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In Singapore you can open a personal and corporate bank accounts as a resident or non-residents. 

If you have a Singpass, you can open a personal bank account in minutes without needing additional documents. Simply visit your desired bank’s website to get started.

For a business account, the time can vary from 3-5 days, depending on the bank and your documents.

Offering a diverse culture, Singapore is one of the most sought-after places in the world to set up a new business or open a branch office. Mainly due to Singapore being economically and politically stable. Additionally, with a low corporate tax of 17%, it is no wonder many are setting up their business in Singapore.

Singapore’s diversified banking system has attracted significant banks worldwide, enhancing international commerce between Singapore, Southeast Asia, and the world. With so many banks to choose from, this article will provide you with information about how to choose the right bank and how to open a bank account in Singapore.

Difference Between a Personal and Corporate Bank Account

First and foremost, knowing which bank account you are looking to open is important as they have a different set of requirements. You can open two types of bank accounts in Singapore: a personal bank account and a corporate bank account

Personal accounts are the accounts you use to purchase groceries, pay bills, rent, and pay for all other necessities, and they are available for both residents and non-residents. Most people will have this type of account.

For a corporate or business bank account, you need to own a business. This account type is reserved for businesses that need to separate their personal expenses from their business expenses. Whether it is a sole proprietor, limited company, or a partnership, they are all eligible to open a corporate bank account. 

Next, we look at some of the requirements you need to open a bank account in Singapore.

🔍 Tip: Learn more about setting up a sole proprietorship, branch office, or a private limited company.

Documents Required to Open a Bank Account in Singapore

In Singapore, if you have a Singpass, you can open up a bank account in minutes without needing additional documents. However, if you do not have a Singpass, here are the documents required.

Personal Bank Account

Singaporean/Permanent Resident:

  1. Identity Card
  2. Proof of Residential Address
  3. Proof of Tax Residency

Foreigner:

  1. Passport
  2. Proof of Employment/Study in Singapore/Dependent or Long Term Visit Pass
  3. Proof of Residential Address
  4. Proof of Tax Residency

Corporate Bank Account

Singapore Companies:

  1. Identity Card/Passport and Residential Address Proof of all the directors, authorised signatories, and declared UBO
  2. Bizfile
  3. Memorandum & Articles of Association (M&AA)/Constitution
  4. Certificate of Incorporation of corporate director (if any)
  5. Certificate of Registration of corporate director (if any)
  6. M&AA/Constitution of corporate director (if any)
  7. Original Proof of Principal Place of Business (only if the place is different from the business registered address)
  8. Address proof of all authorised signatories, directors, and declared UBO(s)

Foreign Companies:

  1. Certificate of Incorporation
  2. Certificate of Incumbency (issued within one year)
  3. Memorandum & Articles of Association/Constitution
  4. Certificate of Incorporation of corporate director (if any)
  5. Certificate of Registration of corporate director (if any)
  6. M&AA/Constitution of corporate director (if any)
  7. Original Proof of Principal Place of Business (only if the place is different from the business registered address)
  8. Address proof of all authorised signatories, directors, and declared UBO(s)
  9. Passport copies of all directors, authorised signatories, and declared UBO(s)

🔍 Tip: If you are not in Singapore, check out this offshore banking guide for Singapore.

Which Banks Should I Choose in Singapore?

There are many banks in Singapore, so choosing the right one might be difficult. However, we have shortlisted 3 top banks in Singapore for you to consider:

  1. Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)
  2. Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporate (OCBC)
  3. United Overseas Bank (UOB)
  DBS logo UOB logo OCBC logo
Eligibility 1. Singapore Citizen
2. Permanent Resident
3. Working or Studying or Long-term Visiting Pass Holders
1. Singapore Citizen
2. Permanent Resident
3. Working or Studying or Long-term Visiting Pass Holders
1. Singapore Citizen
2. Permanent Resident
3. Working or Studying or Long-term Visiting Pass Holders
Required Documents 1. Identity Card/Passport 2. Proof of Address
3. Proof of Tax Residency
4. Proof of Employment / Study / Dependent or Long-Term Visit Pass (Foreigners only)
1. Identity Card/Passport
2. Proof of Address
3. Proof of Employment / Study / Dependent or Long-Term Visit Pass (Foreigners only)
1. Identity Card/Passport 2. Proof of Address
3. Proof of Tax Residency
4. Proof of Employment / Study / Dependent or Long-Term Visit Pass (Foreigners only)
Initial Deposit SGD 0 SGD 5,000 in the respective currencies SGD 1,000
Card Availability Debit Card and Credit Card (VISA / Mastercard / AMEX) Debit Card and Credit Card (VISA / Mastercard) Debit Card and Credit Card (VISA / Mastercard / AMEX / UnionPay)
Currencies Available 13 currencies (SGD, AUD, CAD, CNH, EUR, HKD, JPY, NZD, NOK, GBP, SEK, THB & USD) 10 currencies (AUD, CAD, CNH, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, JPY, HKD) SGD only. Add-on available with UOB Might FX. 10 currencies (AUD, CAD, CNH, CHF, EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, JPY, HKD)

🔍 Tip: For more detailed information, check out the best banks to use in Singapore in 2024. 

Can I Open a Bank Account as a Non-Resident in Singapore?

Yes, it is generally possible for non-residents to open a bank account in Singapore. Many banks in Singapore offer accounts for non-residents, and the process may vary slightly from one bank to another.

In this context, a non-resident refers to someone with a valid long-term visiting pass, dependent pass, student pass, and any kind of permit/pass that allows an individual to work.

To open a bank account as a non-resident in Singapore, you will need to visit the bank in person and provide certain documents. These documents often include:

  1. Valid Passport: A copy of your passport is usually required to prove your identity.
  2. Proof of Address: Some banks may ask for proof of your residential address in your home country. This could be in the form of a utility bill or a bank statement.
  3. Employment Pass or Student Pass: If you are working or studying in Singapore, you may need to provide a copy of your employment pass or student pass.
  4. Long-Term Visit Pass/Dependent Pass, Letter of Employment, or Admission: A valid long-term pass or letter from your employer or educational institution confirming your status and stay in Singapore may be required.
  5. Additional Documentation: Depending on the bank's policies, you may need to provide additional documentation to satisfy their requirements.

It's advisable to contact the specific bank where you intend to open the account to inquire about their exact requirements and procedures for non-residents. Additionally, some banks may allow you to initiate the account opening process online, but you may still need to visit a branch in person to complete the process.

How Does the Banking System in Singapore Work?

The banking system in Singapore operates on a diversified but solid foundation. Here's an overview of how the banking system works:

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS): The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the central bank and regulatory authority. It oversees the financial system's stability, issues currency, and formulates monetary policies.

Commercial Banks: Singapore has a robust network of commercial banks, both local and international. These banks offer various financial services, including savings and current accounts, loans, credit cards, and investment products.

Banking Services: Individuals and businesses can access various banking services, such as savings and current accounts, loans, and credit facilities. Singapore's banks are known for their technological advancements, offering online banking, mobile apps, and electronic payment systems.

Regulatory Framework: The banking sector in Singapore operates within a strict regulatory framework set by MAS. This framework ensures the stability and integrity of the financial system, protecting the interests of depositors and investors.

Investment Banking and Wealth Management: Besides traditional banking services, Singapore's financial sector includes investment banking and wealth management services. The country attracts substantial wealth management activities due to its reputation as a financial centre.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) Regulations: Singapore has stringent AML and KYC regulations to prevent financial crimes. Banks adhere to these regulations by implementing thorough due diligence processes when onboarding customers.

Stability and Security: The Singaporean banking system is known for its stability, transparency, and security. The country's commitment to maintaining a robust financial infrastructure has attracted both local and international investors.

Bank Fees and Charges

Opening a bank account in Singapore is subject to fees, and certain banks may require an initial deposit. Each bank may present distinct fee structures, and there could be additional charges for specific services. Verifying these details with your chosen bank before initiating the account setup process is advisable.

Potential fees associated with a bank account in Singapore may include:

  1. Initial deposit: S$0 - 5,000
  2. Minimum balance: S$0 - 5,000. Usually, there will be a fall-below fee when your minimum average balance is not reached. The fee is usually S$10 - 15.
  3. Processing fee: S$0 - 3. The processing fee might be S$0 or more, depending on the transaction.
  4. Foreign transfer fee: S$0 - 100.
  5. Maintenance fee: S$0 - 120 per year.

Note that the above refers to the types of deposits and amounts most banks in Singapore have to offer. This may vary depending on your bank's choice.

Steps to Opening a Singapore Bank Account

With Singpass:

With Singpass, the process of opening a Singapore Bank account is a lot easier. You will most likely need to just go to the bank’s website, apply for a bank account using Singpass, and follow the steps. Usually, it will be an instant process. If not, it will most likely take 3 to 5 working days. 

Without Singpass:

  1. Gather all the necessary paperwork: Get in touch with the specific bank you've selected and ensure you have all the required documents ready for submission to initiate the account opening process.
  2. Submit your paperwork: Once you have all your documents prepared, hand them over to the bank through the designated representative you're in contact with, or check if the bank accepts documents submitted online.
  3. Onboarding (pre-approval) phase: Your chosen bank will inform you about your application status. 
  4. Activation of the bank account: This marks the final step before gaining access to your Singapore bank account. You'll be prompted to activate your account as the last requirement before it becomes usable.

Alternative Option: Virtual Banks in Singapore

Virtual banks in Singapore are another option that you can consider. They operate entirely online, without physical branches. They leverage modern technology to provide various banking services through web and mobile applications. 

These digital banks often have lower operating costs compared to traditional banks, allowing them to offer competitive fees and innovative features. Virtual banks focus on user-friendly interfaces and quick account-opening processes and may incorporate advanced technologies like artificial intelligence. 

While they may not have the long-established reputation of traditional banks, virtual banks aim to appeal to customers seeking convenient, tech-savvy, and cost-effective banking solutions in the digital era.

Maribank

Recently introduced by Sea Group, Maribank is the newest digital bank in the market. Having the same parent company as Shopee, Maribank will significantly benefit those within the Shopee ecosystem.

Trust Bank

Trust Bank, a digital bank supported by Standard Chartered and FairPrice Group, has introduced a savings account and two additional financial products—an insurance plan for family personal accidents and a revamped NTUC Linkpoints card, intended to replace the previous OCBC NTUC Plus! Visa Credit Card.

All aspects related to Trust Bank are efficiently handled through the "Trust App," which is available for download on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

🔎 Note: More alternatives? Check out our reviews of fintechs in Singapore: Aspire, TranSwap, SingX, OFX and Volopay.

Conclusion

There are many banks in Singapore to choose from, and like I said before, it is not easy to choose between them. Different banks have different advantages and disadvantages. It is important to study each bank differently. Others might open up multiple bank accounts to utilise each of its strengths. 

Opening a bank account in Singapore is not difficult, and it is incredibly seamless if you have a Singpass account. For those without, you’ll most likely be able to access your bank account on the day itself if you go to the branch or within 3 to 5 working days if you apply it online.

Nonetheless, knowing the strict regulations coupled with Singapore’s stability, you will know that your money will be safe in Singapore’s bank.

The discounted incorporation fee in Singapore of Statrys Corporate Services

FAQs

What are the differences between personal and corporate bank accounts in Singapore?

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Personal bank accounts are for individual use and require identity proof, residential address proof, and tax residency proof. Corporate bank accounts are for businesses (sole proprietorships, limited companies, partnerships) and require more extensive documentation like Bizfile, Memorandum & Articles of Association, and identity proofs of directors and UBOs.

What documents are required to open a personal bank account in Singapore?

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What documents do I need to open a corporate bank account in Singapore?

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Can non-residents open a bank account in Singapore?

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