Singapore corporate bank accounts in 2023
Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group helps multi-national Clients open multi-currency corporate bank accounts in Singapore, both for local and overseas companies.
Without bank signatory travel, our Singaporean team will project manage the multi-currency corporate bank account opening process (click link), including preparing a quality business plan for our Client’s business.
We recommend our multi-national Clients read this web page to avoid bank surprises later!
Table of Singapore banking problems and solutions
No. Singapore banking problem Solution 1.
Singaporean banks are extremely choosy about the customers they onboard. Top tier banks increasingly focus on large, profitable low risk corporate Clients. Generally, Singaporean s are not too interested in small companies.
Because of MAS 626, all Singaporean banks require the bank signatory to visit Singapore for a one-hour interview.
- Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group has built quality banking relationships with Singaporean banks. Local banks trust and welcome our multi-national Clients. A quality business plan is a big help.
- We recommend our Client travels (click link) to Singapore to open multiple multi-currency corporate bank accounts with multiple different banks. Our Staff will accompany you to each bank meeting.
- Healy Consultants Group has a guaranteed corporate bank account approval policy.
Currently, Singaporean banks prefer to onboard businesses that i) provide evidence that they will have some business activities connected to Singapore (eg. local suppliers and customers); and ii) have economic substance in Singapore (eg. local staff or a local bank signatory). More information on the Singaporean banking landscape here.
As always, Healy Consultants Group will assist our multi-national Clients with alternative solutions including i) securing a multi-currency corporate bank account outside of Singapore; or ii) securing a trading with a reputable Payment Service Provider.
For Clients having a strong preference for a Singaporean banking solution, we will also assist our Clients to meet local banks’ requirements, by recruiting local staff and supplying bank signatory services.
Global banks continue to tighten corporate bank account opening procedures, their internal compliance departments completing more thorough due diligence of Clients. Consequently, our Clients should expect bank account approval to take up to six weeks. Furthermore, banks now require evidence of proof of business in the country where the company bank account will be, including sales contracts or lease agreement.
If our Client requires a bank account at short notice, we recommend an immediate Singapore solution (Singapore company plus already-approved Singapore corporate bank account).
4. Because Singaporean banks are in so much demand, bank charges are high. For example:
- The minimum bank balance to maintain ranges from US$10,000 to US$100,000.
- Average bank charges for outgoing funds transfers are US$50.
- The annual account service fee can be US$5,000 (for example, Citibank).
Singapore is a AAA rated financial services centre, boasting no national debt and healthy liquid banks. Consequently, we recommend our multi-national Clients pay these bank charges. During the global depression, it is important to house funds in dependable safe banks.
If Singaporean banks perceive any unusual bank account activity, they will close the corporate bank account with one month’s notice to the beneficial owners. No questions asked, no chance to defend yourself.
We recommend our multi-national Clients open multiple back-up multi-currency corporate bank accounts with different banks.
Singaporean banks consider tax neutral entities to be high risk customers, and do not welcome corporate bank account applications from these potential Clients.
The majority of Singaporean banks only provide telephone support during Singapore business hours! This is inconvenient for multi-national Clients in Europe or the USA.
Healy Consultants Group Staff assists our multi-national Clients with bank communication, regardless of time zones.
The Singapore banking sectorHealy Consultants Group’s summary view
- Singapore is a reputable stable jurisdiction with a strong secure regulated banking system. Banking in Singapore is therefore an excellent long-term solution for our multi-national Clients.
- Singapore’s sovereign credit cedit rating in August 2020 is i) AAA (Fitch) ii) AAA (Moody’s) and iii) AAA (Standard & Poors). As a result, investors see Singapore as a stable and comfortable global financial centre in which to place funds.
- Singapore dollar savings, current and deposit bank accounts are Government insured up to S$75,000, providing comfort for depositors.
- However, deposits in other currencies (US$, EUR etc) are not covered.
- From 2020, Singapore’s economy is suffering its deepest recession on record. As a result, more local businesses are going bankrupt, and loan defaults will cause some local banks to seek government assistance. In April 2020, Fitch downgraded the ratings of DBS Group, OCBC and UOB to Rating Watch Negative due to the ‘weakening operating environment’.
- Overall, Healy Consultants Group recommends our multi-national Clients use Singapore as their preferred banking location, together with London and New York.
Key information on the Singapore banking sector
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore regulates and supervises over 150 deposit-taking institutions in Singapore, including full banks, wholesale banks, merchant banks and finance companies. Singapore is home to i) 5 local commercial banks ii) 119 foreign-owned commercial banks and iii) six banks offering Islamic finance services.
- There are no currency controls in Singapore. As well as Singapore dollars, local banks offer accounts in multiple currencies including Yen, RMB, euro, US dollars and other Asian currencies.
- Healy Consultants Group’s preferred banking options in Singapore are i) HSBC ii) Standard Chartered iii) Citibank iv) DBS v) OCBC and vi) UOB. These banks offer the best internet banking and customer care. Relationships with these banks also simplify the process of opening new accounts as your business grows worldwide.
- Singapore banks offer savings, deposits and checking accounts, online banking, currency exchange, foreign currency banking, wire transfers, ATM services, wealth management, loans, LCs, treasury, hedging and advisory services.
- Singapore plans to become cashless by 2025. Even the smallest transactions can already be completed by local and international debit and credit cards. Consequently, there is a dwindling ATM network in Singapore.
- All Singapore bank branch staff speak English, and all correspondence and online banking is conducted in English. Some banks also offer Chinese language services.
- Paying various utility bills is much easier via online banking. Government fees can be paid online via a Singapore dollar account.
- Local retail banks offer better currency exchange rates than money changers. If you open a foreign currency account along with a Singapore dollar account, transfers can easily be made between the two.
- In 2020, Singapore banks pay up to 1.25% interest on Singapore dollar fixed deposits.
- In 2020, local cryptocurrency firms need to be licenced. As well as cementing the city’s position as a global cryptocurrency hub, this move provides greater comfort to international investors in Singapore-based cryptocurrency.
- Singapore is a signatory to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), a global initiative to clamp down on tax evasion. As a result, Singapore-based banks share information on accounts and account holders with tax authorities where the company/individual is tax-resident.
- Similarly, under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), since 2014 Singapore banks report information on US account holders to the US Inland Revenue Service (IRS). In fact, the IRS has an office in Singapore that houses 250 Staff.
- Foreign individuals can apply for Singapore permanent residency if they hold at least S$5 million (US$4.08 million) with a financial institution regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
- Demand for corporate bank accounts in Singapore continues to grow due to increased capital flow from the West into Singapore, including from Hong Kong
- In April 2020, foreign currency deposits in Singapore hit a record high as global investors sought a safe location amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Large inward capital flows are strengthening bank balance sheets. We also expect the range of private banking solutions in Singapore to expand.
- The Singapore dollar rallied in June 2020, and remains one of Southeast Asia’s most stable currencies. In July 2020, Singapore’s foreign currency stockpile reached a record US$321 billion.
- Because all banks are looking to cut costs, we expect branches to close and the range of online services to expand. In addition, the Singapore government is issuing new licences to dedicated digital banks, which will make the market more competitive.
- Despite the above, thousands of bank workers in Singapore have lost their jobs in 2020. Singapore’s unemployment rate, already at a 10-year high, will further rise in 2021.
Healy Consultants Group fees to help open a corporate bank account in SingaporeHealy Consultants Group guarantees Singapore company bank accounts approval. Our fees for different banking services include:
Singapore banking task Our Client travels US$ Singapore bank account for an overseas company Yes 4,950 Singapore bank account for a Singaporean LLC Yes 4,950 Singapore personal bank account No 4,950 Singapore trade finance assistance No 3,500 Singapore corporate finance assistance No 5,000 Singapore international mortgages finance assistance No 6,500 Singapore private equity assistance No 8,950 Singapore government grants assistance No 5,500 Singapore investment banking assistance No 5,500 Singapore private banking assistance No 5,500
Our multi-currency corporate bank account opening fees cover the following support services:
- Creating a quality business plan for the Singapore banks, explaining the purpose of the business and future banking transactions.
- Securing welcome emails from multiple Singapore banks, inviting our Client to submit a multi-currency corporate bank account application.
- Healy Consultants Group’s Banking Team completing, on our Client’s behalf, the multi-currency corporate bank account application forms and collating Know Your Customer (KYC) due diligence documents.
- Over the following weeks, the bank officer reverting to Healy Consultants Group multiple times to prepare an accurate, complete multi-currency corporate bank account opening file. When the Singapore bank officer is ready, our Client will convene a Skype video call with the bank.
- Following successful completion of the above, the bank officer submitting a complete potential customer file to the bank Legal and Compliance Department.
- After four weeks, our team e-mailing multi-currency corporate bank account numbers to our Client.
- Within three weeks, arranging our Client to receive e-banking log in detail, including corporate Visa/Master debit cards and cheque books.
- It is a difficult task to obtain a bank account approval when shareholders, directors and bank signatories reside overseas. However, when required, Healy Consultants Group will accompany our Client to bank meetings or attend a face to face interview with the relevant bank office on behalf of the Singapore company. Below is a sample of banking options we accompany our Clients to bank meetings:
11 steps to opening Singapore corporate bank accounts
- Prior to submitting the account application, Healy Consultants Group requires detailed information on i) company activities (including proof of business-like contracts and invoices etc) ii) the company’s customers and suppliers iii) management team and iv) financial projections. We require this information to submit your application with a greater chance of approval.
- Upon receipt of the above information, our experts prepare a detailed business plan highlighting the company’s activities, financial projections, and reasons for opening a Singapore bank account. We send the business plan to our Client for review and approval before sharing with banks.
- Healy Consultants Group approaches multiple local banks in Singapore to obtain preliminary approval for bank account opening for our Client’s company. We receive multiple welcome emails from banks and share the same with our multi-national Clients’.
- After we agree the target banks with our Client, Healy Consultants Group prepares bank account opening forms for our Client’s signature in front of the notary public or local bank branch officer. Once the Client has signed the documents, they courier the originals to Healy Consultants’ Singapore office.
- On receipt of the signed bank forms, the banks in-house Legal and Compliance Department will complete their Know Your Client (KYC) procedures to confirm the potential customer is a bona fide businessman.
- Depending on our Client’s business and nationality, there is a 50% probability the banks will request a bank signatory to travel for a one-hour bank interview. Healy Consultants Group will try its best to negotiate with the bank for a travel exemption. If our Client must travel for the corporate bank account opening, Healy Consultants Group will refund our Client US$950.
- Within three weeks of submission of the account opening application, Healy Consultants Group will receive multi-currency corporate bank account approval notification from the bank officer.
- Our Client will be required to fund the bank account within one week. The minimum initial deposit for a business bank account in Singapore can range from US$10,000 to US$100,000, depending on the bank.
- Within two weeks, Healy Consultants Group Singaporean office receives Internet banking activation documents. With our multi-national Clients’ written permission, our CFO activates online banking on our Client’s behalf.
- Following successful e-banking activation, we dispatch a secure courier to our Client’s preferred mailing address containing i) original company documents and ii) e-banking information and iii) other engagement information.
- Following receipt of the courier, our Client changes e-banking access passwords to their preferred ones; enjoying sole access to the corporate bank account. From this point onwards, the banking relationship exists between the bank signatory and the bank. Healy Consultants Group is not a party to the banking relationship.
Documents required for Singapore corporate bank account opening
- Completed corporate bank account opening forms.
- Company certificate of incorporation and recent certificate of incumbency (or country equivalent).
- Certified true copy of company’s business profile from the Companies Registrar (Bizfile) or country equivalent.
- Certified true copies of passports of the UBO, shareholders, directors and bank signatories.
- Certified true copies of proof of address of the UBO, shareholders, directors and bank signatories.
- Certified true copy of the company’s M&AA.
- Board of Directors’ approval for the account opening and appointed bank signatories.
- Singapore banks may also require i) legalised copies of the above documents and/or ii) additional due diligence documents on a case-by-case basis.
- A quality business plan prepared by Healy Consultants Group.
Frequently asked questions
Do Singapore-based banks offer services for foreign SMEs?Yes. Foreign SMEs can use Singapore small business banking solutions without having to incorporate a resident corporate entity. Online banking is also available through these accounts, making it easy for our Clients to manage their funds from abroad. Healy Consultants will help our Client access this service for US$4,950.
Is Singapore business internet banking safe for corporate transactions?Yes. Healy Consultants works with some of the best international banks which guarantee the safety of our Client’s corporate account. Industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption is used universally. Two-factor authentication is another layer of protection employed by Singaporean banks for online banking.
I am an entrepreneur and would like to open a business account. Which Singaporean banks would you recommend?Healy Consultants works with international banks like HSBC, Standard Chartered and Citibank which enjoy a great international reputation. Consequently, our experts will assist you in choosing the optimum bank out of such respectable choices, depending on your needs and preferences.
Will internet banking for Singapore accounts be available 24/7?Yes. Internet banking services for corporate accounts can be accessed at any time using the Login ID and PIN. However, routine maintenance may sometimes disrupt access at non-peak times.
What will be the due diligence requirement for accessing Singapore business banking services?All foreign companies will be required to submit the details of all their shareholders, their company’s business plan and the company’s audited accounts. Healy Consultants will assist the Client in preparing and collating the requisite documents.
Are there any special restrictions put on foreigners accessing corporate banking services in Singapore?No. There are no special restrictions put on foreigners wishing to make use of Singapore’s corporate banking sector.
ConclusionSingaporean multi-currency corporate bank account opening is easy if you know how. Contact Healy Consultants Group if your Firm needs assistance navigating through the different banking solutions.