Singapore Banking and Financial Services: Ultimate Guide

Singapore banking and financial services are suitable for foreign non-resident individuals and entities that can make qualifying deposits, meet strict onboarding criteria, and can demonstrate suitable ties.

In this article, we’re exploring the banking and financial services that individuals and companies can access when opening a Singapore bank account from abroad.

This will include an overview of the available services offered by Singaporean banks, the services Singaporean banks do not offer, and a comparison of Singapore and other banking jurisdictions.

The insights shared below are based on our team’s experience banking in Singapore as well as helping our premium members successfully open (and benefit from) Singapore bank accounts 100% remotely.

If you would like access to our free country guide and complete series on banking in Singapore, use the link above to unlock access now.

Alternatively, keep reading to learn more about the banking and financial services that you can access as a foreign non-resident when banking in one of Southeast Asia’s most popular banking jurisdictions.

Table of Contents

  1. Singapore Banking Services
  2. What Banking Services Are Available in Singapore?
  3. What Banking Services Are Not Available in Singapore?
  4. How Does Singapore Compare to Other Jurisdictions?
  5. Benefits of Singapore Banks
  6. Frequently Asked Singapore Banking Questions
  7. Do You Want Help Opening a Singapore Bank Account?

Singapore Banking and Financial Services

Singapore banking and financial services include personal retail banking, local business banking, offshore banking for individuals and entities, payment cards, credit facilities, banking for trusts and foundations, and private banking & wealth management.

In other words, depending on your client profile, you can get access to everything from personal banking in Singapore to private banking. That said, depending on which of the 158 banks in Singapore you decide to open an account with, the specific services you’ll be able to access will vary.

Not surprisingly, those banks with an international division will offer services tailored to non-residents looking for an offshore bank account in Singapore, while the larger domestic banks in Singapore are typically looking for clients with ties to Singapore or neighboring countries. That said, in certain instances, these banks can still be accessed.

In the following sections, we will take a closer look at the specific services foreigners, non-residents, and foreign entities can access in Singapore. We will also discuss the costs of banking in Singapore for various account types.

But first, as a quick recap, here is a list of the Singaporean banking and financial services that most foreign non-residents can unlock when banking in the country.

Singapore Banking and Financial Services

  • Access to sophisticated banking and financial services
  • International investment accounts
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • Payment cards tied to Singaporean bank accounts
  • And more

What Banking Services Are Available in Singapore?

While banks in Singapore offer a wide range of services to their customers, foreign non-residents looking to bank in the country will typically have access to premier and private banking services. In other words, if you are looking for a basic offshore bank account, transactional accounts, and low deposits then you should consider opening elsewhere instead.

That said, Singapore banks may be a suitable option for anyone with local or regional ties in certain countries. Likewise, anyone looking for banking with exposure to the official currency of Singapore as well as certain foreign currencies, may want to look at banking here. However, the standard minimum deposit requirements still apply.

Of course, the specific services, account types, and investment options that each Singaporean bank offers will vary. So, if you are looking to bank in Singapore to access specific services, you should confirm whether these services are available before applying. This is especially important if you are looking to open a business bank account in Singapore, as the available services and costs can vary widely.

To help you better understand which banking services you can access in Singapore, we’ll break down the services that non-resident individuals, businesses, and entities can unlock in Singapore below.

We’ll also review a few of the non-banking and financial services that Singapore has to offer, which are important for anyone considering Singaporean residency, Singapore investments, or starting a business in Singapore.

Foreign Non-Resident Banking Services in Singapore

The banking and financial services that foreign non-resident individuals can access in Singapore vary by citizenship and residency. However, applicants that most banks accept in Singapore can typically access the following:

  • Singapore premier or private bank account
  • High-yield savings accounts
  • Fixed-term deposits
  • Support for domestic Singaporean transfers
  • Support for international transfers
  • International debit and credit cards
  • Strong online and digital banking platforms

If you would like to access these personal banking services, you can start by reviewing our guide on opening a personal bank account in Singapore by clicking here. Alternatively, you can dig into the requirements for opening a Singapore bank account by clicking here.

Singapore Business Banking Services

The banking and financial services that foreign non-resident businesses can access in Singapore include the following. However, it’s first important to point out that opening a bank account in Singapore for a foreign non-resident business is very challenging. The business will need to demonstrate very strong ties to Singapore and a clear rationale for opening, and will likely be asked to provide additional supporting documentation for both the business and the shareholders. If you are able to successfully open an account, then the following services will be accessible to you.

  • Checking account to send and receive transfers
  • Fixed-term deposits
  • Support for domestic Singaporean transfers
  • Support for international transfers
  • International debit and credit cards
  • Strong online and digital banking platforms

If you would like to access these business banking services, you can start by reviewing our guide on opening a business bank account in Singapore by clicking here.

Singapore Private Banking Services

If you are looking to open a private bank account in Singapore, you will be able to access the following private banking and wealth management services. That said, each bank will vary in terms of services, fees, and accepted clients, so it’s important to compare your options prior to applying.

  • Sophisticated private banking and wealth management services
  • Access to a wide range of international investments
  • Foreign currency trading across most major currencies
  • Account opening for individuals, holding companies, and wealth management entities

If you would like to access these private banking services, you can start by reviewing our guide on opening a private bank account in Singapore by clicking here.

Sophisticated Banking and Financial Services

In short, when it comes to foreign non-residents, Singapore typically caters to individuals seeking stable banking jurisdictions with high deposits. Accounts can be opened with USD 180,000 to USD 3,000,000 from abroad. This means that the entire account opening process can be completed from the comfort of your home. However, Singapore banks have strict citizenship and residency requirements, which can limit a wide range of applicants. With this in mind, if you are prepared to make a qualifying deposit to open a bank account in Singapore, you may also wanty to consider opening an account in other premier and private banking jurisdictions instead. This is especially important for individuals from most Western countries (e.g. European countries and North America), who will likely struggle to open here.

Support for Cross-Border Transactions

If you do end up banking in Singapore, you will find that Singapore banks can support cross-border transaction activity in most countries. That said, as a major financial center that abides by international regulations, sending money to Singapore from countries that are included in international watch lists will cause delays and additional due diligence requests. Examples of these lists include the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list of Jurisdictions under increased monitoring, the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, and the UK list of high-risk third countries for AML purposes. While this does not necessarily impact opening Singaporean bank accounts, it does mean that you should confirm whether banking in Singapore meets your transaction needs before opening accounts.

Singapore Non-Banking and Financial Services

As mentioned, Singapore’s banking and financial services are among the best in the world. So, it should be no surprise that an ecosystem of non-banking and financial services has emerged to support the inflow of foreign and non-resident depositors. This includes an array of additional services, ranging from corporate service providers to payment providers, director services to accountants. With this in mind, here is a look at the non-banking and financial services that you can access through Singaporean service providers.

  • Corporate structuring of Singaporean entities
  • Nominee director services
  • Payment and merchant services
  • Accounting and professional services in Singapore

Importantly, the level of service, communication, and competency can vary widely in Singapore. So, it’s important to seek out Singaporean firms that specialize in your area of interest, have reviews from trusted sources, and are able to support you in your preferred language.

Which Banking Services Are Not Available in Singapore?

While Singapore is an offshore banking hub, there are limits on the services that you can access in the country. These service limits are particularly relevant for restricted profiles that will have difficulties opening here. In most cases, restricted profiles (clients from various European and North American countries) will find a wider range of services and fewer restrictions available elsewhere. With this in mind, while Singapore is one of the best jurisdictions in the world, it’s important to consider all of your banking options before applying for accounts.

How Does Singapore Compare to Other Jurisdictions?

Compared to other international banking jurisdictions, Singapore is stable, reputable, and home to some of the best banks in the world. With this in mind, it is best suited to high-net-worth individuals seeking an offshore banking jurisdiction to manage a portion of their assets. In other words, Singapore is not a transactional banking hub where non-residents should expect to open accounts and move money in and out. This is reflected in the many private banks that are licensed here along with the specific services they offer.

Not surprisingly, the cost of banking in Singapore reflects the type of services offered. That said, when compared to other jurisdictions, Singapore banking is reasonable. Of course, depending on your profile, Singaporean banks may not be the best fit for you as there could be better-suited banking jurisdictions elsewhere. And, like all jurisdictions, there are specific risks to banking in Singapore that you should consider, which we outline in this article.

Benefits of Singapore Banks?

In short, the benefits of banking in Singapore will depend on your client profile, desired deposit, expected transactions, your reasons for banking in Singaporean, and the Singaporean bank you decide to open with.

That said, there are general benefits that most people can expect when banking in Singapore, which include the following.

Benefits of Opening With Singapore Banks?

  • Low initial deposits of USD 100,000 (for some applicants)
  • Remote account opening for most clients
  • Accepting of most citizenships and residencies

Benefits of Banking in Singapore?

  • Stable correspondent bank relationships
  • Stable political environment
  • Stable economic environment

These are just a few of the general benefits that you can access when banking with some of the best banks in Singapore. Of course, if you would like to start exploring your options you can use the free Singapore banking guides linked above. Alternatively, if you would like to explore a list of the banks in Singapore that might be worth considering, you can click here now. This list includes some of the largest banks in Singapore, including both domestic and international financial institutions.

Frequently Asked Singapore Banking Questions

Below are a few questions we receive from people exploring banking and financial services in Singapore. If you have further questions you would like answered about banking in Singapore don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

Is Singapore Good for Banking?

Yes, Singapore is very good for banking. In fact, Singapore is one of the best banking jurisdictions in the world. In addition to reputable domestic and international banks, Singapore’s banking sector is managed by highly competent regulators. As a result, opening a bank account in Singapore is difficult, deposits are high, and the level of service and competency you can expect is among the best in the world.

Can Foreigners Open Bank Accounts in Singapore?

Yes, foreigners can open bank accounts in Singapore. However, foreign non-residents need to pass strict onboarding requirements. Additionally, Singapore banks have restrictions for foreign non-residents from a wide range of countries, both in terms of citizenship and residency. So, bank selection is a key factor to consider when choosing where to open bank accounts in Singapore as a foreigner.

Why Do People Bank in Singapore?

People bank in Singapore because of its well-established, stable, and reputable banking sector. Not to mention, the fact that banks in Singapore are some of the best banks in the world. However, banking in Singapore is often reserved for individuals or entities that are willing to make deposits between USD 180,000 and USD 3,000,000.

Which Services Should You Consider in Singapore?

Singapore is well-positioned to offer banking and financial services to foreign non-resident individuals seeking premier and private-level banking. However, individuals who are currently resident in a number of different countries will struggle to access anything more than basic banking services. That said, account opening is still possible when a qualifying deposit can be made.

How Does Singapore Compare Regionally?

Singapore is significantly better placed to serve foreign non-resident individuals and entities than several other offshore jurisdictions in Southeast Asia. This is especially true when you consider the safety of Singapore banks and the stability of Singapore’s correspondent bank relationships. In fact, a large number of Singapore’s non-resident banking clients come from Southeast Asia, though the same opening qualifications still apply.

Do You Want Help Opening a Singapore Bank Account?

If so, you can access GlobalBanks IQ and start applying for Singapore accounts in just a few clicks.

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In fact, GlobalBanks IQ even helps non-resident, foreign and offshore entities open bank accounts.

To learn more about opening accounts with GlobalBanks IQ, click here now. Or, contact us directly with any questions!

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