Singapore Corporate Bank Account

Singapore is one of the world's financial centres and home to many of the major banks. Opening bank account however, largely depends on the type of your corporate entity, its country of registration and operation, industry, beneficial owners and many other factors. Banks are very choosy nowadays.

Yet Singapore's banking system is still one of the best in the world and it continues to attract top talent, especially from Fintech sector. Singapore is welcoming international businesses to the republic, as long it can be innovative and creates work and business opportunities. Overall, banks in Singapore are pretty easy to work with, especially if compared to Europe and many other places.

In essence, opening a corporate bank account is a simple process. In many cases it is pretty quick as well. Below is the short overview of types of business bank accounts in Singapore, process for opening an account, and a list of major banks in Singapore to consider.

General information

Any company registered in Singapore can approach a local bank for business account opening. The application forms must be signed by 2 directors or 1 director and company secretary. If the company has only 1 director, he alone can sign the application forms.

There are 3 first-tier retail banks in Singapore: DBS, UOB and OCBC. Just behind them with a slightly lower presence are Maybank, Standard Chartered, HSBC and Citibank. 

If the company has only local directors, in some banks (OCBC, DBS) the account can be opened in online mode. In other cases, the review of account opening application may take up to couple of weeks by the bank.

Singapore banking system is famous around the world for its efficiency and advanced features. Many local banks are awarded internationally in various categories. 

What foreigners should know when approaching a Singapore bank for business account opening

It is worth to keep in mind that Singapore banks are not exactly chasing after customers nowadays. For many years they've been enjoying growing popularity and large increase in customers' base from all over the world. In many cases, taking to the account the new, more stringent requirements imposed on them in regards to the due diligence procedures, banks became pretty choosy in picking their customers.

Therefore, it is important to understand and follow some simple guidelines to elevate your chances of success of account opening for your company in Singapore banks.

What you should know to prepare yourself for the bank account application:

Present a clear picture of your business activity:don't use vague terms, describe the operations in clean cut and reasonably detailed manner, list your counterparts and countries of operations. If you have existing business under a different entity - present it, bring copies of your contracts and invoices.

Keep your structure simple. In case there is no legitimate requirement to have corporate shareholders in your company, don't use them. The banks often perceive the complex corporate structures as an attempt to evade the real beneficial owners. In any event, they will want to see the physical persons - beneficial owners behind each corporate entity.

Prepare copies of proof of address for all your directors; if they are not in English, they must be translated and certified as true copies.

Note well: you have higher chances to open a bank account in Singapore if your business is connected to the region, i.e. your suppliers or customers are locally based.

If you have serious business intentions, you have to show it to the bank: maybe you have already rented an office in Singapore or hired some staff - present this information to support your application. Substantial local presence will be a very positive factor!

Other options

At the same time, have a wider picture in mind: in many cases, it is not even necessary to have a bank account in Singapore. For example, if you are running international online business and your employees and customers are based outside of Singapore, you can choose one of the online payment systems which are recently getting more and more popular. In many cases this will help you save a considerable amount of bank fees or even on taxes, because the income which is deemed foreign will not be taxable in Singapore

Paperwork required for opening bank account in Singapor


It is necessary for the account signatories and the company’s majority directors to be physically present in Singapore for the account opening. There might be couple of exceptions from some of the larger international banks, like HSBC and Citibank, which will allow you to sign the necessary documents at one of their branches abroad, or in the presence of a notary. While the exact required paperwork varies from bank to bank, typically you’ll need the following:

  • Completed Corporate Account Opening Forms, signed by signatories.
  • A Board of Directors Resolution, sanctioning the account opening and the established signatories to open it on behalf of the company. This must be prepared by your company’s secretary.
  • A certified true copy of Resolution, sanctioning the account opening and the signatories to open the account on behalf of the company. This is typically a standard form created by the bank that must be signed.
  • A certified true copy of Certificate of Incorporation, certified by a company director.
  • A certified true copy of Company’s Business Profile from Company Registrar.
  • A certified true copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA).
  • Certified copies of the Passports or Singapore ICs, as well as residential address proof of the directors, signatories, and ultimate beneficiary owners.
If you’re physically present in Singapore, the bank will typically be happy to make copies for you if you bring originals. If your company incorporated in Tax Haven Countries will need to provide a Certificate of Incumbency that is less than one year old. Companies incorporated in other jurisdictions, such as the USA, UK, or Indonesia, will need to submit an official document from the Government and/or the Registrar of Companies.




Can business bank account be opened from abroad?


Yes, in some cases it still can be opened from abroad without visit to the bank. But it is mostly limited to 2 categories of business bank accounts:

  • Private banks for high-net worth businesses and usually with not a large number of transactions. These banks usually cater for investment purposes.
  • Big multinational banks like Citi and HSBC. (If you are in Asia, the choice is slightly wider, as some Singapore-based banks like UOB and DBS have branches in many countries in the South-East Asia countries, so you can approach them to verify the documents and they can help you submit the application.
If you’re opening an account from outside of Singapore, all documents must be signed in the presence of the bank’s staff at an international branch, a notary public, or the High Commissioner of Singapore. If the company owners or directors are from non-English speaking countries, all documents must be translated and submitted in English. The company will also need to produce the original passport of all authorised signers, Directors, and Ultimate Beneficial Owners for the bank staff to verify.




Can I open a business bank account online?


Some banks, including DBS, will allow you to start the process of the account application online. After they receive your documents and perform the necessary checks, they will set up the date for the interview and necessary form signings in person, which can be done either is Singapore or at the bank's other international branch.




List of banks in Singapore


While there are many banks to choose from in Singapore, some of the most reputable for business bank accounts include local banks such as:




DBS Bank


DBS’s setup fees for international clients can be anywhere from S$500 to S$1,000, however these fees can be waived on a case by case basis at the bank’s discretion. DBS requires a minimum deposit of S$3000- S$8,000 depending on the account type. Account holders must also maintain a monthly or average daily balance of S$50,000. An account with DBS comes with a debit card, credit card, chequebook, and access to online banking.




OCBC Bank


OCBC typically requires the executive director, as well as an authorized signatory, to be present to open an account. However, an account at OCBC does not carry a setup fee-- just a monthly account fee of $38, which is waived for the first three months. The bank account must hold S$5000 per month. Some international banks that are trusted for corporate banking include:

  • HSBC Singapore
  • Standard Chartered Singapore
  • Citibank Singapore




What types of banking fees are there?


Opening any bank account comes with a wide range of standard fees. Many banks wave their monthly service fees if the customer maintain the stipulated minimum balances, which rage from S$5000 to S$10000 depending on which bank you choose, and the “fall-below” fees can be up to S$50. For foreigners doing business in Singapore, it’s often important to keep an eye on foreign transfer fees. With bigger banks, these fees aren’t as high. DBS, for example, charges anywhere from S$10-120 on foreign transfers and in OCBC the range is S$25-70.




How we can help?


  • Evaluate your business case and advise which bank will be most suitable for you to approach;
  • Arrange pre-evaluation and in-principal approval of the account opening by the bank;
  • Set-up meeting with the bank for account opening;
  • Provide business address for the correspondence from the bank;
  • Help customer to monitor account and coordinate communication with the bank, if necessary.





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