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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 pretty simple and can be done online or in-branch. In order to open a bank account, you need to decide the type of account you want and gather the required documents. Once approved, your account will be opened in minutes.
To find out exactly what you need to do to open an account in Singapore, see our steps below.
How to open a bank account in Singapore
You can open a Singapore bank account in a few simple steps:
Step 1: Compare accounts to find the right one
There are a couple of different types of bank accounts in Singapore, including current accounts and savings accounts. Current accounts work the same in Singapore as they do in other countries, namely letting you manage your day-to-day banking. However, savings accounts also come with many of the same functions as current accounts. Many Singaporeans choose to just use a savings account rather than have a current account as well.
Here are the account types you can consider:
- 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.
- Multicurrency 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.
Step 2: Decide if you want a single or joint bank account
Consider if you want to open an account for yourself or one to share with a partner. If you open a single account, you’re the sole owner and no one else can access your money. With a joint bank account, you share ownership with someone else, usually a family member, significant other or business partner. They have equal access to the account and can use the money however they wish.
The process to open a single or joint account is pretty similar. You’ll just need the required documents for both account holders to open a joint account.
Step 3: Compare accounts!
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 that 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 favour bank accounts from providers who have multiple ATMs around Singapore.
- Fees. Bank accounts in Singapore come with various fees, so make sure to look into these and check they aren’t excessive. It’s also important to consider whether the features you want have to be paid for, for example, international ATM withdrawals.
- 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.
- Minimum deposit. Some bank account types require a minimum deposit or average daily balance of $1,000 to $3,000.
Step 4: Check you are eligible
To open a bank account, you’ll generally need to:
- Be a Singaporean, permanent resident or foreigner with a valid work permit.
- Be at least 18 years old. However, most banks will allow minors to open a joint account with a parent or legal guardian.
- Be able to provide a government-issued ID.
Step 5: Submit your required documents
|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.
Step 6: Wait to be approved
After you complete an online application for a bank account, you’ll get an email from the account provider with information about what happens next. This email should come within a minute or two after you submit the application to the bank. It may come with instructions on verifying your identity, or you may need to do that first.
Step 7: Make a deposit
Most accounts will require you to make an opening deposit using a debit card or from an existing bank account. If this is your first bank account and you plan to make an opening deposit in cash, you’ll need to sign up for an account at a bank branch.
Step 8: Your debit card arrives
If the account you signed up for includes a debit card, it’ll arrive in the mail after you’ve been approved. You’ll find out how long it takes to ship in the confirmation email. The debit card and PIN are sent to you separately for security reasons. When you get your card, you need to sign the back and activate it so you can make withdrawals. This is a simple process that can be completed via mobile, ATM or online.
Step 9: Start using it!
Your account is ready to go. You’ll be able to make deposits and withdrawals, as well as use any other features associated with your account. To finish setting everything up:
- Set up Internet banking. This lets you manage your money and make payments to other accounts from your phone, computer or tablet. Download the account provider’s app and follow the on-screen instructions to set up your online banking.
- Switch your direct debits and automatic payments. If you have an existing bank account, decide if you want to transfer all of your automatic payments to your new account. If so, you’ll need to sign in to your existing accounts with your creditors and change your bank account information.
Compare a range of banks accounts in Singapore
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
What are the application processes for the various banks?
Here’s how you can apply for a bank account with some of the most popular banks in Singapore:
New customers can apply for an account conveniently through the digibank Mobile app or digibank Online banking platforms. If you have a MyInfo profile, you may pre-fill your online application form via Singpass login. Otherwise, you’d need to fill in the various fields on the form and upload the required documents manually.
Once you have an account in mind, simply click on the ‘Apply online’ button on the OCBC website to begin your application. New customers can apply for an account instantly with MyInfo via Singpass login. For those without Singpass, you can apply online with the required documents. As for existing OCBC customers, you can apply instantly through your Internet Banking account.
Alternatively, you may also visit the nearest OCBC branch and apply in person.
To begin, simply click on the ‘Apply now’ button and you can choose if you’d like to apply via your internet banking account (for existing customers) or MyInfo (for new customers). With MyInfo, SingPass holders can easily retrieve their personal details and complete the application within a few clicks.
If you’re a foreigner or don’t have a MyInfo account, you’ll need to head down to the nearest UOB branch and apply in person.
New applicants (for Singaporeans and Singapore PRs only) can either apply for an account using Myinfo (auto-fill out e-form) or manually fill in an online application form. If you’re a foreigner, you can also apply digitally by filling up the online application form.
What are the benefits of opening an account online?
There’s no need to visit a branch to open a bank account anymore. You can open a bank account, deposit money and set up automatic payments all from the comfort of your home. Once you’ve applied, just wait for the card to be sent to you in the mail, activate the account and you’re good to go.
- You can skip the bank queues. Why wait in line at your local branch when you can apply and open a bank account online in minutes.
- The application forms are easy to use. Comparison websites like Finder give you all the information you need to make an informed decision and provide step by step instructions on how to apply for a bank account online.
- It doesn’t take long to open. The online application only takes 10 minutes to complete and you should have a response about what happens next within minutes of submitting the application.
Make sure you’ve considered the following when you open a bank account online.
- There are little to no fees. Is the account a fee-free account? Is there a minimum amount you must deposit every month to qualify for a fee waiver. Find out whether there are any fees for accessing your money from an ATM and in-branch.
- There is internet banking available. Does the bank account provider also offer a first-rate Internet banking experience? The more online services your bank account provider offers the less chance you need to visit a bank branch.
The days of spending an hour at the bank to open an account are gone, and you can open a new current or savings account from your computer or phone in minutes. But don’t let the speed and convenience rush you into making a decision. Compare savings accounts or current accounts before getting started to find the one that’s right for you.
Frequently asked questions
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