In addition to large international banks, several local banks operate in Singapore, represented mainly in Southeast Asian countries. All banks offer a standard range of services: opening accounts for individuals and legal entities in Singapore, credit and debit cards, consumer and mortgage loans, deposits, investments, and insurance products.
Choosing a bank
The choice of a bank is a rather personal matter, so we will only touch on a few key aspects that must be taken into account when opening an account in Singapore.
- Down payment and minimum balance
Each bank in Singapore has its own policy regarding the initial deposit and the minimum balance that you must have in your account at all times. This sum usually ranges from 500 to 5,000 SGD. If your account in Singapore has less than the specified amount, the bank will fine you every month for this.
- Branch network
The larger the bank, the more ATMs it has and the more developed branch network, the easier it will be for you to use its services.
- Account maintenance cost
In general, you will pay approximately the same commission for maintaining an account and conducting transactions on it, but you need to pay attention to some nuances. If the transfer of money abroad or some other operations are of fundamental importance for you, it is better to clarify this issue with the bank in advance.
Largest banks in Singapore
Common account types in Singapore include:
- Current account – an ordinary current account without interest accrual, a debit card, and a checkbook are issued to it.
- Deposit (fixed deposit) – a deposit with interest, without a checkbook. Most banks have a large portfolio of such deposits, among which you can choose the one that suits you: term (and the corresponding percentage), the amount of the deposit, etc. It is necessary to understand that the interest on Singapore deposits is usually extremely small – on average, around 1% per annum.
- A current account with interest (savings account) – a symbiosis of the two previous products, some banks issue checkbooks for such accounts.
Procedure for opening a personal account in Singapore
For foreigners in this country, there are strict restrictions on opening personal accounts. To open a Singapore bank account, you must either be a resident of this state (citizen, PR status) or have a long-term work visa. If you are a director/shareholder of a local company, you can easily open a corporate account. In all other cases, it will be refused to open a bank account.
To open a personal account, you will need a passport, an IC card (PR, EP), a document confirming the address of residence (lease agreement, electricity bill, etc.), and, depending on the bank, payroll statements (payslip).
When you open an account in Singapore, you are required to deposit money into the account. Depending on the bank, the minimum amount can vary from 500 to 5,000 SGD. You can deposit money into your account in a variety of ways: in cash at the cash desk or through an ATM, check, bank transfer.
Procedure for opening a corporate account
If you are a foreign director/shareholder of a Singapore company, you can open a corporate account with a Singapore bank. To do this, you will need a Bizfile (main document of the company), M&A (statutory agreement of the company), identity card (international passport), company stamp, and the presence of a local director of the company.
After opening an account in Singapore, you can use the following banking instruments:
- Bank card (ATM card)
It is issued by all banks after opening an account. With its help, you can withdraw and deposit money, make money transfers, pay bills and perform other transactions through an ATM.
- Internet banking
It is available upon request by almost all local banks. It can be used to check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, etc. In Singapore, there are 2 main types of protection for online transactions – a token (a special device that generates a one-time password), or a one-time password to a phone number.
It is actively used in the local market, especially when making payments between legal entities.
Loans are different – from paying for goods in interest-free installments, consumer loans, mortgages, but only local residents or holders of work visas have access to them.
Loans can be issued:
- for individuals
A credit card is initially issued with a limit of no more than 9,000 SGD (6,700 USD), with a rate of 24% per annum. The grace period is 20 days from the date of preparation of the card statement. The minimum payment is 3% or 50 SGD, whichever is the larger. The annual cost of servicing different cards is different for different banks and averages from 0 to 180 SGD per year.
- for legal entities
Credit cards and other financial instruments become available after the formation of positive credit history in the bank, or when you deposit a large amount of money into your account.
It is very safe to use banking services, cards, and online banking in Singapore, especially when compared to other countries in Southeast Asia. There are practically no cases of card fraud since the city is under constant video surveillance and any such offenses are quickly suppressed.