Looking for the best business accounts in Singapore? We’ve got you covered

Elle Kasser
27.08.21
7 minute read

Finding the best business account for your needs is an important step in growing your company. The good news is that there’s a broad range of services for SME banking in Singapore. As well as traditional corporate accounts from major banks, there are flexible online accounts, including specialist products like the Wise business account which is perfect if you’re trading internationally.

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This review of business and SME banking options covers all you need to know to build your business here in Singapore.

📝Table of contents:

What to consider when choosing a corporate account?

Before we consider the features and fees available from different business account providers, it’s worth getting an overview of things to consider when choosing the best service for you.

Registration fees

If you’ve not registered your business yet, you may be able to do so for a favourable price by going through your chosen account provider. Online account specialists like Aspire¹ partner with the teams you need to set up your legal entity, with low fees and intuitive services.

Minimum initial deposit

When choosing your account provider, check the minimum initial deposit requirements suit your situation. Some accounts have no minimum deposit - making them more suited to businesses in their infancy - while others are more restrictive.

Minimum monthly balance and fall below fee

Another important feature to check is the minimum daily or monthly balance. It’s common to find that fall below fees will apply if you don’t maintain a fixed balance - which can eat into your profits.

Monthly maintenance fees

Banking isn’t free, so some costs are to be expected with any business account. Check what fixed fees are applied to accounts you’re interested in - and whether these fees buy you any useful perks like free transfers or lower payment costs.

Online banking features

As a business owner you’re busy. Make sure you’re choosing a corporate account which has easy access to online and mobile banking to cut your admin time. It’s also worth checking the support on offer if you have questions or if anything goes wrong.

Scalability

Many account providers offer a range of products to suit businesses of different sizes. Having an account you can continue to use as your business scales up can make life much easier in the long run.

Multi-currency features and conversion costs

If you have global ambitions for your business you need a multi-currency account to connect with customers, employees and suppliers all over the world. Find an account which lets you hold, send and spend a range of currencies, with mid-market rate currency conversion - like the Wise business account.

Limits and fees for transfers

It makes sense to check all transaction fees for your new SME account. Pay particular attention to fees and limits around sending and receiving transfers. These costs, especially when dealing with cross border payments, can mount up quickly.


How to open a corporate account in Singapore?

Opening your business account shouldn’t be too much of a headache - as long as your business is registered and you’re able to provide all the required paperwork to get started.

The exact process to follow depends on the bank or account provider you choose.

Online services will usually allow you to upload images of all your documents for a faster verification, while traditional banks may require you to attend a branch.

To give a couple of examples, you can register for a Wise account in a few minutes by completing your business and personal details online. If verification is required, it’ll usually take just 2 - 3 working days². Aspire also offers users the opportunity to get verified online. The paperwork you need varies, but will usually include³:

  • User proof of address, identity and a selfie
  • Business Certificate of Shareholding
  • Business Constitution or Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Proof of ID for business director and majority shareholders
  • Board resolution (not required for sole proprietors)

Wise business account

If you need to pay and get paid in a range of currencies, check out the Wise business account to hold 50+ currencies all in the same place.

You’ll also get local bank account details for SGD, as well as a range of major world currencies like GBP, EUR, AUD, NZD and USD. That means you can accept customer payments in different currencies, pay employees and contractors based overseas, and convert balances with the real mid-market exchange rate whenever you need to.

There are also business friendly perks to help save time, like integration with Xero accounting software, batch payment solutions, debit cards and account management tools⁴.

Service Wise business account fee
Minimum balance No minimum balance
Monthly account fee No monthly fee Open an account for free, or pay a one off 54 SGD charge to access full functionality
Send and receive local transfers Get paid like a local with account details in a range of currencies
Send and receive international transfers Send international payments with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees Receive payments in a range of currencies fee free
Other costs Small fee to withdraw money to a bank account in the same currency

Aspire Business Account

Aspire business accounts⁵ allow customers to integrate with their accounting software, to manage their money, pay bills, issue corporate expense cards, and earn cashback on digital spend.

There’s no monthly service fee, no minimum balance, and it’s free to send and receive payments locally. You’ll just pay a small fee when sending or receiving international transfers to your account⁶.

Service Aspire business account fee⁷
Minimum balance No minimum balance
Monthly account fee No monthly fee
Send and receive local transfers No fee to send or receive local transfers
Send and receive international transfers Sending international payment - mid-market rate and low, transparent fee Receiving international transfer - Reuters buy rate + 0.5% fee
Other costs FX fees for card spend - Visa rates + 0.7% fee

DBS Business Account

DBS has a range of SME banking options, as well as corporate accounts for larger enterprises. One good option for smaller businesses is the DBS digital business account⁸.

You’ll have easy access to online and mobile banking solutions, but it’s worth knowing that you’ll have extra fees to pay if you want in branch services.

If your account is fully locally owned and registered you may be able to complete registration online - more complex businesses will need to register and then talk their needs through with a DBS representative.

Service DBS business account fee⁹
Minimum balance 1,000 SGD opening balance required, no minimum balance after opening
Monthly account fee 18 SGD
Send and receive local transfers Free to receive standard local transfersFree to send local transfers online - 5SGD fee in branch charge FAST payments - 0.50SGD for payments, 1 - 5 SGD for collections
Send and receive international transfers Send cross border payments - commission of 1/8% + cable charges of 20 - 35 SGD Receive cross border payments - 10 SGD
Other costs Over the counter transactions 20 SGD + any standard transaction fee Cheque books 25 SGD each

OCBC Business Account

Business bank accounts from OCBC include products aimed at new businesses and entrepreneurs, and accounts for larger businesses with specialist needs.

We’ve picked out the OCBC digital business account¹⁰ for startups as one to consider. You’ll benefit from no fall below fee or minimum balance, and a relatively low monthly charge of 10 SGD. Sending local transfers is usually free, and as the account is aimed at startups there are also lots of useful tools for new and growing companies.

Service OCBC business account fee¹¹
Minimum balance No minimum balance
Monthly account fee 10 SGD
Send and receive local transfers Free to send FAST and GIRO payments 10 SGD to receive inward telegraphic transfers
Send and receive international transfers 1/8% commission + applicable agent fees + 25 - 35 SGD cable charge
Other costs Over the counter transactions 20 SGD + any standard transaction fee Cheque books 25 SGD each

Maybank FlexiBiz Account

Flexibiz accounts from Maybank¹² have no fall below fee and can be opened by a range of business types, including charities. You’ll need a 1,000 SGD deposit to get started, and can access mobile and online banking solutions easily.

Because Maybank has branches and partners throughout the region you can access some instant and 24/7 payment services between Singapore and Malaysia, as well as other major payment destinations in Southeast Asia.

If you need a more comprehensive account package you could also take a look at the Maybank PremierBiz account as an alternative with extra features.

Service Maybank FlexBiz account fee¹³
Minimum balance 1,000 SGD minimum opening balance
Monthly account fee No monthly fee
Send local transfers Send local payments - FAST transfers 0.50 SGD, GIRO transfers 0.20 SGD, MEPS payments 18 SGD¹⁴
Send international transfers Send outward remittances - 0.125% commission + 20 - 30 SGD processing fee¹⁵
Other costs 50 SGD early closure fee

UOB Business Account

The business account UOB recommends for startups and new businesses is the UOB eBusiness account¹⁶. This account allows customers to manage their money online and using the UOB BizSmart digital banking tools.

There are also free local payments, and dedicated support from FX experts when you need to send money internationally.

Service UOB business account fee
Minimum balance Minimum opening balance - 1,000 SGD Minimum ongoing balance - 5,000 SGD
Monthly account fee 35 SGD annual fee, + 15 SGD/month fall below fee
Send and receive local transfers Free FAST and bulk GIRO transactions
Send and receive international transfers UOB foreign exchange services vary depending on the currency and country you’re sending to. Register for UOB FX services to learn more[17]

Business banking fees

Each bank and account provider will have its own fee structure. It’s really important to check the full range of costs applied to your account, as there are often complex terms and conditions which sit behind accounts.

These include fixed fees you pay every month and a broad range of transaction fees.

Make sure you know the fees for transactions you’ll make often, as these can mount up and eat into your profits.

Charges to look out for include:

  • Account opening fees
  • Fall below and monthly service charges
  • Payment charges - inward and outward transfers locally and internationally
  • Early closure fees
  • In branch service fees - especially if you need to deposit cash
  • Chequing fees
  • Overdraft charges and interest
  • ATM out of network fees
  • Charges for accessing online and digital banking support

Finding the right business account is essential. You’ll be able to arrange and manage your money more easily, and cut the costs of day to day banking and financial services.

Major traditional banks offer a selection of SME banking solutions which typically include accounts for newer businesses as well as more complex and comprehensive products for established businesses.

Check out the options, features and fees for a range of account providers, including regular banks and modern online alternatives like the Wise business account to make sure you get the right account for your business.


Sources:

  1. Aspire - Company Incorporation Services in Singapore
  2. Wise - What do I need to get my business verified?
  3. Aspire - Which documents do I need?
  4. Business Account from Wise
  5. Aspire
  6. Aspire - Business account overview
  7. Aspire - Pricing
  8. DBS SME Banking - DBS Digital Account
  9. PDF under ‘Account Fees and Charges’ DBS SME Banking
  10. OCBC Business Banking Singapore
  11. OCBC Business Banking Singapore - Business Banking Pricing Guide - Singapore
  12. Maybank Singapore - Flexibiz Account
  13. Maybank Singapore - Current account fees
  14. Maybank Singapore - Local Funds Transfers
  15. Maybank Singapore - Outward Remittance
  16. UOB eBusiness Account
  17. UOB Business - Business FX Rates & Hedging Solutions for SMEs

Sources checked on 27 July 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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