An A - Z guide to BOC multi-currency accounts in Singapore

Wise

Fuelled by accessible international travel, global business connectivity and online shopping, multi-currency accounts are now gaining popularity with consumers looking for an account that supports more than just a base currency.

With this type of account, you don’t need to exchange all your currency back to Singapore Dollars after a vacation, which can avoid you losing money before and after the trip. You can also monitor the FX market to buy other currencies when the rates are favourable to you.

Many financial services have started to facilitate this demand for cross border money transfer and storing it in different currencies.

For example, Wise borderless account can handle 40+ currencies which are converted at the mid-market rate, and users can send money around the world at a low fee.

Some banks have also developed new services to address this demand, like the Bank of China (BOC) Multi-Currency Savings Account and the BOC Current Account. This article will explore the features and costs of BOC’s multi currency account offerings.

Comparing BOC and Wise multi-currency accounts

While the BOC Multi-Currency Savings Account, BOC Current Account and Wise borderless accounts help you manage different currencies at once, there are differences between them.
Here’s a summary of what they offer:

BOC Multi-Currency Savings Account ¹ BOC Current Account ² Wise borderless account
Number of currencies supported (including SGD) 10 11 40+
Exchange rate Bank's exchange rates Bank's exchange rates Live mid-market rate
Initial deposit S$1,500 S$1,000 S$0
Minimum monthly average balance S$1,500 S$3,000 S$0
Monthly fee S$0 S$0 S$0
Fall-below fee S$3 S$7.50 N.A.
Outward Remittances (telegraphic transfer) 0.125% (min S$18 equivalent, max S$1,000) ⁷ 0.125% (min S$18 equivalent, max S$1,000) ⁷ Small fixed fee, depending on the currency.

Eligibility and requirements to open a BOC multi-currency account

With a BOC Multi-Currency Savings Account ¹, you can consolidate, save and convert across Singapore Dollars and nine other currencies, such as: USD, GBP, AUD, NZD, EUR, CAD, JPY, CHF, RMB.

You’ll need to be at least 18 years old, and either a Singapore citizen, permanent resident or a foreigner legally residing in Singapore to qualify for a BOC Multi-Currency Savings Account. You’ll also need to deposit an initial sum of at least S$1,500, which is also the minimum monthly average balance for the account.

If the monthly average balance is less than S$1,500, a S$3 will be charged.

Alternatively, you can consider opening a BOC Current Account², which supports the same 10 currencies above, plus the Hong Kong Dollar. While most of the application criteria remains, if you’re applying for a current account, do note that you need to be at least 21 years old and deposit a minimum of S$1,000 upon opening. However, the bank can apply a S$7.50 penalty if the minimum average balance falls below S$3,000.

What are the benefits and features of having a BOC Multi-Currency Account? ¹’²

The Multi-Currency Savings Account offers ATM, telephone and internet banking services too, with direct Renminbi inward and outward telegraphic transfers to China via BOC SmartRemit. ³

The Multi-Currency Savings Account also offers a savings plan, the BOC SmartSaver, to encourage you to keep banking with that account, with a tiered interest plan that increases with higher deposits.⁴ You may also enjoy increased interest rates on your deposits by:

  • Spending more than S$1,500 a month on a BOC credit or debit card
  • Crediting your salary to the account
  • Paying at least 3 bills of at least S$30 each per bill ⁵

On the other hand, BOC Current Account allows you to issue cheques in 10 currencies excluding the Renminbi, and can offer an overdraft facility if you need to withdraw more than your account balance.

For easy access to your funds, you’ll also be able to transact through ATM cards, telephone banking and internet banking. You can also send money to and from China directly via telegraphic transfers.

How to apply for a BOC foreign currency account in Singapore?

You’ll need to go to a BOC branch in Singapore⁶ to open your account.

For Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, you’ll need to take along your NRIC. If you’re a foreigner living in Singapore, you’ll need to show your passport, your work or study permit, and proof of your address.

How to apply for a Wise borderless account

If you want to get a multi-currency account, you’ll need to compare a few options and providers before you decide which to open.

You can also take a look at the multi-currency borderless account from Wise as an online alternative to the foreign currency accounts offered by traditional banks.

It’s easy to get started with a Wise borderless account. You can:

  • Go to the Transferwise website, and select Get my borderless account
  • Enter your personal details and verify your identity using one of the methods shown on screen
  • Choose which currencies to activate - you can always add more later
  • Transfer funds to your account using your card or a bank transfer
  • Manage your money in over 40 different currencies

For more information on starting a Wise borderless account, check out the Help Center or get in touch with the support team.

Sources used for the article:

  1. BOC Multi-Currency Savings Account (February 13, 2019) features

  2. BOC Current Account features (February 13, 2019)

  3. Information about BOC SmartRemit (February 13, 2019)

  4. Interest rates for the savings account (February 13, 2019)

  5. BOC SmartSaver features (February 13, 2019)

  6. BOC branches in Singapore (February 13, 2019)

  7. BOC fees for outward remittances (February 13, 2019)


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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