Compare online current accounts in Singapore
Find the best online current accounts including those offering fee-free withdrawals while you’re abroad, and more.
There are many advantages to having an online current account – convenience is probably the most obvious one. Being able to make payments, check your balance and transfer money between accounts in just a few clicks can save a great deal of time and effort.
It’s not just avoiding long queues and limited opening hours that make online accounts so appealing. If you’re savvy and shop around, you can find deals that side-step many of the harsh fees which are common with more traditional forms of banking.
Before you can choose a new online current account, it’s important to understand the key benefits, and costs, of these types of accounts.
What's in this guide?
- Compare a range of online accounts in Singapore
- What is an online current account?
- Why should I use an online current account?
- Are there any disadvantages to think about?
- What else should I look out for in an online current account?
- How do I open an online bank account in Singapore?
- What online current accounts are available in Singapore?
An online current account is simply a way to manage your bank account on the Internet via a bank’s secure website, or through a mobile app. This type of account lets you perform essential banking tasks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Online accounts often complement the services already offered by your bank, such as using an ATM to get cash or the payment of standing orders. However, there are also specialist current accounts which you can only access online or through an app. Let’s take a look in more detail.
There are several advantages to online current accounts:
- Low or zero fees. Free banking is not a guarantee in Singapore, even if you’re a loyal customer. Almost every transaction comes with a fee. But a series of newer accounts – including from so-called challenger banks, which are digital-only – have scrapped many of these fees
- Access to your funds 24/7. Online current accounts let you deposit and withdraw funds at any time. Having such flexible control of your money can be very useful if you need to make payments outside the hours of a traditional bank, for example, to make international transfers
- Greater security. Having an online current account can make it easier to monitor any suspicious-looking payments (almost) in real-time. While many people are still mistrustful of online transactions, the reality is that there are often more security features with this type of banking. For example, the use of fingerprint logon and OTP (One-Time Password). Make sure your bank has adequate policies for dealing with fraud.
- Contactless payments. Many banking apps let you use your phone to make contactless payments. If you can access app-based services with your current bank, check to see whether they support this feature.
- Instant transaction alerts. Being able to see your transaction history at any time can be useful if you ever run into a payment error, or you need to quickly settle the dispute of a bill
- Spending and saving features. Many online accounts offer flexible tools that help you to budget. Some accounts let you top up your savings each time you spend, by rounding up transactions; some let you open more than one savings account. This can make it easier to set savings goals, such as for a deposit on a house or car.
- Rewards. Look out for current accounts that offer incentives for switching to them. Many online banks partner with retailers and have regular money-saving offers or online sign-up promotions. Also, shop around for cashback schemes that reward you as you spend.
If you’re planning to open an online-only current account, it’s important to be aware that there may be certain features which aren’t available to you. Many online banks don’t offer mortgages or business accounts. By not being able to bundle together such financial products with your current account, you could miss out on lower rates of interest in the future. Be sure to check if there are any account restrictions, such as how many ATM withdrawals you can make a month. Cheque facilities are not usually offered with these types of accounts.
When comparing online current accounts, be aware that your money might not have the same protection as it would with traditional banks. That’s because not every digital bank is licenced in the same way. A good starting point could be to check if a bank has been granted a European banking licence. If you’re unsure, look for information on the bank’s website or ask the bank directly about how your money will be protected.
- Interest rate. These tend to vary a lot from one bank to another. Compare plenty of accounts to see where you can find the best interest rates. Some accounts pay bonus interest when you meet specific terms and conditions, such as depositing a minimum amount or crediting your salary each month.
- Fees. Many online current accounts don’t have monthly or quarterly maintenance fees. It’s one of their major advantages over offline banks. But, read the fine print to make sure you’re aware of any charges that may apply.
- Minimum balance and deposits. Check if there is a minimum deposit required to open an online current account. You should also be aware of any ongoing deposit requirements that may apply, or the need to maintain your balance above a certain level without fees or charges being applied to your account.
A number of banks now let you open an account quickly and easily online. Typically, to start your application you’ll need to:
- Download your chosen bank’s app onto your smartphone
- Most banks will allow you to sign up with MyInfo via Singpass, which will pre-fill all your personal details
- Alternatively, you may add your personal details manually, including a form of identification (e.g. NRIC or FIN) and your email address
- You’ll often need to make an initial deposit (at least $500 for most banks in Singapore) into your account to make it active
- You’ll also need to provide a proof of residence (such as your latest utility bill or letter from government bodies)
- You’ll need to be at least 18 years of age (although some banks do offer basic accounts for those aged 16 and above)
Keep in mind that the process for opening an online account will vary from bank to bank.
At the time of writing (January 2020), MAS had just closed the bids for its 5 digital banking license. A total of 21 applications have been received and successful applicants will be announced in June this year. The new digital banks are expected to start operating by mid-2021. So check in on this page for more review and guides in the near future.
There are a number of challenger banks currently available in Singapore, including the following:
- Revolut. Revolut is a global banking app that offers budgeting tools, international currency exchange, travel insurance, cryptocurrency facilities, virtual cards and more.
- YouTrip. The first multi-currency wallet in Singapore, YouTrip is a convenient travel wallet linked with a prepaid Mastercard designed for frequent travellers to transact in over 150 currencies without any added fees. YouTrip also offers other features such as payments, currency exchange and forex lock-in rates.
- TransferWise. Along with a free debit Mastercard, TransferWise’s multi-currency account allows you to hold up to 28 currencies, conduct money transfers at competitive rates and enjoy fee-free overseas ATM withdrawals.
- InstaReM. InstaReM’s forex card is poised for launch by the end of 2019, which will be a travel-centric card that offers competitive foreign exchange rates on overseas spending.
With the major banks in Singapore now often having some kind of transaction or admin charges on current accounts, it’s a good idea to spend time comparing current accounts online. In the time being, you may compare the online current accounts offered by local banks such as DBS or POSB, OCBC, UOB and Standard Chartered Bank. Our current account comparison service makes it easy to explore a range of different account features, and compare them in a matter of minutes.Back to top
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