Steps to open a bank account in Singapore
5 minute read
So you have an idea. You’ve got your company ready to go. You’re feeling good. Next step: time to open a bank account. Don’t make the mistake of using your personal bank account to receive and pay business expenses. A bank account is necessary not only for security but for easier access and control of your business funds.
But how do you open a bank account in Singapore? Where should you start? Here’s a quick guide on the things you need in order to open an account with banks in Singapore.
Opening a bank account in Singapore
Here’s a list of the documents that are typically required by all Singapore banks in order to open a company account.
Your company secretary is likely to be a valuable ally in getting your required documents together as they likely had these on hand at your incorporation. They can also act as a signatory to help open the account – however most banks require the presence of at least two signatories when opening the account.
What bank should I choose?
There are quite a number of banks to choose from in Singapore but we’ve rounded ‘em all up and selected four of the more popular ones.This is not a list of “the best banks” but rather a list of banks where we found opening a bank account for startups to be easier. Our roster includes OCBC, UOB, DBS, Maybank and Currenxie.
Business Growth Account (For customers residing in Singapore)
Business Entrepreneur Account (For foreigners residing abroad)
OCBC or the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation is the result of a merger between three local banks. They currently own Great Eastern Holdings which is the largest insurance group in Malaysia and Singapore. OCBC offers a wide array of services including three different business accounts for startups in different stages.
They have something for brand new businesses, for ones that are growing and are expecting more transactions, and a business account for established businesses. While the high maintaining balance can be daunting, the account has plenty of free transactions which you can’t find on other accounts.
The UOB or the United Overseas Bank has presence all over Southeast Asia and China. With branches in 19 countries, it’s another bank you might want to consider opening an account with. The UOB has three different types of accounts for different banking needs. As a business, you should be looking at their operating accounts which are tailor-made for businesses.
Maybank is another big name is banking in Southeast Asia. Maybank is the fourth largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets. Maybank provides investment banking, corporate banking, insurance and consumer banking among other things to 20 different countries. Maybank has 4 different business accounts to choose from. The most popular account is Flexibiz and it has no monthly fees which can prove beneficial for startups that are a bit low on cash.
Apply online or walk in to the branch
DBS is the Development Bank of Singapore. It has different branches all over South and Southeast Asia and even in China. With over 100 branches, DBS is considered the largest bank in Southeast Asia. The best part about opening a company account with DBS is that they can process your application really fast. While DBS requires the authorized signatories and executive director to be present for a face-to-face meeting, exceptions can be made on the bank’s discretion. DBS also offers online application where you can save time and effort in visiting their branches. All account openings are subject to the bank’s conditions.
DBS offers two different type of accounts:
Standard accounts without any relationship manager support:
1. $10,000 min. balance
2. Initial deposit of $3,000
3. $35 fall-below fee
4. Free online banking & debit card
Relationship manager supported account:
1. One-time setup fee: SG$500 (Operating accounts only).
2. $50,000 Min balance to maintain monthly; fall below fee of $80 – Operating accounts.
3. One-time setup fee: SG$2500; Monthly fee US$200 (investment holdings and holding
4. Free Online banking and Debit card.
5. Supported by product specialist: Trade and cash management.
6. Supported by a relationship manager.
If you’re looking for a traditional bank account alternative, Currenxie is the latest bank opening solution that was founded in 2014. What makes Currenxie different? It helps business eliminate barriers to trade by offering efficient FX and cross-border payment solutions. Currenxie mainly focuses on working with eCommerce based marketplaces, helping their sellers with their respective overseas operations.
Currenxie can be used completely online, so the client’s physical presence for an account opening is not required. However, it is limited in its capability and does not have the full range of operations that a bank does such as credit cards. That said, you can make cost-effective, secure and fast international payments through the website in 18 currencies, and may be worth considering.
World Account is a cross-border payments platform brought to you by WorldFirst. WorldFirst is market-leading international FinTech business. An expert in international currency transfers, WorldFirst’s corporate and e-commerce solutions enable SMEs and online market place traders to expand internationally. Fully regulated and licensed by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
However, one must note, this virtual bank has its’ limitation when compared to a traditional bank, which means it does not provide cards such as credit cards.
While the opening and document gathering part can be quite tricky, opening a bank account can be quite straightforward. At Sleek with every incorporation we can introduce you to our network of bankers in order to help with your bank account opening. Get in touch to learn more.