How to Open a Bank Account in Singapore

Claire Millard
Şeyma Mektepli
Last updated
12 September 2023

If you’re moving to Singapore to live, study or work, you’ll probably want an account to handle Singapore dollars for everyday spending. If you’re already in Singapore and have a local proof of residence and valid ID paperwork, opening a bank account with a traditional bank isn’t too hard. However, if you’re trying to get a SGD account set up ahead of time - or if you simply don’t have all your documentation yet - it’ll be a bit tougher to open a Singapore bank account with a regular bank.

The good news is that you have options. If you want an easier onboarding process, with no need to visit a bank branch in person, alternative solutions like online accounts from Wise or Revolut can help. More on that later.

Learn more about Wise

What documents do I need?

Whenever you open an account you’ll need to provide some documents for identification. This is to comply with the law and keep customers and their accounts safe.

In Singapore, the documents which are required - and the range of documents accepted - are different for a Singapore citizen or PR, compared to a foreigner in the country to live, study, work or visit.

If you’re a foreign resident in Singapore you may have a Singpass account. In this case you may be able to apply for a bank account using Singpass and Myinfo, which automatically completes much of your application using verified personal data. However, in most cases you’ll still need to provide proof of residential address either manually online or in person.

If you’re not using Singpass to register your accounts, the basic requirements for a manual application are similar in all cases:

  • Proof of identity - a government issued photo ID such as your passport or Malaysian IC

  • Proof of address

  • Proof of legal status in the country (Employment Pass, student pass or long term visitor pass for example)

When it comes to proof of address, there are a range of documents which may be accepted, such as a local utility bill, bank statement or letter from your employer or school.

In the vast majority of cases, traditional banks will require you to have a local Singapore address to get an account. A couple of Singapore banks also offer accounts to non-residents, but in this case you may need an introducer to vouch for your trustworthiness.

Save the paperwork with alternative solutions like Wise or Revolut

Most traditional Singapore banks want to see a proof of Singapore address - and if you’re a foreigner in Singapore you’ll also need to provide your pass to prove legal residency in the country. That’s all pretty easy if you’re established here already - but tricky if you’re not yet in Singapore, or if you just arrived and don’t have all of your paperwork yet.

Alternative online providers like Wise or Revolut offer an easy online account opening process for convenience. Wise accounts can even be opened using your Malaysian proof of address before you move to Singapore, to get set up ahead of time and still access SGD bank details, to hold, spend, send and receive Singapore dollars.

Different online providers have different account opening and verification processes - but in all cases you’ll find it’s easy to get set up online or through a mobile app, meaning you can get your SGD account faster, to hit the ground running once you arrive in Singapore.

Go to Wise

Read our full Wise review to learn more.

How to open a bank account in Singapore as a foreigner

The exact process required to open a bank account in Singapore will depend on the specific bank - and also whether you’re a Singapore citizen or PR, long term resident, or non-resident. Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents can often open an account entirely online using Singpass and Myinfo. By using Myinfo to complete your application with verified documents, you’ll probably not need to visit a branch or upload anything extra.

Long term residents in Singapore, who hold a valid pass, may also have a Singpass account. However, in this case, while you can often use Myinfo to complete a lot of your personal information, you’ll usually still need to either visit a branch or manually upload a proof of address document.

Foreigners who wish to open a bank account in Singapore may have a few additional requirements compared to local residents. These typically include providing a valid passport as identification, presenting an employment pass or work permit to verify their eligibility, submitting proof of a local address, and presenting a valid visa or entry permit. While processes can vary between banks, foreigners with a valid pass and proof of a local address should generally be able to open a bank account in Singapore without any significant hurdles.

Foreigners who wish to open a bank account in Singapore may have a few additional requirements compared to local residents. These typically include providing a valid passport as identification, presenting an employment pass or work permit to verify their eligibility, submitting proof of a local address, and presenting a valid visa or entry permit. While processes can vary between banks, foreigners with a valid pass and proof of a local address should generally be able to open a bank account in Singapore without any significant hurdles.

The basic steps to open a bank account in Singapore are typically:

  • Research banks and pick the right account for you

  • Check eligibility and gather all the required paperwork

  • Apply online or in branch, and complete the verification process

  • Hand over your opening deposit to get your account up and running

What do I need to know before opening a bank account in Singapore?

Before opening a bank account in Singapore, there are several key things you need to know. Firstly, as a foreigner, you must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid passport along with an employment pass, work permit, or student pass. Some banks may also require proof of address in Singapore, such as a utility bill or tenancy agreement.

It's important to note that different banks have varying regulations regarding the account opening process. While some may allow you to complete the process online, others may require a physical visit to a branch, so checking the specific requirements of the bank you choose is always recommended. Additionally, some banks may have additional requirements for certain types of accounts, such as investment accounts, where you may need to provide proof of income or investment experience.

Additionally, certain banks might require a minimum initial deposit, typically ranging from S$500.00 to S$5,000.00, depending on the bank and account type, and maintaining a minimum balance is often necessary to avoid fees and qualify for specific benefits. By being aware of these requirements and prepared with the required paperwork, you can confidently navigate the process of opening a bank account in Singapore as a foreigner.

Can I open a bank account in Singapore with only my passport?

To open a bank account in Singapore as a foreigner, you'll typically need a valid passport, alongside an employment pass, work permit, or student pass. These documents are necessary to verify your identity and legal status in the country. Additionally, some banks may require proof of address in Singapore, although this may vary depending on your chosen bank.

It's important to remember that each bank has its own account opening process, so the exact documents required may differ slightly. However, in most cases, you can expect to be asked for proof of identity, such as a valid passport or national ID card. Therefore, while your passport is a crucial document, it is usually not the only requirement for opening a bank account in Singapore.

Which account is best in Singapore for foreigners? 

Let’s look at a review of the best bank accounts in Singapore for foreigners, featuring a couple of the biggest banks in Singapore and a couple of online providers for comparison.

ServiceWiseRevolut DBS*UOB*
Currencies covered40+ currencies including SGD, GBP, USD and AUD25 currencies including SGD, GBP, USD and AUD13 currencies in the popular My AccountSGD in the One Account; up to 11 currencies in multi-currency account products
Open before you arrive in SingaporeYesOnly if you’re resident in the UK, the EEA, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, and the USNoNo 
Open onlineYesYesVaries based on your personal situationNo - although non-residents can open in a branch with an introducer
Opening fee$0 $0$0$1,000 minimum deposit
Maintenance fee$0 Varies by account tier but the Standard plan is free$2/month if you want paper statements$5/month fall below fee if balance is under $1,000
Online international transfersLow fee, varies by currencyFee varies by currency and payment valueFrom SGD account - 1/8% ($10 minimum - $120 maximum) + agent charges as required + 20 SGD cable charges + exchange rate markupFrom SGD account - 1/8% ($10 minimum - $100 maximum) + agent charges as required + exchange rate markup

*Profiled accounts are DBS My Account and UOB One Account. Other accounts are available.

Based on the information provided in the table, Wise and Revolut appear to be two of the best options for foreigners to open a bank account in Singapore. Both providers offer a wide range of currencies, including SGD, and allow for online account opening. They also have no account opening fees, and low fees for international transfers.

Go to Wise

DBS and UOB banks have specific requirements and limitations for foreigners, such as residency or introducers, and may have maintenance fees and higher minimum deposit requirements.

Wise account

Wise offers both personal and business multi-currency accounts which can be used to hold and exchange 40+ currencies, including MYR and SGD. You’ll be able to get a linked Wise debit card for easy spending, send payments to 80+ currencies, and get local bank details for up to 10 foreign currencies.

Open your Wise account using your Malaysian proof of address - before you even head to Singapore, to get currency exchange which uses the real mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees which can make international transactions much cheaper than with a regular bank. Read our detailed guide on Wise fees to learn more.

Account types: Malaysian residents can open a personal Wise multi-currency account with no minimum balance or monthly fees to pay. You just pay a low, transparent fee for the services you use. Singapore residents can also apply for Wise business accounts.

Eligibility: Wise offers accounts to customers in a broad range of countries - simply use your home proof of address to get your account open and access a SGD balance. The exact account services available may vary based on location, so check the Wise website for more information.

Is it safe? Wise is registered with both the Central Bank of Malaysia, MAS and a range of other global bodies in the other countries it trades in. Read Is Wise Safe? to learn more.

Go to Wise

How to open an account with Wise

Opening an account with Wise is very easy, and can be done online. Here is how to open a Wise account in Malaysia:

  1. Begin by downloading the Wise app on your mobile device or by visiting the Wise desktop site.

  2. Register an account using your preferred email address, Facebook, Google, or Apple ID.

  3. To verify your account, upload the required documents: your MyKad or passport and visa.

  4. Add funds to your newly created account in your choice of MYR, USD, or SGD.

  5. Open your MYR account details at no additional cost.

  6. Now you're all set! You can start using your Wise account straight away.

Later, if you need a linked Wise debit card, order one for a one-time fee of 13.7 MYR.

Go to Wise

Revolut account

As a mobile first provider, Revolut’s services are easy to use on the go - you can also log into the desktop site if you prefer. Choose a personal account for free or upgrade to a paid plan to unlock more features. All accounts can hold and handle 28 currencies, and some with options to budget, invest, save and exchange.

You’ll get a linked Revolut debit card for easy spending and withdrawals, and can also choose to open a Junior account for a family member if you’d like to.

Revolut isn’t yet available to Malaysian residents, but you’ll be able to open your account easily online once you have a Singapore proof of address.

Account types: Standard account plans are free or you can upgrade to a paid plan for up to $19.99/month.

Eligibility: Available to customers with addresses in the UK, the EEA, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Japan, and the US.

Is it safe? Revolut is registered with MAS in Singapore, and is a trustworthy provider to choose

How to open an account with Revolut

  1. Download the Revolut app from Google Play or App Store. Alternatively, input your mobile phone number on the Revolut website, and they'll send you a link to download the app.

  2. Open the app, type in your phone number, and set a 4-digit passcode for secure access to your account.

  3. Revolut will send a PIN to your phone via text message. Input this PIN into the app for account verification.

  4. Enter your personal details, such as your name, birth date, address, and email address.

  5. Make your initial deposit to the account from another bank account.

  6. To verify your identity, go to the 'Profile' icon in the app, choose 'personal details', and then 'verify your identity'. You'll need to take and upload a photo of a valid ID, like your passport, and a picture of your face.

  7. Lastly, select your preferred account plan. You can choose between a free or premium account with a monthly fee that provides additional features.

DBS My Account

While DBS has plenty of different accounts to choose from, we’ve highlighted the My Account as a popular and flexible option for people with a Singapore proof of address. You’ll be able to hold 13 currencies, and add in up to 150 banking services to tailor make the account in the way you need it. That means you can save, spend, invest and exchange all in the same place.

The My Account is available for individuals, but also as a joint account, including joint accounts for children where one account holder is a parent or guardian. This makes it a good teen account if you’re looking for a way to help your child manage their money safely.

Account types: DBS has accounts for individuals and businesses - the multi-currency My Account is one of the most popular personal account options

Eligibility: Available to Singapore citizens, PRs and legal residents

Is it safe? Yes. DBS is the biggest bank in Singapore, and fully regulated by MAS.

How to open an account with DBS

  1. Download the DBS Digibank mobile app.

  2. Within the app, select the application type.

  3. If you have Singpass, choose "CONTINUE WITH SINGPASS" for instant application via Singpass/MyInfo without paperwork or document upload.

  4. For foreigners, upload a photo of your passport (or the front and back of Malaysian IC for Malaysians) to open the account instantly.

  5. If you don't have Singpass, select "CONTINUE WITHOUT SINGPASS" and fill in your details manually, uploading the necessary supporting documents. You'll receive a notification once your application is processed.

  6. For foreigners, make sure to have your FIN number and Singapore (+65) mobile number ready.

  7. If you don't have Singpass, you can register for it online. Pro tip: Opt for face verification for instant registration.

  8. Ensure your Singpass/MyInfo profile is ready for use the next day for the new account application on your Digibank app.

UOB One Account

UOB is one of the biggest banks in Singapore, and has a full range of Singapore dollar accounts for spending and saving. If you’d rather manage your money across several currencies there are also multi-currency account options - while the SGD account we picked out to profile was the UOB One Account.

The UOB One account is a flexible SGD account which lets you earn up to 2.5% interest on savings, and 3% cashback on eligible card spend. Terms and conditions apply, including a 1,000 SGD minimum balance to avoid monthly fees. If you’re a non-resident, you might be able to open a UOB personal account if you have an introducer - but you’ll have to be in Singapore in person to get started.

Account types: UOB has a range of accounts including day to day use SGD accounts, and multi-currency accounts which let you hold and handle a range of currencies

Eligibility: Available to Singapore residents, or eligible non-residents with an introducer

Is it safe? Yes. UOB is an established bank which is regulated by MAS.

How to open an account with UOB

  1. Visit a UOB branch in person, as there is no online account option available for foreign customers.

  2. If you're a regular visitor to Singapore but don't live or work there, you may be eligible to apply for an account by attending a meeting at a UOB branch.

  3. Prepare the required documents, including proof of identification and residential address.

  4. Get a reference letter from your bank or an existing UOB customer.

  5. Head to a UOB branch and submit your application.

  6. Each application is assessed individually by UOB, so it's crucial to have all the necessary documents ready for the evaluation process.

    Please note that the account opening process for UOB requires an in-person visit to a branch and submitting relevant documentation.

What is a bank account in Singapore needed for?

If you plan to work, study, or frequently visit Singapore, opening a bank account in the country is essential. Having a local bank account allows seamless financial management by providing you with a means to hold Singaporean currency. Beyond convenience, having a local account can also lead to cost savings when making transactions in the Singapore dollar. Whether it's receiving your salary, paying bills, or making everyday purchases, having a bank account in Singapore simplifies your finances and enhances your overall experience in the country.

Benefits of opening a bank account in Singapore

  • Convenience: Having a local bank account in Singapore offers convenience for your daily financial transactions, whether you're living, working, or studying in the country.

  • Cost Savings: It can help you avoid foreign transaction fees and unfavourable currency exchange rates when conducting transactions in Singaporean dollars (SGD).

  • Salary Deposits: If you're employed in Singapore, having a local bank account allows for easy and direct receipt of your salary, streamlining the payment process.

  • Access to Additional Services: Opening a bank account in Singapore often grants you access to additional services such as debit cards, online banking facilities, and simplified loan and credit applications.

  • Efficient Money Management: A local bank account enables efficient tracking and management of your financial activities, providing the tools to budget and plan effectively for your financial goals.

    By taking advantage of these benefits, opening a bank account in Singapore enhances your financial capabilities and facilitates smoother financial transactions within the country.

Can I open a bank account online?

Yes, you can open a bank account online in Singapore. While major banks in Singapore offer online account opening services, eligibility often depends on factors like Singpass account status and citizenship or visa status. However, alternative providers like Wise and Revolut offer online account opening options. With Wise's multi-currency account and Revolut's personal account plan, you can conveniently open an SGD account online, regardless of your citizenship status. These options provide a user-friendly and hassle-free banking experience, allowing you to manage your finances with ease.

How long does it take to open a bank account in Singapore?

The time it takes to open a bank account in Singapore can vary depending on the specific financial institution you choose. However, the process is typically swift and efficient. For conventional banks, if you visit a branch in person, you can often have your account set up within minutes on the same day of application or within one week. On the other hand, digital financial platforms like Wise and Revolut can open bank accounts within minutes, offering a quick and seamless experience. Generally, the process takes approximately one week or less, depending on the bank or platform you select.

What are the types of bank accounts in Singapore?

When it comes to banking in Singapore, there are various types of bank accounts available to suit different financial needs and goals. Whether you require an account for day-to-day transactions, short-term savings, managing multiple currencies, or long-term deposits, Singapore's banks offer a range of options to cater to your specific requirements. Let's explore some of the common types of bank accounts available in Singapore:

  • Current Account: A transactional account used for daily financial activities, such as making payments, using a linked debit card, and transferring funds.

  • Savings Account: An account designed for short-term savings and emergency funds. It offers interest on deposits and provides convenient access to funds through online banking, debit cards, and ATMs.

  • Multi-Currency Account: This account allows you to hold multiple currencies, making it ideal for individuals who frequently receive or spend money in different currencies. It helps avoid foreign exchange costs and simplifies transactions in various currencies.

  • Fixed Deposit: Also known as a time deposit, a fixed deposit account offers higher interest rates than other accounts. It’s suitable for individuals looking to save and grow their money over a longer period. Funds are held for a specific duration, and early withdrawals may incur penalties.

These are some common types of bank accounts offered by banks in Singapore. Choosing the right account type depends on your financial goals, spending patterns, and the flexibility of access you require for your funds.

Can I open a bank account in Singapore before arrival?

If you’re not a Singapore resident, you’ll likely find the account options open to you from traditional banks are more limited. In many cases as a non-resident you’ll need to take an extra step like having an introducer. Some accounts are available to people who plan to move to Singapore but have not yet done so - but in this case you’ll usually need to provide a local proof of residence in person at a branch as soon as you arrive, to get full access to your account.

If you’re looking for an easier, more flexible alternative to manage your money in SGD before you get to Singapore, check out an online specialist like Wise.

How much does it cost to open a bank account in Singapore? 

Opening a bank account in Singapore is usually free of charge, with no fees for the opening process itself. Providers like Wise and Revolut offer free account opening, making it easy and cost-effective to get started. However, it's important to note that different account features and services may have associated costs. For example, premium accounts that offer overdraft facilities or credit cards may entail additional fees.

Additionally, while the account opening is free, there may be specific financial requirements to fulfil. Most bank accounts in Singapore require a minimum initial deposit, typically ranging from S$500.00 to S$5,000.00, depending on the bank and account type. It's also important to consider transaction fees that may apply depending on your account usage. While monthly service fees are generally not charged by Singaporean banks, falling below a certain average monthly bank account balance can lead to a "fall below fee." This fee, which can be as high as S$7.50 per month, is imposed when the balance falls below the threshold.

Each bank has its own fee structure, so reviewing the terms and conditions before opening an account is advisable. For instance, United Overseas Bank (UOB) requires an initial minimum deposit of at least S$500.00 for a standard current account and charges monthly fees ranging from S$2.00 to S$7.50 if the average daily balance falls below the required amount. Similarly, Maybank Singapore typically requires a minimum initial deposit of S$500.00 for savings accounts and S$1,000.00 for current accounts, with a small monthly service fee of around S$2.00 to maintain the account.

Is it possible to open a fee-free account in Singapore?

Opening a fee-free bank account in Singapore is possible. Basic bank accounts in Singapore typically don't charge any fees for the account opening process. However, some banks may require a minimum deposit to get started. In recent years, online financial services providers like Wise have gained popularity for offering fee-free account services.

One example of a traditional bank account is DBS Bank's DBS My Account, an all-in-one account that allows you to save, spend, pay bills, and more. It offers the convenience of storing up to 13 currencies without foreign exchange conversion fees. With DBS My Account, there are no initial deposit requirements, minimum balance requirements, or service fees for customers on eStatement – resulting in no fees or minimum balance to worry about.

By opting for fee-free account options like DBS My Account or exploring offerings from online financial services providers like Wise and Revolut, you can enjoy the benefits of a bank account in Singapore without incurring unnecessary charges or fees.

What are the additional costs?

When maintaining a bank account in Singapore, besides the potential zero opening fees, it's important to consider additional costs that may apply. These costs can impact the overall benefits of having the account. Here are some common additional costs to be aware of:

  • Maintenance Costs: These are regular fees, typically charged monthly, by the bank to keep your account open. The exact amount can vary depending on the type of account you have.

  • Withdrawal Fees: Some banks may charge a fee for withdrawing money, particularly if you use ATMs that are not part of your bank's network. It's advisable to check the specific terms and conditions regarding withdrawal fees.

  • Interest Charges: If your account includes a line of credit or overdraft facility, you may be charged interest on any amount you borrow or use.

  • Closing Fee: Some banks may impose a fee when you close your account, especially if it’s done within a certain period after opening.

  • International Transfer Fees: When sending money overseas, most banks charge a fee for international transfers. This fee can be in the form of a flat fee, a percentage of the amount sent, or a combination of both.

It's essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of any account before opening to understand the potential additional costs that may apply. By being aware of these costs, you can make informed decisions and manage your banking expenses effectively.

Tips for transferring money

Some of the highest fees you’ll come across when you open a Singapore bank account may be the charges associated with sending and receiving international payments. If you’re moving your money across borders check out these tips to save:

  • Banks typically use a marked up exchange rate - compare the exchange rate you’re offered against the rate you find on Google to check

  • International transfer fees tend to be complex and include several different charges - make sure you’re clear of all that will apply

  • Review the terms and conditions of your specific account to check if it’s cheaper to send your payment online - this is usually the case

  • Don’t forget that third party fees - also called agent charges - may be deducted as the payment is processed, and can mean your recipient gets less than you expect

Compare the costs of sending money with a traditional bank against the fees and rates available from an online specialist provider. Often specialists have lower fees, a better exchange rate, and a faster delivery time compared to your normal bank.

Tips for sending money between Singapore and the USA

When sending money between Singapore and the USA, it's essential to keep these tips in mind for a smooth and secure transfer:

  • Choose Wisely: Select the service that best suits your needs by considering factors such as cost, speed, and convenience.

  • Check Exchange Rates and Fees: Compare rates and fees across different services to ensure you're getting a fair deal.

  • Prepare Necessary Information: Have all the recipient's bank account details readily available to expedite the transfer process.

  • Stay Alert: Be vigilant for potential transfer scams. Only use trusted services and refrain from sharing sensitive information with unverified sources.

    There are different methods for sending money between the two countries:

  • Online Money Transfer Services: Platforms like Wise and PayPal offer quick and affordable international transfers. Wise, in particular, provides low fees and real exchange rates. PayPal, while not always the cheapest option, is widely used and suitable for peer-to-peer transactions.

  • Traditional Bank Transfers: Sending funds directly from your Singapore bank account to a recipient's US bank account is a convenient option. However, it may involve higher fees and less favourable exchange rates compared to other methods.

  • Multi-Currency Bank Accounts: Consider opening a multi-currency account with digital banks like Wise or Revolut if you frequently send money overseas. These accounts allow you to hold, manage, and send multiple currencies with minimal fees.

By comparing fees and exchange rates offered by different service providers, you can find the most cost-effective and efficient option for sending money to the USA.


Opening a bank account in Singapore is fairly easy if you’re already established here as a legal resident. However, if you’re a non-resident or a new arrival you might find you have to jump through a few more hoops to get an account with a traditional bank.

Another option - which may also save you money - is to go with an online specialist provider instead. Several online and digital providers let you open accounts using paperwork from wherever in the world you live, and access SGD bank details. That makes it much easier and cheaper to hold, send, spend and receive SGD - even if you’re not physically in the country yet.

Go to Wise


Can a foreigner open an account in Singapore?

Yes. Foreign legal residents in Singapore can open accounts with all major banks. However, if you’re a non-resident or want to open your account before arrival you’ll probably need to choose a specialist provider instead.

How much do I need to open a bank account in Singapore?

If you shop around - or choose an online specialist - you’ll be able to open an account with no minimum deposit requirement. However, many accounts from traditional banks do have minimum deposit rules - and you’ll also need to maintain a minimum balance to avoid extra fees.

Can I open a Singapore bank account online?

This varies depending on the bank and your personal situation. Some regular banks do have online account application processes, but these may only apply to Singapore citizens and PRs - check with the specific bank if you’re unsure. Or you can choose an online provider, which will let you apply and complete verification from the comfort of home.

Can I open a bank account in Singapore before landing?

Usually you’ll need to be in Singapore already to open an account with a regular bank. Instead look at account specialists like Revolut and Wise for an account which can handle SGD which you can open in advance.

How to apply for a bank account online in Singapore?

Applying for a bank account online in Singapore is a straightforward process. Choose a traditional bank or trusted digital provider like Wise or Revolut. Select the desired account type, complete the online application form, and submit the required documents digitally. With Wise or Revolut, the account setup can be completed within minutes. Once your identity has been verified and your account has been approved, deposit the minimum required amount to activate your account.