Singapore as an international financial center has a wide array of financial institutions and when it comes to banks almost all the major international banks are present in Singapore. The local banks are also equally competent when it comes to service and the range of products for enterprise banking.
Presently there are 32 full banks of which 26 are branches of foreign incorporated banks and 6 are locally-incorporated entities, owned by the three local banking groups viz. Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), United Overseas Bank (UOB), and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC). Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Citibank, ABN AMRO are some of the major foreign banks offering services in Singapore. All banks and financial institutions are regulated by Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Opening of a corporate bank account in Singapore is easy and effortless provided the documentation requirements are appropriately met. Following is an overview of the account opening procedure and a comparison of some of the major banks. This is purely a general guide and should not be considered as a professional advice. Readers are advised to directly check on the current policies and terms of service with the respective banks.
Corporate Account Opening Procedure: The documents required and the procedure for opening a corporate account is fairly similar across all the banks in Singapore, however many banks require the directors or agents to be present in person while opening the account. Some of the banks allow the directors to sign the documents in their overseas branch or in the presence of a Notary Public. In general, the following documents need to be submitted along with the completed account opening forms of the respective banks.
- The Board’s Resolution sanctioning the opening of the account, clearly specifying the authorized signatories
- Certified True Copy of Certificate of Incorporation or its equivalent
- Certified True Copy of the company’s Memorandum & Articles of Association
- Certified Copy of Company’s Business Profile from ACRA
- Certified True Copy of Register of Directors and Shareholders
- Certified True Copy of passport or other proofs of identity of the directors of foreign company or the local agents and authorized signatories
The copies of documents mentioned above must be Certified True by the company secretary or one of its directors. In the case of foreign companies, in addition to the above documents a Letter of Recommendation from a well reputed bank from the home country may at times be requested. The Bank may also request for original documents and additional documents for added verification.
The duration for opening an account, upon submitting all the required documents, may vary between minimum of one working day to few weeks. Generally in the case of foreign incorporated entities, depending on the documents and verifications involved, the time taken for account opening will be longer. In order to avoid any unforeseen delays, ensure all documents are in order before submission and also note that the physical presence of directors at the time of singing of documents would be ideal. While most of the banks do not charge any account opening fee, there are some banks that do charge a set-up fee.
Types of Account: A company may open a Singapore dollar account or a foreign currency account. Most of the banks also provide multi-currency account. A company must decide the type of account based on its nature of business. For trading companies and for companies which have large overseas transactions a foreign currency or multi-currency account will be essential. Depending on the account type and banks chosen, the minimum balance amount differs and banks generally charge a penalty for accounts that fail the minimum balance criteria. Such charges also vary across banks. In international banks the minimum balance and the bank charges are relatively higher.
Other Facilities: Invariably banks provide cheque book facilities for all Singapore dollar corporate accounts, but in the case of foreign currency account cheque books are available for only certain currencies. Most of the major banks provide ATM cards with varying daily limits for Singapore dollar account whereas ATM card facility is largely not offered for foreign currency account. Credit Card facility is offered largely on a case by case basis and some banks require that the account must be held for a minimum period before availing such facility. Internet banking facility is now a widely available facility with all banks in Singapore, but the kind of transactions allowed varies and the customers are allowed to set transaction limit in most of the major banks.
Allied Services: Banks in Singapore provide a comprehensive suite of enterprise banking solutions. Allied services such as Business Insurance, Account Payable Services, Account Receivable Service, Trade Financing, Liquidity Management Services etc., are provided by all major banks, however it must be noted that the charges for these services widely vary across different banks. All major banks offer loans to businesses but the financial history, nature of business, Singaporean stake in the company, management profile, headcount in the company, customer profile are some of the major factors that influence the bank’s decision in the case of loan applications.
Rikvin can help facilitate the opening of the corporate bank account in Singapore for your Singapore and offshore registered entity. Opening of a bank account is relatively simple in Singapore. Many of the banks in Singapore, local or international ones, offer great services to ensure clients can easily access their accounts. To know more, the comparison chart in Bank Account for Singapore and Offshore Companies provides you with a snapshot of the features offered by the different banks in Singapore.