Singaporean, a diversified tiny island nation with a high standard of living, is a popular location for ex-pats and non-resident professionals worldwide. Singaporean banks have made it simpler than it used to be to create an account as a non-resident due to an increase in foreign nationals flocking to the country in recent years for employment.
The Monetary Authority of Singaporean, the nation’s central bank, reports that since 2016, record amounts of money from non-resident workers have been put into Singaporean bank accounts. But for newcomers, getting a bank account can still be complex and confusing, especially without proof of residence in Singaporean.
Your finest bet as a visitor to the nation will often be to create a bank account at a significant neighborhood institution. These accounts offer all the regular banking services you want and are specially created for expatriates and foreign workers in Singapore.
Depending on your situation, opening a Wise Multi-Currency Account, a global digital account service with a presence in Singaporean is another excellent choice. Compared to local banks, Borderless Accounts have a number of significant advantages, particularly in the areas of cost, currency conversion, and convenience.
Singaporean Bank Account: What is needed in Singapore to open a bank account?
n general, minimum documentation is needed to create a bank account in Singapore as a non-resident. Local banks vary from one another in terms of whether you may complete the process entirely online or if you need to visit a bank location in person.
No matter which bank you select, the following papers must be submitted in order to open an account:
Your passport, your Singapore work permit (if you’re an employee), and your Singapore study permit (for students).
Some banks may additionally need the following items in addition to these documents:
- evidence of residency (in Singapore or elsewhere);
- an additional government-issued ID to your passport;
- An endorsement letter (from a client or a former bank.)
The documentation needed for non-residents varies from bank to bank, sometimes significantly. As a result, after you’ve found a bank that works for you, we advise that you check out their website beforehand to confirm which boxes you’ll need to check.
Which Bank Account Varieties Are Available in Singapore?
The phrases used in retail banking in Singapore could be a little different from what you’re used to. The following three types of accounts are the most pertinent for non-residents.
Savings accounts: These are types of bank accounts that don’t allow withdrawals but nevertheless earn interest. They are therefore the best if you want a secure location to hide and increase your money.
Chequing accounts: These checking or current accounts, called “checking accounts” or “current accounts” in other countries, are meant for regular use. Written cheques are still available through a few chequing accounts in Singapore, thus the name. Any sum available in the account may be used to fund these checks.
Accounts in foreign currencies: These bank accounts are not Singapore dollar-denominated. While the US dollar is the most popular currency for foreign currency accounts in Singapore, other currencies like the Australian dollar, British pound, and Hong Kong dollar are also frequently used for purchases and conversations.
In addition to these, the majority of Singaporean banks also provide time deposit accounts. But as a non-resident or ex-pat in Singapore, the aforementioned three are by far the most prevalent, and they’ll likely give you everything you need.
Which Bank Accounts Are Available to Non-Residents in Singapore?
In Singapore, you have an abundance of options when selecting a bank. In addition to being a major international financial center, Singapore is also home to a number of significant local banks that have grown to be regional banking juggernauts, including HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Citibank.
Retail banking services in Singapore are subject to a special set of fees. Although banks in Singapore don’t typically impose monthly service fees, they will if your average monthly bank account balance falls below a specific threshold (often between S$1,000 and S$5,000). This so-called “fall below fee” can be rather expensive as well, sometimes reaching S$7.50 for each month the amount falls below the cutoff. Additionally, a minimum opening deposit is necessary for the majority of Singaporean bank accounts.
Depending on the bank and the kind of account, this sum might range from S$500 to S$5,000.
Check out the main services provided by local and international banks in Singapore below to discover more about your alternatives for banking there as a non-resident:
1. United Overseas Bank (UOB)
The third-largest bank in Singapore provides personal savings and current accounts to foreign non-residents. A regular UOB current account requires a minimum initial deposit of S$500.00 and levies monthly fees of S$2.00 to S$7.50 if the average daily balance for the month is less than that sum. You must physically be present in Singapore for the initial in-branch meeting in order to participate, and you must submit either a letter of recommendation from your previous bank or a letter from a UOB introducer.
2. Bank DBS
Large Singaporean bank DBS, which has been named the safest bank in Asia, provides a variety of choices for foreigners and non-residents. For instance, the DBS Expatriate Programme gives you access to a number of banking features like multi-currency accounts, regular chequing and savings accounts, and remittance services (see our review of DBS Remit), all of which are intended to make life as a non-resident as simple as possible. Depending on the type of account you have, monthly costs range from S$2.00 to S$7.50. Online account applications are also an option.
3. Bank OCBC
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), one of the biggest banks in the Asia-Pacific region, enables non-residents and expatriates in Singapore to open savings, chequing, and foreign currency bank accounts. The majority of OCBC bank accounts require a S$1,000.00 initial deposit as a minimum. Annual account fees for some OCBC bank accounts are exempt the first year. Online account applications are available.
4. Bank of Singapore
A massive bank with roots in neighboring Malaysia, Maybank provides newcomers to Singapore with a wide range of account kinds. To open an account, you must present Singaporean evidence of residency, though. The normal opening balance requirements at Maybank Singapore are S$500 for savings accounts and S$1,000 for current accounts. There is also a nominal monthly service charge of S$2 to maintain the account. For account opening, you must go to a branch.
5. Singapore-based Standard Chartered
One of the most well-known banks in Singapore is Ordinary Chartered, a UK-based institution that offers non-residents the ability to open standard savings, chequing, and foreign currency bank accounts. The “Cheque & Save” account’s minimal opening deposits at Standard Chartered Singapore range from a hefty S$5,000.00 to S$0.00 for the “SuperSalary” account. Online applications can be made to open an account.
6. Singapore HSBC
Another UK-based bank, HSBC Singapore offers immigrants the unusual opportunity to apply for a bank account online before traveling to Singapore. However, the account cannot be activated without an Employment Pass. Additionally, HSBC provides ex-pat services to aid newcomers in settling down in Singapore. When the average daily monthly balance for the majority of accounts falls below S$2,000.00, a S$5.00 monthly fee is assessed. The minimum initial deposits for current accounts are US$2,000.00 and for savings accounts are US$1,000.00.
A local Singaporean bank and subsidiary of DBS, POSB provides the same banking services as its parent company, with the exception of a few special benefits for migrant and ex-pat workers from countries like India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. For instance, you can obtain a basic chequing account with practical remittance options through POSB’s “Payroll Account” for comparatively modest rates (see our DBS Remit review).
In addition to the banks mentioned above, Singapore is home to a large number of other international banks. If you already have accounts with one of their foreign branches or are a resident of the nation where the bank was founded, these institutions might make sense for you.
A flexible and affordable alternative is a wise multi-currency account
We strongly advise you to check into opening a Wise Multi-Currency Account as an alternative to local banks if you’re a newcomer to Singapore and don’t intend to have proof of physical location in the nation or if you’re seeking a low-cost choice to handle your daily banking demands. The digital banking division of Wise, a well-known international money transfer specialist service, is called Wise’s Multi-Currency Account. Wise is renowned for its favorable exchange rates, quick money transfers, open pricing structure, and trustworthy reputation.
You have numerous major benefits to opening a Wise Multi-Currency Account compared to opening an account with a neighborhood bank. For instance, you can do it almost anywhere in the world with just a form of identification from your native nation. Following registration, Wise will send you a debit Mastercard that you can use in conjunction with your own unique set of Singaporean banking information to accept local transfers in Singapore dollars.
The local bank account has its own Singaporean account number and bank code and is completely authorized. Additionally, your money will also be stored by DBS Bank, giving you the security of Asia’s safest bank while still enjoying Wise’s price and flexibility.
You will receive the following major advantages from a Wise Multi-Currency Account as a non-resident of Singapore:
- Low-cost transfers to SGD; A digital account to store SGD;
- a bank code and account number from Singapore;
- DBS Bank’s safely kept funds;
- quick and easy registration;
- there is no need to provide residency documentation;
- a Singapore-only MasterCard debit product
We don’t recommend Wise’s Multi-Currency Account as a full replacement for a bank account with a local Singaporean bank (although it will work for this, too! ) unless you intend to have documentation proving your residence in Singapore. But if you’re moving to Singapore and want to make international transfers or if you need to start receiving and using Singapore dollars right away, we particularly recommend Wise.
A Wise Multi-Currency Account, for instance, is the service you need if you want to transfer money from your home currency into the Singapore dollar for a fraction of the cost of your bank and then use that money as soon as you arrive in Singapore. Your Borderless account will serve as a helpful addition to your primary bank account for traveling abroad once you open your account with a local Singapore bank, making it a service that demands the attention of ex-pats and digital nomads alike.
Singaporean Bank Account: The Best Way To Transfer Money To Singapore
Regardless of whatever bank you choose, after opening an account in Singapore, the next step will probably be to transfer any money that is now in your home currency into your new bank account, which will be denominated in Singapore dollars. Generally speaking, there are two ways to accomplish this
Using a third-party money transfer service; Wiring money from your home country’s bank.
At Monito, we advise against using banks for international transfers because the costs might be high and the wait times protracted. This is mostly because banks use the SWIFT network to wire money, which adds a lot of time-consuming and expensive steps to the money transfer process.
Instead, we advise using a money transfer expert service to send money to your new Singaporean bank account at minimal costs and favorable exchange rates. The money transfer services Instarem, CurrencyFair, and Wise provided the cheapest international money transfers to Singapore from abroad on a combined 89 percent of all searches, according to our analysis of tens of thousands of searches on Monito’s comparison engine over the previous twelve months. Each of them provided fees and exchange rates that were significantly less expensive than the banks.
Can a non-resident open a bank account?
A non-citizen of the United States typically cannot open an online account. To open an account, you would have to go to a bank or credit union branch location. For instance, Santander Bank will only accept online applications from U.S. citizens or resident aliens who have an ITIN or Social Security number.
A non-resident bank account is what?
A person who doesn’t live in the CMA regularly is referred to as a non-resident (Common Monetary Area). Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland are the countries that make up the Common Monetary Area. You might be eligible for a Temporary Resident Account if you have valid employment, study, retirement, or spousal permit.
If I leave Singapore, can I keep my bank account?
If you leave Singapore and cease to be a resident of Singapore, you may keep your bank account. Do update your contact and personal information on Digi bank, the DBS or POSB banking portal, or a local DBS or POSB office.