How to Open a Bank Account in Singapore - Ultimate Guide

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With the current Covid-19 situation in Singapore, both OCBC and UOB are allowing online corporate account openings!

So you have an idea. You’ve got your company ready to go. You’re feeling good. Next step: time to open a bank account. 

 

Don’t make the mistake of using your personal bank account to receive and pay business expenses. A bank account is necessary not only for security but for easier access and control of your business funds.

But how do you open a bank account in Singapore? Where should you start? 

 

Below is our guide on the things you need to consider in order to open an account with banks in Singapore.

Opening a bank account in Singapore

The paperwork

Use the list below to start to get your paperwork in order for your bank meeting.

  • A completed Corporate Account Opening Form duly signed by authorized signatories of your company or startup
  • A Directors’ Resolution will be needed to prove that the company was given the go ahead to open a bank account. Most banks already have a form ready for this so you only need signatures from your board
  • To prove that you are indeed incorporated, you need the Certified True Copy of the Company’s Business Profile from the Company Registrar (note that only a member of the board or the company secretary like Sleek can certify this document)
  • Certified True Copy of Passport/Singapore IC and Residential Address Proof of Directors, Signatories and Ultimate Beneficial Owners

Your company secretary is likely to be a valuable ally in getting your required documents together as they likely had these on hand at your incorporation. They can also act as a signatory to help open the account – however most banks require the presence of at least two signatories when opening the account.

What bank should I choose?

There are quite a number of banks to choose from in Singapore but we’ve rounded ‘em all up and selected the more popular ones for you.

 

This is not a list of “the best banks” but rather a list of banks where we found opening a bank account for startups to be easier.

 

You have two options you can consider – either a traditional Singapore bank, or else, a fintech provider such as WorldFirst who provide online corporate deposit accounts.

 

A key difference is that the local banks require a face to face meeting in Singapore, while opening a virtual deposit account can be done entirely online.
Each bank differs on their respective account opening requirements and fees which vary in terms of required minimum deposits, transaction fees, currencies, etc.
At Sleek the connections to our banking partners are made seamlessly from within our Sleek platform once your company has been successfully been incorporated.
 

Traditional Banks

Online Bank Account Providers
 

TRADITIONAL BANKS

OCBC

Remote bank account opening steps

  • Questionnaire to be completed by the company’s directors via email
  • Video/phone call to run through the questionnaire, product offerings and any other questions
  • Customer to notarise or certify their passport & signature specimen (note: if customer have a signature specimen on his/her passport page, just notarise/certify the passport will do)
  • Customer will be guided on which pages to sign, signatures to match the specimen that was notarised/certified true.
  • Customer to courier the original documents to Singapore for processing

SG Business Growth Account (For customers residing in Singapore)

  • Minimum initial deposit: N.A.
  • Service fee: N.A.

SG Business Entrepreneur Account (For foreigners residing abroad)

  • Initial deposit: SG $3,000
  • No minimum balance for the first 6 months, thereafter monthly average balance of SG $5,000

US Business Smart Account 

  • Initial deposit: US $500
  • No minimum balance for the first 6 months, thereafter monthly average balance of US $1,000

OCBC or the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation is the result of a merger between three local banks. They currently own Great Eastern Holdings which is the largest insurance group in Malaysia and Singapore. OCBC offers a wide array of services including three different business accounts for startups in different stages.

 

They have something for brand new businesses, for ones that are growing and are expecting more transactions, and a business account for established businesses. While the high maintaining balance can be daunting, the account has plenty of free transactions which you can’t find on other accounts.

Account features

  • Free business accounts setup (exceptions: CHF/JPY/EUR accounts)
  • Free business internet banking and digital tokens
  • Free business mobile banking
  • Free business debit cards (SG) with free personalisation of company’s logo
  • Xero Accounting direct bank feeds enabled

*Additional eligibility criteria may apply, all account openings are subject to the bank’s conditions.

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UOB

UOB virtual bank account opening procedure:

  • Video verification for the opening of UOB Corporate Bank accounts is now possible for Singapore incorporated companies
  • Do note that only the director(s) or shareholder(s) can be the signatories for video conference verification
  • First a KYC questionnaire will be sent to the directors to complete on behalf of the Singapore company – only 1 Director will need to complete the questionnaire or the Ultimate Beneficial Owner. Director or the Ultimate Beneficial Owner to forward the completed questionnaire to UOB Banker for an initial review
  •  After the initial review, UOB Banker will liaise with client on the date and time of the video conference
  • Upon confirmation of the date and time of the video conference, a link will be sent to the directors/ shareholders (Video conference are done via Microsoft Teams). A copy of the bank forms will be sent as well
  • The directors will click on the link on the date/time of video conference to sign in. All parties to prepare their original passport and have all the bank forms/ passport printed out
  • All intended signatories (Director and/or Shareholder) will need to join in the Microsoft Team conference call – ideally all the signatories will need to be physically present at the same location of the conference as all wet signature(s) are to be signed on the same copy of the form
  • The ID documents do not need to be notarised. The KYC check will be a per UOBs current process this includes shareholders and directors

eBusiness Account

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

The UOB or the United Overseas Bank has presence all over Southeast Asia and China. With branches in 19 countries, it’s another bank you might want to consider opening an account with. The UOB has three different types of accounts for different banking needs. As a business, you should be looking at their operating accounts which are tailor-made for businesses.

 

UOB allows online bank opening!

Do note that online account opening is subject to the listed requirements:

  • This service is currently only applicable to Singapore registered Sole Proprietor, Partnership and Private Limited Companies fully owned by individuals (i) Singapore Citizens or (ii) Permanent Resident. For Private Limited Companies, the directors must be also the approved signatories and approved persons of the company, not exceeding
  • Applications must be submitted between 8.30am – 9pm to have the account opened instantly. Applications received outside these timings will be processed on the next working day.
  • Applications submitted through this service are subject to approval by UOB Bank and the bank reserves the right to request for additional documents to support the account opening

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Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 5.41.45 PM

Maybank

Flexibiz Account

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

Maybank is another big name is banking in Southeast Asia. Maybank is the fourth largest bank in Southeast Asia by assets. Maybank provides investment banking, corporate banking, insurance and consumer banking among other things to 20 different countries. Maybank has 4 different business accounts to choose from. The most popular account is Flexibiz and it has no monthly fees which can prove beneficial for startups that are a bit low on cash.

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DBS-Bank-AV

DBS

Apply online or walk in to the branch

DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia with a presence in 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The best part about opening a company account with DBS is that they can process your application really fast. While DBS requires the authorized signatories and executive director to be present for a face-to-face meeting, exceptions can be made on the bank’s discretion. DBS also offers online application where you can save time and effort without visiting their branches. All account openings are subject to the bank’s approval.

 

DBS offers two different type of accounts:

Digital Business Account

  • No minimum balance
  • Initial deposit of $1,000
  • No fall-below fee
  • Free online banking & debit card
  • SGD only

Multi-Currency Corporate Account

  • $10,000 min. balance
  • Initial deposit of $3,000
  • $35 fall-below fee
  • Free online banking & debit card
  • One account, 13 currencies including SGD, USD, EURO, AUD and more.

How to Apply?

1) Use this link to start – https://go.dbs.com/sleek 

2) Choose Bank account type – Digital Business Account / Multi-Currency Account

3) Retrieve your company’s information using CorpPass & MyInfo Business, OR your Business Registration Number.

4) Follow through the process to fill up the documentations online

5) Select how we should proceed to contact you on the Declaration Page:

 

 

For Local Incorporation with only Singaporean / PR Directors

Choose to open your account instantly or with the help of our Virtually RMs without any visit to the branch

 

 

For Local Incorporation with Foreign Directors – 

Choose a suitable appointment at the branch of your choice.

 

 

 6) Once you complete and submit the forms online, please email your Online Account Opening Reference Number to the DBS Banker to keep track for you

7) Confirmed Appointment Document checklist – Click here

 

Premium Corporate Banking

  • Get connected to a dedicated Business Relationship Manager to assist in the account opening process
  • Preferential rates on Inward & Outward TT charges, Waiver of monthly IDEAL Internet banking charges
  • Free Online banking and Debit card
  • Product Specialist support: Cash & Trade management
  • $50,000 minimum average daily balance (Fall below fees apply)
  • One-time setup fees apply according to nature of company (ie. Complexity of the company structure, type of business etc)

 

 

ONLINE ACCOUNT PROVIDERS

WorldFirst

  • Free sign-up
  • No minimum transfers​
  • No monthly fees​
  • No annual transfer limits​

World Account is a cross-border payments platform brought to you by WorldFirst

 

WorldFirst is market-leading international FinTech business. An expert in international currency transfers, WorldFirst’s corporate and e-commerce solutions enable SMEs and online market place traders to expand internationally. Fully regulated and licensed by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). 

 

However, one must note, this virtual bank has its’ limitation when compared to a traditional bank, which means it does not provide cards such as credit or debit cards. Take note that WorldFirst cannot assist with account opening for Food & Beverage businesses. 

 

World Account FAQ 

 

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TransferWise

A digital business account to send, spend, and receive multiple currencies with the real exchange rate.
 
– Free to open an account and no monthly fees 
– Get local banking details in Singapore, as well as the USA, UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand to receive money like a local business
– Mastercard debit card to spend and withdraw money abroad 
– Send, spend and hold money in over 70 currencies
– Streamline your cross-currency payments with the batch payment tool and open API
 
You can open a TransferWise Business account fully online and get access to a SG$ account within minutes. There is a one-off fee for opening any of the local banking details of $30 and then all 6 accounts are free to use afterwards.
 
TransferWise is a popular choice among business users with a variety of cross-border payment features that allow to streamline processes and save a lot on foreign transaction fees. They always use the mid-market exchange rate and charge low, upfront fees for any transaction so you always know how much your recipient will get.’  Take note that TransferWise cannot assist with account opening for Food & Beverage businesses. 

Get started with TransferWise today!

 

Important read: TransferWise’s Acceptable Use Policy

Next steps

While the opening and document gathering part can be quite tricky, opening a bank account can be quite straightforward. At Sleek with every incorporation we can introduce you to our network of bankers in order to help with your bank account opening. Get in touch to learn more.

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