Banking in Singapore

Information on opening a bank account in Singapore - what documents to provide - the credit and debit cards, payment methods, loans, cheques and more...

There are no exchange restrictions in Singapore so it is possible to bring in or take out any amount in any currency.

There are three types of banks in Singapore: full licence, restricted, and offshore banks. Only 27 out of the 127 banks in Singapore offer a retail banking service.

Not all banks are licensed to offer a retail banking service. It is important to determine the status of the bank and whether it offers the services required. Listed below are the major banks and the services each type offers.

Foreign retail banks

The following banks provide current and savings accounts, credit and debit cards, and mortgages. They also offer Supplementary Retirement Scheme and CPF Investment Scheme accounts, and accept fixed deposits under the CPF Investment Scheme and Minimum Sum Scheme.

Although several of these foreign retail banks offer debit cards, only Standard Chartered is a member of the Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS).

HSBC, Maybank, ABN AMRO, Citibank, and Standard Chartered operate a shared ATM system covering many locations and clients of one bank may use an ATM belonging to any of the other participants without paying transaction fees.

Foreign restricted banks

These banks are also designated "Full Banks", but there are restrictions on the services they can offer. They are limited to one location and do not offer full consumer banking services.

Singapore international banks (Singapore owned)

Wholesale banks

Wholesale banks may offer the same range of banking business as full licence banks, except that they may not:

  • open fixed deposit accounts of less than S$250,000
  • operate savings accounts
  • have any sub branches

Offshore banks

Offshore banks cater to investors who are interested in investing in other countries (beyond their home countries) through offshore banking.

Further Information

Investor alert: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) regulates firms offering financial services and each is issued with a licence. It is not advisable to deal with any company providing financial services that is not licensed by MAS.

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