Can a foreigner open a bank account in Singapore? Singapore bank accounts available for foreigners

Hannes Ausmees

If you’re headed to Singapore to live, work or study - or simply make frequent visits there, you might be wondering if it’s possible for a foreigner to open a bank account in Singapore. The good news is that most of the major banks offer products which can be opened by foriegn customers, although you might have to visit a branch in person to present your documents and get your account up and running.

This guide walks through how to open a bank account in Singapore - and a few options for the accounts to look at. And if you want to open a Singapore dollar account before you arrive, or don’t have the paperwork required, don’t worry. We’ll also show you how you might save yourself time and money by opening a Wise account online.

Table of contents

Necessary documents to open a bank account in Singapore as a foreigner

Each bank has its own process for opening accounts, so the exact documents required may vary slightly depending on the bank you select. In most cases, you can expect to be asked for the following:¹

  • Proof of identity, such as a valid passport or national ID card
  • Proof of residence, including phone bills or utility bills
  • Employment Pass, S Pass, Student Pass or Dependent Pass depending on the situation
  • Some accounts require you to provide a reference or introduction letter

It’s worth checking the details of the documents needed before you attend a branch in person. For example, you may need to present a passport which has 6 months or more validity left, and government issued proof of your residential address might only be recognised if you’re from a FATF - Financial Action Task Force - member country.²

If you’re not a Singapore resident with a relevant pass, you might be better off considering an alternative like the Wise account, which you can open with your proof of ID and address from your home country - and still get SGD bank account details. More on that later.

How to open a bank account in Singapore: A guide for foreigners

If you have the right paperwork to hand, and can visit a branch in person, you’ll be able to open an account with most of the major banks in Singapore. It’s worth doing some research to find the right bank for your needs. Make sure you’re aware of the charges and limitations of the account products you look at, and remember that some accounts targeting foreign customers come with a fairly hefty minimum deposit requirement.

Here’s a run through of the options available from some of the biggest banks in Singapore. Later, we’ll look at each account in more detail.

Wise (non-bank alternative)DBS - Multiplier AccountOCBC - 360 accountUOB - One Account
EligibilityAnyone residing in a country served by Wise
  • Singapore citizens
  • Permanent Residents
  • Foreigners with a valid pass
  • Singapore citizens
  • Permanent Residents
  • Foreigners with a valid pass
  • Singapore citizens
  • Permanent Residents
  • Foreigners with a valid pass
  • Non residents
Documents needed

May vary by your location - in Singapore:

  • Passport or identity card (Pink/Blue NRIC)
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of ID
  • Singapore issued pass
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of tax residency
  • Proof of ID
  • Singapore issued pass
  • Proof of address
  • 2 forms of ID
  • Proof of address
  • Letter of reference or introduction
Annual feeNo annual feeNo annual feeNo annual feeNo annual fee
Minimum depositNo minimum deposit

No minimum deposit

5 SGD fall below fee applies if balance is under 3,000 SGD

1,000 SGD minimum deposit

2 SGD fall below fee applies if balance is under 3,000 SGD

1,000 SGD minimum deposit

3 SGD fall below fee applies if balance is under 1,000 SGD

International paymentsCosts vary by destination and currency - from 0.41%

10 SGD inward remittance fee

1/8% outward remittance fee (minimum 10 SGD - maximum 120 SGD)³

10 SGD inward remittance fee

1/8% outward remittance fee (minimum 10 SGD - maximum 100 SGD) + 20 SGD cable charge⁴

10 SGD inward remittance fee

1/8% outward remittance fee (minimum 10 SGD - maximum 100 SGD) + cable charge + agent charge⁵

Card availableYesLink to several different cardsYesYes
Currencies offered50+SGD and 12 foreign currenciesSGDSGD

Wise multi-currency account

For a more flexible way of managing your money across currencies and country borders, check out the Wise account. You don’t need to be a Singapore resident - but you can still get SGD bank details to send, receive and hold Singapore dollar payments easily.


You’ll be able to hold your money in dozens of different currencies, and send and receive payments all around the world for low fees. All currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate, and you’ll get local bank details to allow you to receive fee free payments in major currencies like US, Australian and New Zealand dollars, euros and British pounds - and of course Singapore Dollars. To make life simple, there’s also a linked Wise card for contactless spending.

  • Open to both Singapore residents and non-residents
  • Hold 50+ currencies
  • SGD bank details - alongside local account details for 8 more currencies
  • Mid-market exchange rate currency conversion
  • No minimum balance or monthly fees
  • Get a linked Wise card for spending

Learn more about Wise

DBS bank account for foreigners

DBS has a range of accounts, including current accounts and saving accounts, which can be operated in both Singapore dollars and foreign currencies. Most of the products are available to foreign customers - the exception being the DBS Multi-currency Autosave account which is offered only to Singaporean citizens and permanent residents. One which is specifically recommended for foreigners is the multi-currency Multiplier account⁶.

  • Broad range of account options for foreigners
  • Multi-currency account available
  • Huge branch network with many ATMs available
  • Fall below fees apply if you don’t maintain a minimum balance
  • International fees can be on the steep side

OCBC account for foreigners

Foreigners are able to open accounts with OCBC, but may need to be residents of Singapore to be eligible for some products. Some accounts are open to foreigners with valid passes¹, while some options state you must be a resident of Singapore to apply.

Here the account we’ve picked to review is the 360 Account⁷, one of OCBC’s most popular choices for foreign customers who are Singapore residents.

  • Accounts including the 360 account for everyday use, and a specialist account for younger people under 26
  • Trusted bank with a big network
  • Interest earning - get more based on how you use the account
  • Online and mobile banking options

UOB account for foreigners

If you’re a foreigner living in Singapore with an Employment Pass, S Pass or Dependant Pass, you’ll be able to choose from a range of UOB accounts. However, to open your account you must visit a branch in person - there’s no online account option for foreign customers.

If you’re a regular visitor to Singapore, but do not live or work there, you may be able to apply for an account with UOB by attending a meeting in person at a UOB branch. You must provide proof of ID and residential address, as well as a reference letter from your own bank, or an existing UOB customer. UOB state that each application is considered individually, so you’ll need to gather the documents required and head to a branch to make your application.

If you’re a Singapore resident, check out the UOB One Account⁸ as a smart option for everyday banking.

  • Non resident accounts may be available
  • Good range of accounts for everyday use, saving and more
  • Interest earning
  • Low minimum deposit requirements

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Singapore without an employment pass?

There’s no legal reason why you can’t open a bank account in Singapore as a visitor, student or holding a Dependent pass. Each bank decides its own eligibility rules, so you’ll need to invest some time in researching the options based on your situation.

UOB states that they consider applications from foreigners who are not working or studying in Singapore, as long as you can attend a branch in person to provide documents. Other banks might offer specific products to foreigners, but limit access to some services. Whichever account you’re considering, check out the small print, as some global accounts for foreigners are aimed at customers looking to invest significant amounts of money, and come with high minimum deposits.


While you’ll find it relatively easy to open a resident bank account in Singapore once you’ve got all your paperwork in order, it’s tricky or impossible to get an everyday account here with a traditional bank as a non-resident. If what you need is a simple way to transact on a day to day basis, check out the Wise account as an alternative which allows even non-resident to get SGD bank details. You’ll also be able to hold 50+ currencies, and get paid like a local from 30+ countries. Easy.

Wise sign up

Sources used in the article:
  1. Necessary documents to open a bank account as a foreigner in some of the banks in Singapore - DBS, OCBC and UOB.
  2. FATF
  3. DBS fees
  4. OCBC fees
  5. UOB fees
  6. DBS - Multiplier
  7. OCBC - 360 account
  8. UOB One Account

Sources checked on 12.09.2022

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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