If you are an international business looking to expand your operations in Asia or a safe location to store your funds, Singapore can be the perfect destination for you. The city-state is renowned for its world-class banking system, making it an attractive destination for businesses from around the world. However, choosing the right business account provider can be a challenge, with a range of options available from traditional banks to fintech companies. In this article, we will discuss some of the best business account providers in Singapore for international companies in 2023 in Singapore and highlight their key benefits and areas to consider.
When setting up a business account as a foreign business, there are several things to consider:
Based on these factors, let’s deep dive into the options available for international businesses.
Traditional banks, such as OCBC, DBS, UOB, and HSBC, allow overseas businesses to open accounts in Singapore. While these banks are highly secure, there are some areas to consider:
Opening a bank account in Singapore as a foreign business can be a challenging process. Banks typically do not disclose the list of countries they support, and some may require businesses to have a presence in Asia. The account opening process can take up to one month for non-Singaporean directors, and funds are only insured up to ~USD$56,000 (SGD $75,000) as part of the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) policy. Additionally, banks in Singapore charge hefty setup fees up to USD $1500, and require a high minimum balance, up to $150,000. Foreign exchange (FX) rates can also be a significant cost for businesses, with many banks offering unfavourable rates and hidden fees. If you have large FX transfers to make, these are significant costs to keep in mind.
Aspire is a fintech headquartered in Singapore with a presence over SEA. It’s backed by world-class venture capitals, including Sequoia, Lightspeed, Tencent, Paypal ventures, just to name a few. Aspire is also trusted by businesses worldwide, including Tech in Asia, Y Combinator, Endowus, Grain, Love Bonito, and more.
While Aspire has limited multi-currency accounts available at the moment, it provides the essentials such as USD and SGD with one of the best FX rates in the market. The benefits Aspire offers make it the top contender for international businesses looking to open a business account in Singapore. Click the link below to open an Aspire account.
Wise is a fintech headquartered in the UK and is a specialist in cross-border transactions. It offers both personal and business accounts. Here are some of its benefits:
There is a one-time setup fee of $31 to get multi-currency account details with Wise. Additionally, it's important to note that free local transfers in USD and SGD are not available with Wise. Costs can rack up if your business frequently makes these local transfers. Also, account opening time for Wise can take longer compared to other fintech like Aspire or Airwallex.
Airwallex is a fintech based in Australia that provides business account and payment gateway services. Here are some of the notable areas about their business accounts:
Compared to other fintech companies, Airwallex has a more limited reach, supporting only 51 countries. Additionally, when using Airwallex for foreign currency transactions, there is a markup of 0.6% applied to the exchange rate. If your business has large or frequent FX transfers to make, the cost from FX markups can accumulate quickly.
Setting up your business account doesn't have to be a complicated process, provided that your business is properly registered and you have all the necessary documentation to get started. The specific steps and requirements for opening an account may vary depending on the bank or service provider you select.
Online account services typically offer the option to upload your required documents electronically, which can expedite the verification process. In contrast, traditional banks may require you to visit a branch location to complete the account setup process.
For instance, Aspire, Wise, Airwallex are options that offer online registration and verification for business accounts. The specific documents needed for verification may vary, but typically include the following:
Finally, when considering opening a bank or fintech account for your business, it's essential to check if your business country of incorporation is supported by the provider. It's crucial to do your research beforehand, as not all providers support businesses from all countries. Another important factor to consider is the registration time required to open your business account. While some providers may have a simple and speedy account opening process, others may require a lengthy and complicated process.
Selecting the appropriate business account is crucial for the smooth management of your finances and for minimizing costs associated with everyday banking and financial services.
The ideal account for your business may be offered by a traditional bank in Singapore, or by a non-bank provider such as Aspire, Wise or Airwallex. Traditional banks may have been the go-to option for businesses. However, there’s an increase in digital alternatives, ready to disrupt traditional banks by offering better service, faster onboarding, and lower fees.
To ensure that you find the right business account for your needs, it's important to research and compare options from a variety of providers. This includes examining the different features and fees of traditional banks as well as newer, online options such as the Aspire Business Account. Click the link below to open an Aspire account today!