How to open a bank account in Singapore
A quick and easy guide to setting up your bank account
Opening a bank account in Singapore is relatively simple and can be done in person or online. You just need to know about the eligibility criteria and required documents before you start the process. You’ll also need to decide on the right bank account for you.
This guide will take you through what you need to know so you end up with the right bank account for you.
How to open a bank account in Singapore
New customers can sign up for a bank account either at their nearest local branch or via an online application. Here are the various documents required for each option.
|Residential status||Document types||Online vs local branch|
|Singaporean||ID and latest copy of proof of residence (e.g. local utility bill, local telecommunication bill, local bank statement)||Singaporeans registering online can use their Singpass ID for hassle-free form filling and instant approval. Singaporeans registering at a local branch can use their NRIC as proof of residence.|
|Permanent Resident||ID and latest copy of proof of residence (e.g. local utility bill, local telecommunication bill, local bank statement)||Online registration requires a scanned copy of each of these documents|
|Foreigner (working in Singapore)||Passport, Employment Pass, Proof of residence (e.g. IPA issued by MOM, Work Permit issued by MOM)||Online registration requires a scanned copy of each of these document|
|Foreigner (studying in Singapore)||Passport, Matriculation/student card approved by the ICA // proof of residence (e.g. utility bill, telecommunication bill, bank statement)||Online registration requires a scanned copy of each of these documents|
Do note that online applications can be made with scanned copies of the required documents, but registration at local bank branches must be done with the original documents.
Existing customers, on the other hand, can apply for new accounts instantly online.
What are the different types of bank accounts in Singapore?
There are generally four types of bank accounts in Singapore:
- High-interest savings accounts: With high-interest savings accounts, you are required to fulfil multiple conditions to earn higher interest rates, such as having a minimum income or minimum monthly credit expenditure. Examples of high-interest savings accounts include the OCBC 360 Account, UOB One Account and DBS Multiplier Account.
- Joint savings account: These accounts can be shared by two individuals (usually parent-child or couples). The requirements for this nature of account differ across banks, so do be sure to check out their respective qualifications. Some examples of joint savings accounts are OCBC’s 360 Account, Bank of China SmartSaver, and Maybank’s Save Up Programme.
- Multi-currency savings account: Unlike a regular savings account, a multi-currency account allows you to hold multiple foreign currencies in addition to SGD in a single account. This allows account holders to make overseas transactions directly from their bank account without incurring additional foreign exchange conversion fees. Examples include the DBS Multi-Currency Account, UOB Might FX and YouTrip.
- Digital bank accounts: Digital bank accounts allow you to manage your finances online. You can monitor your account as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection, buying and spending via your digital wallet in a few swipes. Since digital banks are a relatively new development in Singapore’s banking scene, be sure to shop around and familiarise yourself with the options available!
How to choose a bank account in Singapore
The best bank account is one that suits your needs, so you’ll first have to understand your priorities and reasons for opening a new bank account.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular considerations:
- Interest rates: Savings accounts in Singapore have a huge range of interest rates, especially when comparing regular savings accounts to high-interest savings accounts. If you fulfil the conditions required by the bank and want to park your savings in an account to let it grow over the years, a high-interest savings account might be appealing to you. On the other hand, if you’re a regular investor seeking a temporary account which will be subject to in-and-out cash flows, then account interest rates might not be a priority.
- Convenience: If convenience is important to you, you’d probably favor bank accounts from more popular providers who have multiple ATMs around Singapore.
- Fees: Do be wary of hidden costs and fees that may interfere with your savings. For instance, expats residing in Singapore may want to choose multi-currency accounts so as to avoid currency costs.
- Ease of online access: If going to the bank simply isn’t your thing, then having reliable online access to your bank account will be a priority. As a result, the account you choose should be with a bank that has an intuitive, appealing interface.
How much does it cost to open a bank account in Singapore?
Most banks have a minimum deposit requirement of S$1000-3000. This will vary depending on the bank itself and the account type.
Types of bank account fees in Singapore
Listed below are some of the most common fees banks in Singapore tend to charge:
- Minimum deposit amount and fall below fees: Some banks have a minimum in-credit balance requirement. Should your account balance drop below this, you might incur an extra fee.
- Early closure fee: Banks require you to hold your account for a minimum period of time. If you close your account before this time period is over, you’ll face a fee of approximately S$30.
- Overseas ATM fees: Overseas withdrawals may be subject to service charges and unfavourable exchange rates.
- International transfer fee: With the exception of multicurrency accounts, overseas payments from your bank account can get very costly.
At what age can you open a bank account in Singapore?
Individuals 18 years or older can open their own accounts, while 15-17-year-olds can open accounts under the guidance of their parents/guardians. Minors aged 16 and below can have joint accounts with their parents.
Compare a range of digital banks in Singapore
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