Top 10 banks in Singapore for businesses

Shermaine Tan8 min
GuidesBusiness tips
Top 10 banks in Singapore for businesses
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Starting a business in Singapore can be a rewarding move for new entrepreneurs or companies expanding to Asia. This venture requires some critical decision-making about which bank in Singapore to open an account with.

The country’s local and international banks offer a variety of services like deposit accounts, digital banking, and cross-border payments. However, some services will be more relevant to your business than others.

In this guide, we’ll take you through Singapore’s commercial banking landscape and offer an overview of the top banks for businesses. We’ll also cover fintech alternatives like Airwallex and why their business accounts might be a better fit.

Overview of banks in Singapore

Singapore is a key financial hub in Southeast Asia and a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. The Monetary Association of Singapore (MAS) regulates over 150 financial institutions1 that operate as full banks, qualifying full banks, or wholesale banks. 

While most of these institutions are foreign banks, Singapore’s three domestic banks - DBS Group, United Overseas Bank (UOB), and Oversea China Banking Corporation (OCBC) - form the cornerstones of the local economy. All three banks reported record-high net profits in 2023, earning net incomes of SGD 10.29 billion, SGD 6.06 billion, and SGD 7.02 billion respectively.2

With Singapore being a regional hub for multinational companies3 and home for over 4,000 startups4, the country’s banks have an array of services for businesses of all sizes and industries. Opening a corporate bank account is a straightforward process for locals and foreigners alike, as long as you’re a shareholder or proprietor of a Singapore-registered company. You may need to prepare these required documents:

  • ACRA business profile

  • Passport or NRIC

  • Proof of address for all company directors

  • Certificate of Incorporation

  • Board of Directors’ Resolution

  • Company Constitution

Our guide to opening a business bank account has more details on the application process and requirements.

Here are some of Singapore’s biggest qualifying full banks that offer business accounts. All these institutions cater to established corporations, while some offer services tailored to SMEs.

Banks in Singapore

DBS Bank (Development Bank of Singapore)

DBS is the largest bank in Southeast Asia by asset size.5 Apart from a large retail banking footprint in Singapore, they offer a comprehensive range of services for businesses of all sizes. SMEs can avail of services like DBS Multi-Currency Business Account, Fixed Deposit Account, working capital finance, and trade services. Meanwhile, established corporations have access to digital solutions and DBS’s industry expertise.

OCBC (Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited)

OCBC was founded in 1932 and has since grown to be the second largest bank in Southeast Asia by asset size.6 Their Business Growth Account, Business Entrepreneur Plus Account, and Multi-Currency Business Account are designed to help new entrepreneurs and SMEs scale their business. Meanwhile, established businesses and large corporations have access to a wide range of services that include transaction banking, treasury services, and investment banking.

UOB (United Overseas Bank) 

United Overseas Bank (UOB) is another major Singapore bank with a strong presence in Southeast Asia. In 2022, UOB acquired Citibank’s retail business in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand7, and have since won awards for best SME bank in the region.8

Singapore-based SMEs can choose from 3 business accounts, and get access to foreign exchange services, financing, insurance, and import services. UOB also offers commercial and corporate banking for multinational companies. 

BOC Singapore (Bank of China Singapore)

Bank of China (BOC) has been operating their Singapore branch since 1936, and provides comprehensive RMB business banking in the region.9 Businesses of all sizes can enjoy RMB services like deposit accounts, trade finance, corporate loans, and global cash management, which makes it a strategic choice for Singaporean companies who trade with mainland China.

Citibank Singapore 

Citibank has been operating in Singapore since 1902 and offers a full range of financial products for individuals and businesses.10 If you are a Citigold client, you can open a corporate banking account and enjoy services like cash management, trade finance and treasury options. You can also use the Citi Business Card, a credit card with higher limits that’s separate from your personal credit card limit.

CIMB Bank Singapore (Commerce International Merchant Bankers)

CIMB Bank is one of Malaysia’s largest banks and the fifth largest bank in Southeast Asia by asset size.11 In Singapore, they offer a suite of banking solutions like deposit accounts, cash management, and loans. 

They also connect halal businesses in ASEAN with the rest of the world through the CIMB Halal Corridor.12

Maybank Singapore 

Maybank is another leading Malaysian bank that offers robust business solutions in Singapore and the region. Their Singapore SME banking services include deposit accounts, e-Financing, PayNow corporate, insurance, and trade finance. 

Maybank also makes it easier for Singapore and Malaysia to do business with each other with services like instant fund transfers and preferential MYR rates.13 For halal companies, Maybank offers Shariah-compliant business loans, investments, and halal facilitation services.

Standard Chartered Singapore

Standard Chartered delivers a wide range of business services tailored to meet the unique needs of Singapore companies. They offer specialised solutions for SMEs such as working capital loans and government-backed SME loans. For larger firms, Standard Chartered has comprehensive payment services that reduce domestic and global transaction fees. They also offer a platform for centralising foreign exchange trades.

HSBC Singapore (Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)

HSBC has been operating in Singapore since 1877 and continues to offer a wide range of business services today. They provide services like international trade financing and cross-border cash management, which are ideal for businesses looking to expand overseas. 

HSBC stands out with its Global View platform, which lets you view all your global HSBC accounts on a single dashboard. As soon as these accounts are linked together, you can make secure cross-border transfers between them for zero fees.14 American Express Singapore

American Express (AMEX) Bank Singapore is well-known for their consumer credit cards, but they also offer a range of financial services for businesses. SMEs can issue AMEX Business Cards to their team, while corporations can avail of corporate cards, merchant accounts, and a business travel account.

Best digital bank alternatives for business accounts in Singapore

Singapore is also Southeast Asia’s fintech hub, with 40% of the region’s firms headquartered here.15 Local businesses that prefer digital-first solutions tend to use fintech firms instead of traditional banks, especially when they offer cost or time savings on international payments, corporate card issuance, and currency exchange.

Some popular fintech business accounts include:

  • Airwallex. Our solutions are tailored for businesses with global ambitions. With our all-in-one Business Account, you can simplify global payments while reducing costly transfer fees. Instantly create 23+ local currency accounts, send money to 150+ countries in 60+ currencies at interbank rates, and accept eCommerce payments worldwide from 160+ local payment methods.

  • Wise. Formerly known as Transferwise, Wise offers international money transfer service, multi-currency wallets,  low-cost international transfers, and global ATM withdrawals for consumers and businesses. Wise also lets businesses accept payments in 9 currencies via local bank details and send bank transfers to 80+ countries. Here is how Wise compared to Airwallex.

  • Aspire. Founded in Singapore in 2018, Aspire is a fintech solution for SMEs who need to convert leading currencies, handle local payroll, and manage expenses.

  • Payoneer. Freelancers and businesses can use Payoneer to receive overseas payments, handle business expenses, convert currencies, and get a capital advance based on their monthly payment volume.

  • Revolut. This UK-based financial technology also offers a multi-currency wallet, payments, and currency exchange to consumers and businesses. Their Business Account is not yet available in Singapore.

Opening a fintech business account in Singapore

Fintech firms also require documents that verify your business’s registration in Singapore, as well as authorised IDs and proof of address as the business owners.16 The only difference is that the application is done entirely online, and there is no need for an in-person visit.

How does Airwallex help businesses save time and money with their banking services?

If you prefer the flexibility and cost savings of fintech, look no further than Airwallex. With our all-in-one Business Account, you can open 23+ multi-currency Global Accounts, send low-cost international payments, issue multi-currency debit cards, automate bill payments, and more. We’re regulated by the MAS and licensed as a Major Payment Institution. Our customers’ funds are safeguarded according to MAS requirements.

Airwallex can be a smart choice for businesses that need….

  • Multi-currency Global Accounts. No need to create a bank account in markets where you operate. Airwallex’s Global Accounts lets you easily receive payments in USD, GBP, and 20+ other currencies without incurring any transaction fees. It comes with a dedicated account number along with a local branch and bank code, so you can receive, hold, and spend foreign currency without unnecessary conversion.  Find out how Hey Chips set up overseas business accounts with Airwallex quickly, thus avoiding time-consuming bank visits and accelerating their overseas expansion.

  • Fast, low-cost international payments. Money sent from your Global Accounts are processed through local payment rails, which lets you bypass the SWIFT network and avoid hefty SWIFT fees. 70% of overseas transfers arrive on the same day. Businesses like igloohome have used Airwallex to save SGD 100+ per SWIFT transfer.

  • Interbank exchange rates. Airwallex gives you access to interbank exchange rates - the real exchange rates banks use to trade currency, minus the hefty markup. We charge market-leading exchange rates and offer currency risk management features so you can lock in your preferred exchange rate.

  • eCommerce payment gateway. Airwallex’s payment gateway lets you accept payments in 180+ currencies using 160+ local payment methods. Unlike other payment gateways, we offer like-for-like settlement in USD, GBP, and 9 other leading currencies, which means you can avoid unnecessary conversion to SGD when you accept payments in these currencies. We also offer competitive gateway fees for various payment methods. See how Dreamcore uses Airwallex' to combat rising payment gateway fees.

  • Borderless Cards. Instantly issue unlimited virtual and physical Borderless Cards for free. Pay for business travel, social ads, and other expenses wherever VISA is accepted using the currencies in your Airwallex account. You also get unlimited 1% cashback on all domestic and international spend in all categories. See how PURE Group’s employees use Borderless Cards to handle business expenses in USD, SGD, and HKD.

  • Streamlined expense management. Automate manual bill payment and accounting tasks with Airwallex’s bill pay and expense management. Send batch transfers for up to 1,000 recipients across countries, currencies, and transfer methods simply by uploading a file. Integrate Airwallex with Xero and other leading accounting software for instant reconciliation. Find out how much time Little Blossom saved by using Airwallex to streamline their accounting, employee expenses, and bill payments.

Discover what Airwallex can do for your business and create a free account today.

Frequently asked questions

1. Can foreigners open a business bank account in Singapore without an employment pass?

Non-residents without an employment pass may be able to open a corporate bank account in Singapore if they are a partner or shareholder of the business. Check your financial institution’s requirements, as each one has their own policies for non-residents.

2. What are the required documents to open a business bank account in Singapore?

Prepare the following documents before you open a Singapore business bank account:

  • Certified True Copy of Company’s Business Profile from ACRA

  • Certified True Copy of Certificate of Incorporation

  • Certified True Copy of Resolution 

  • Board of Directors Resolution

  • Certified True Copy of Company’s Constitution

  • Certified True Copies of the passport/Singapore IC of the company directors, authorised signatories, and Ultimate Beneficiary Owners.

  • Certified True Copies of Proof of Residential Address of the company directors, authorised signatories, and Ultimate Beneficiary Owners

  • Completed Corporate Account application forms, signed by authorised signatories

Requirements vary slightly across financial institutions, and additional documents may be requested.

3. What are the main benefits of using a digital bank for business accounts in Singapore?

Digital banks in Singapore can offer business accounts with no minimum deposits and low fees compared to traditional banks. They are easier to apply for and set up, as all documents are submitted online and in-person visits aren’t required. Additionally, digital banks often integrate with other business software so you can automate manual financial operations and enhance efficiency.

4. Which bank in Singapore offers the highest fixed deposit rate?

The bank offering the highest fixed deposit rate in Singapore can vary. It's best to compare rates from major players like DBS, OCBC, and UOB, as they frequently offer competitive terms.  

5. What are the typical banking hours for commercial banks in Singapore?

In Singapore, commercial banks are open from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on weekdays, but some branches open as early as 8:30 am while others operate on weekends. (https://www.abs.org.sg/consumer-banking/consumers/banking-hours) Check your preferred branch’s operating hours to confirm. Many banking services are also available online, allowing businesses to perform transactions outside banking hours.

Sources and references

1. https://eservices.mas.gov.sg/fid

2. https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/singapore-banks-earnings-momentum-to-lose-steam-on-funding-costs-rate-cuts-80863926

3. https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/singapore-emerges-as-a-new-business-building-hub

4. https://www.statista.com/topics/10174/startups-and-venture-capital-in-singapore/

5. https://www.dbs.com/about-us/default.page

6. https://www.ocbc.com/group/about-us/group-business.page

7. https://thedigitalbanker.com/uob-connects-retail-banking-prowess-with-regional-ambitions-for-big-success/

8. https://www.euromoney.com/article/2bqhxzbzhrvg3xkfwm58g/awards/awards-for-excellence/asias-best-bank-for-smes-2023-uob

9. https://www.bankofchina.com/sg/aboutus/ab1/201001/t20100120_955880.html

10. https://www.citigroup.com/global/about-us/global-presence/singapor

11. https://www.cimb.com/en/who-we-are/about-us.html

12. https://www.cimbislamic.com/en/our-businesses/the-cimb-halal-corridor.html

13. https://www.maybank2u.com.sg/en/business/local-enterprise/cross-borders/index.page

14. https://internationalservices.hsbc.com/international-banking/global-view-global-transfers/

15. https://fintechlab.nus.edu.sg/what-makes-singapore-aseans-fintech-hub/

16. https://help.airwallex.com/hc/en-gb/articles/900001756886-Verifying-your-business-in-Singapore

***Note: This publication does not constitute legal, tax, or professional advice from Airwallex nor substitute seeking such advice, and makes no express or implied representations / warranties / guarantees regarding content accuracy, completeness, or currency.

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Shermaine Tan
Manager, Growth Marketing

Shermaine leads the development and execution of content for businesses in Singapore and the SEA region.

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