Singapore is a small island nation that has a high standard of living alongside a diverse a culture which makes it look attractive to numerous individuals around the world- expats, non-resident, workers, students.
Banks in Singapore has made it easier than it used to be to open a bank account as a non resident with them due to an increase in the number of foreign nationals that have moved into the country for work in the past years.
With respect to the monetary authority of Singapore, the country's central bank, record volumes from non resident workers have been deposited into Singaporean bank accounts since 2016.
However, the process of opening a bank account can be a little challenging to to newcomers in the country and most especially those that do not have a proof of residence in Singapore.
Well your best option as a non resident in Singapore will be to open a bank account at a local major bank and these account are specifically made for expats and foreign workers in Singapore, also offering you with all the everyday banking services that you need.
Want to open a bank account in Singapore? Well in this article, I will let you know the options that you have both residents and non residents that want to open a bank account in Singapore.
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Banking System in Singapore
Well even though Singapore is just a small island, its banking system is one of the top notch system around the world with it high levels of security and stability. You will various types of banks in Singapore which are grouped under 2 major categories which are Domestic and Foreign banks.
All commercial banks that you will find in Singapore are under the supervision of the monetary authority of Singapore.
In Asia, Singapore is one of the popular countries due to its financial hub with strong international links. This country habours most of the continent's regional headquarters and has been the gateway for foreign businesses to access the Asian market.
The banking system of Singapore is the top sector that contributes to the economy of the country as there is barely any other sector which is more successful than the banking sector actually does.
The banking system in this Asian country is popularly known for providing world class services for customers both inland and abroad.
Well there are 2 major factors that leads to the success of the Singapore banking system which are
- Security and Stability
- High Level of secrecy
What Documents do I need to Open a Bank Account in Singapore ?
From a general point of view, opening a bank account in Singapore as a resident or non resident in Singapore will demand some basic documents even though we cannot say with precision every single document that each bank will demand from you as every bank has its own additional demands.
The difference between local banks lies in the fact if its possible for you to complete the process online or you have to show up in person at the bank's branch.
Well no matter the bank that you choose, below are the basic documents that you will need to open a bank account in Singapore:
- Study permit in Singapore if you are a student
- Work permit in Singapore if you and employee
- Proof of residence
- A referral letter - which can be from a client or local bank
- A secondary government issued ID
The documents required for non residents can vary from bank to bank so it is often recommended that once you have chosen your bank, it is best you visit their website so as to obtain all the necessary information that you need to know.
In most of the cases, if you are in Singapore to work and you have an employment pass, you will be required to have a proof of residence in Singapore before you can open a bank account with a bank in Singapore.
Types of Bank Accounts in Singapore
In Singapore, the term employed in retail banking slightly differs from what you are used to hearing for that in several other countries. For non residents, you will find the following 3 types of accounts as the most relevant.
1. Checking Accounts
Abroad, this bank account type is known as "checking accounts" or "Current accounts" and they are designed for daily uses. Some chequing accounts in Singapore offer cheques, reason for the name. These cheques can be drawn against any amount as long as it is available in the account.
2. Savings Account
As the name implies, this is a bank account types that yields interest whilst restricting withdrawals and for this reason, this is the best type of bank account for those that want to keep their money safe and grow it.
3. Foreign Currency Account
These bank accounts can be held in any currency other than Singapore dollars. While the US dollar is the most commonly used currency for foreign currency accounts in Singapore, other currencies, such as the Australian dollar, British pound, and Hong Kong dollar, are also widely used.
More to that, most banks in Singapore offer other types of bank accounts in addition to the once already listed above but however, the above 3 are by far the most common and most used in the country.
Some banks in Singapore provide specialized banking services for non-residents and expats. These packages typically include a mix of all three of the aforementioned account types.
How to Open A Bank Account in Singapore as a Non Resident or Foreigner
You can open an account with most of Singapore's major banks if you have the necessary paperwork and can visit a branch in person. It is worthwhile to conduct some research in order to find the best bank for your needs.
Make sure you understand the fees and limitations of the account products you're considering, and keep in mind that some accounts aimed at foreign customers have a fairly high minimum deposit requirement.
So below, I will provide you with a briefing of the best banks that you have in Singapore and that can allow you easily open a bank account with them even as a non resident or foreigner.
So stay glued to this article and discover the best options that you can find in Singapore for banking.
Best Banks in Singapore
In order to know more about the options that you have for banking in Singapore as a non resident, resident or foreigner, you can take a look at the major offerings among local and multinational banks in the country.
1. United Overseas Bank - UOB
This is Singapore's third largest bank and they offer personal savings and current accounts to non residents from abroad. A standard current account at UOB requires an initial minimum deposit of at least S$500.00 and charges between S$2.00 and S$7.50 per month as fees in case the average daily balance for the month falls below that amount.
Before getting started with this bank, you will have to physically present in the country so as to take part in an in branch meeting, where you will have to show either a letter of reference from your old bank or a letter from an introducer at United Overseas Bank.
Total Profit: US$4.3B
Credit Rating: AA-
2. Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation-OCBC Bank
OCBC bank is one of the largest banks in Asia-pacific region that allows non residents and expats in Singapore to open savings, chequing and foreign currency bank accounts.
These accounts are the most commonly used types of accounts in Singapore so here there is no major difference in the banking options between non residents and residents.
Most OCBC bank accounts require a minimum initial deposit of S$1,000.00. Annual account fees for some OCBC bank accounts are waived for the first year. Online account applications are available.
Total Profit: US$4.3B
Credit Rating: AA-
3. Development Bank of Singapore - DBS
The Developmental Bank of Singapore, or DBS, was right behind Singapore's independence in 1965. The bank was founded in 1968 and has quickly grown to become one of the world's most important financial institutions.
DBS has been named the best bank in the world three years in a row (look at that trophy case!). It recently launched an initiative with the slogan "live more, bank less" to provide digital-era banking.
A fun fact about DBS: they opened their first branch in Jurong, and two of their employees set up mobile offices at shipyards and factories to better serve workers.
Development Bank of Singapore is a large Singaporean bank that is actually ranked as the safest bank in Asia and provides a wide range of accounts options to their customers- expats and non residents. The Monthly fees for this account varies from S$2.00 to S$7.50, depending on your individual account type.
4. Standard Chartered Singapore
Standard Chartered, a UK-based bank, is one of Singapore's most prominent banks, allowing non-residents to open standard savings, checking, and foreign currency bank accounts. Standard Chartered Singapore's minimum initial deposits range from a hefty S$5,000.00 for the "Cheque & Save" account to S$0.00 for the "SuperSalary" account. Applying for a bank account can be done online.
5. Maybank Singapore
This is a giant bank that has its origins from the neighboring country Malaysia and this banks also offers the full options of account types to newcomers in Singapore.
But before you as a non resident can open an account with them, you need a Singaporean proof of residence and a minimum initial deposits of typically S$500 for savings accounts and S$1,000 for current accounts alongside a small monthly service fee at around S$2 for account maintenance.
5. HSBC Singapore
Here comes another bank in Singapore with origins from the United Kingdom and this bank only allows newcomers to apply for a bank account online before arrival in Singapore and also an employment pas will be required from you so as to activate the account once you arrive Singapore and show up at any of bank's branch.
Further more, aside from the banks that have been listed above, there are many other multinational banks with a presence in Singapore and this bank might be more suitable for you if already resident of the country of the bank's origin or if you are already banking with one of their branches overseas. Some of these banks include.
- Citibank Singapore
- Bangkok Bank
- State Bank of India
- CIMB Bank
Singaporean banks actually feature among some of the safest banks in the world, consistently ranking among the top in Asia according to Global Finance Magazine's World's safest banks' index.
ALSO CHECKOUT: How to Open a Joint Bank Account Online in the UK and EEA
Can Foreigner Open Bank Account in Singapore without Employment Pass ?
As a visitor, student, or holder of a Dependent pass, there is no legal reason why you cannot open a bank account in Singapore. Each bank establishes its own eligibility criteria, so you'll need to spend some time researching your options based on your specific situation.
UOB states that they will consider applications from foreigners who are not working or studying in Singapore as long as you can provide documents in person at a branch.
Other banks may offer specific products to foreigners while restricting access to certain services. Check the fine print on any account you're considering, as some global accounts for foreigners are geared toward customers looking to invest large sums of money and have high minimum deposits.
Final Thought on How to Open A Bank Account in Singapore
Singapore is a small island nation that has a high standard of living alongside a diverse a culture which makes it look attractive to numerous individuals around the world- expats, non-resident, workers, students. Banks in Singapore has made it easier than it used to be to open a bank account as a non resident with them due to an increase in the number of foreign nationals that have moved into the country for work in the past years.
Singapore's banking system is one of the main reasons for the city-success state's as a global financial center. The government has implemented a number of policies aimed at liberalizing the financial industry and widening the door to both domestic and foreign investment.
Understanding the country's banking system will help you smooth out your business operations if you decide to establish your company in Singapore, particularly in the financial services industry.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Open a Bank Account in Singapore
How Do I setup Online Banking
Once you’ve opened an account, you can set up online banking over the phone or at a local bank branch, depending on which bank you’re with..
How will I receive my bank statement?
Most bank statements will be issued online, either through your online banking platform or via email. If you’d like to receive paper statements, you can make a quick phone call to the bank and change your preferences.
What are the most popular banks for expats in Singapore?
As an expat, you may need a multicurrency account or one with easy international payments. The right bank will depend on your needs and situation, but popular banks include UOB, OCBC and HSBC amongst many others..
How hard is it to open a bank account in Singapore?
In Singapore, open a bank account online without an employment pass. This can be challenging. Typically, in Singapore, in order to create a bank account, your employer must provide you with an employment pass. But if you're able to give the bank the necessary information, you might be able to do it without one..
Can foreigner open UOB bank account in Singapore?
If you're a foreigner living in Singapore with an Employment Pass, S Pass or Dependant Pass, you'll be able to choose from a range of UOB accounts. However, to open your account you must visit a branch in person - there's no online account option for foreign customers.