Opening a bank account in Singapore from Australia
Moving to Singapore? Here’s how to open a bank account to manage your finances.
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Relocating to another country is a big undertaking and one of the most important things you'll need to organise is opening a local bank account. If you're moving to Singapore, there are a few different ways to open a bank account there.
We'll look at the different ways you can open an account in Singapore, how to open an account with the major banks (DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, United Overseas Bank and HSBC) and how to find the right option for your needs.
What are my options for opening an account?
You'll need an employment or study pass to open an account. Some banks will also require proof of your Singapore address.
Some banks allow you to open an account before you actually arrive in Singapore.
A multi-currency account allows you to hold funds in multiple foreign currencies, including SGD.
1. Setting up a bank account if you have a Singaporean address
If you're already set up with an address in Singapore, you can open a bank account by providing the following:
- Your passport
- Your employment pass or study pass (required to work or study in Singapore)
Depending on the bank you choose, you may also be asked to provide the following information:
- Proof of address, such as a recent utility bill
- A letter from your previous bank
- An introduction from another of the bank's customers
You can apply online or by visiting your nearest branch.
2. Setting up an international bank account
If you don't have a Singapore address, the next option you might want to consider is opening an international bank account. These accounts are typically offered by major global banks that operate in multiple countries around the world. However, you'll generally need to satisfy high-level income requirements and/or make a large deposit to open an account.
Let's take a look at four major banks that operate in Singapore and whether they offer international bank accounts.
DBS Bank (Development Bank of Singapore) is the largest bank in Singapore, and it offers an Expat Program to help you find your financial feet. You can apply to join the program online by providing the following information:
- Your contact details and residential address
- Details of your gender, occupation, marital status and race
- Your passport
- Your employment pass
The Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation is Singapore's second-largest bank. Unfortunately, there's no information available online about whether OCBC offers any international bank accounts or services for expats. As a result, you'll most likely need to visit an OCBC Bank branch in person to open an account.
United Overseas Bank
It's not possible to open an account with United Overseas Bank from Australia. Instead, you'll need to visit a Singapore branch in person to verify your identity and provide any supporting documents.
HSBC allows you to open a local bank account before you actually arrive in Singapore. You'll need to apply online one to two months before your scheduled arrival date.
You'll need to provide the following:
- Proof of ID
- Proof of address
- Your latest tax bill
- Your employment pass or long-term visit pass
An HSBC International Account Opening Specialist will guide you through the process, while you'll need to take the completed form and any supporting documentation into an HSBC branch for approval.
3. Multi-currency accounts
Another option worth considering is a multi-currency account. Also known as a foreign currency account, this allows you to hold funds and send and receive payments in multiple currencies, including SGD.
You can open a multi-currency account online with major Australian and international banks as well as with international money transfer services. For example, both the Citi Global Currency Account and the HSBC Everyday Global Account support SGD, so it's worth shopping around for an account that meets your needs.
How to transfer your money to your new Singapore bank account
When you want to make a deposit into your Singapore bank account, it's convenient and easy to do so straight from your Australian bank account. However, the poor exchange rates banks offer mean it's not a cost-effective option.
Instead, you can use a specialist money transfer service to send money to Singapore and lock in a much better exchange rate. Check out how your transaction could look using the table below.
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