Opening A Corporate Bank Account In Singapore

Corporate Banking In Singapore

Singapore has become a forerunner to the title of Asia’s top financial hub. Singapore has always been a top destination for foreigners to incorporate a company. This is thanks to our transparent policies, governance, and relatively low corporate taxes. Opening a corporate bank account is vital to your operations in Singapore, for the ease of receiving monies and expenditures.

The major local banks are the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), United Overseas Bank (UOB), and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC). Some of the more prominent foreign banks are Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank), Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank, Hong Kong, and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC). The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the central bank of Singapore, governing all financial institutions.

The process of opening a corporate bank account in Singapore is fairly straightforward and easy, provided all documents are in order. However, different banks have varying checks and processes. In the current pandemic, banks have switched to a different mode of operation as compared to pre-COVID-19 days. Online meetings are going to be new normal moving forward.

Documents needed for a corporate bank account

  1. Board of directors resolution.
  2. Certificate of incorporation.
  3. Business profile.
  4. Company’s constitution.
  5. Original passports or Singapore national identification cards (NRIC) of all company directors.
  6. Proof of residential addresses of all directors and shareholders.

Do note that the banks may ask for additional documents from concerned parties. Please be aware that for all identification documents, the original copies must be sighted. As the interview process is done online, all sighting of these documents is over a video call. In the event that anyone is unable to produce his or her passport for foreigners, or NRIC for Singaporeans, the application will be rejected.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) is one of the banks that is currently adopting such practices. It requires more filling up of documents on the client’s part. Previously all you have to do is just to turn up and meet your mobile banker in person. The new online practice that they have adopted requires all shareholders and directors, including Nominee Directors, to have an online interview with the banker.

The lead time needed for corporate bank accounts to be open varies. It depends on the structure of the shareholders, may take anything between 1 week to 4 weeks for you to receive everything like your login ID and PIN and token.

Things to consider before deciding on which bank to go with

In general, most banks’ requirements are the same. What you have to consider is the response time and customer service aspect of it. These are some of the common factors to consider:

  1. Rates
  2. Initial deposit
  3. Fall below fee
  4. Accessibility of account services
  5. Online banking services and security
  6. Multi-currencies accounts

OCBC has no minimum deposit requirement for now as part of its marketing efforts. As a foreigner, you should always pick one that is able to offer its services entirely online. Flying to Singapore frequently to handle banking matters will be highly inefficient.

In most cases, you should go for the recommendations of your corporate secretary, as they work with corporate bankers on a frequent basis they will know better which bankers are more responsive and responsible.

A breakdown of features of different banks

There are certain bank charges for some of the features that you may use frequently as a foreigner. Such as telegraphic transfer for foreign currencies, or even inter-bank transfers. These are what the local banks are offering currently:

DBS Corporate Multi-Currency Account

  • Minimum balance – SGD $10,000 or equivalent
  • Minimum initial deposit – SGD $3,000 or equivalent
  • SGD and 12 foreign currencies including USD, EUR, HKD, and AUD.
  • Free digital token for authentication
  • Monthly account fee – N.A.
  • Annual account fee – SGD $40 or equivalent
  • Fall-below fee – SGD $35 or equivalent
  • Internet & mobile banking fee – Free
  • Debit card – Free
  • Cheque books – Free

OCBC Business Growth Account

  • Minimum initial deposit – N.A.
  • Monthly account fee – SGD $10. Waived for first 2 months
  • Service fee – N.A.
  • Early account closure fee – SGD $50 for accounts closed within 6 months of opening
  • Excess fee for an overdraft – Minimum $30 or Prime rate + 4.75% per annum (whichever higher) on the excess amount
  • Free digital token for authentication
  • Cheque books – SGD $25 per book. First cheque book free
  • Cheque clearing fee – SGD $0.75 per cheque
  • Over counter branch transaction charges – SGD $20 per transaction
  • For more detailed information on Multi-Currency Business Account, click here 

UOB eBusiness Account

  • Minimum balance – SGD $5,000
  • Minimum initial deposit – SGD $1,000
  • Annual account fee – $35 (with effect 1 January 2020)
  • Monthly fall below fee – SGD $15. Waived for first 2 months
  • Bulk payroll transactions – Free
  • Internet banking with bulk functionalities – Free
  • Transaction alerts on email – Free
  • FAST transaction fee – Rebates for up to 60 outgoing PayNow FAST transactions per month
  • Over counter branch transaction charges – SGD $20 per transaction
  • Cheque clearing fee – SGD $0.75 per cheque
  • Early account closure fee – SGD $30 for accounts closed within 6 months of opening
  • For more detailed information on Global Currency Account, click here

Of course, there are many other banks offering similar services as well. Our advice is to choose the bank that you are the most comfortable with in terms of remote support and features. You can always contact us if you need our help with the opening of corporate bank accounts.


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