and someone runs off with that petty cash box?” Hmmm….

I would like to open a bank account for the maid because I think that is the most normal mode of payment. I think thats fair too. However, I don’t know what kind of account I have to open since she is a foreigner here. Can anyone help me out? As a foreigner, can she have a normal savings account for locals or is it different? What about transmission of money back home and how does she transfer her money home at the end of her tenure?

She told me that she had a difficult time trying to retrieve her money from the bank in her hometown previously although her employer had told her  that she had sent it. My maid lives in a very rural place. She has to take a day by lorry to the nearest bank and each time she did that the bank would say it has not received the money yet. According to her she had to travel 2-3 times before she received her money.

Appreciate if somebody with experience comments. Thanks.


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17 thoughts on “Opening a bank account for the maid

  1. I think you can open a joint account as an employer.. but Im not sure, I’ve never done it wor..

    I will try to find out and perhaps post about it later. :)

  2. I used to send the money back to my ex-maid’s home town in Indo for the first year, then she realized that her family used all her money, and didn’t leave a cent for her. 😛
    So, after that, I just sent if her family called. The rest, I kept for her and gave her a bank draft when she flew back for holiday. Like that she would keep some for herself, instead of giving all to her family.

    That is the experience that some friends told me about, that sometimes they have to advise the maid to keep some to herself because the family, husband, parents, keep on demanding for money till she has none left.

  3. When I had my Indonesian maid (first maid), I never open an a/c for her. What I did was to write down in a 555 booklet. Then every 3-4 months, I will print out a summary for her, showing her how much money she got and also a convertion in Rupiah. Normally they see the Rupiah, they comprehend better. Also, whatever money deducted, I will put inside the 555 book too…like she will ask me to buy $5 italk card.

    To trasnfer money back to Indonesia is fast. Its instant.

    For my current Myanmar maid, its different. I give her cash cos that what she wants as she has off-days.

    Oh translating the amount to them in Rupiah sounds like a good idea.

  4. I thought it is compulsory to open a bank account for maid?

    For my previous maid, I opened a bank account under my name. Because I do not have her passport with me , we locked it up in the safe in KL and I opened the account for her in Seremban. When she left, I closed the account and sent back the money for her, every single cent including the interest.

    For my current maid, I have wanted to open a joint account, but that is not possible, so I opened and external account for her. The problem with external account is that I cannot transfer the money into her account through phonebanking, internet banking or ATM machine. I have to physically bank in the money to the account over the counter. I keep the bank book and let her keep the bank in slip each time I have banked in the money.

    So far she has only sent back the money once and it took quite a while to reach, hence she decided not to sent back anymore. There’s a transaction fee of RM18 each TT. I paid for that each time.

    My maid don’t hold any cash. Even her ang pow, she passed it to me as there’s is no need for her to use the money. I pay everything for her and never deduct from her salary. ( I used to only deduct my previous maid salary for her handphone bills, current maid doesn’t have handphone)

    Thank you so much for sharing Elaine. This is helpful info. :)

  5. as for me, i dun open any acc for my maid either. becoz the moment she got her first pay, she requested me to sent them all to her family in Indon. after a few mths, my other in-laws reminded me to keep 4 mths salary with me in case she wants to continue to the 3rd year. that money will be a security that she will come back after returning home for holiday. apart from that, all her salary is TT(ed) to Indon.

    I hear of many cases where the maid promised to return but changed the mind last minute.

  6. hi, the stories of your maid experience is very informative and useful for me who is trying to decide whether to get one or not.. unfortunately can’t help you on this..but thanks for sharing :)

    Hi. I’m also learning from others’ experience. :) I think if a maid turns out well, it will really help you out. Now that my kids are in primary school and kindy I find that having a maid to help me with the housework allows me more time to help them with their homework without feeling overwhelmed.

  7. To foster trust, I open a savings account in her own name. Need employers IC to do so. We safekeep the passbook for her. For reassurance and peace of mind, we show her the bank update every month. If requested, will send back for her as well, but advise her not to send back everything. Same as we wouldn’t like our employers to earn interest on our salary, it’s plainly dishonest to to rob her of the interest.

    Thank you for sharing. This is what I plan to do too but I wasn’t sure how to go about opening an account for her under her name.

  8. For my 1st 2 maid, we opened a joint account. Go to the bank and tell them you want to open an account for the maid, they will advise you.
    For my 3rd maid, my husband just open an account under his name(probably too ma fan, to get her to go to bank + passport). That account is used for her salary only.
    Every half year, we’ll help her TT some money home. Since her house is not in such ‘ulu’ place, it takes about 4-5 days I think for the money to reached the other side.
    For my prior 2 maid, they wanted bank draft and some cash and they wear extremely tight jeans with secret pockets to keep the cash when they went home!!! Whatever that is in the account will be given to them – every single cent of it!

    By the way, we stop showing her the account book after sometime. She never asked to see either. We also keep her account book with us.

    Eh, how you know they have cash in the extremely tight jeans? You checked ah… 😉

  9. I used to open a joint a/c so that I could do transactions on her behalf. And with her name on the a/c, it gives her some sense of ownership and motivation to see her hard work rewarded. Every month after paying her salary, I will show her the passbook as proof that she has been paid. The bulk of the money is wired to her bank a/c back home when she leaves. On daily basis, she doesn’t hold a single cent as I covered all her necessities. I only allowed her to keep whatever little cash she gets from angpows she had collected from relatives.

    Yes, when hiring a maid we have to not only budget for their salary but for their necessities too don’t we?

  10. Got my maid in June last year. Agent told me that it is a requirement to open a bank account for the maid. So we went to Public back and open a saving account with a passbook under her name. This is my first maid, So… I have no clue how is she going to take her money home. I guess shoppingmum idea of giving bank draft is quite good.

    Yes, can get quite a lot of ideas from the commentors here who are more experienced than us. This is my first maid too.

  11. This is the 3rd year my current maid stays with us. Since day 1 we opened an saving acc for her but it is a joint name acc and it required both signatures to withdraw any amount from it. I feel that this is a fair deal as neither she nor me would need to worry if the other party will empty all that savings.

    Since she is a Filipino, the acc we hv has Western Union service which is very very convenient for money transfer, it is low fee, the other party will receive the money almost the next day (or if I’m not mistaken after 3hours of transfer) and there is no form needs to be filled.

    Western Union service seems to be very popular these days…

  12. i do not open account for maid. She did not request too, and I rather pay her at one go when she is about to go home. However I let her have the freedom to spend her hard earn money to indulge on any food she might wish to eat or extra things she wants to buy. However there is a limit of Rm50 each month as I do not wish her to spend all her money, leaving no more money to bring back.

    You must keep track of her expenses then.

  13. gosh, i also havent opened an account. been planning to but never got around to it. now i’m thinking not to coz the hassle of closing it after she leaves next yr (i jst don have the time now which explains why i’ve delayed in opening an acc for her). but i do intend to give her some extra when she leaves anyway like a bonus, so that will definitely cover the interests earned.

    currently, i’m tracking her salary plus angpow money in a book. dont want her keeping cash on her since she goes to the daycare and my inlaws come and stay with us now and then so dont want ppl accusing her of taking cash (this was the reason i told her too for not wanting her to keep any cash on her).

    Oh is your maid more than 6 months adi? Time flies.

  14. We opened a joint account for our maid. Reason being, if she were to run away she knows she would not have access to her money saved in the bank. Both employer and maid have to be present to retrieve the $$$ from the bank if the account is a joint one. Neither can my husband take the maid’s money without her being present as well. So it works both ways, and provides us with an extra assurance in case the maid ever thinks about running away.

    Recently we also came to know that there is an easier way to send money to Indonesia; ie through Western Union Money Transfer. The other party can go anytime to collect the cash and there is even a password option for additional security whereby the beneficiary must provide a password to collect the cash in case your maid is worried the money will fall into the wrong hands.

    We’ve opened a joint account too. The agent had advised us to do so as well.

  15. any experience in which bank is hassle free- which the maid is not necessary to present at bank. just to show the permit, and passport and employer open account.

  16. I am curious, in case you opened a joint account with both signatures required, and in the case where the maid run away, what will happen to the money in the bank? You cannot withdraw it as well, so it goes to the government as ‘free’ income for the government?

    Or does the bank allow us to withdraw the money if we have lodged a police report saying the maid has run away?

    Good question. However, even if the maid did run away, the money is still hers. Unless you want to use it to reimburse for the fine as well as other expenses you have to pay as a result. I am not sure what is the ruling on this.

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