Corporate Bank Account Opening In Singapore

8 min read|Last Updated: March 1, 2024|

After you incorporate your company in Singapore, the next important step is to open a corporate bank account.

A corporate bank account allows you to keep your business transactions separate from your personal transactions and also helps you to track your business cash flows/income and expenses, which will come in handy when filing your income tax returns.

In this article, we will cover the requirements and steps to successfully open a bank account in Singapore.

Introduction to Opening Corporate Bank Account in Singapore

For Locally-Owned Singapore Companies

For companies owned by Singaporeans, the process is simple. With our fast-track procedure, your account can be opened online within a week with our selected partner banks. Alternatively, you can also open it with your SingPass if you are local Singaporean or PR.

For Foreign-Owned Singapore Companies

For foreign nationals, the data are not readily available to Singapore banks from the Singapore government’s information system; so banks must collect more detailed information from foreign clients about their identification, professional background, and their proposed business venture.
Document collection, verification and vetting of this information can take some time for banks. Consequently, it can take a few weeks to open a corporate bank account. It is also challenging for foreigners who are new to the Singapore legal system and documentation. It is best for you to reach out to the local corporate service providers. We can help with opening corporate bank account for you.

What you will need to Prepare

In general, most banks have the following requirements.

1. Account signatories and majority directors to be physically present in Singapore for paperwork signing at the time of opening the company bank account.

However, if you are currently overseas and want to open a Singapore corporate bank account overseas, you don’t need to worry. You can reach out to us and we can help you liaise with the bank officer and prepare all the necessary documents to open your Singapore Corporate Bank Account.

2. Supporting documents needed.

  • Certified True Copy of Company Constitution or Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&AA)
  • Acra’s Bizfile
  • Proof of residency
  • 3 months bank statement
  • Invoices of potential supplier and customer
  • CV and resume of the Director
  • Either a registered office address in Singapore or a tenancy agreement for the operating space of the office must be provided.
  • Evidence of residential address from either your home country or Singapore is required.
  • Passport/NRIC of shareholder & director
  • Selfie holding your passport ID page or NRIC Front
  • Passport or NRIC Back with Wet Signature on a plain piece of paper beside (please note that e-signature is not allowed)

3. Additional informations required from the bank officer

  • Contact details such as your full name, email and contact number
  • Roles of digital banking users (eg viewer + maker + approver) and their contact details
  • Company website (if have any)
  • To provide if you have any parent/ related companies.
  • Initial deposit amount, Intended currency and the source of these funds
  • A brief description on how your wealth was generated
  • Currencies / accounts needed and expected average balance in each currency
  • What are the expected monthly inflows and outflows of funds to be made from the account and where to? What are the potential customers and suppliers? Please indicate the full company name and the country they are from.
  • Business nature and background of the company
  • Number of employees
  • The purpose of opening a bank account and mode of payment types that the company would perform
  • A brief description on how your current experience is similar to the company industry based on the CV
  • Business activities and example
  • Reasons why you want to open acc in Singapore and reasons on why you choose Singapore

While there are numerous documents and information required by banks, you can simplify the process by contacting us. We can help you streamline the application process for you, minimizing any potential hassle.

Why are banks making it so difficult to open bank accounts?

Due to the recent AML and fraud cases, the process has become increasingly difficult, with stricter regulations regarding anti-money laundering measures. Checks on compliance and anti-money laundering procedures have gone up. There are now more regulations on compliance and anti-money laundering tools, which makes it hard for people to open bank accounts for their businesses.

First, terror events in the past have given more people the chance to look into money laundering. These events are often funded by wealthy anonymous donors, so banks are taking very strict steps to keep an eye on the money.

Next, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) emphasizes the importance of global cooperation in taxation to address the challenges of a rapidly globalizing world. In response to this need, The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) was introduced.The CRS calls on tax authorities across the world to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis.

Thus, Singapore banks are now required to establish the tax residences of all their account holders and report to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) the financial account information of relevant account holders. These factors make it difficult for the Singapore Banks to open a bank account for foreigners.

reciprocal automatic exchange framework

What do Singapore banks look to approve of your Corporate Bank Account Opening?

As a result of Common Reporting Standard(CRS), banks would like to avoid the hassle of the additional reporting of client information. So, If a company does not have tax substance in Singapore, they are likely to reject the application for an account opening.

Therefore, your company needs to have a tax substance in Singapore. Tax substance is commonly measured by tax residency. A company is recognised as a tax resident of Singapore if the control and management of the company is exercised in Singapore.

So, How can you achieve a tax substance in Singapore?

These are the key factors in achieving a tax substance in Singapore

  • Having local supplier or customers invoice, contracts, or agreements
  • Having a physical or virtual office in Singapore, according to company business activity
  • Having local staff located in Singapore
  • Contribute CPF for staff working
  • Pay employee tax for staff working
Wan Yi

Challenges to Opening a Corporate Bank Account in Singapore

Many of our clients effectively run their businesses from overseas without a physical presence in Singapore. However, this presents challenges, particularly when it comes to opening a bank account for new companies or maintaining existing accounts.

Banks typically require a physical presence in Singapore, which can be problematic if you haven’t established operations yet or cannot secure a bank account.

Paul Hype Page solutions:

1. Obtain an employment pass

Obtain an employment pass to live and work in Singapore. This implies that control and management is in Singapore which directly contributes to local tax residency, or that an employee is located in Singapore.

2. Engage local staff through our Shared Services Solution

Our Shared Services Solution enable your business moving by employing physical local staff for multiple roles as below. Having physical presence in Singapore will contribute to your business substance and meet current requirement from the government.

  • Admin
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Accounts
  • IT
  • HR Executive
  • Other roles if specifically requested

Steps to open a corporate bank account in Singapore

Paul Hype Page’s focus is to prove that your company has a tax substance and select an account that best fits your business needs. We are working with numerous banks, including traditional banks, digital banks and we have alternative solutions that will best tailor to your business.

Most importantly, you DO NOT need to be physically here! We work closely with our trusted bankers to give you a higher success rate in opening a corporate bank account.

Here are the 3 steps:

  • Compilation of all documents and compliance checks on a local level by our compliance team.

  • Compliance checks by our banking partner at an international level.

  • Submission to bank, where they conduct a deep background check with information provided by our banking partners.

How long does it take to open a corporate bank account?

The process to open a corporate bank account in Singapore typically takes between 2 to 6 weeks, varying based on the bank and compliance requirements. In instances where additional information or documents are needed, it can extend beyond 6 weeks.

Conclusion

If you are a foreigner opening your corporate bank account from overseas, you should consider seeking professional advice from a professional service provider. The landscape has changed significantly since 2018, when the process was simpler.

We, Paul Hype Page, specializes in assisting foreigners with company setup and business operations in Singapore. We can help you with your needs!

READY TO SETUP YOUR SINGAPORE COMPANY & OPEN A CORPORATE BANK ACCOUNT?

Come down to our office or get in touch virtually for an assessment today.

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