All about bank account in Singapore as a foreigner

Singapore is one of the stable economies in Asia with a very stable government. As a foreigner opening a bank account in Singapore you should feel safe for your wealth or earnings deposited in Singaporean Jurisdictions. Expats moving to singapore for work or businesses will have their needs of opening a bank account when they move to Singapore. Here is an extensive guide – all about bank accounts in Singapore.

The basic requirements to open a bank account as a foreigner in Singapore are:

  1. Show your proof of address in Singapore or a supporting document if you don’t have one.
  2. Prove your need for a local bank account.

For detailed documents required to open a bank account, please read on.

Requirements to open a bank account in Singapore

With the growing concerns of money laundering, the requirements to open a bank account are stringent in Singapore.

As a non-resident, who is moving to singapore to stay for education, work or business , you’ll need the below details to open a bank account.

  1. Copy of your foreign passport– helps you identify who you are.
  2. Employment / Student proof– either the Ministry of Manpower issued pass or the In principal approval letter known as the IPA or ACRA documents proving your directorship in the business.
  3. Proof of residential address – Company issued letter, or latest three months in prior copies of payslip/ utility bills/ telco bills/ other bank statements / letter by the government or regulated public bodies for AML practice from the FATF member country.
  4. You are also expected to make a deposit of some amount towards opening of bank accounts. Some banks like Standard Chartered have zero deposit account promotions if you are not able to make immediate deposit while opening the account.

For dependant pass holders, you’ll need to also provide proof of relationship in the form of marriage certificates or other valid documents like birth certificates for your kids.

What is the minimum age to open a bank account in Singapore

One can open a time deposit or current account in Singapore at the age of 18 years old. However , you may also open a savings account at the age of 15 years.

Parents or kids guardians are also allowed to open accounts on behalf of those aged below 18.

How to open bank account in Singapore

As a foreigner, you are expected to walk down to the bank in person with the above documents to open your first bank account. This will be valid until the technically advanced Singaporean government comes up with online validating solutions for foreigners. If you already have a bank account and want to open another one with the same bank, most banks will allow you to do it online.

On the other hand, Singaporeans and permanent residents in singapore can open bank accounts online conveniently by identifying themselves with MyInfo and SingPass.

Can tourists open a bank account in Singapore.

As a tourist, you are a temporary visitor in Singapore. As a tourist can not prove the permanent local residential address and purpose of local bank account. Hence tourists are not allowed to open a bank account in Singapore unless you can prove the above details.

However, lot of international banks have their operations in Singapore and you could take advantage of their offerings to bank with the help of your account in your country of residence.

On the other hand you might want to consider Citibank’s global accounts . Citibank recognises the needs of global citizens and help you manage international banking with ease. Citibank’s global account allows you to access cross border wealth management in singapore. However, this bank account can be used for personal transactions only. It is not meant for business purposes. Citibanks global account requires a minimum funding of USD 200,000.00

Can I keep my bank account active after I leave / depart from Singapore

Currently, there has been no issues amongst most customers who have kept their bank accounts active after they have left Singapore.

As long as you keep everything legal and do not misuse the bank account for illegal purposes the bank will not cancel you account. However, do make sure to maintain the minimum requirements of you bank account like minimum balance and transactions.

You might also want to update your correspondence details with the bank. This is so that the bank can communicate or send you correspondences when required.

Also make sure, you declare any incomes from this bank account to your tax residency country and any taxes-if any are paid for.

Which are the popular local bank accounts in Singapore

Singapore being the financial hub in Asia- many banks have their presence here. However only a few of them provide personal banking services. For those new to singapore- here is a list of most popular and best banks in Singapore.

  1. DBS (Development Bank of Singapore)
  2. POSB (Post Office Savings Bank) – DBS and POSB have been merged although both the brands are prominent. You can interchangeably use both of these. DBS and POSB has a large network and the ATM machines are quite exhaustive all over the island.
  3. OCBC- Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation is also one of the popular banks.
  4. UOB – United Overseas Bank is another popular bank in Singapore and shares ATM networks with OCBC.
  5. Citibank Singapore.
  6. MayBank- This is popular for Islamic banking.
  7. CIMB -owned by Malaysia’s CIMB Group; formerly known as Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Berhad.
  8. HSBC.
  9. Standard Chartered Singapore.
  10. ANZ.

Singapore’s Monetary Authority (MAS) has also issued five new licenses for digital or virtual banks. We will see new players in the digital banking domain soon.

Along with your bank accounts, if you are also looking for credit cards for foreigners in Singapore, we have a detailed guide to various credit cards for foreigners and how to apply for one.

Now that you have your bank accounts sorted, may we suggest you to check out our tips to save money in Singapore. Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in. Educating yourselves with money saving tips would be helpful.