Singapore is one of the most developed cities in Asia-Pacific and it is also a famous financial center. It hosts local and foreign financial institutions. Singapore has a pro-business legislation and a very modern legal framework regulating the banking sector. Singapore is home to the biggest Southeastern Asian banks DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and the United Overseas Bank. However, many important foreign banks have opened branches in Singapore.
Investors who intend to open a company in Singapore will definitely need a corporate bank account and our company formation experts can offer information on the banking legislation applicable in this country and can help you open a bank account in Singapore.
What types of banks operate in Singapore?
In 1999 when Singapore liberalized its banking sectors, the number of foreign banks coming to the city-state has boomed. Nowadays, the following types of banks are thriving in Singapore:
- local banks in a small number;
- foreign banks;
- wholesale banks;
- offshore banks;
- merchant banks.
All banks fall under the supervision of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. If you want to open a bank account in Singapore, our team of incorporation experts can help you. Furthermore if you need assistance related to taxes in Singapore, our experts are at your disposal.
How to choose a Singapore bank to open an account with
Singapore is one of the most important financial centers in Southeast Asia, and it hosts numerous local and foreign banks that operate through branch offices, which means that a natural person or business owner has plenty of financial institutions to choose from.
There are various aspects to consider when deciding to open a bank account in Singapore and the bank is among the most important. As mentioned above, one can choose between domestic and large foreign banks which operate here. For those seeking to open accounts in specific currencies should know that Singapore banks usually offer this option.
When choosing a bank, one should take into account the bank account opening and administration fees, the possibility of setting up the account online or remotely, as well as the services associated with it.
If you plan to open a company in Singapore and need assistance in setting up a bank account for it, our local consultants can help you. We can also open the account on your behalf based on a power of attorney if you don’t want to come to the city-state during the early stages of the procedure.
What types of services do Singapore banks offer?
Singapore banks provide the usual personal banking services as all banks in the world do, but additionally there are certain specific services these banks offer. Among these services there are the Supplementary Retirement Scheme and the CPF Investment Scheme accounts for investors. Local banks in Singapore are interconnected thus providing a shared ATM system that enables clients of any of the banks to withdraw money without additional fees.
Many of the foreign banks with branches in Singapore are required to apply for a special license before providing their services. However, all banks are listed by the Monetary Authority in Singapore.
You can read details on how to open a bank account in Singapore in the scheme below:
What are the available types of bank accounts in Singapore?
There are various types of bank accounts one can select from when deciding to set it up in Singapore. Among these, the most popular ones are:
the personal bank account which can be set up for receiving the salary and day-to-day expenses;
the corporate bank account which is available for companies operating in Singapore and outside it;
merchant accounts can also be set up by e-commerce companies running in Singapore;
non-resident bank accounts are also available for those do not want to relocate here.
Foreign people can open a bank account in Singapore without being physically present by submitting an online application. Foreign citizens that do not live in Singapore may open saving bank accounts with certain banks, while foreign investors may be allowed to open trading or investment bank accounts in Singapore. Foreign citizens relocating to Singapore have the possibility to open a bank account before moving.
If you want to open a bank account in Singapore, we can provide details on the information you need to submit with the selected institution.
The Banking Act in Singapore
The Banking Law is comprised in the Commercial Code in Singapore. Singapore has always tried to welcome both local and foreign investors wanting to set up financial institutions in the city-state. All banks and other financial institutions fall under the regulation and supervision of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. According to the Banking Law, all financial institutions in Singapore are required to apply for a banking license before starting operating. The Singapore Banking Act also allows the incorporation of merchant banks that provide corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions services and portfolio investment management services.
How to open a personal bank account in Singapore
Citizens, permanent residents and foreign citizens with employment visas can open current bank accounts in Singapore. The required documents to open a bank account inSingapore are: an application form released by the bank, the passport, employment pass and an e-mail address. Individuals are advised to contact the bank before going to open the bank account and ask if any additional documents are required.
Banks in Singapore have specific requirements for opening bank accounts and charge different fees. Clients will usually receive a card with a PIN that can be used for online banking operations.
We invite you to watch our video on how to open a bank account in Singapore:
Opening a corporate bank account in Singapore
One of the first steps of company registration in Singapore is opening the corporate bank account where the share capital will be deposited. There are many banks a Singapore company can set up bank accounts with, however their charges and services differ. Our Singapore company formation consultants can assist foreign investors seeking to open corporate bank accounts with the banks they choose.
Most Singapore banks will require for the company director or other representative to open the account, which is one of the most important aspects to consider when opening a Singapore company. The following documents must be filed with the bank in order to open a bank account in Singapore:
- duly complete forms provided by the bank;
- a resolution passed by the management of the company which will state the opening of the account as well as who will operate it;
- a certified copy of the resolution mentioned above;
- a certified copy of the company’s certificate of registration;
- a certified copy of the company’s business profile;
- a certified copy of the company’s statutory documents;
- certified copies of the directors and shareholders.
Resident directors must also submit proof of their address in Singapore. Also, all documents must be prepared by one of the directors or by the company secretary. This is one of the main reasons our company formation representatives in Singapore offer nominee director and secretary services. Companies in the city-state can open bank accounts in Singapore dollars or other currencies.
Opening a bank account with a foreign bank in Singapore
Singapore is home to many expats who have relocated here for employment or business purposes, which is why these prefer to open bank accounts with banks from their home countries that operate here, where possible. Moreover, they can link the accounts in their home states with the ones opened here.
The documents related to opening a Singapore bank account with a foreign financial institution do not differ from those requested by domestic banks, therefore one needs not to worry about additional paperwork, however, it is good to know that each bank has its own regulations when it comes to document requirements.
Foreign citizens who want to open bank accounts in Singapore can do that by submitting various documents. However, it should be noted that in most cases, they can open savings and investment accounts with Singapore banks. Also, in certain cases, clients can be requested to go to the bank personally to fill out the application form and provide the requested papers.
If you want to open a bank account in Singapore and decide for a branch of a bank with the headquarters in another country, you can benefit from assistance.
Merchant bank accounts in Singapore
The number of online businesses has increased substantially in Singapore in the last few years thanks to the facilities offered by the government but also by the fact that many products can be produced locally.
When opening an e-commerce company, there are several additional requirements to complete compared to the creation of a traditional business. Among these, the creation of a website, registration of a domain name and opening of a merchant account are mandatory.
Merchant accounts must be set up in order to process online payments and can be linked to the corporate account of the company. The procedure of opening a merchant bank account in Singapore is not complicated and requires choosing a provider that offers services.
If you want to open a bank account in Singapore for your online business, you can request additional information from our agents. We can also help you open a Singapore company.
The financial sector in Singapore
Singapore was home to more than 130 banks in 2019, which is quite impressive considering the size of the city-state. However, in terms of financial services, the following numbers are provided by Statista.com:
- in 2019, there were 757 capital markets services licenses;
- 187 insurance companies were operating in the city-state last year;
- there were also 27 merchant banks offering their services to Singapore clients;
- 11 international money brokers were active in Singapore in 2019.
If you want to open a bank account in Singapore, you can select from some of the largest banks in the world operating here.
Our specialists who can help you open a company in Singapore can offer information about the banking services and can help investors open bank accounts in Singapore for their companies. You can also contact us for detailed information about licenses for financial institutions in Singapore.