There are many options available to Singapore companies when it comes to opening a corporate bank account. Most of the banks in Singapore offer attractive features such as multi-currency accounts, internet banking, credit cards, trade finance, flexibility to move funds across countries, and many more. With that many options, choosing a corporate bank account for your business in Singapore can seem challenging. This article provides an overview of the account opening procedure and a comparison of some central banks in Singapore.
Singapore Corporate Bank Account Opening Requirements
In general, here are the documents required for opening a corporate bank account in Singapore:
- A resolution by the company’s board of directors;
- a copy of the company’s establishment certificate;
- a copy of the company’s business profile;
- a copy of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association (MAA);
- copies of the passports or Singapore national identity cards of all company directors;
- proof of residential addresses of the directors and ultimate beneficial owners of the company.
Copies of documents must be “Certified True” by the company secretary or a company director. Apart from that, the bank concerned can also request original records and additional documents for additional verification.
In particular, some banks in Singapore require account signatories and majority directors to be physically present in Singapore to sign documents when opening a company bank account. Some banks can accept document signing at one of their overseas branches or in front of a notary.
Whatever the case, all banks in Singapore adhere to strict laws and regulations and will therefore carry out a series of thorough checks and investigations of their potential clients before opening a new company account.
Comparison of Local Banks in Singapore
|Singapore Dollar Current Account|
|Minimum initial deposit||S$1,000 to S$3,000||S$3,000|
|Minimum balance||DBS Digital Business Account has no minimum balance requirement.
DBS Business Account requires an average monthly balance of S$10,000, or S$35 will be charged monthly.
|Average monthly balance of S$5,000 (released for the first six months). After that, it is S$35 per month if the average monthly balance is below S$5,000.|
|Account fee||S$216 a year (S$18/month)||S$38 a year|
|Internet banking||Free access. Inquiries, local payments, overseas payments. There is no limit on the maximum number of transactions (unless specified by the customer)—full transactional capabilities on desktop versions and mobile applications.||Free access. Inquiries, local payments, overseas payments. There is no limit on the maximum number of transactions (unless specified by the customer).|
|Foreign Currency Account|
|Foreign currency account availability||Both current accounts and fixed deposit accounts are available in major currencies.||Both current accounts and fixed deposit accounts are available in major currencies.|
|Minimum initial deposit||Varies by currency (For example, USD1,000 and EUR800).||Varies by currency (For example, USD1,000 and EUR1,000).|
|Minimum balance||Varies by currency (For example, USD1,000 and EUR800).||Depending on the currency, usually the equivalent of USD500/EUR500.|
|Internet banking||Free access. Inquiries, local payments, overseas payments. There is no limit on the maximum number of transactions (unless specified by the customer)—full transactional capabilities on desktop versions and mobile applications, including the DealOnline FX platform.||Free access. Inquiries, local payments, overseas payments. There is no limit on the maximum number of transactions (unless specified by the customer).|
|Accounts payable services: cashier’s order, DD, TT, interbank GIRO payment, internal fund transfer, cheque issuance services||Yes.||Yes.|
|Accounts receivable services: incoming TT, bill payment services, GIRO Collections||Yes.||Yes.|
|Liquidity management services||Yes.||Yes.|
|Trade finance services: Import products, export products, bank guarantees||Yes.||Yes.|
|Business loans||Yes. The loan amount depends on company history, number of employees, local shareholdings, etc.||Yes. The loan amount depends on company history, number of employees, local shareholdings, etc.|
|Treasury services: FX spots, bonds, IR swaps, FX options, futures, forwards, etc.||Yes.||Yes.|
Comparison of International Banks in Singapore
|Feature||Maybank (FlexiBiz)||Standard Chartered||CitiBank (CitiBusiness)|
|Singapore Dollar Current Account|
|Minimum initial deposit||S$1,000||S$30,000||S$100,000 or USD equivalent|
|Minimum balance||None.||An average monthly balance of S$30,000 or S$ 50 will be charged monthly.||S$50,000 or S$100 monthly fee will apply (the same applies for SGD and USD accounts).|
|Credit card||Yes.||No.||Corporate commercial cards are available.|
|Internet banking||Yes.||Yes. A one-time setup fee of S $ 50 will apply.||Yes.|
|Foreign Currency Account|
|Foreign currency account availability||USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, NZD, and HKD.||Both current accounts and fixed deposit accounts are available in major currencies.||Both current accounts and fixed deposit accounts are available in major currencies.|
|Minimum initial deposit||$1,000 (in respective currencies, except for HKD $10,000).||US$30,000 (varies by currency).||S$100,000 or USD equivalent.|
|Minimum balance||$1,000 (in respective currencies, except for HKD $10,000)||Varies by currency.||An average monthly balance of US$200,000, or S$200 will incur a monthly fee.|
|Accounts payable services: cashier’s order, DD, TT, interbank GIRO payment, internal fund transfer, cheque issuance services||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.|
|Accounts receivable services: incoming TT, bill payment services, GIRO Collections||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.|
|Liquidity management services||Yes.||Not mentioned.||Yes.|
|Trade finance services: Import products, export products, bank guarantees||Yes.||Yes.||Yes.|
|Business loans||Yes. Generally, an entity must have been in operation for a minimum of 1-3 years.||Yes. The loan amount depends on company history, number of employees, local shareholdings, etc. Minimum 3 years of financial reports are required.||Yes. Subject to bank assessment.|
|Treasury services: FX spots, bonds, IR swaps, FX options, futures, forwards, etc.||Yes.||Yes, depending on business activities.||Yes.|
Factors to Consider When Opening a Corporate Bank Account
Here are a few important things to think about when setting up a corporate bank account in Singapore.
Bank Reputation and Rating
Choose a bank with high creditworthiness and standards of confidentiality, service reliability, known history, and sufficient international presence. Even if the bank you consider looks great on paper, talking to your business associates about their experiences with that particular bank is always helpful.
Specialization and Niche Skills
You should choose the bank experienced in your particular business banking needs. Every industry has different standards and challenges. If your bank has experience helping companies in your industry, it can also offer you valuable advice and guidance.
Location and Physical Address
Location is essential, as some banks require the physical presence of all legal signatories to open accounts. Besides easier access, it will also help you interact with your banker through any convenient channel for you.
Most of the major banks in Singapore offer two types of services. If you are a volume-based company with a high turnover, the bank will assign a dedicated manager for you. A bank call center is normally enough for small companies because it is very efficient and customer-oriented.
Ease of Access to Account Services and Online Security
Find out if the internet banking facility is equipped with online security, which is very easy to protect against unauthorized access. Certain banks offer security tools in addition to user IDs and passwords for account entry. Others require a signed receipt acknowledgment of internet banking material before online account registration.
Business Focus of the Bank
If you prefer personalized service and advice on asset and wealth management, you may want to choose private banking. At the same time, clients with a commercial focus and access to international trade, cash management, payments, and financing can choose international commercial banks.
Availability of Account and Channel Services
Check if there are integrated savings and investment accounts, foreign currency accounts, and combined online bank statements. Business debit or credit cards, ATM networks, branch coverage (both local and worldwide), and daily transaction limits should also be considered as the services offered may vary widely between banks (shown in the table above).
Pricing, Fees, and Interest
Certain banks charge payment services such as telegraphic transfers, foreign currency transfers, and interbank funds transfers. These fees may differ significantly for different banks. Also, check the account opening fees for various types of bank accounts.
It is also important to check whether preferential interest rates are offered for foreign currency exchange and bank deposits. However, note that price shouldn’t be the only benchmark when determining which bank is right for you. You should consider business insight and excellent service as well.
Account Opening Checklist
Here are some guidelines that will help you prepare the information you need for a smooth bank account opening experience.
Choose the Right Bank
By choosing a bank and account that suits your company, you can significantly reduce banking-related problems in the future. A wide variety of banking products are available in Singapore; after you use Biz Atom services, our agents can help you choose the right bank.
Give all the information upfront
Providing complete information about yourself and your company’s plans will make it easier for the bank to understand your business model. The information you provide should include your business activities, your previous professional experience, potential clients, and the nature of your banking transactions, a link to your website, and a business plan for your proposed business if you have one.
If possible, provide a reference letter from a previous business banking relationship. If there is anything complex in your background or your shareholder structure, anticipate questions that may arise and provide a head start by proactively providing clarifying information.
Note that you should be honest in providing information to the bank. If the bank finds something inaccurate, it will affect your credibility and make it challenging to work with the bank.
Answer the Who, How, and Who Questions
Banks are interested in knowing information such as a) who are the key people involved in the business, b) how they generated the start-up capital of the company and how they plan to make money in the future, and c) to who they will send money as part of their business.
Almost all major world banks are present in Singapore. Banks are generally happy to open a corporate bank account for any company (whether local or foreign) as long as the required documents are submitted and the banks are satisfied with the information provided for their internal due diligence purposes.
As a Singapore authorized corporate service provider, we have developed trusted relationships with our banking partners who provide fast and efficient bank account opening for our clients. Feel free to contact us to get our assistance.