How to Open a Private Bank Account in Singapore

Singapore private bank accounts are suitable for foreign non-residents looking to deposit between USD 1,000,000 and 5,000,000. Individuals looking for lower deposits should consider Singapore premier banking, which starts at USD 180,000.

In this article, we’re sharing how to open a private bank account in Singapore for foreign non-resident individuals and entities.

This will include the specific client profiles that can benefit from private banking in Asia, specifically Singapore, the benefits they can expect, and which alternative jurisdictions can be considered instead of Singapore when it comes to private banking.

If you would like access to our free Singapore banking series, click the link above and unlock our team’s expert take on Singaporean banks, Singapore banking requirements, personal and business banking in Singapore, and much more.

You can also use the table of contents and jump to the section that matches your private banking needs in Singapore.

Table of Contents

  1. Open a Private Bank Account in Singapore
  2. Who Can Open Private Bank Accounts in Singapore?
    1. How Much Do Singapore Banks Want You to Deposit?
    2. Who Should Open Private Bank Accounts in Singapore?
    3. Benefits of Opening Private Bank Accounts in Singapore?
  3. How to Open a Private Non-Resident Bank Account in Singapore?
  4. Singapore Banking System: Private Banking
    1. Alternatives to a Singapore Private Bank Account
  5. Frequently Asked Singapore Banking Questions
  6. Ready to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

Open a Private Bank Account in Singapore

Singapore private bank accounts can be opened by foreign non-residents and wealth management entities from around the world. While deposit requirements vary, most Singapore banks expect USD 1,000,000 to 5,000,000 as a starting balance for private banking. That said, premier banking can be accessed at a number of Singapore banks with considerably lower deposits, usually starting between USD 180,000 and USD 300,000. 

Not surprisingly, Singapore is a banking jurisdiction that caters to individuals seeking established and reputable banks that command higher deposit levels. With this in mind, the top-notch banking services and the best banks in Singapore serve foreign non-residents who are high-net-worth individuals seeking private banking services.

That said, it is possible to open a wide range of bank accounts here. This includes opening non-resident account holdings and personal bank accounts in Singapore remotely. Of course, we’ll share the steps to open a private bank account in Singapore below. But, it’s also worth noting that certain financial institutions offer corporate holdings with Singapore business bank accounts for certain foreign and offshore entities.

Of course, in all instances, different clients may benefit from establishing a private banking relationship with a financial institution in Singapore. This is especially true for individuals who are willing to deposit account opening deposits and maintain high balances.

That said, Singapore banks do place restrictions on who they can (and cannot) serve. So, assessing your client profile and choosing the right bank prior to starting to apply is an important first step in opening private bank accounts in Singapore.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at who can open private bank accounts in Singapore.

Who Can Open Private Bank Accounts in Singapore?

Singapore private bank accounts can be opened by individuals with citizenship and residency in a wide range of countries. Likewise, Singapore banks are comfortable with complex sources of income and are willing to assess varying degrees of high-risk profiles. However, foreign non-residents from certain developed Western countries will struggle to open bank accounts here. Instead, Singapore banks have a preference for individuals with residency regionally and clear ties to Singapore. This preference for regional ties is true for personal banking, business banking, and private banking in Singapore.

Like elsewhere, private banking in Singapore is accessible to both individuals and wealth management entities. For clarity, wealth management entities include trusts, foundations, and holding companies. When it comes to overseas financial operations and offshore banking in Singapore, these wealth management entities can be structured in Singapore or in foreign and offshore jurisdictions and can typically access an offshore bank account with a qualifying deposit.

In short, there are several key criteria that will determine whether an individual or entity can open a private bank account in Singapore, which includes whether the applicant can pass the basic Singaporean AML and KYC process and whether they can make a qualifying deposit with a Singaporean bank.

How Much Do Singapore Banks Want You to Deposit?

In most cases, the deposit institutions and banks in Singapore expect clients to deposit a minimum of USD 1,000,000 in order to open a private bank account. That said, certain Singaporean banks do request considerably more, up to USD 5,000,000.

As we’ll explain below, we view these deposit requirements as very high when considering the alternative banking jurisdictions that offer comparable services. This is true whether you’re comparing the major finance firms and largest banks in Singapore or the smaller banks that generally cater to international clients.

However, if you are already planning on depositing between USD 1,000,000 and 5,000,000, then Singapore banks may be the best choice when it comes to the security and safety of your funds.

Who Should Open Private Bank Accounts in Singapore?

Due to the security verification process, the banking requirements of Singapore banks, and the availability of more accessible jurisdictions with similar deposit levels, most individuals should consider all of the available private banking options before applying to Singapore banks.

However, as mentioned, private banking in Singapore can offer value to certain client profiles. These profiles include individuals who are willing to deposit up to seven-figure balances and individuals looking to establish banking relationships with some of the best banks in the world.

With this in mind, here is a look at the common benefits that people can expect when opening a private bank account in Singapore.

Benefits of Opening Private Bank Accounts in Singapore?

  1. Banks here are financially sound and well-capitalized
  2. Bankers are sophisticated and understand international clients
  3. Singapore has strong banking regulations to protect depositors
  4. Customers can access a wide range of wealth management services
  5. Most nationalities and residencies can bank in Singapore

Not surprisingly, Singaporean citizens and residents will likely unlock different specialty advantages and Singapore banking benefits than non-residents.

If you fit into the categories mentioned above or you’re specifically seeking one of the above benefits, private banking in Singapore may be worth exploring.

How to Open a Private Non-Resident Bank Account in Singapore?

To open a private non-resident bank account in Singapore, individuals need to complete the following steps:

  1. Select a Singaporean bank that accepts your client profile and matches your desired private banking services
  2. Complete the Singaporean bank’s account opening application, including the standard KYC and AML questionnaires
  3. Obtain necessary document verifications requested by the Singaporean bank
  4. If you are opening a private bank account in Singapore remotely, you may need to mail original copies of all documents to Singapore
  5. After the account opening process is complete, the Singaporean bank will give you between one and two weeks to make the account opening deposit

It’s important to note that each Singaporean bank has slightly different deposit requirements. With this in mind, it’s important to explore all of the private banking options, including what benefits of a private bank in Singapore are available to you to find banks that you qualify for before applying.

And, as mentioned above, you should also compare Singapore’s banking system to other alternative options. This is especially true when opening private bank accounts in Singapore, which demands a higher level of sophistication.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the Singaporean banking system, specifically for private banking, and see how it stacks up to global alternatives.

Singapore Banking System: Private Banking

Singapore’s banking system in terms of private banking is well established. This is due to the fact that Singapore is a highly regulated banking jurisdiction, is home to a wide range of domestic and international private banks, and has a stable economic and political environment. That said, banks here are very selective about who they open bank accounts for. And, when it comes to private banking, you also need to qualify financially.

Needless to say, there are more accessible banking jurisdictions available elsewhere compared to Singapore. And, in most cases, these more accessible options require lower deposits to open a private bank account. With this in mind, instead of accessing sophisticated financial features and banking services in Singapore, you could open accounts in private banking hubs like Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or Jersey, if they better match your needs.

That said, there are certain reasons that may make banking in Singapore unavoidable. One of these reasons includes gaining direct access to the Singapore dollar, Singapore’s official currency. On the other hand, if you need to use a money remittance service to send money to Singapore or send transfers out of Singapore, then opening a bank account in the country can make sense. However, the vast majority of private banking activities will not involve transactions.

Here is a look at some of the alternative jurisdictions that you might want to consider instead of opening a private bank account in Singapore.

Alternatives to a Singapore Private Bank Account

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Switzerland

When comparing jurisdictions, you should look at the specific operational disruptions and risks of banking in Singapore against the alternatives that you’re considering. Likewise, the account management fees and Singapore banking costs, including both opening and maintaining accounts should be considered.

If you would like to explore any of these alternative private banking options, you can get immediate access to banks in each of these countries in the GlobalBanks IQ Database. Use the link below to learn more about GlobalBanks IQ now.

Frequently Asked Singapore Banking Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people considering private bank accounts in Singapore. If you have further questions you would like answered, contact us directly.

How Much Do You Need to Qualify for Private Banking in Singapore?

To qualify for private banking in Singapore, most applicants will be asked to deposit between USD 1,000,000 and USD 5,000,000. However, individuals looking to deposit lower amounts will still be able to access premier banking with USD 180,000 to USD 300,000, depending on the bank they apply to. With this in mind, Singapore has premier and private banking options that suit a wide range of foreign non-residents from around the world.

Can a Foreigner Open a Personal Bank Account in Singapore?

Yes, a foreigner can open a personal bank account in Singapore. In fact, foreign non-residents from a wide range of countries can open a personal bank account in Singapore remotely. To do so, the individual will need to meet the account opening requirements and have a suitable client profile. Additionally, it’s important to note that not all banks in Singapore accept foreigners. So, it’s important to know which banks, branches, and even bankers to approach before applying to open an account.

What Are the Private Banks in Singapore?

The private banks in Singapore that are available to you will depend on your client profile, desired deposit level, banking services you require, and much more. That said, Singapore is home to a number of private banks including both domestic and foreign financial institutions.

Ready to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

If so, you can access GlobalBanks Insider and start the process of applying for an offshore account in a few clicks.

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And “yes!” GlobalBanks Insider is designed to help foreign and non-resident individuals and companies open bank accounts.

Use this link to see how GlobalBanks Insider can help you successfully open accounts.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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