All about corporate bank account opening in Singapore
Besides setting up a company in Singapore, it is also essential for every business owner to have a corporate bank account in Singapore. Opening a corporate bank account in Singapore is not just limited to keep on adding funds in the bank, but it also enables you to check the performance of your business.
Over the years, Singapore has turned into Asia’s most reliable financial centre with many international financial institutions available. As of now, more than 125 commercial banks are regulating here. Out of which 5 are local, and the rest are foreign banks.
Among 120 international banks, 28 are full foreign banks, 37 are offshore banks, and 55 are wholesale banks. However, the five locally registered entities are officially regulated by banking groups such as Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), United Overseas Bank (UOB), and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).
The Singapore central bank, the monetary authority of Singapore, is one of the agencies responsible for regulating all the financial institutions of Singapore.
Also, you can check our guide on how to register a company in Singapore.
Table of Contents hide
3 12 Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Corporate Bank in Singapore
9 Procedure for Opening a Singapore Corporate Bank Account
Why Should I Open a Corporate Bank Account?
Opening a corporate bank account lets you set a boundary between your personal and business finances like business assets, expenses, cash flows, etc. This is beneficial for you and your business as well.
The benefit of opening a corporate bank account in Singapore is that it enables you to manage all the business finances without mixing them with personal expenses. However, it will also protect you from the various corporate liabilities that might arise in the future.
In contrast, if you are choosing to use only a single bank account to manage both personal and business funds, then you might treat your business funds as your personal money, which might also lead to confusion in the future, and you will not be able to determine the profits earned in the particular period.
Moreover, such an account allows you to examine the performance of your business conveniently and provides you flexibility in the limit of transactions and good interest rates.
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Who has been Authorized to Open a Corporate Bank Account?
The authorized signatories and directors are entitled to open a corporate bank account in Singapore.
The authorized signatories are one of those individuals appointed to operate the company’s corporate account and must not be included in the company‘s board resolution according to the company‘s constitution.
12 Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Corporate Bank in Singapore
Choosing a corporate bank in Singapore can be difficult, especially when you are not sure of the factors to consider. This post will provide you with an overview of what you should look out for before making your decision.
Bank Reputation and Rating
Choosing a bank with a high standard of confidentiality, fantastic track record, reliable service, considerable international presence, and high creditworthiness always prove to be the safest choice. Even after looking few things, if you have doubts about the corporate accounts, it’s better to talk with your friends who are currently using the service of such a bank is always helpful.
Specialization and Niche Expertise
Always bear in mind that the bank you opt for should be experienced enough in satisfying the banking requirements of various businesses. Several industries come up with different challenges and standards, so the bank needs to cope with the changes accordingly. If the bank you are choosing specializes in assisting the company in a similar field, it can also provide valuable guidance to you. Prior to choosing the bank for opening the corporate bank account, you must determine the specialties of the bank based on the circumstances.
Business Focus of the Bank
If you are looking to go with the personalized service and advice regarding assets and wealth management, in such a case, you can go with private banking. In contrast, the customer with the commercial focus intending to enjoy the services like cash management, payment, financing, and international trade can go with the international commercial bank.
Availability of Account and Channel Services
Prior to choosing the bank for opening the corporate bank account in Singapore, consider that integrated saving and investment accounts, foreign currencies accounts, and consolidated online bank statements options are accessible. ATM network, branches covered (both local and worldwide), business debit or credit cards, and daily amount transaction limit also needs to be considered. However, the services offered might differ depending on the bank.
Products and Specialist Services
Another important thing that needs to be considered while choosing the bank to open a corporate bank account is that it offers additional services like interest rate risk management products and asset finance; foreign exchange, along with the wealth management services like investment, superannuation, and insurance.
Fully Automated Services
Today, almost every bank has introduced an online checking facility in their banking services. But not all the bank is engaged in offering fully automated services to ease the everyday banking activities. That’s why it is essential to enquire about the online cash management tools before deciding on the bank for opening a corporate account. These are some of the services that are usually free to all small businesses. With such services you can easily send invoices to their customers, collect payments, deduct the payroll checks, and examine the checks for online deposit of money. Apart from this, you must also check for the industry-specific tools, including merchant services that grant you to enhance the cash flow or provide additional guidance on avoiding or limiting the debt completely.
Ease of Access to Account Services and Online Security
Before deciding on the bank to open a corporate bank account, you need to ensure that the particular bank offers the net banking facilities with advanced security to secure the transaction from unauthorized access. Several banks provide the security tools along with the user ID and password to login into the account. However, others need the signed receipt, which acknowledges the internet banking materials before registering the account online.
Location and Physical Access
Anything that you need to keep in mind is that your bankers should be situated closer to the location of your business. Besides the easier access, it will also help you reach out to your banker through any means as per your preference.
Some major banks in Singapore provide basically two kinds of services to businesses. If your company has a high turnover, the bank will provide you with a separate dedicated manager to assist you.
However, the banking authority provides call centre services for the smaller enterprise, which is generally sufficient to assist them.
Quality and range of Banking Support
Ensure that a particular bank provides 24-hour customer service hotline support, online surveillance of the statement and transaction, and toll-free hotlines are available.
Pricing, Fees, and Interest
Many banks in Singapore quickly charge for payment services, including foreign currency remittance, interbank fund transfer, and telegraphic transfer. These are some of the charges which usually vary depending on the banks. Also, have a look at the account opening of the different types of banks. It is essential to check for the foreign currency interest rate and the bank deposit. Additionally, not just focus on the price and the bank’s interest rate when deciding on the right bank as per your needs. Choosing the proper capital structure, superior service, and business insight are also the essential points that need to be considered.
Initial Deposit and Minimum Balance
Similar to the pricing and the fees, the compulsory initial deposit and minimum balance that you need to keep in the account, are also essential factors that play a significant role in selecting the right bank.
The below table shows the initial deposit amount:
|Aspire Business Account||N/A|
|OCBC Business Growth Account||N/A|
|Maybank FlexiBiz Account||S$1,000|
|DBS Business Digital Account||S$1,000|
|DBS Multi-Currency Account||S$3,000|
Documents Requirement and Ease of Account Opening
Nevertheless, the procedure of opening a corporate bank account in Singapore can be a straightforward process. This means simply reaching out to the bank that engages in less paperwork and fulfilling all the requirements of customers and ease in account opening.
Five questions to ask before choosing a business bank
Here are five essential questions that everyone must ask from bankers prior to choosing the corporate bank account in Singapore.
How is your bank ahead of all other banks out there in providing the best assistance to my business?
Do the banks have bankers that specialize in my business-related matters and training?
What rights will be offered to the business directors from the banker who will completely understand me and my business?
Can a particular bank have the capability to look after all the personal and business-related banking needs?
What are some of the best facilities provided by your bank to ease the finances and management system?
Documents required for Singapore Corporate Bank Account
- The foreign applicant needs to provide passport or visa documents for corporate account opening.
- You need to submit the completed bank application form for account opening.
- You need to provide the details of a power of attorney appointed by the representative to represent the banking functions of the Company.
- You need to provide the photocopy of the directors mentioning that they are thinking of setting up an office in Singapore.
- The resolution of the shareholders and directors regarding setting up the office.
- You need to submit the residential address proof of the beneficial owners and directors of the company. Also, make sure that the residential address provided must not be older than three months.
- To open a corporate bank account in Singapore, you need to submit the articles of association and memorandum of association of the company.
- You must submit the certificate of incorporation of the business.
- The decision needs to be taken regarding the corporate account opening to conduct all the business-related transactions. The resolution needs to be taken at the board meeting, including the signatories of the account. The outcome of the resolution needs to be officially signed by the Company Secretary.
- A photocopy of the company’s Constitution needs to be provided to the bank while opening the corporate account in Singapore.
- This submitted corporate bank account form needs to be signed and reviewed by the signatories of the account.
Besides this, you might also be required to provide some additional documents as specified by the banking authority.
Ensure that the documents you submit to the bank for opening the corporate bank account must be true as per the records.
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Several banks might ask the company representative to be physically available at the bank for verification. In contrast, also there are those banks that carry the verification process online, and the director or representative does not need to be physically present at the bank.
Eligibility criteria for Singapore Corporate Bank Account
Prior to taking a decision on opening the corporate bank account, the applicant has to fulfil the specified eligibility criteria. Some of the eligibility criteria that need to be satisfied areas:
- Anyone gets eligible to open a Singapore corporate bank account, whether it is a Singaporean or a foreign individual.
- You have to option to open a bank account either online or offline. Moreover, if you choose to open a Singapore bank account through offline mode, in that situation, the company’s representative will require to present at the bank and act on behalf of the business for all the dealings of the bank.
- The company intending to open a corporate bank account in Singapore must not be involved in any type of criminal proceedings. Besides this, the directors and shareholders of the company must not be insolvent or have any criminal track record.
Process in Opening a Singapore Corporate Bank Account
It is an easy process to open a Singapore corporate bank account, provided that the applicant satisfies the eligibility criteria and has the list of all the necessary documentation. You can either open the bank account online or offline mode. In the offline mode, the candidate will require to provide the necessary documentation to the banking authorities. The bank will accordingly verify and process the documentation. If all the requirements are satisfied, the bank account will be successfully opened. Always remember that every bank has separate requirements, which might vary according to a case-by-case basis.
Procedure for Opening a Singapore Corporate Bank Account
Opening a Singapore Corporate Bank Account can be confusing for people who are new to the country. This article will guide you through the process of opening an account with one of our recommended banks.
Choosing the Bank
The first step involved in the procedure of opening the Singapore corporate bank account is to choose the bank. The applicant first needs to consider few factors prior to opening the corporate bank account. This includes the minimum amount required to open the bank. Moreover, several banks are having different criteria for maintaining the minimum balance in the account. Most banks require at least 500 SGD, but other banks request a higher amount of minimum balance. Some banks ask the customers to keep the minimum balance for a particular period. Certain banks have imposed processing fees for opening the corporate bank account. These are some of the factors that you must keep in mind when choosing to open a corporate bank account for your business.
Filing the Application
A foreign individual is also entitled to open a Singapore corporate bank account. Moreover, the applicant is required to submit the necessary documentation for the bank account opening process. A foreign company intending to establish a business in Singapore needs to hire a company representative to manage all the processes of opening the corporate bank account. This is one of the easiest methods for the bank to process the necessary documentation. However, it takes up to 15 minutes for Singapore nationals to open a bank account, provided they submitted the relevant documents.
Correspondence with the Bank
The applicant needs to coordinate with the bank by reaching out to one of the branches. The representative of the Company needs to carry out this process on behalf of the business. If the company consists of a large number of signatories, then the process of setting up the bank account might take longer. As the signatories have to organize the meeting with a representative of the bank regarding the account opening.
The bank might ask for some additional details from the applicant. For example, suppose the applicant intends to open a financial service firm in Singapore, then the relevant documents of the MSA need to be provided to open a bank account. In the same way, if the applicant is engaging in the delivery business, then the documents from the concerned authority need to be submitted to the bank for successful account opening. Moreover, several banks having different procedures to set up a corporate bank account. Besides this, the bank might ask for KYC (Know Your Client Documentation). For foreign applicants intending to open a corporate bank account, the KYC document will be considered their passport.
After this, the bank will verify all the submitted documents if they are in the right manner. If the bank requires additional documents, the bank will notify the applicant regarding the same. After that applicants need to submit the additional documentation within the deadline as specified by the banking authority.
Opening the Account
If all the documents provided by the applicants are in the right manner, then the bank will approve the Singapore corporate bank account opening. The bank you choose will guide the applicant regarding the process that needs to be followed to deal with the bank. Besides this, the bank will provide the application number to the applicant.
How Long Will It Take to Open a Corporate Bank Account?
You might have noticed several times that opening a corporate bank account can be possible within a day, but in some cases, it might also take few weeks. This depends on the time taken by the bank to verify the documentation provided by the applicant.
Overall, if you provide the relevant documentation, the process of opening the bank account will be effortless. If the director or the authorized signatory of the Company is physically present during the time of account opening might also avoid unforeseen delays.
Which bank is safest in Singapore?
One of the safest banks across the globe list was released in 2017. As per the reports, the Singapore banking sector tops the list with DBS at 1st in the region, followed by the OCBC and UOB at the 4th and 5th position. This is again a global record and another milestone for the Singapore banking sector. From the beginning, Singapore’s banking sector has been looking forward to ensuring that all types of criminal activities like terrorism financing and money laundering have been prohibited using advanced tools and equipment.
Additionally, you can check our recent article on Bankruptcy Procedures in Singapore for complete details on bankruptcy procedures.
Can foreigners open an OCBC bank account in Singapore?
Yes, the Singapore banking sector has granted foreigners to set up an OCBC bank account. In order to open the OCBC bank account, foreigners are required to provide either employment pass/S pass, employment pass/work permit or student pass/passport to its designated local branches to proceed with setting up the bank account. In contrast, foreign individuals who do not have a valid work permit, student pass, or employment pass are still get entitled to set up a deposit account with OCBC bank in Singapore. You only need to reach out to the Singapore branches in person with a valid passport for opening a bank account. However, the applicant must also comply with the associated deposit amount and age eligibility criteria to open a bank account in Singapore.
Can I open an offshore account in Singapore?
Yes, you are granted to open an offshore bank account in Singapore. Choosing to open an offshore bank account is something only available for the wealthiest people across the world. Today with the availability of advanced technology and equipment, it has become relatively easy to set up an offshore bank account in Singapore, especially when you have USD 2,00,00 or more to invest in the same. However, those foreigners presently situated outside the country also have the facility to enjoy overseas banking facilities without physically being present in Singapore.
How much does it cost to open an offshore bank account?
Opting to set up an offshore bank account in Singapore enhances your privacy. This is because wire transfer in and out, along with several other offshore banking transactions, takes place by the name of the company and not the individual person. As per the experience and reports, the bank account set up for offshore bank account usually ranges between $550 to $1250. But, of course, this is dependent on the banking and the jurisdiction.
What is the best bank in Singapore for foreigners and ex-pats?
The top six banks in Singapore are mainly for foreigners. However, all the banking sector of Singapore provides numerous facilities to the account holder but among all the available banks; you should choose to go with the following top 6 banks in Singapore given below:
- DBS (Development Bank of Singapore) and POSB
- United Overseas Bank (UOB)
- Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC)
- The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC)
- Standard Chartered
What documents are required by foreigners for account opening?
These are some of the essential documents that every foreigner will require to open a bank account in Singapore. Some of them include:
- Must provide the identification documents, which includes:
- Valid Passport indicating biodata of the applicant
- For Malaysian – Present the front and backside of the Malaysian Identity card.
- You need to submit the document showing the Proof of Employment which includes:
- Employment pass / In Principal Approval (IPA) provided by Ministry of Manpower
- Proof of Residential Address
You will be required to submit the most recent (previous 3 months) photocopy of the below-given items:
- In principle approval letter provided by the Ministry of manpower
- Photocopy of the issued work permit of foreign domestic worker that was issued prior to 24 August 2020 by the Ministry of manpower
- You also need to submit the photocopy of the screenshot of the SGWorkPass app for foreign domestic workers, which were also issued on 24 August 2020 by the Ministry of manpower.
- Letter of offer
- Letter of employment
- Latest payslip
- Local utility bill
- Local telecommunication bill
- Local bank statement/credit card statement
- The letter provided by the Singapore government of other public bodies regulated for AML practices in a FATF member country
- You need to submit the photocopy of the Letter issued from the regulated insurance companies in a FATF member country.
- Acceptance letter from concerned school/institute(prohibited to official letters from educational institutions or schools under the purview of Council for Private Education or Ministry of Education)
Can foreigners open a bank account in Singapore online?
Yes, the online bank set up a facility in Singapore is available for Singaporeans, permanent residents and foreigners holding valid Singapore work pass or student pass.
For the online personal or Joint-Alternate Account Application, every applicant will require to provide the photos or scanned photocopy of the relevant supporting documents used in opening the bank account. For the branch account application, every applicant will need to present the original copy of the relevant supporting documents.
Why there is a need for Bank statement translation?
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After reading the above article, you might have understood all the related details and things to consider for opening a corporate bank account in Singapore. All company owners are suggested to open a corporate bank account in Singapore.
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