singapore corporate banking

Introduction to Singapore Corporate Banking

Commercial banks in Singapore are categorized into local and foreign banks. All banks (including all licensed financial institutions and services) in Singapore operates under the strict regulation by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

There are three leading local commercial banks in Singapore, namely DBS Bank Limited, OCBC Bank, and United Overseas Bank. Most organizations in Singapore has at least one local corporate bank account for ease of performing banking transactions locally.

Corporate Bank Account Opening Procedures

Opening corporate banking accounts for your establishment in Singapore is a fairly straight-forward process. Business owners are just required to contact the bank hotlines or visit any branches to provide their business card over the counter, and you will be assigned a Relationship Manager within 1 to 2 business day. The Relationship Manager will then make an appointment with you to administer and assist the opening of your corporate account.

Please take note: Most banks do not accept the opening of corporate accounts over the counter.

Instant Account Opening

Alternatively, all local banks in Singapore currently offer an immediate opening of corporate account via SingPass if it satisfies the following criteria.

  • Singapore incorporated entities (Businesses having a unique Business Registration Number)
  • Wholly owned by Singaporeans or Singapore PR
  • Requires only a maximum of three authorized bank account signatories
  • All authorized signatories are also existing customers of the respective banks
  • CorpPass & MyInfo Business accounts are readily accessible

Benefits of opening a corporate account using SingPass

  • Instant open of corporate account or within one business day
  • Requires no bank visits as account opening are processed online
  • No submission of documents is necessary as CorpPass & MyInfo Business portals will retrieve all the needed documents

Required Documents for Corporate Account Opening

If an entity couldn’t open an instant account as elaborated above due to specific criteria not fulfilled, the Directors would require to submit supporting documents to the bank for approval. Please be noted that different banks may request different documents. However, the following documents should be adequate for most banks in obtaining approval to open a corporate account for your business.

  • Completed account opening form with the respective banks
  • Certified True Copies (CTC) of NRIC/Passport of authorized bank signatories. Only the bank staff or your Company Secretary are allowed to certify NRIC/Passport
  • Directors’ Resolution for Bank Account Opening (if it is a company)
  • Proof of residential address (for foreigners only)
  • ACRA profile, not more than three months
  • Memorandum of Articles of Association (M&A) (if available for your business)

Comparison Between Corporate Bank Accounts

Local Banks

Local Banks wdt_ID OCBC OCBC UOB UOB DBS DBS
Type of Account 2 Business
Growth Account
Business
Entrepreneur Account
UOB Current Account eBusiness Account DBS Digital Account DBS Business Account
Purpose/ Suitability 3 Refer A Refer B Refer A Refer C Refer D Refer E
Initial deposit 4 $500 $3,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $3,000
Monthly fee 5 No charge $38 per month No charge No charge $18 per month No charge
Annual fee 6 $38 per year No charge No charge No charge No charge $40 per year
Min monthly balance 7 $3,000 $5,000 $10,000 $5,000 No min balance required $10,000
Fall-below fee 8 $35 per month $35 per month $35 per month $15 per month No charge $35 per month
Cheque book issuance 9 $25 per cheque book No charge No charge No charge $25 per cheque book No charge
Cheque clearing fees 10 Refer G Refer G Refer H $0.75 per cheque Refer G Refer G
Online banking portal 11 velocity@OCBC velocity@OCBC BIBPlus BIBPlus DBS IDEAL DBS IDEAL

Scroll the table to the right for full comparison.

Foreign Banks

Foreign Banks wdt_ID Maybank Maybank CIMB CIMB Standard Chartered Standard Chartered RHB RHB
Type of Account 2 FlexiBiz Account PremierBiz Account CIMB SGD
Current Account
CIMB SGD Business
Interest Current
Account
BusinessOne Current
Account
Business$aver Current
Account
SGD BizPower Quad SGD BizPower Quad+
Purpose/ Suitability 3 Refer K Refer A Refer A Refer F Refer F Refer E Refer D Refer F
Initial deposit 4 $1,000 $1,000 $8,000 $50,000 $30,000 $50,000 $1,000 $80,000
Monthly fee 5 No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge
Annual fee 6 No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge
Min monthly balance 7 No min balance required $30,000 $8,000 $8,000 $30,000 $50,000 $5,000 $20,000
Fall-below fee 8 No charge $35 per month $35 per month $35 per month $50 per month $50 per month $25 per month $50 per month
Cheque book issuance 9 No charge No charge No charge $25 per cheque book Refer J Refer J Refer J No charge
Cheque clearing fees 10 $0.50 per cheque No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge No charge
Online banking portal 11 Maybank2u.com.sg Maybank2u.com.sg BizChannel@CIMB BizChannel@CIMB Standard Chartered
online banking
Standard Chartered
online banking
RHB Reflex RHB Reflex

Scroll the table to the right for full comparison.

Legends:

  • A – For normal businesses
  • B – For business with high volume transactions
  • C – For businesses that requires a cheque book and banking flexibility
  • D – For businesses that perform most transactions online
  • E – Suitable businesses that have banking transactions of different currencies (SGD as default currency)
  • F – Suitable for business with high volume deposits
  • G – Free for first 30 cheques per month. Subsequent cheques at $0.75 per cheque
  • H – Free for first 30 cheques per month. Subsequent cheques at $0.50 per cheque
  • J – 2 free cheque books on account opening, Subsequent at $5 per cheque book
  • K – Suitable for new start-ups with low capital funds

NB: The above details are accurate as at 18 July 2019 and may subject to change in the future.

Common Bank Practices in Singapore

  1. Local cheque clearance typically takes two business days. Cheques deposited into cheque deposit machines before 3 pm on a business day will be processed on the same day
  2. Should a business owner attempts to stop a cheque, he/she can opt to do so over-the-counter at any branches, through phone banking service or login into the bank online portal. Fees for stopping a cheque varies from banks to banks
  3. Most banks also impose different fees for high volume cash deposit and withdrawals over the counter. The threshold usually starts from $20K and above for most banks
  4. It is a great practice to keep all cheque buds for reference and future audit trails. This is part of Directors’ responsibilities in maintaining proper financial records as written in this article.
  5. Most banks provide access to a 12-monthly bank statement on their online portal along with monthly statements in hard-copy to your business address.
  6. Businesses should also consider registering for PayNow Corporate (most banks in Singapore have this facility). PayNow Corporate is a fund transfer method which favours among customers and individuals as the transfer of funds is immediate and hassle-free. Business owners are only required to link-up their mobile number or entity’s Unique Entity Number (UEN) number to their respective bank account to activate PayNow. The users for PayNow is increasingly popular among Singaporeans as the user base has now reached 2.7 million users (April 2019) since it first launched in 2017
    PayNow’s benefits and features:-

    • Instant and seamless transfer of funds as compared to cheque payments, FAST transfer, and GIRO
    • The sender is not required to remember your bank and account number when transferring funds as he/she can make a transfer by just knowing your mobile or UEN number
    • An SMS notification will be sent to both the sender and recipient upon successfully transfer of funds
    • Waiver of transaction fees for both incoming and outgoing of funds via PayNow
  7. Business owners who need to carry cash exceeding $20K (aggregated of both SGD and foreign currencies) into or out of Singapore must declare to the Singapore Custom on arrival/ before departure. Failure to make a valid declaration is punishable to a jail term of up to 3 years and/or fined up to $50K.

In summary, business owners should evaluate every aspect before deciding on the bank and type of account. Please be reminded that all banks in Singapore impose a fee for early termination of corporate account within six months.

Assurance of Bank Deposits in Singapore

All SGD deposited into Singapore banks (both local and foreign banks) are automatically being insured by Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation Limited (SDIC) of up to $75,000 under the Deposit Insurance Scheme. However, this insurance scheme excludes foreign currency deposits.

Secretarial Support for Opening of Corporate Bank Account

Our team of professionals will assist clients in facilitating the opening of a bank account if the needs arise. Nevertheless, we recommend that business owners should evaluate the pros and cons of each type of corporate accounts and open their accounts directly with the banks itself.