COUNTRY

Singapore

SINGAPORE CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT OPENING

Relin Consultants assists clients from all over the world with corporate bank account opening for their Singapore companies. Our advisers can advise on all matters relating to opening a business bank account in Singapore and offshore bank account opening for a Singapore Company.

In 2021, Singapore was ranked as the fifth best financial centre in the Global Financial Centre Index (GFCI). This is because Singapore offers multiple banking options for anyone who wishes to open a corporate bank account. As compared to other jurisdictions within the Asia Pacific, Singapore banks provide the best security features for their internet banking.

Most corporate bank accounts provided by Singapore Banks will at least offer the following features: 

  • Internet banking 
  • Multicurrency accounts (which allows you to receive or make payment in the currencies that you often trade to reduce exchange losses) 
  • Corporate credit card, which is acceptable worldwide 

Singapore banks do not impose restrictions on receiving funds or making payments internationally (except for countries that are under the sanctioned list by the US)

INTRODUCTION TO SINGAPORE BANKING SECTOR

All the Singapore banks are governed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

There are two types of banks available in Singapore that you can choose to utilize as a corporate bank account.

Traditional Bank

Traditional banks are those banks that offer a physical presence. (You will be able to visit the branch and speak to a representative of the bank)

Singapore has over 100 commercial banks, 28 Merchant Banks and 25 Investment Banks, and various other Private Banks, including Neobank (Digital Banks). SDIC typically ensures that all funds deposited into traditional banks in Singapore are insured. You may check whether your bank of choice is licensed under MAS at the Financial Institutions Directory in the MAS portal.

DBSOCBCUOBStandard CharteredCitibank, and HSBC are commonly preferred banks in Singapore.

NEOBANK

Neobanks is a financial institution that operates entirely online and digitally. Neobank will not be able to provide you with a physical branch or cheque deposit machine. Instead, you will be the one to operate all the services of a Bank through an online platform such as their official website or application. Singapore has at least 4 Neobanks. Mainly Aspire, TransferWise, Youtrip, and Revolut.

TIMELINE OF OPENING A CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT IN SINGAPORE

The timelines to open a corporate bank account in Singapore without travel is approximately 2 weeks.

HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO OPEN A CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT IN SINGAPORE?

This will depend on the banks involved as well as the corporate structure of the company. For instance, the process of opening an account could take longer, sometimes up to 2-3 weeks, if they have a complicated ownership structure with three layers or more and several beneficiaries.  

While banks may be compelled to do further Know-Your-Customer checks with different anti-money laundering databases in other situations when the company’s shareholders included Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), this would take more time. The account-establishing procedure will be simple and take less than a week if the company is registered with just one or two individual shareholders.


WHICH BUSINESS BANK SHOULD I CHOOSE IN SINGAPORE?

Choosing the best bank in Singapore for your business will depend on the structure of the company as well as the business activities. 

OCBC, one of Singapore’s “big four” banks, provides a wide range of services to companies, particularly those engaged in trade. It can give your business a hassle-free banking experience because it has more than 50 years of expertise working with all kinds of enterprises.

It also has low transaction costs and does not require a minimum monthly balance. For new clients, the registration charge is also waived. 

Relin Consultants will help you select a suitable bank for your business activities.


TABLE SHOWING COMPARISON BETWEEN LOCAL BANKS IN SINGAPORE

Feature OCBC DBS UOB
Can you open an account without physically being present in Singapore? Yes, provided the following:– A phone interview, for KYC purposes.– If there isn't an OCBC branch in your country, you'll need to verify your signature and passport at once before having it legalized at the Singapore Embassy. Yes, subject to the following:– a written confirmation of the Company's information for the purpose of KYC.– If there isn't a Singapore DBS branch in your country, the verification of the signer's signature and passport must be done there, or it must be verified by a notary public and legalized at the Singapore Embassy. Physical presence in Singapore is needed.
Setup fee No No No
Singapore Dollar Current Account
Initial Deposit for SGD account $3,000 $3,000 $1,000
Minimum balance required There is no minimum balance requirement for the first six months. In the event that the average monthly balance falls below SGD 5,000, a $35 service fee will be applied. If the average monthly balance falls below SGD 8,000, a $25 service fee will be applied. If the average monthly balance falls below SGD 10,000, a $35 service fee is applicable.
Cheque book $0.50 per cheque. First 30 cheques are free for each month. $0.50 per cheque. First 30 cheques are free for each month. $0.50 per cheque. First 30 cheques are free for each month.
Internet banking & Monthly Account Fee Monthly account fee is S$38 per month. Waived for first 3 months. Free 5 tokens upon account signup. $30 per setup. Additional token(s) are chargeable at S$20 each. Yes. inquiries, domestic payments, and foreign payments. There is no maximum transaction amount limit; customers may specify a lower limit.
Foreign Currency Account – USD account
Initial deposit US$500 US$1,000 US$1,000
Minimum balance granted a six-month waiver. Afterward, if the average monthly balance falls below US$1,000, US$15 per month. If the average monthly balance falls below US$1,000, a US$10 service fee is assessed. If the average monthly balance falls below US$1,000, a US$15 service fee is assessed.
Cheque book Available Available Available
OTHER INFORMATION
Foreign currency account availability There are major currency options for both current and fixed deposit accounts. There are major currency options for both current and fixed deposit accounts. There are major currency options for both current and fixed deposit accounts.
Business Insurance Yes Yes Yes

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR SINGAPORE BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT OPENING

Generally, all the Singapore banks will require a minimum of the following documents:

  • Bizfile of your Singapore Company/ Corporate Profile of your foreign company. 
  • Directors’ resolutions concerning the bank account opening. (This will usually be required at a later stage once the bank confirms the account opening)
  • Certified true copies of the Passport of the ultimate beneficial owner and proof of address. (For a new company, the bank will request the proof of wealth/source of funds of the ultimate beneficial owner) 
  • Certified True Copies of the directors’ passports and proof of address.

5 STEPS TO OPEN A SINGAPORE CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT

Once our client engages Relin Consultants to act on behalf of their company to secure a Singapore corporate bank account. Our team of consultants will provide a detailed list of documents which will be requested by Singapore Bank. Our consultants will also schedule a short call with our client to further understand their business activities for the preparation of business plan.

Relin consultant will approach multiple banks and present our client’s business profile and deck. Our consultants will also schedule interview with the bank officer to explains in depth our client company’s requirements and expectation. It will usually take at least 1 week for the bank’s to review and revert with preliminary approval or confirmation of interest.

Once we have secured interest from multiple banks, our consultants will prepare a table to update our client on the types of facilities offered, fees and banking charges, and other details requested by the bank. Once the client confirms to proceed, Relin Consultants will proceed with the submission of the application. Most banks will request a copy of the Notarised documents no longer than three (3) months from the submission date.

The average processing time of a Singapore bank is approximately 2 weeks upon receiving the copy of the notarized documents and application forms. The bank will update Relin Consultants upon approval of the bank account opening. Our consultants will forward the instructions to our client.

Our client will receive a welcome package directly from the bank. The package will typically include one set of digital tokens and user manuals including a list of fees and other details. Upon receiving the digital token, our client can proceed with the activation. The internet banking can be activated within 24 hours.

FAQs

How To Open A Corporate Bank Account In Singapore?

Opening a corporate bank account in Singapore is a straightforward process. You can open a corporate bank account by appointing an agent or doing it yourself. The general guideline for opening your corporate bank account in Singapore are as follows:

a) Choose the right bank

There are more than 300 banks in Singapore. Thus, it is advisable for you to choose the bank based on your positive experience and familiarity with the bank, country of operation, the scope of services, banking fees, and success rate. 

b) Provide all information and documents

Opening a bank account will require a lot of company information. This is to ensure that your company is being transparent with the bank. Typically, the bank will assess and verify your company through the risk profile, current business plan, and future long-term goals. Company details such as the shareholders, directors, and other related information can be required. The key is to provide more information to increase the success rate.

c) Obtain approval from the bank

Most banks in Singapore will require a physical interview with the company representative before approving the bank account opening. Appoint a trusted and professional company representative to attend the interview session with the bank. Once the bank is satisfied with the application form, documentation, and meeting, you will receive approval for opening a bank account. You can start depositing the capital or money into the bank after the approval.

How Much Does It Cost To Open A Business Bank Account In Singapore?

In general, there are two costs that you should consider when opening a corporate bank account in Singapore. A mandatory opening fee is imposed on you regardless of the bank of choice. Then, monthly fees can be charged depending on the banking institution. Depending on your business structure, Singaporean banks often charge an account opening cost of SGD 500 to SGD 2,000.

Can A Foreign Company Open A Bank Account In Singapore?

Although Singapore has stricter and tighter rules concerning bank account opening to foreigners, it is possible for a foreign-incorporated company or company owned by foreigners to open a corporate bank account in Singapore. Not every bank will allow for a virtual meeting at your convenience. Therefore, you must be prepared to travel to Singapore or appoint an agent to represent your company.

Who Can Be The Representative To Open The Corporate Bank Account?

According to the legislation, creating a Singapore business bank account requires that at least one executive director be present in Singapore. According to the guidelines of the Singapore Companies Act, it is a safeguard against money laundering and the funding of terrorism.

A corporate bank account may be opened online by Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. However, a visit is typically required for overseas directors. The scenario might change in the future with the increasing existence and development of digital banks in Singapore.

Is It Mandatory To Open A Corporate Bank Account For Your Company?

Entities in Singapore that require banking services must open corporate bank accounts. Personal bank accounts are not allowed to be used for business transactions.

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