Steps to open a bank account in Singapore
5 minute read
With the current Covid-19 situation in Singapore, both OCBC and UOB are allowing online corporate account openings!
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?
Below is our guide on the things you need to consider in order to open an account with banks in Singapore.
Opening a bank account in Singapore
Use the list below to start to get your paperwork in order for your bank meeting.
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 the more popular ones for you.
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.
You have two options you can consider – either a traditional Singapore bank, or else, a fintech provider such as WorldFirst who provide online corporate deposit accounts.
Remote bank account opening steps
- Questionnaire to be completed by the company’s directors via email
- Video/phone call to run through the questionnaire, product offerings and any other questions
- Customer to notarise or certify their passport & signature specimen (note: if customer have a signature specimen on his/her passport page, just notarise/certify the passport will do)
- Customer will be guided on which pages to sign, signatures to match the specimen that was notarised/certified true.
- Customer to courier the original documents to Singapore for processing
SG Business Growth Account (For customers residing in Singapore)
SG Business Entrepreneur Account (For foreigners residing abroad)
US Business Smart Account
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.
*Additional eligibility criteria may apply, all account openings are subject to the bank’s conditions.
UOB virtual bank account opening procedure:
- Video verification for the opening of UOB Corporate Bank accounts is now possible for Singapore incorporated companies
- Do note that only the director(s) or shareholder(s) can be the signatories for video conference verification
- First a KYC questionnaire will be sent to the directors to complete on behalf of the Singapore company – only 1 Director will need to complete the questionnaire or the Ultimate Beneficial Owner. Director or the Ultimate Beneficial Owner to forward the completed questionnaire to UOB Banker for an initial review
- After the initial review, UOB Banker will liaise with client on the date and time of the video conference
- Upon confirmation of the date and time of the video conference, a link will be sent to the directors/ shareholders (Video conference are done via Microsoft Teams). A copy of the bank forms will be sent as well
- The directors will click on the link on the date/time of video conference to sign in. All parties to prepare their original passport and have all the bank forms/ passport printed out
- All intended signatories (Director and/or Shareholder) will need to join in the Microsoft Team conference call – ideally all the signatories will need to be physically present at the same location of the conference as all wet signature(s) are to be signed on the same copy of the form
- The ID documents do not need to be notarised. The KYC check will be a per UOBs current process this includes shareholders and directors
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.
UOB allows online bank opening!
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.
ONLINE ACCOUNT PROVIDERS
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 or debit cards.
If you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional bank account, Currenxie is a Hong Kong based financial institution that offers virtual accounts covering over 30 countries and 18 currencies. Currenxie‘s Global Account™ allows users to collect and send payments around the world, conduct foreign exchange, and access trade financing from a single digital platform.
Users do not need to be physically present to apply for an account, and the service is popular among eCommerce and trading companies seeking cost effective cross-border payments and remittance of profits from online marketplaces and payment gateways. Unlike a bank, Currenxie will not hold long-term deposits, but there is no cost to maintain an account.
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.