Singapore has low tax rates, which can certainly make it attractive for anyone wanting to move there and save a little money, but simply dropping into a new city and strolling to the bank isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Can I Open a Bank Account in Singapore?
That’s one of the first questions you should ask, and with all the laws that focus on stopping money laundering in the country, it can be hard to get an account open as a foreigner.
However, if you are employed in Singapore and over eighteen years old, then the process is very simple.
For most banks, you will need to come to the location in person to both open the account and also resolve all the issues.
So you should pick a bank that is close to your home or work to mitigate any travel expenses.
Plus, make sure to take a look at what the bank offers in terms of accounts.
Depending on the amount of traveling, and currency converting, that you do on a regular basis, you might need a multi-currency account.
How Do I Open A Bank Account as a Singapore Citizen?
You will need to be over 18, but you can simply travel to the bank and talk to someone to get the account open.
Then you will need to be aware of the bank fees and the minimum deposits that you will need to add in each day.
For the account to open, you will need to have the minimum deposit to insert into the account.
At most, you'll be required to show an ID, or proof of address depending on the bank.
Then, you will be informed of the minimum daily average balance, which is the lowest amount you will have in your account every single day.
The balance can vary between 500 SGD all the way up to 3,000 SGD, which is about 370 to 2,165 USD.
If you do not have this daily average balance in your account each day, you will be fined a ‘fall below fee’ and this fee adds up if you stay below the fee for too long.
How Do I Open a Bank Account as a Foreigner?
If you are a foreigner or not a resident of Singapore, then you can still open a bank account without any trouble.
But you will need some extra documents to smooth the process along, and the documents that you will need depends on the bank.
To open a bank account as a foreigner in Singapore you'll need:
- Proof of Identity (Passport or ID card)
- Proof of Address (Utility bills, etc.)
- Employment Visa, S Pass, or Student Visa
Some banks may even require a reference letter or letter of invitation.
You might also need a rental agreement, a letter from your employer, and references from your home banks.
Always make sure to check the bank ahead of time so you won’t have to worry about missing a document.
Then you can open your bank account just like normal.
How Do I Open A Bank Account as a Malaysian Citizen?
With its close proximity and history together, Malaysia shares special privileges with Singapore, and vice versa.
Malay-Singaporean relations mean that Malaysian citizens in Singapore can enjoy certain avenues to residential perks including bank accounts.
A Malaysian Identity Cardholder in Singapore can apply for a bank account with the same documents as a local resident, except instead of a Singapore ID card, there will be a need to see their Malaysian ID card.
Multi-Currency Accounts in Singapore
Whether you are a citizen of Singapore or a foreign visitor, you can still ask for a multi-currency bank account.
This is often useful for people who travel or for people who are sending money to another country.
These accounts can hold multiple sources of currency without having to pay too many conversion fees, and if you are going to be dealing with different types of currency, then the multi-currency account is a lifesaver.
How to do Online Banking in Singapore
If you want your bank account to be online, then most of these banks have an online option so you can use it.
Additionally, if you are moving back and forth from Singapore to another country, and also changing currencies while doing it, then you can also open a multi-currency online bank account.
This makes sure that you don’t have to keep swapping between currencies and paying too many fees.
Even if you are a foreigner and nonresident, an online banking account can be easier to open.
Taxes in Singapore
Finally, regardless of what type of bank account you choose to open, you will need to understand the tax system in Singapore and make sure that you can pay those taxes.
Thankfully, Singapore is all about being fair with its taxes, and there are several benefits for foreigners.
Depending on how long you stay, and the visa that you have, you will be considered a tax resident for different lengths of time.
For example, if you stay or work in Singapore for 183 continuous days from January 1st to December 31st, then you are a tax resident for the year.
However, if you are staying or working in Singapore for less than 60 days, then you will not need to pay taxes and will be exempt.
If you are working from 61-182 days, then you will typically be charged 15% and will not be a tax resident for the year.
Opening a Bank Account in Singapore
Learning how to open a bank account in Singapore might seem a little nerve-wracking, especially if you are relocating to Singapore and already have a million other things to worry about with the move.
However, it really isn’t any different from opening a bank account in any other country, and once you know what is expected of you, it’s as simple as walking in the bank door and talking to someone.
Make sure you know what type of account you want, the different fees and deposits you will need to deal with, and the documents you will need to present.
If you know what you want and why you want it, then the rest of the process will be a breeze.
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