Singapore Bank Account
Many reputable organizations in the world have acknowledged Singapore as one of the leading financial hubs. With superior technology, low taxes and efficient transport and infrastructure, Singapore is the place to be for entrepreneurs dreaming to make it big and expand their business globally. As a matter of fact, Singapore has topped the World Bank’s list as the best country to do business for nine consecutive years now. Singapore is continuing to build a solid reputation as a financial centre and the government is continuously innovating its rules and regulations in a bid to attract more investors.
Incorporating a company in Singapore is easy and there are processes to follow in order to commence operations in the country. One of the prerequisites for company incorporation is opening a corporate bank account. In Singapore, there are 125 commercial banks, 96% of which are foreign-owned. If you are a foreign business owner who wants to start doing business in Singapore, it only makes sense that you’ll choose to deal with banks that you have partnered with in the past.
However, choosing a local bank can also give you lots of benefits. Your employees can easily access bank facilities and your concerns can easily be addressed because local banks have larger offices and more employees in Singapore. As one of Singapore’s most trusted company incorporation service providers, we at Enterprise Assurance PAC will shed some light on bank account application processes and we’ll help you choose which bank is suited to your business needs. Our goal is to help business owners successfully open a bank account in Singapore in order to start doing business in the country.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Where to Open a Singapore Bank Account
- Your chosen bank should allow you to transact between Singapore dollars and multiple currencies under the same account
- Choose a bank that offers low fees and charges for transactions
- Choose a bank that offers the best exchange rate
- Choose a bank that has a branch near your office or home
- Your chosen bank should have great customer service
- It should offer online banking
- Has value added service
- Look at how much the minimum balance in account should be.
Major Local Banks in Singapore
Opening a corporate bank account in Singapore is not easy because the country has stringent laws and regulations that are aimed at preventing money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion. For this reason, consultation with incorporation agencies like Enterprise Assurance PAC is advisable. We at EAPAC have developed strong ties with local bank officers. Our staff can easily assist you in the process of completing all the necessary paperwork. We can arrange a meeting with the bankers in our office or we can bring you to the bank in order for you to open a corporate account.
To assist you in choosing which bank you should open an account with, here are the top five banks in Singapore:
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (otherwise known as OCBC)
OCBC is one of the major local banks in Singapore. OCBC was formed following the merge of three local banks, Chinese Commercial Bank, Ho Hong Bank, and Oversea-Chinese Bank in 1932. OCBC is an established institution with corporate banking facilities. With OCBC, you can arrange for a meeting with your assigned Relationship Manager to get your documents done.
Bank of Singapore (part of OCBC)
The Bank of Singapore is a fully-owned subsidiary of OCBC Bank. It has offices in Hong Kong and Dubai and it has representative offices in Manila. The Bank of Singapore provides customised wealth management, investment and lending services, on top of general banking services provided by its parent bank, OCBC.
DBS Bank Limited (merged with POSB, known as DBS)
DBS (which merged with POSB Bank) is the most preferred bank by majority of Singapore visitors and expats. DBS has over 677 ATMs located all over Singapore with users able to use both DBS and POSB machines. DBS is famous for its online bank account application which they claim could take only 5 minutes. It also has expatriate banking package which allows account owners to transact between Singapore dollars and multiple currencies under the same account. DBS internet banking and money remittance are some of the well-known services the bank is offering.
United Overseas Bank (otherwise known as UOB)
The United Overseas Bank (UOB) has been praised by many of its clients because of its excellent online service. As one of the bigger banks in Singapore, UOB have received thumbs-up from many expats. Some of the main advantages of banking with UOB are prompt service and easy transfers between UOB account and any other foreign accounts. The UOB bank card comes with NETS facilities.
Far East Bank Limited
This banking subsidiary of United Overseas Bank Limited was incorporated in 1958. Far East Bank Limited offers a wide range of commercial banking and financial services including current and savings account, bank and non-bank loans, credit and debit cards, nominee services, trade financing and many more.
If your preferred bank isn’t listed here, you can check out the websites other leading banks in Singapore such as Standard Chartered, HSBC, CitiBank, Maybank and ANZ.
Documents Needed to Open a Singapore Bank Account
In order to set up a personal savings account, you will need the following:
- Valid passport,
- Work or study visa,
- A reference from your current bank in the country you are leaving from,
- Official proof of address such as utility bill or an official document from employer.
For companies, the requirements for opening corporate bank accounts include but are not limited to:
- Application Form
- Certified True Copy of the Certificate Confirming Incorporation of Company (“Certificate”)
- Certified True Copy of the Official Company Register (known also as the Business Profile) to evidence the current directors and its shareholders
- Certified True Copy of the Company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association
- NRIC / Passport Copies of the proposed bank signatories
- One Certified True Copy of the Company’s Business Profile from ACRA
- Resolution by the Board of Directors approving the account opening and appointment of the signatories for the bank account.
- Minimum Deposit
Processing Time and Fees
As mentioned above, Singapore has strict laws when it comes to opening a bank account. The country’s banking sector is well-regulated and efficient. As such, comprehensive series of checks and investigations are conducted on potential clients before they can open either a personal bank account or a new corporate account.
After receiving all essential documents, it will take most banks five to seven working days before they can fully set up a bank account under a client’s name or company name. Please note that when opening a business bank account, an appointment should be made with the bank for all the authorized signatories. Directors will be required to attend in person to sign documents.
Bank fees are usually subject to the nature of the company’s principal activities and anticipated volume of transactions. Local banks have a very low setup fee and some don’t even charge at all for opening a bank account as long as you have the required minimum deposit on the account.