Everything you need to know to open your bank account in Singapore
If you are planning on working and living in Singapore it will be easier to have a bank account there. Most international banks in Singapore welcome non-residents to open Singapore bank accounts. You can apply for a bank account online even before you arrive in Singapore. It’s best to have your account set up and banking arrangements (salary and funds transfer) made before moving to Singapore.
Types of accounts
Most banks offer the following types of Personal bank accounts:
- Current/chequing account – No interest, chequing account.
- Savings account – Interest earning, non-chequing account. Most banks offer various types of savings accounts to choose from depending on your requirements.
- Savings-cum-current Account – Interest paying chequing facility account.
Paperwork required to open a bank account varies between different banks and accounts. Usually, a completed application form, passport, work or study visa and proof of mailing address are required to open an account. A Letter of Reference from a reputable Bank whereby customer is currently having an existing banking relationship may also be required.
If you are a dependent spouse, you cannot have an individual account, and can only operate a joint account with your working spouse.
There are some banks who still allow foreigners to open a bank account with only passport. In these cases, the minimum balance is higher ranging from S$500 – S$5000 or a monthly fee will apply.
Age limits and other Restrictions
You need to be above 18 years of age to open a deposit and savings account. Those 15-18 years old can open a savings account with your parents or guardian’s permission and assistance.
Banks in Singapore are generally reluctant to open a bank account for non-residents. The exception to this is the private banking industry that caters to high net worth individuals (minimum investment of USD 1 million).
What bank to choose?
There are more than 150 banks in Singapore including commercial banks, merchant banks and financial institutions. There are several factors that must be considered when choosing a new bank. Service level, service fees and physical presence and availability are all very important factors to consider. The six biggest major local and international banks in Singapore are DBS (Development Bank of Singapore), OCBC (Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation), UOB (United Overseas Bank), Citibank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered.
Another important factor related to the physical presence of the bank is choosing a bank that has a branch near your residence or workplace. in the event of financial issues that can only be resolved through personal meetings. It is also important for future convenience, open an account at a bank that is open on Sundays or have extended hours on Saturdays.
The chosen bank should also have a significant number of ATMs located throughout Singapore, letting you withdraw cash without charge as and when required.