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How to open bank account in Singapore as a foreigner

A step-by-step guide to opening a bank account in Singapore for foreigners.

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Opening a bank account in a new country is never easy. The sign-up process might feel unfamiliar, the terms could seem foreign and the eligibility requirements could just get confusing.

However, as a foreigner in Singapore, you could benefit greatly from taking the time and effort to open a local bank account.

Requirements for foreigners to open a bank account in Singapore

Non-residents can hold bank accounts in Singapore as long as they meet certain requirements and provide the necessary documents. These include:

  • ID documents. You’ll need to prove your ID with a national ID card or your passport.
  • Proof of employment or study. You need to supply an Employment Pass, S Pass, Student Pass or Dependant Pass depending on your situation. In principle approval letter known as the IPA or ACRA documents proving your business directorship is also be accepted.
  • Reference. Some Singaporean banks require a reference or introduction letter.
  • Proof of residence. The bank will require documents to show your place of residence, such as phone or utility bills.
  • Be over the age of 18. You will need to be over 18 to open a bank account in Singapore, but you may be able to open a savings account if you’re over 15 years old.

How to open a bank account: 4 steps

Setting up a bank account in Singapore is quick and simple:

1. Choose an account type

There are a few different types of bank accounts available in Singapore, so you first need to decide what type of account you want:

  • Savings accounts. If you don’t need to transact from your account, you might want to consider a savings account. You can make regular deposits and earn interest on your balance.
  • Current accounts. These are standard transactional bank accounts that allow you to receive your salary or wage, transfer money, pay bills and issue cheques. You’ll also receive a debit card that comes with extra benefits such as cashback. You can find current accounts available to foreigners at most major banks in Singapore.
  • Digital bank account. Digital banks, also called neobanks and challenger banks, is also an option. They are opened and managed completely online, and offers a host of useful features such as no-fee foreign currency transfers and low or no ATM fees. Digital banks usually design accounts to be managed globally, making them a good option to consider for foreigners.
  • Multi-currency accounts. Multi-currency accounts are great options for those who need access to foreign currency. With a multi-currency account, you can store multiple currencies and benefit from cheap foreign currency transfers.

2. Compare your options

Now you know what type of account you want, it’s time to compare your options. Here are some of the features to consider:

  • Ongoing fees. Some banks in Singapore charge you monthly to hold the account. You may also be required to pay a fee for your debit card.
  • Minimum deposits. To open a bank account, you will generally need to make a deposit to confirm the account. Banks can also charge you fall-below fees if you don’t keep your account above a certain amount.
  • Debit cards. Singapore offers a number of great features with its debit cards, including cashback and discounts. Take a look at the benefits your linked debit card will offer and if any fees will be charged.
  • Rewards. Some current accounts are linked to programs that let you earn points and rewards for your everyday spending.
  • Mobile payments. If you like tapping and paying with your phone, make sure your account is compatible with your chosen mobile payment option.
  • ATM withdrawal. While each bank will have a varied availability of ATMs in different malls, train stations and bank branches, almost all physical banks in Singapore will have an ATM located near you.
  • Banking statements. All bank accounts in Singapore should now allow you to get an electronic statement through your internet banking portal. An electronic statement (or e-statement) is a digital summary of all your holdings, transactions, fees and liabilities at one glance. If you prefer your statement in hard copy, you can get yours at a small fee.

3. Consider the fees

Singapore bank accounts come with a few fees you need to watch out for, including:

  • Fall-below fees. Many banks require that you keep your account above a certain limit or you will be charged fall-below fees.
  • Monthly fees. You may be charged a monthly fee to hold your account.
  • Card fees. Debit cards offer a number of perks, but may also come with an annual fee. Make sure the benefits outweigh the cost.
  • Currency conversion fees. You may be charged a fee to convert your Singaporean dollars to foreign currency. If you’re looking to do this often you may want to consider a multi-currency account or a digital bank account.
  • Account closure fees. Some banks will charge you a fee if you close your account within a certain period after opening it.

4. Sign up for an account

You can apply for a current account in-person or online, depending on the bank. You will need the documents outlined above, including proof of ID and residency, and also be prepared to make an initial deposit (if applicable) into your account.

Here is a list of the most popular banks and savings accounts in Singapore:

BanksAccounts available
DBS
POSB
  • POSB My Account
OCBC
  • OCBC 360 Account
  • OCBC FRANK Account
  • OCBC Bonus+ Savings Account
  • OCBC Monthly Savings Account
  • OCBC USD Current Account
  • OCBC Global Savings Account
  • OCBC Passbook Savings Account
  • OCBC Statement Savings Account
  • OCBC Current Account
UOB
  • UOB Lady’s Savings Account
  • UOB Stash Account
  • UOB Uniplus Account
  • UOB Global Currency Premium Account
  • UOB Passbook Savings Account
  • UOB One Account
  • KrisFlyer UOB Account
  • UOB Current Account
  • UOB Global Currency Account
Maybank
  • Maybank iSAVvy Savings Account
  • Maybank iSAVvy Savings Plus Account
  • Maybank SaveUp Account
  • Maybank Passbook Savings Account
Citibank
  • Citi Wealth First Saving Account
  • Citi MaxiGain Savings Account
  • Citi MaxiSave Account
  • Citi Step-Up Account
  • Citi Money Market Account
  • Citi Global Foreign Currency Account
  • Citi US$ Savings Account
  • Citi US$ Checking Account
HSBC
Standard Chartered
  • SC Bonus$aver Account
  • SC JumpStart Account
  • SC USD$aver Account
  • SC MyWay Savings Account
  • SC SuperSalary Account
  • SC Unlimited$aver Account
  • SC FCY$aver Account
  • SC XtraSaver Account
  • SC Cheque and Save Account
CIMB

*Information provided are accurate as of 1 May 2021.

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A corporate debit card for SMEs and Startups with no annual fee and low FX fees. Enjoy 1% cashback on marketing and SaaS spend. T&Cs apply.
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An exclusive premium contactless card that allows for unlimited currency exchanges, a free Lounge Pass, and 1% cashback on expenses.
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On top of standard Revolut perks, this debit card comes with unlimited spending and free overseas ATM withdrawals, up to $700 per month.
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Wise (formerly TransferWise) is an international account for over 50 currencies, with instant, super-cheap money transfer, a card to spend in any currency, bank details to get paid in 30 different countries and multi-currency direct debits.
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Disclaimer: Interest rates are applicable for deposits between S$1,000 and S$49,999. Interest rate and initial deposit are shown in Singapore dollars. Please check with the provider for deposits and rates in other amounts and currencies.

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