Process of Opening a Bank Account in Singapore

If you have already decided with an idea and to go for company formation, the next step in the process is to open a bank account in Singapore. You cannot use your personal bank account for receiving and paying for business expenses. Opening a company bank account is important so that you can get easier access and also control on your business funds.

But do you wonder how you should go about opening a bank account and where to start? So, here’s a guide on the tasks you need to do so as to open an account in Singapore.

How to open a bank account in Singapore?

The required paperwork

Following is a list of documents which are usually needed by all the Singapore banks for opening a company account.

  • A properly filled up Corporate Account Opening Formwhich is duly signed by all the authorized signatories of your start-up/company
  • Directors’ Resolutionto prove that the firm has got the go-ahead for opening a bank account. Most of the banks would have a form ready for this and you would only need to get signatures from your board
  • To prove that you have incorporated the company, you would require the Certified True Copy of the Company’s Business Profile sought from the Company Registrar(Please note that if you are a member of the company’s board or the company secretary like some agency is allowed to certify this document)
  • Certified True Copy of Passport or Singapore ICand the Residential Address Proof of all the Directors, Ultimate Beneficial Owners, and Signatories

Your company secretary can help you in getting the needed documents together as they would most probably have gathered all these during the company incorporation. The company secretary is also permitted to act as a signatory in helping to open the account, but most of the banks usually mandate the presence of a minimum of two signatories while opening the account.

Which bank should I choose?

There are many banks in Singapore to choose from; however, here is the list of four most popular ones. Though this is not a list of “the best banks” in Singapore, it’s actually a list of banks where the process of opening a bank account for new and start-up companies could be easier.

Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC)

SG Business Growth Account (Applicable for customers living in Singapore)

  • Initial deposit required: SG $500
  • No minimum balance needed for the first six months. After that, monthly average balance of SG $3,000 needed

SG Business Entrepreneur Account (Applicable for foreigners living abroad)

  • Initial deposit required: SG $3,000
  • No minimum balance needed for the first six months. After that, monthly average balance of SG $5,000 required

US Business Smart Account 

  • Initial deposit required: US $500
  • No minimum balance needed for the first six months. After that, monthly average balance of US $1,000 needed

OCBC is a merger amongst three local banks. They currently also own Great Eastern Holdings, which is the biggest insurance group in Singapore and Malaysia. This bank offers multitude of services like three different business accounts meant for start-ups which are useful in different stages.

They have an option for new businesses, for those which are growing and are hoping for more transactions, and also a business account for proven and established businesses. Though the high maintaining balance could be overwhelming, the account includes ample of free transactions which are not available in other accounts.

Account features

  • Free set up of business accounts (exceptions: CHF/JPY/EUR accounts)
  • Free business internet banking along with digital tokens
  • Free business mobile banking service
  • Free business debit cards (SG) along with free personalization of company or business logo
  • Xero Accounting direct bank feeds are enabled

*Additional eligibility criteria may apply; all account opening processes are subject to the bank’s pre-conditions.

United Overseas Bank (UOB)

eBusiness Account

  • Initial deposit required: $1,000
  • Daily balance needed: $5,000

With its presence all across Southeast Asia and China, UOB has its branches in 19 countries. It offers three different types of accounts which fit different banking requirements. If you own a business, you should consider their operating accounts, which are customized and tailor-made for businesses.

Maybank

Flexibiz Account

  • Initial deposit required: $1,000
  • Daily balance needed: Not applicable

This is another big name in banking sector in Singapore, where you can consider opening an account. As per data, Maybank is the fourth largest bank in Southeast Asia if assessed by assets. This bank offers investment banking, insurance and consumer banking and corporate banking to 20 different nations. In Maybank, you could choose from four different business accounts, but the most popular one is Flexibiz as it has no monthly fee and it thus proves beneficial for start-up companies that do not have much cash.

Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)

Apply online or walk in to the branch

DBS has many branches all over South and Southeast Asia and also in China. Having more than 100 branches, this bank is one of the largest banks in Southeast Asia. The biggest advantage is that they process your application in no time. Though they require the executive director and authorized signatories to be there for a face-to-face meeting, the bank can decide to make exceptions as well. They also offer online application procedure where helps you save your time and effort. However, please note that all account openings would be subject to the bank’s pre-conditions.

DBS has two different type of accounts:

Standard accounts which offer no relationship manager support:

  1. $10,000 min. balance needed
    2. Initial deposit requirement of $3,000
    3. $35 fall-below fee
    4. Free online banking and a debit card

Account with a Relationship manager support:

  1. One-time setup fee charged: SG$500 (For operating accounts only)
  2. $50,000 Min balance needed to maintain monthly; fall below fee of $80 charged – Operating accounts
  3. One-time setup fee charged: SG$2500; Monthly fee US$200 (For investment holdings and holding accounts)
  4. Free online banking plus a Debit card
  5. Additional product specialist support given: Trade and cash management
  6. A relationship manager’s support also provided

Currenxie

In case you prefer the option of a traditional bank account, then Currenxie is the latest bank, which was founded in 2014. This bank aids businesses in eliminating various barriers to trade by providing efficient FX and also cross-border payment solutions. The bank’s main focus is on collaborating with eCommerce-based marketplaces, assisting their sellers with their operations abroad.

Currenxie offers complete online support, hence your physical presence while opening an account is not required. But, it is limited in its capability as of now and does not offer the complete range of operations, which a bank does, for example, credit cards. However, you can go ahead and make cost-effective, fast and secure international payments in 18 currencies by using their website.

WorldFirst

  • Free sign-up process
  • No limit of minimum transfers​
  • No monthly fees​ charged
  • No annual transfer limits​

World Account is basically a cross-border payments platform offered by WorldFirst. They are the market leaders in global FinTech business and an expert in cross-border currency transfers. WorldFirst offers corporate and e-commerce solutions that help SMEs and online market place companies and traders to expand their operations internationally. It is also completely regulated and licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

However, please note that this virtual bank has some limitations; for example, it does not provide credit cards.

If you find this process confusing or need any suggestions or help, please get in touch with us. At IMC, when we help you do your incorporation, we also introduce you to our extensive network of bankers so as to assist you with the process of opening a bank account. Contact us to know more.