How to open a business bank account in Singapore: A full guide 2022

How to open a business bank account in Singapore: Step by step guide

Having a separate business bank account is a simple way to keep your company’s finances apart from your personal spending. It also makes it easier to track and analyse your business performance, pay and get paid, and work out your taxes at the end of the year. If you have a Singapore registered business - or even if you’ve got a business registered overseas and want a local account here - you’ll be able to pick from accounts offered by both major traditional banks and specialist online providers.

This guide walks through what you need to know about opening a Singapore business bank account, including how to choose the right account for your needs, the fees and features to know about, and the process of applying for your new account. Traditional banks aren’t your only option, so to help you weigh up different account types, we’ll also take a look at accounts from specialists like Wise and OFX, which can provide a cheaper and more flexible way to manage your business finances. 

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What is a business bank account?

A business bank account is used to transact on behalf of your business, and to keep your company funds away from your personal money. In some cases, having a business bank account is required to allow you to better manage your taxes

But even if you're a sole trader or freelancer and you’re not obliged to open a business account it can be handy as a way of keeping your business finances in order. Business accounts are also usually designed to offer features which appeal to company owners, allowing them to save time and money when they transact.

Does my business need a business account?

In Singapore it’s mandatory for companies and limited liability partnerships to open a business bank account. If you’re a sole proprietor or have a partnership or limited partnership you don’t have a legal obligation to open a business account. However, even in these cases, the Singapore government recommends you get a business account to make it easier to track your business performance and arrange your taxes.

What are the benefits of having a business bank account?

There’s a broad range of business accounts out there, which all come with different features designed to suit varying business types and sizes. That means that you should find it easy to pick one which has all the features you’ll need. Some of the potential benefits you might be able to access include:

  • Business bank accounts often have lower fees for common business transactions compared to personal accounts

  • Business accounts may offer time saving features like accounting integrations and batch payments

  • Having a bank account in your company name looks more professional when clients pay

  • You can use your business account to track and analyse your company performance easily

  • Business bank accounts often come with linked debit cards which makes it easier for you and your team to spend and make withdrawals

  • Some business accounts have multi-currency functionality and low cost international services

  • You may also be able to access other financial services for your business through the same provider - including loans and business development support

Open a business account

How to choose a business bank account 

When you choose a business bank account you’ll want to think about how you need to use the account now - and how you may need to use it in future as your company grows. Check all the features you’ll need are available from your preferred provider, and make sure the fees are low and transparent. Here are a few other pointers while you’re researching the right business account for your needs:

  • Check out the one off and ongoing fees you’ll need to pay, including maintenance charges 

  • Review all transaction costs - especially for the transaction types you’ll need often

  • Check if there’s a fall below fee and a charge for early closure

  • Take a look at how easy the account is to use - can you transact online and using your phone, or do you need to visit a branch for some services?

  • Pick a provider which has a good reputation for security and customer service

To help you pick an account we’ve rounded up some key features from some traditional business bank accounts, alongside a couple of specialist providers - Wise and OFX. Specialist providers operate entirely online, by phone and via apps, which can often mean you can access lower overall costs and a more flexible range of services compared to a regular bank. Here’s what you need to know:


Account feesCard optionsInternational usageKey features
Wise

One off fee of 54 SGD to open account


No monthly charges, no minimum balance

Linked international business debit cards available


1 card is free, subsequent cards cost 4 SGD each


2 free ATM withdrawals anywhere in the world, to a total of 350 SGD/month; 1.5 SGD + 1.75% after that

Send payments to 80+ countries, from 0.41% fee


Hold and exchange 54 currencies


Local bank details for 10 currencies

Exchange currencies using the mid-market rate and low fees


Integrate with cloud based accounting software


Make batch payments and automate workflow with the Wise API

OFXNo monthly charges, no minimum balanceNot available

Make payments around the world, with currency exchange costs which beat the banks


Local bank details for 7 currencies

Get paid in 7 currencies from marketplaces, payment gateways and direct from clients


Set up one off and automated payments in a range of currencies


Integrate with Xero accounting software


DBS Business Multi-currency Account Starter Bundle

10 SGD/month fee


1,000 SGD minimum opening deposit

Choose from a range of linked debit cards with different features and fees

Sending international payments - 1/8% from 10 SGD - 120 SGD + up to 35 SGD cable charge + exchange rate markup


Receiving international payments - 10 SGD

Starter bundle comes with waived fall below fees - you can also choose to pay a lower monthly fee, but face fall below fees if you don’t maintain the minimum account balance

UOB eBusiness account

35 SGD/year fee + possible fall below charges


Annual fee may be waived for first year


Foreign incorporated companies pay an additional set up fee of at least 500 SGD

Choose from a range of linked debit cards with different features and fees

Sending international payments - 1/8% from 10 SGD - 100 SGD + applicable cable or agent charge + exchange rate markup


Receiving international payments - 10 SGD + agent charges

Get free transactions up to agreed limits, plus opening offers and an exclusive bonus for new account holders
OCBC Business Growth Account10 SGD monthly feeEarn cashback on some eligible card spending

Sending international payments - 1/8% from 10 SGD - 100 SGD + applicable agent charge + 25 SGD to 35 SGD cable charge + exchange rate markup


Receiving international payments - 10 SGD

Instant account opening for Singapore citizens and PRs


Get free business invoicing tools and software


Integrate with Xero accounting software

Open a Wise business account
Open a OFX business account

How much does it cost to open a business account?

The cost of opening a  business account will depend on the provider and account type you choose. It may also make a difference if your business is registered outside of Singapore. Usually, opening your account with a regular bank is a bit trickier - and more expensive - if you’re a foreigner or have a foreign registered business. Here are some key costs for the banks and providers we profiled above.

ProviderAccount fees
Wise

One off fee of 54 SGD to open account


No monthly charges, no minimum balance

OFXNo monthly charges, no minimum balance
DBS

Business multi-currency account starter bundle - 10 SGD/month fee


Standard business multi-currency account - 50 SGD annual fee + fall below fees

UOB eBusiness account

35 SGD/year fee + possible fall below charges


Foreign incorporated companies pay an additional set up fee of at least 500 SGD

OCBC Business Growth Account10 SGD monthly fee

How to open a business account in Singapore

Opening a business bank account in Singapore is relatively straightforward if you’re a Singapore citizen or PR, and your business is registered here. In this case, you may be able to open your account pretty much instantly online, using just your company UEN and Singpass. 

If you’re not a Singapore citizen or PR - or if your  business is not registered in Singapore, you’ll usually need to open your account in person if you choose an account from a traditional bank. All owners and directors will usually have to attend a meeting with a bank representative to present their documents and get the account up and running. Specialist account providers may offer a simpler way to get your business account up and running online, if that’s your preference. 

In any case, you’ll need to take broadly similar steps to open your Singapore business bank account:

  1. Choose the provider and account that suits your needs

  2. Check and gather all the information and documents required

  3. Complete the application form in hard copy or online

  4. Provide your documents to the provider - either uploading digital copies or presenting them in a branch

  5. The bank or provider will verify your account, which may be instant, or may take a day or two

  6. Once your account is verified you’ll be able to add funds, and get your linked card for easy spending

Apply for a business account

What do I need to open a business bank account?

Check the documents needed to open your business bank account before you get started, as these may vary a little depending on the provider and your business type. Traditional banks will usually ask for the following documents and information - all paperwork should be presented in original form when you visit the bank branch:

  • Passport or identity card for all business owners

  • Proof of residential address for all business owners

  • Full business and legal name 

  • Proof of primary business address

  • Company UEN number

  • Business Memorandum and Articles of Association

  • Resolution of board of directors

  • FATCA and CRS information for the company

If your business is incorporated outside of Singapore you’ll often need to provide additional documents. More paperwork may also be required if one or more beneficial owners of the business are not Singapore citizens or PR.

How long does it take to open a business bank account?

If you’re eligible for instant online account opening with a regular Singapore bank you could get your account up and running in minutes. Usually you’ll have to be a Singapore citizen or PR, with a locally registered business entity to be able to use the online opening option. If you’re going with a traditional bank and can’t get your account opened online you’ll need to visit a branch which will take a bit longer. Instead you might consider an online specialist account which can be opened remotely. 

Online services like Wise and OFX have a smooth onboarding process which lets you register your account from home, and can often complete all the required verification steps instantly or on the same day as you register. 

Can I open a business bank account in Singapore as a non-resident?

If you’re a non-resident and want to open an account with a traditional Singapore bank, it’s usually a requirement that all business owners and account signatories attend a bank branch in person to set up the account. That means that while it’s possible to get your account set up as a non-resident, it can be a little tricky. As an alternative you could consider an online business account from an international provider like Wise or OFX which can accept applications from all over the world.

Wise business account

Can I open a business bank account online?

If you’re a Singapore citizen or PR you’ll find it really easy to open your business bank account online using your Singpass. In fact, it can be done almost instantly with just your business UEN. If you’re not Singaporean, or if your business is foreign registered you’ll probably not be eligible for online account opening with regular banks. Look at specialist providers as an alternative which offers accounts that can be set up and operated entirely online or via a mobile app.

Can I switch business bank accounts?

If you find your business bank account isn’t working out for you, you’ll be able to open a new account and close down your old one. Don’t forget to switch over any recurring payments and give your new account details to customers who may need to pay you. 

Lots of business bank accounts from traditional Singapore banks have an early closure fee which means you’ll pay a charge if you close your account within 6 or 12 months of opening it. Make sure you’re aware of any extra costs so you don’t get an unpleasant surprise when you’re moving your account.

Types of business accounts in Singapore

Business accounts can be opened with any of the large range of local, regional and global banks operating in Singapore - or an online alternative. There’s a fantastic range of account types, from accounts designed for everyday transactions to longer term investment vehicles. Here are some options you’ll come across:

  • Business transaction accounts for day to day spending

  • Business online only accounts for companies which don’t need branch services

  • Corporate accounts for larger, more established businesses

  • Multi-currency business accounts for SMEs, freelancers and sole proprietors

  • Accounts for saving and investment to help companies manage their funds

With such a range of account types and providers, the key is doing some research before you choose the right one for you. Use this guide as a starting point to pick your perfect match.

Conclusion

Business bank accounts are an essential tool for entrepreneurs and company owners looking to simplify their finances and boost their profits. Keeping your personal and business funds separate is important, and can make it far easier to complete your company reporting and file taxes at the end of the year. Many business accounts also come with helpful time saving tools like batch payments and accounting software integrations, so you can spend less time managing your money and more making your customers smile.

Because account features and fees vary widely it’s important to invest some time in selecting the right account or accounts for your business needs. Think about how you’ll use the account today and in the future, to shortlist accounts which have all the features you need at the fairest possible fee.

Wise business account

FAQ

Is it easy to open a business bank account in Singapore?

If you’re a Singapore citizen or PR it’s extremely easy to open a business bank account using your Singpass and business UEN. If you’re a foreigner or have a foreign registered business you’ll need to visit a branch to open a business account with a regular bank - or pick an online specialist service instead for an easier account opening process.

Do I need a business bank account if I am a sole trader?

You’re not legally obliged to open a business bank account as a sole trader, but it’s usually a good idea to help you keep track of your business funds, and analyse your company performance.

How much does a business account cost?

Business bank account costs vary widely, from accounts with a single one off charge and no monthly fees, to accounts with ongoing charges and high minimum balance requirements. Compare a few options to find the right one for you.

Does a Singapore company need a Singapore bank account?

If you’ve got a Singapore registered company you’re obliged to open a business bank account to keep your company finances separate from your personal funds.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated 20 July 2022