How to Open a Corporate Bank Account in Singapore
Having set up a new company, you may now intend to open a corporate bank account in Singapore. In fact, it would be advisable for you to do that as soon as possible for practical reasons.
Why Should I Open a Corporate Bank Account?
Opening a corporate bank account would separate your personal and business finances (including your business’ assets, cash flows, expenses etc.), bringing about potential benefits to you and your business.
For one, your business’ finances can be independently managed without being mixed with your personal finances. This would better protect you from any corporate liabilities that may arise in the future, since there is a clear division between your personal and business finances.
On the flipside, if you use a single bank account to manage funds, you are essentially treating your business funds as your personal money. This way, you risk subjecting your personal funds to, for instance, creditors who may seek to pierce the corporate veil (i.e hold you liable for your company’s debts).
Furthermore, such an account would also allow you to monitor and evaluate your business performance more accurately and conveniently based on the records that are solely for your business.
Who is Authorised to Open a Corporate Bank Account?
The director(s) and authorised signatories (if any), are able to open a corporate bank account.
Considerations when Choosing which Bank to Open an Account with
Given the plethora of reputable banks in Singapore, how should you go about deciding which bank to open your corporate bank account with?
Your task to decide is made harder especially since the different banks offer competitive corporate account options, each with their own distinct perks and coverage.
Here are a few tips and pointers that may help you to narrow down your options, with reference to the services offered by a few local banks:
Initial deposit required
As a new business owner, you might be concerned with initial set-up costs. The initial deposit required for setting up an account can range from S$500 to S$3,000.
This amount is not solely dependent on the bank you approach – each bank may offer different types of corporate bank accounts, which incur different initial deposit amounts.
See the following table for example:
|OCBC (Business Growth Account)||S$500|
|OCBC (Business Entrepreneur Account)||S$3,000|
|DBS (Digital Business Account)||S$1,000|
|DBS (Multi-Currency Account)||S$3,000|
Looking at how the initial deposit amounts vary considerably across and within the banks, this should not be the sole factor that you should consider.
Instead, it may perhaps be helpful to consider other factors before you decide on which account to go ahead with.
Besides the initial deposit, another key consideration would be the minimum balance to be maintained in your corporate bank account. This is because this may have implications on the cash flows and management of finances for your business.
In addition, falling below the minimum balance amount would incur additional fees, which will not be desirable for a new and growing business.
The table below includes certain examples:
|Bank||Minimum Balance||Fall-below fee|
|UOB (eBusiness Account)||S$5,000||S$15|
|OCBC (Business Growth Account)||S$3,000||S$35 (waived for first 6 months)|
|DBS (Digital Business Account)||N/A||Monthly fee of S$18|
As seen from the table, while DBS’s Digital Business Account has no minimum balance stipulated, there is a monthly fee of $18 charged for the account.
Accounts that can hold multiple currencies
The type and nature of your business is also a crucial consideration to the choice of your corporate bank account.
If your business is likely to involve cross-border transactions, you may wish to open a corporate bank account that allows for foreign currency transactions.
Here are some banks that offer multi-currency accounts for your consideration:
|Bank||Number of currencies (including SGD)|
|DBS (Multi-Currency Account)||13 (USD, AUD, EUR, CNH*, SEK*, NOK* etc.)|
|UOB (Business Global Currency Account)||10 (USD, AUD, EUR etc.)|
*UOB does not offer these currencies
As can be seen, the currencies offered by each bank may differ. Thus, knowing which currencies your business will be dealing with is definitely crucial when it comes to choosing a bank.
How Can I Open a Corporate Bank Account in Singapore?
If you have made up your mind on which bank to open your corporate bank account with, it’s time to apply for the account:
Certain banks are now offering 1-day express account opening services which can be done online, enhancing convenience for business owners like you.
Therefore, if you are eligible to apply online, you can simply complete the online form on the bank’s website and have your corporate account opened in a day.
You will be eligible if you:
- Are a single director (who is also the only shareholder and authorised signatory) or sole proprietor; and
- Already have a personal account with that bank.
You may require the following details to apply for the 1-day express corporate account:
- Your Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) business registration number
- Your personal bank details (E.g PIN number)
Note that, depending on the bank, you may also be requested to submit additional documents.
Going down to the bank to apply
Typically, to open a corporate bank account, the director and authorised signatories need to be present at the bank. However, this again depends on the bank you are opening the account with.
For example, OCBC requires 2 directors to be present for account opening, whereas DBS’ account opening process is largely done online.
You will be required to submit a number of documents before your corporate account is set up. Generally, these may include:
- Bank Account Application Form from the bank;
- Board resolution with clear indication of any appointment of signatories;
- Certified true copies of the NRIC/Passport of directors and all authorised signatories including their residential address information;
- ACRA Business Profile Search;
- Certificate of company incorporation etc.
How Long will It Take to Open a Corporate Bank Account?
As you might already have noticed, opening a corporate bank account can possibly happen in one day, but it may also stretch to weeks. This is largely dependent on the time taken for verification by the banks.
Overall, with proper documentation, the process should be effortless. The physical presence of directors and authorised signatories at the time of setting up an account may also prevent unforeseen delays.
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