Looking for the best current account in Singapore?

Elle Kasser
12.03.21
10 minute read

Having an easy to use current account, which comes with simple access and low fees is an essential. There are plenty of current account options to choose from, including products from all of Singapore’s biggest banks. You’ll also find great specialist accounts to suit different life stages and lifestyles.

This guide covers all you need to know about some of the best current accounts available in Singapore, and introduces the Wise multi-currency account as a perfect option for people who travel, shop, and live internationally.

With Wise you get a smart online account for seamless access, with low cost currency conversion whenever you need to send, spend or receive a payment from abroad. Let’s dive in.

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Table of contents:

The Wise account: like a current account, but better

As Singaporeans we’re used to seeing beyond borders. Whether that’s in work, travel, or the communities we live in, an international lifestyle is the reality for most of us.

We need ways to manage our money on the go. We want to hold, send and spend multiple currencies using the mid-market exchange rate. And all with low, transparent fees. Not all regular current accounts are up to the task. That’s where Wise comes in.

With the Wise multi-currency account you can hold 50+ currencies, and convert from one to another whenever you like - using the mid-market exchange rate every time.

You’ll only ever pay a small, fair fee, which can work out far cheaper than your normal bank. Open your account fast and for free, and manage your money online or using the Wise app. Receive payments for free in major world currencies, and use your linked debit card for withdrawals and spending at home and abroad. It couldn’t be simpler.

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Current accounts in Singapore: Some of the best options

Each of the major banks in Singapore offers current account options - often individual banks have several to choose from with different features and fees. Here we’ve covered some of the best from some major providers to help you start your research into the best current account in Singapore for your needs. Keep reading to learn more about choosing a current account, including features and fees to look out for.

DBS Multiplier Account

The DBS Multiplier is great if you’re planning on using one account for many of your transactions. Get your income paid into the account, and meet other criteria such as using your account for Paylah! transactions, investments, credit card spending, home loans or insurance, and you could earn extra interest on your balance. ¹

Account name DBS Multiplier
Eligibility² Customers must be over 18 and either:
    Singapore citizens or PRForeigners working or studying in SingaporeForeigners on Dependent Pass or LTVP
Monthly fee SGD5 can be waived if you meet the minimum balance requirement
Opening deposit and average balance No specific opening deposit required SGD3,000 average balance required to avoid service fees
Mobile payment options Online and mobile banking. Account is compatible with mobile payment services like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Paylah!, Grab Pay
Bonuses and rewards available Earn more interest the more you use your account - up to 3%p.a. interest is available
Noteworthy features Save and transact in up to 12 foreign currencies, and use DBS Remit to send low fee or fee free international payments to selected countries. You may still pay a fee in the form of an exchange rate markup. Learn more about DBS international payments, here.

POSB Current Account

This account may be good for customers who plan on holding both a savings and a current account³. POSB’s current account is linked to a savings account, which means you can use the savings account to cover cheque payments if you don’t have sufficient in your current account. That avoids overdraft fees, and means you can continue to save at a preferential rate, too.

Account name POSB Current Account
Eligibility⁴ Customers must be over 18 and either:
    Singapore citizens or PRForeigners working or studying in SingaporeForeigners on Dependent Pass or LTVP
Monthly fee SGD2
Opening deposit and average balance No opening deposit required SGD1,500 average balance required to avoid fall below fees
Fall below fee SGD2 /month - can be waived if you meet certain conditions
Mobile payment options Can be used with mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Paylah!, Grab Pay
Bonuses and rewards available Seasonal promotions available
Noteworthy features Low minimum balance to avoid fall below fee - fall below fee may also be waived if you open an account online Cheque book available

CIMB Starsaver-i Account

CIMB has several different current accounts available - but this one is a good choice if you want a shariah compliant bank service. The Starsaver-i account uses the concept of Murabahah to distribute profit on the balance you hold in the account. You’ll also be able to pay Zakat and Wakaf Ilmu contributions online from the comfort of your own home.⁵

Account name CIMB Starsaver-i account
Eligibility Customers must be over 18
Opening deposit SGD5,000 opening deposit
Fall below fee There is no fall below fee, but daily profit will only be paid on balances of SGD5,000 or over
Bonuses and rewards available Various offers are available, including deals on currency rates to MYR
Noteworthy features Open online in just 10 minutes Access to 6,000 CIMB ATMs Shariah compliant account, allows customers to fulfil Zakat and Wakaf Ilmu contributions via internet banking

OCBC 360 Account

Try this account if you’re looking for a hybrid savings-current account. 360 is OCBC’s ‘go-to’ account, which covers both day to day transactions like payments and cheques, but also lets you earn interest on the first SGD75,000 of balance you hold. The more you use your account, the more interest you stand to earn.⁶

Account name OCBC 360 Account
Eligibility Customers must be over 18 and either:
    Singapore citizens or PRForeigners holding a valid pass
Opening deposit and average balance SGD1,000 opening deposit SGD3,000 average balance required to avoid fall below fee
Fall below fee SGD2 /month - waived for 12 months after opening
Mobile payment options Compatible with major mobile payment options - OCBC also has its own Pay Anyone and Pay Any Card features for easy payments to individuals and merchants
Bonuses and rewards available Seasonal promotions for new account holders Interest payments increase according to how you use your account, so you’ll get more if you pay in your salary, hold savings, pay for your insurance through OCBC, and invest.
Noteworthy features Cheque book available for SGD10 Strong account for both day to day transactions and saving needs

UOB Current Account

UOB offers a simple current account for managing your day to day financial needs. You’ll get a choice of linked cards and chequing services, as well as regular statement and online banking services.⁷

Account name UOB Current Account
Eligibility Customers must be over 21 and Singapore citizens, PR, or foreigners with a valid pass
Opening deposit and average balance SGD1,000 opening deposit SGD3,000 average balance required to avoid fall below fee
Fall below fee SGD7.50 /month
Mobile payment options Choose from different cards which include NETS, PLUS and cashcard facilities
Noteworthy features Simple account which covers daily banking needs. Fee waiver on the linked card for 3 years, plus 2 free cheque books.

Maybank PremierOne Current Account

Maybank offers a standard SGD current account, as well as a current account product which is aimed at people who want to hold and transact in USD. This account offers chequing and card facilities and simple ways to manage your money on a day to day basis.⁸

Account name Maybank PremierOne Current Account
Eligibility Customers must be over 18 and either Singapore citizens, PR or foreigners on a valid pass
Monthly fee SGD2
Opening deposit and average balance SGD1,000 opening deposit SGD3,000 average balance required to avoid fall below fee
Fall below fee SGD8.50/month
Mobile payment options Online banking service provided Use your Maybank platinum debit card with mobile payment services like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Paylah!, Grab Pay
Bonuses and rewards available Earn interest on your balance
Noteworthy features No admin fee for ATM use within the Maybank network Cheque book and linked platinum debit card available

What is a current account, exactly?

Each current account will have its own features, benefits and fees. However, all current accounts are intended for day to day use. It’s this account you’ll probably use to take out cash from an ATM, buy your groceries, or pay your utilities bill, for example.

Current accounts typically have different features to other specialist products like deposit or investment accounts. Usually you’ll find that current accounts are designed to be easy, instant and relatively cheap for standard services. However, you’ll still find fees for some transactions - which can be on the high side for services which are more complex than your normal daily payments and withdrawals.

How do I choose the best current account?

Current account features and costs can vary from one bank to another. That means that comparing accounts - and thinking about which services and fees matter to you - is essential to make sure you get the best one for you.

Here are some things to think about:

Are there monthly fees, or minimum balance requirements?

If your chosen account has a monthly fee this can quickly mount up. Sometimes, the fee is waived if you maintain a minimum balance, or depending on how you use your account. This may work for you - but you’ll need to think carefully about how you intend to use the account and how much money you can keep tied up there. Minimum balance requirements are commonly up to SGD3,000 if you want to avoid fees.

How do I access customer service?

If you prefer online or mobile access to your account you’ll want to check the service available is intuitive and simple. If you want face to face support, make sure you have easy access to branches near home and work.

What cards come with the account?

If you need a linked debit or credit card, or prefer to have a cheque book, make sure this is an option. If you’ll need a second card for a family member, check if this feature is available before you choose an account. It’s also worth checking the costs attached to both additional cards, and replacement cheque books.

Are day to day transactions free?

Current accounts may have fixed numbers of free transactions available, or a fair usage clause which caps the amount you can use your account in a given month. After that, you may need to pay a fee. Consider how you’ll use your account to make sure this won’t cause an issue.

**How much do international transactions cost, and what exchange rate is used? **

If you send, receive and hold foreign currency payments, you might be better off with a specialist product like Wise for sending international payments.

What promotions, points or bonus opportunities are there?

If you’re choosing an account which has a short term promotion or special offer for rewards or cashback, you’ll want to check what happens after the offer ends. Being tied to an account which doesn’t work for the long term can be a costly inconvenience.

What fees should I watch out for?

Take a look through the terms and conditions for your chosen current account before you open it. If you spot any high, unexpected or inconvenient fees it may be a good idea to keep on searching. Here are some fees to look out for:

  • Fall below fee applied if you don’t meet the minimum balance
  • ATM fees - especially when travelling
  • Foreign transaction fees for card spend
  • Cheque book fee once you run out of cheques
  • Paper statement fee
  • Early account closure fee

If you expect to make international withdrawals or shop with retailers based overseas, you may be better off with the Wise multi-currency card.

It’s always free to spend any currency you hold in your Wise account - simply convert to the currency you need using the mid-market exchange rate, or let the auto-convert tool do it for you. Fees are low and transparent, so there are no hidden surprises to worry about. You can also make up to 2 withdrawals up to a total of SGD350 a month fee free, with a low withdrawal charge after that.

What are common features for Singapore current accounts?

You’ll find that the features available can vary from one current account to another. Compare a few options to find the one which has the key services you need, at the best available price. You may look for things like:

  • A choice of debit cards, including different features and networks
  • Account reward schemes and the opportunity to earn interest on your balance
  • Joint accounts or the option to add a debit card for family members
  • Mobile and online account management and payments
  • A cheque book with free replacements once cheques run low
  • Overdraft options or preferential loans

Frequently asked questions

How can I open a current account in Singapore?

You’ll find the eligibility requirements and account opening process will vary from one bank to another. In some cases you can open your account online, but it’s common to need to visit a branch. Pick a popular location at a busy time, and this could mean a long wait.

What documents do I need to open a current account in Singapore?

This varies depending on your situation and residence status. As an example, let’s look at the requirements in place at POSB.⁴

Singapore citizens: NRIC and proof of residential address

Foreigner working in Singapore: Passport or Malaysian IC, proof of employment and proof of residential address

Foreigner studying in Singapore: Passport or Malaysian IC, proof of study in Singapore and proof of residential address

Foreigner on Dependent Pass or LTVP: Passport or Malaysian IC, Dependent or Long Term Visit Pass and proof of residential address

How can I pay lower fees on my account?

Some current accounts reduce or waive certain fees if you hold a fixed minimum balance or use your account in a certain way. You may need to spend a certain amount using your linked debit card, or have your salary credited to the account for example. Check the terms of your own account to see what options are available.

Can I change my current account to a savings account?

Seek advice from your own bank if you’d like to start using a savings account instead of your current account. You may be able to open a linked savings account, and keep both your current and savings account running easily. Alternatively, some of the accounts listed above are hybrid savings and current account products. They’re not as restrictive as many savings products, and still allow day to day transactions easily. These may suit your needs better than a traditional current and savings account.

How much money should you have in your current account?

If your account has a minimum balance amount, it’s worth maintaining this balance to avoid fall below fees.

The right current account for you will depend on how you intend to use it - and what’s important to you in terms of features, services and fees. You may even find that the best account for you isn’t a bank current account at all.

If you’re an expat, love to travel, or live an international lifestyle, see if you can save time and money with the Wise multi-currency account.


Sources:

  1. DBS - Multiplier account
  2. DBS - Documents Required for Account Opening
  3. POSB - Current Account
  4. POSB - Documents Required for Account Opening
  5. CIMB - StarSaver-i Account | Current Account |
  6. OCBC - 360 Account |
  7. UOB - Current Account
  8. Maybank - PremierOne Account

Sources checked on 22 February 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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