Upon the successful incorporation of your company in Singapore, opening a bank account is essential to facilitate the operation of your business. Most Singapore banks offer businesses multi-currency accounts, internet banking, credit cards, trade finance, the ability to move cash across borders, and more.
This article provides an insight into Singapore’s banking industry, a sophisticated financial ecosystem of domestic and international banks. You will learn about the process of opening a physical corporate bank account, the documentary requirements, as well as the range of banking services available.
1. Overview of Singapore Corporate Banking System
Singapore has emerged as Asia’s foremost financial center, with every major international financial institution having its presence here. As of now, there are 125 commercial banks operating in the city-state, of which five are local and the rest are foreign.
Among the 120 foreign banks, 28 are foreign full banks, 55 are wholesale banks and 37 are offshore banks. The five locally-incorporated entities are owned by the banking groups – Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), United Overseas Bank (UOB), and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC). Some prominent foreign banks present include Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Citibank, and ABN AMRO. It is also worth noting a locally-incorporated Neobank, Aspire.
Singapore’s central bank, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), is the nodal agency regulating all the financial institutions of Singapore.
2. Key features of Singapore Corporate Bank accounts:
2.1 Types of account:
A company may open a Singapore dollar account or a foreign currency account as most banks in the city-state provide a multi-currency account. The type of account may be decided based on the company’s nature of the business.
For trading companies and for companies that have large overseas transactions, a foreign currency or multi-currency account is essential. Do note that depending on the bank and account type, the minimum balance amount will differ. Overall, the minimum balance requirement and bank charges are relatively higher for foreign banks.
2.2 Key features
- In general, the executive director and authorized signatory must be present for a face-to-face meeting with a banker as part of the account opening process. However, some exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis subject to the bank’s discretion.
Some banks offer an initial waiver period of bank charges, for any basic banking procedures such as depositing and withdrawing cash or checking on the status of the account. For example, for Singapore dollar accounts, Citibank and HSBC require initial deposits and average balances of S$50,000 each. DBS requires an initial deposit of $3,000 and an average daily balance of $8,000, while UOB requires an initial deposit of $5,000 and an average monthly balance of $20,000.
- Both current account and fixed deposit account are available in major currencies.
- Loan depends on factors such as company history, number of employees, local shareholding, and so on.
- The banking system in Singapore provides sophisticated banking services such as corporate and investment banking activities, apart from traditional lending and deposit-taking functions. It recognizes and caters to the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises who comprise a sizable banking market in Singapore.
3. Steps to open a corporate bank account in Singapore with Global Link Incorporation:
3.1 Key steps in the process of opening a corporate bank account
Global Link Incorporation is a prominent partner of multiple Singaporean banks, thanks to our years of expertise in doing business with those banks. We offer the following services to assist you to open a physical bank account in Singapore:
- Step 1: Consult and assist you to select the right bank in Singapore, the bank recommendations will be in the top 10 best local Singapore bank list. This is a trustworthy bank that can meet all the needs of account holders.
- Step 2: Assist you to prepare the required documents to open a bank account in Singapore.
- Step 3: Arrange an appointment with bank representatives.
- Step 4: Work directly with banks to help to solve any issues while operating bank account.
Note: The account holder must satisfy the following conditions in order to create a company bank account in Singapore:
- The account holder must own a Singapore corporation. However, Singaporean banks do allow offshore corporations (those based in Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands, Belize, Seychelles, and elsewhere) to create a company bank account in Singapore. Offshore firms, on the other hand, will find it more difficult to register a company bank account in Singapore than Singaporean corporations. Talk to us at Global Link Incorporation to estimate your chance of opening a bank account in Singapore.
- The Singapore company’s nominated director and the secretary would be required to sign a number of documents (having a nominee director and company secretary is the two basic requirements for setting up a company in Singapore).
- The account holder must create and present the accompanying valid cheque sheet immediately to the Singapore banking professionals during the meeting. If you are a foreigner who is unable to deposit funds directly into a Singaporean bank, Global Link Incorporation will try to assist you to meet this requirement.
3.2 Documents required to set up a corporate bank account
Here are the required documents to open a bank account in Singapore. Global Link Incorporation will assist you with appropriate form filing throughout the process.
- Completed Corporate Account Opening Forms (signed by authorized signatories as per the board resolution)
- Board of Directors Resolution sanctioning the opening of the account and the signatories to the account (to be prepared by your company secretary)
- Certified True Copy of Resolution sanctioning the opening of the account and the signatories to the account (most of the banks have their own format and you just need to sign it)
- Certified True Copy of Certificate of Incorporation
- Certified True Copy of Company’s Business Profile from Company Registrar
- Certified True Copy of Company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA)
- Certified True Copies of Passport (or Singapore IC) and Residential Address Proof of the Directors, Signatories, and Ultimate Beneficiary Owners. If you are in Singapore, just bring the originals and the bank will make a copy.
The copies of documents must be “Certified True” by the company secretary or one of the company directors. Moreover, the bank may also request original documents and additional documents for added verification.
4. Frequently asked questions when opening a business bank account in Singapore
4.1 Which banks should I choose to open a company bank account in Singapore?
Global Link Incorporation, as a long-term partner of numerous international banks in Singapore (UOB, OCBC, DBS, and others), will assist you in selecting a bank that best meets your company’s banking needs. Choosing a bank to create a business account with may be influenced by the type of your business.
4.2 How long does it take to open a company bank account in Singapore?
- For Singapore companies: Opening a company bank account in Singapore normally takes 1 – 2 working weeks.
- For offshore companies (companies set up in Hong Kong, BVI, Belize, Seychelles): Opening a business bank account in Singapore normally takes longer than expected, maybe more than 3 – 4 working weeks.
4.3 Do I have to live in Singapore to open a bank account?
If you are a foreigner or not a resident of Singapore, then you can still open a bank account without any trouble. However, it’s getting harder and harder for a non-Singaporean to open a bank account in Singapore. Global Link Incorporation has many years of experience in offering corporate bank account registration services for hundreds of non-foreigners with high success rates.
4.4 Can the bank close my Singapore corporate bank account?
Reasons banks close accounts may include inactivity, low balances, and instances where their customer’s actions have been deemed as posing a specific risk to the institution. These risks include monetary losses, as well as the potential for fraudulent activity. However, banks also can close accounts at their discretion, even if the owner has kept the account in good standing. Global Link Incorporation will consult to help you meet all bank’s requirements during the time of operating your bank account.
We pride ourselves on being a trustworthy partner, working directly with world-class banks such as OCBC, DBS, UOB, Standard Charter Bank, ANZ, etc, and international payment gateways such as PayPal and many other partners. We will help you select the best banking option and increase your chance of successfully opening a bank account. With many years of experience working in this industry and having supported many companies, Global Link Incorporation is confident to bring the best quality of services to all clients