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Best business account in Singapore 2023

Written by
Marissa Saini
Last Modified on
March 28, 2024

If you are a Singapore-incorporated business looking for the best business account to manage your day to day operations, there are plenty of options available, from traditional banks to fintech providers. However, there are a number of considerations one should have when choosing a business account. This article will discuss some of the best business account providers in Singapore for local businesses in 2023, highlighting their key benefits and factors to consider.

Comparing business accounts in Singapore

Banks

Businesses have many options when opening a business account with a traditional bank in Singapore, including DBS, OCBC, UOB, Maybank and more. 

Key Benefits:

  • Various local transfer options including FAST, GIRO, PayNow.

While traditional banks may seem like the go-to choice for some, locally incorporated businesses will need to be aware of some considerations.

Areas to note: 

  • Opening a traditional business account is tedious, especially so for foreign directors who must provide additional paperwork and make physical branch visits to open an account.
  • Traditional banks often impose hefty account fees in the form of transaction charges and other service fees that can add up and eat into your profit margins. 
  • Many traditional banks do not offer free local transfers in SGD/USD, incurring additional fees that can add up as transaction frequency scales. 
  • Most banks impose high FX fees on international transactions, quickly compounding your overheads if your business makes or receives frequent international payments. Oftentimes, these fees aren’t transparent nor applied upfront. Meaning you won’t know how much your FX transfer actually costs until it’s been processed.
  • Traditional banks typically offer only one corporate card per account, with minimal perks on card spend and no cashback options. This lack of flexibility can be a disadvantage for businesses requiring multiple corporate cards or requiring flexibility in their company spending. 

Aspire

Aspire is a fintech company, headquartered in Singapore with a presence throughout Southeast Asia. It’s backed by world-class venture capitalists, including Lightspeed, Sequoia, Tencent, and Paypal Ventures, just to name a few. Aspire is also trusted by some of Singapore’s leading businesses and fast-growing tech startups, including Endowus, Tech in Asia, Love Bonito, Grain, Y Combinator and more.

Key Benefits:

  • Easy, free, and quick setup, 100% online with no additional setup or hidden fees.
  • No monthly fees, minimum balance, and initial deposit.
  • 100% free local SGD FAST transfers, with the ability to receive and send funds via PayNow.
  • Issue unlimited virtual cards with 1% cashback on digital marketing and software subscriptions.
  • Multi-currency accounts with best FX rates, up to 3x cheaper than banks.
  • Comes with free integrated receivables and payables management and option to add-on employee expense management.
  • Funds are safeguarded in Tier-1 bank in Singapore. 

With Aspire being a comprehensive all-in-one finance operating system for businesses of all sizes, the company can seamlessly serve all your business finance needs.

Our market-leading FX rates and ability to process 100% free local SGD FAST transfers make Aspire a top choice for local companies opening a business account in Singapore. As a Singapore-incorporated business, Aspire’s functionality to make PayNow payments will make your business operations more efficient, as your business can make CPF payouts to your employees. Furthermore, Aspire’s capability to receive payments via PayNow QR means that it is convenient to receive payments from customers, especially if you are a retail/F&B business. 

If you are a new Singapore-incorporated business or startup looking for a business account that is quick and easy to set up, Aspire has got you covered from the get-go. We are able to serve all your essential business transaction needs, while also providing add-ons that scale with your business, such as spend management and payable management. 

For established businesses making frequent local and international transactions, and looking for a business account that reduces the cost of transfers, bank transaction fees should be a major consideration, as these fees can add up quickly with the frequency of transactions. If you don’t want to incur hefty fees each time you make a transaction, Aspire is a great option that saves you money on transfers. Furthermore, we also provide additional perks like 1% cashback on card spend. 

Click the link below to open an Aspire account with us today! 

Wise

Wise is a fintech company headquartered in the UK and specialises in cross-border transactions. It offers both personal and business accounts. Here are some of its benefits:

Key Benefits:

  • Offers multi-currency accounts in USD, SGD and 7 other currencies.
  • Best FX rates, up to 3x cheaper than banks. 
  • Receive payments via PayNow.

Areas to note:

  • While still quicker than traditional banks, opening a business account with Wise still takes longer than other fintech platforms on the market, sometimes up to 10 working days. 
  • When you open a business account with Wise in Singapore, you'll need to pay a one-time fee of $54 to receive your Multi-Currency Account (MCA) details. These details are necessary for receiving funds into your account. While this fee may seem insignificant, it's an additional cost that other fintech companies might not charge.
  • One of the limitations of opening a business account with Wise in Singapore is the absence of free local transfers in SGD and USD. This means that every time you make a local transaction, you will incur additional fees. These costs can quickly accumulate, especially for businesses that require frequent local transfers.
  • Wise offers only one free card per business account in Singapore, and there is no option to issue more virtual cards. If your business needs additional cards, Wise charges $4 for each extra card. This limitation can be inconvenient for companies that require multiple cards for various employees or purposes.

Did you know that Aspire has partnered with Wise to offer leading SGD FX rates? This means that with Aspire, you can enjoy Wise's attractive FX rates (same fees on both platforms) within the convenience of Aspire’s all-in-one business account. It’s the best of both worlds. Click here to get started with an Aspire business account today. 

Airwallex

Airwallex, a fintech company headquartered in Australia, provides business account and payment gateway services. Here are some of its notable areas: 

Key Benefits:

  • Easy and quick setup, 100% online.
  • No setup and hidden fees.
  • Offers multi-currency accounts in USD, SGD, and 9 other currencies.

Areas to note:

  • PayNow is a widely used payment system in Singapore that allows for quick and convenient transactions. Currently, Airwallex's PayNow feature is exclusively available through their online payments API, and requires technical setup before merchants can enable PayNow QR payments in their e-commerce store checkout. However, users cannot will not be able to PayNow QR codes for receiving offline payments from suppliers and customers without integration, and cannot add these codes to invoices. This limitation may inconvenience physical retail/F&B businesses who frequently make offline transactions, as FAST transfers, though available, lack the simplicity of directly sharing your PayNow QR code.
  • While Airwallex offers competitive foreign exchange (FX) rates, they may still impose a markup of up to 0.6% on FX transactions. If your business frequently deals with international transfers, these costs can add up quickly and impact your overall profit margins.
  • Airwallex currently lacks the ability to make CPF (Central Provident Fund) payments directly from the account. As managing payroll is an essential business operation, this limitation presents a significant challenge for businesses looking to adopt Airwallex as their primary operating account.

Youbiz

Youbiz, the youngest player in the market - a fintech company headquartered in Singapore, provides personal and business accounts. Here are some of its notable areas: 

Key Benefits:

  • Easy and quick setup, 100% online.
  • No setup and hidden fees.
  • Offers multi-currency accounts in USD, SGD, and 9 other currencies.

Areas to note:

  • Like Airwallex, Youbiz business accounts are not enabled with PayNow capabilities. The lack of support for this transaction method can be a significant drawback for businesses relying on quick and easy transactions. 
  • No bulk payment support. Youbiz currently does not have bulk payment support. This may be a limitation if your company has to make bulk payments to employees/suppliers, as it will be inefficient and time-consuming to spend time making multiple payments each month.
  • Youbiz does not disclose the fees associated with SWIFT transactions, which can cause concern. The lack of transparency regarding SWIFT fees can make assessing the total expenses of using Youbiz's platform for your business account challenging.
  • While Youbiz offers lower FX rates than Airwallex, it still charges up to 0.4% on top of its transaction partner's markup. Similarly to Airwallex, these charges can add up quickly with frequent international transactions, affecting your bottom line. 

Consideration factors when choosing a corporate account in Singapore

In essence, choosing a corporate account provider will depend on your business’ specific requirements, and it is crucial to consider the below factors when it comes to choosing the right corporate account provider. 

Account fees 

Different banks and fintechs have varying account opening fees. This would be a point for consideration when choosing a favourable corporate account provider, especially if you are a new business which does not want to be paying many fees. 

Free local SGD transfers

Traditional banks typically only have limited free local SGD transfers, with subsequent transfers being chargeable. The fees might be small if you are a new business which does not have to make many transfers monthly, but they can quickly add up to become quite hefty as you scale. 

FX rates & fees

If you are a local business that has to make regular international transfers to suppliers or overseas employees, choosing a corporate account provider that provides preferential FX rates and fees will be imperative. 

Scalability

If you are a new business starting out, you would probably be considering the scalability of the provider that you choose, and if they would be able to continue serving your business’ needs as your company scales. It might make sense for you to choose a corporate account provider that will still be cost-efficient as your business grows and makes more transfers and adds team members . For example, Aspire offers add-ons such as spend management and payable management, which serves as an all-in-one platform. This can be really useful as your company scales up, as you will not need to look for other providers for additional software offerings and have to worry about migration challenges. 

How to open a corporate account in Singapore?

Now that we have covered the key consideration factors when it comes to choosing the right corporate account provider for your company’s needs, here are a few tips on opening a corporate account in Singapore. 

Setting up your business account can be simple as long as you have your ACRA details. 

Traditional banks may require you to visit a branch location for interviews and to complete the account setup process. In contrast, fintech companies typically offer the option to upload your required documents electronically, expediting the verification process.

For instance, Aspire, Wise, and Airwallex offer online registration and verification for business accounts. The specific documents needed for verification may vary but typically include the following: 

  • Proof of identity and address for the user
  • Certificate of shareholding
  • Business constitution or memorandum and articles of association
  • Proof of identification for the business director and majority shareholders
  • Board resolution (if applicable)

Another essential factor is the registration time required to open your business account. While some providers may have a simple and speedy account opening process, others may need a lengthy and complicated process.

Conclusion

Selecting the appropriate business account is crucial for smoothly managing your finances and minimising everyday banking and financial services costs.

Traditional banks may have been the go-to option for businesses. However, there’s an increase in digital alternatives provided by fintechs, ready to disrupt traditional banks. A fintech like Aspire, for example, provides the functionality of a traditional bank account, while offering better service, faster onboarding, and lower fees.

For example, Aspire’s functionality of making payments via PayNow (coming soon) and free local transfers would meet your local business’ finance requirements, such as paying your SG workforce’s CPF contribution, with ease. 

To ensure that you find the right business account for your needs, it's essential to research and compare your options. This includes examining the options, features and fees across traditional banks and modern online alternatives like the Aspire Business Account to ensure you get the right account for your business.

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About the author
Marissa Saini
is a seasoned writer and an avid trendspotter across business finance, personal finance, travel and lifestyle industries. With writing history at SingSaver, INK, and ohmyhome, Marissa leverages her broad range of experiences to simplify finance and make readers financially savvy.
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