OCBC business banking: Business account for SMEs - Complete guide

Shermaine Tan8 min
GuidesBusiness tips
OCBC business banking: Business account for SMEs - Complete guide
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As your business grows, selecting the right bank or fintech partner for your business account is crucial. In 2013, the total international trade in merchandise and services surpassed over $2,000 billion USD.1 A business account provides access to essential financial products and services, including domestic and international payment solutions like bank transfer and PayNow Corporate as well as merchant services such as collecting card payments from customers.

One of Southeast Asia and Singapore largest banks, OCBC SME banking offers comprehensive business banking solutions tailored to growing businesses and start-ups, including a range of SGD and multi-currency accounts that suit diverse business needs.

This comprehensive guide covers OCBC's business banking solutions and compares fintech options like Airwallex, which offers all-in-one global business accounts. By the end, you'll have the information needed to choose the banking solution that is most suitable for your business.

OCBC business banking: Overview

Whether you are just starting out or looking to expand internationally, OCBC business banking provides three main business accounts designed to cater to different company sizes and stages of business growth. 

  1. OCBC Business Growth Account 

  2. The OCBC Business Entrepreneur Account Plus primarily serve businesses for their local SGD transactions

  3. OCBC Multi-Currency Business Account 

The Business Growth Account and Business Entrepreneur Account Plus primarily serve businesses for their local SGD transactions while the Multi-Currency Business Account enables businesses to transact in 13 currencies without the hassle of dealing with multiple foreign currency accounts.2 We’ll take a closer look at each account below.

1. OCBC Business Growth Account

The Business Growth Account is designed for small businesses who are just getting started with their operations or in their early stages of growth. This account offers a low initial deposit requirement of $1,000 SGD and a minimum monthly balance at the same amount, making it accessible for even businesses with limited capital to start. 

A monthly account fee of $10 SGD applies after the initial two months. In exchange, the account offers unlimited free FAST and GIRO transactions, making it a suitable option for businesses with frequent local payments. Additionally, this account provides a free business debit card with unlimited 1% cashback on all spending. All businesses registered in Singapore are eligible to apply for this account, while additional eligibility criteria may apply.

2. OCBC Business Entrepreneur Plus Account

The Business Entrepreneur Plus Account is tailored for more established businesses that can meet the account's $30,000 SGD initial deposit and monthly balance requirements. 

There are no recurring account fees, however, OCBC charges $0.10 per GIRO transaction and $20 SGD per over-the-counter branch transaction, with the first three branch transactions each month being free. This account also includes a free business debit card, providing up to 1% cashback on all spending. All businesses registered and based in Singapore are eligible to apply for this account, while additional eligibility criteria may apply.

3. OCBC Multi-Currency Business Account

The Multi-Currency Business Account is ideal for businesses engaged in international transactions as it allows them to trade in 13 currencies. Through this account, businesses can receive payments in foreign currencies from their customers without worrying about conversion fees or fluctuating exchange rates. 

In Singapore, 71% of businesses that have expanded internationally or intend to expand internationally believe that the domestic market is limited in size and that going global is the way to grow the business.6

At the same time, businesses can easily send money to an international bank account in various currencies using the Multi-Currency Business Account.

The account requires no initial deposit or set-up fee and there's no need to maintain a minimum monthly balance. The monthly service fee of $10 SGD can be waived if you are using the OCBC Business Growth Account. All businesses registered in Singapore are eligible to apply for this account.

How to choose the right OCBC corporate banking solution for your business?

Selecting the appropriate business bank account depends on your business's specific needs and growth stage. Consider factors such as transaction volumes, international trade requirements, and additional services like bulk payments and cash flow management tools.

With low minimum monthly balance and account fees to open and maintain the account, the OCBC Business Growth Account suits SMEs that are starting out and have tighter budgets. The Business Entrepreneur Account Plus, on the other hand, is targeted at more established businesses as it requires an initial deposit of $30,000 SGD and maintaining a monthly average balance above this amount. Unlike the Business Growth Account, it has no monthly account fee, which can be attractive for businesses with higher transaction volumes.

For businesses engaged in cross-border commerce, the Multi-Currency Account offers significant benefits by reducing foreign exchange risks and streamlining international transactions. Keep reading as we examine this account in more detail.

OCBC Multi-Currency Business Account: Overview and comparison

The OCBC Multi-Currency Business Account allows companies to hold and transact in multiple currencies, including USD, EUR, AUD, JPY, GBP, CNH, HKD, CAD, NZD, CHF, SEK, DKK, and NOK. By enabling businesses to transfer funds in their preferred currency like a local, it eliminates the hassles and the losses associated with currency conversions.

Businesses actively engaged in international transactions and cross-border commerce can reap substantial benefits from maintaining a Multi-Currency Account, including:

  • Paying overseas suppliers: By holding funds in the supplier’s currency, businesses can avoid the costs and complexities associated with frequent currency conversions, ensuring timely and cost-effective payments.

  • International payroll management: For companies with a global workforce, paying salaries in the local currencies of their international employees is a necessity. A multi-currency account simplifies this process, ensuring that employees receive their wages without delays or discrepancies caused by exchange rate fluctuations.

  • eCommerce transactions: A multi-currency account enables e-commerce businesses to accept payments in various currencies, providing their local and international customers with frictionless purchasing experience.

Businesses that frequently send money to China, such as paying their Chinese suppliers, should consider opening a Chinese business bank account. Given China's dominance in the global manufacturing sector — responsible for 28.7% of the world's manufacturing output in 2019 — many Singaporean businesses collaborate with Chinese suppliers as part of their supply chain production.7 Therefore, OCBC offers the Renminbi Business Account6, which allows businesses to hold and transfer funds directly in RMB without going through a third-party bank.

Meanwhile, companies registered outside of Singapore are not eligible for OCBC's Business Growth Account or Business Entrepreneur Plus Account. However, they can apply for the Business Foreign Account to manage their SGD transactions more efficiently.8 This SGD account provides international transfers at a $30 SGD flat rate in 60+ currencies. It requires a one-time $2,000 USD set-up fee and monthly fees of $50 SGD per month. Companies that hold the Business Foreign Account can also apply for a Multi-Currency Business Account to send money in 13 currencies. There will be a monthly account fee of $50 USD, with the first two months’ fees waived.

Alternative solution for international businesses: Airwallex business account

As businesses grow, many find it essential to open a multi-currency business account, especially those that receive payments in different currencies or conduct frequent international transactions. However, this process is often hindered by excessive paperwork and high fees typically associated with traditional banks. Digital banks and fintech solutions offering digital business accounts have emerged as an alternative to traditional banking, offering businesses a more efficient way to set up global accounts. In the digital banking industry, the global net interest income is expected to reach $2.03 trillion USD by 2024.9

One notable fintech solution is Airwallex, which streamlines the account opening process with a completely online account set-up, allowing businesses to open global accounts in mere minutes and immediately access a range of financial solutions including:

  • Global payment gateway that accepts customer payments in 160+ payment methods and 180+ countries

  • Global Accounts with local bank details in 23+ currencies in 60+ countries

  • Free virtual multi-currency corporate card for enhanced expense management

Moreover, many SMEs grapple with high transaction fees and complex procedures for their international transactions. Airwallex addresses these challenges by providing fast and affordable money transfers to over 150 countries through partnerships with local payment networks in more than 110 countries. There are no account opening or monthly maintenance fees, and transfer costs are low to zero for both domestic and international transactions, with market-leading exchange rates.

Sources: Airwallex, OCBC as of 1 May 2024

How to open an OCBC business account?

For OCBC business account opening, the applicant must be a Singaporean or PR and has an account for Singpass, CorpPass, or OCBC Personal Internet Banking.

Step-by-step account opening process

  1. Prepare required documents: Gather all necessary documents, including your business registration details such as company name or UEN (Unique Entity Number) and your identification details for Singpass or passport authentication.

  2. Application: Complete the online application form and upload your signature.

  3. Verification and approval: Once your application is verified and approved, you will receive your account details and can start using your new business account immediately.

Companies that meet OCBC's eligibility criteria can benefit from an online account opening process when they open a Business Growth Account. To qualify, businesses must be registered in Singapore, owned by Singapore citizens or permanent residents, and be opening their first OCBC Business Banking Account. If you're applying for a Business Entrepreneur Account, OCBC will contact you within 3 working days to follow up on your online application form.

Conversely, Airwallex offers a fully digital account-opening process, which can be completed quickly online without the need for physical branch visits, making it a convenient option for tech-savvy businesses. Businesses can simply submit the required business verification documents online and can access their Airwallex account immediately upon account approval.

How to manage your business accounts with OCBC online business banking tools

One of the benefits of holding an OCBC business account is access to their digital banking solutions, such as OCBC Velocity and OCBC Business App, which are designed to help businesses track and manage their finances more efficiently.

OCBC Velocity

By opening any OCBC business account, companies can gain access to the bank's internet banking platform, OCBC Velocity11, offering a range of business financial management solutions including:

  • E-invoicing: You can create and send electronic invoices directly to your clients, as well as keep track of whether the invoices are paid and receive collection reminders, reducing paperwork and improving efficiency in the bookkeeping process.

  • Account payable management: Receive and consolidate all your bills from your suppliers in one centralised dashboard. Get alerted on bill payments and set up automatic reconciliations to simplify the process of tracking and managing outstanding payments.

  • Cash flow monitoring: Keep a close watch on your cash flow with real-time data, enabling you to manage your finances more effectively and make informed financial decisions.

  • Payroll management: Utilise the Payroll Management feature to automate the payment of salaries to your employees. This feature supports batch payments, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

OCBC Business App

The OCBC Business Mobile App12 offers a convenient way to manage your accounts on the go, with useful features such as:

  • Global transfers: Make local and international transfers directly on your phone.

  • QR payments: Get paid faster by creating QR codes for your in-store customers to scan and pay, or by including QR code requests on your invoices.

  • Business insights: Access data on your sales, expenses, and cash flow trends to analyse your business health and make strategic decisions to grow your business.

Accounting software integration

Businesses can connect Xero to their OCBC business account easily.13 With this integration, transactions and balances can be automatically imported to the accounting software, saving time and allowing for more accurate financial reporting.

Likewise, Airwallex can be connected with accounting tools such as Xero and Quickbooks. With Airwallex's all-in-one dashboard, businesses can easily manage their customer payments, international transactions, currency exchange, and real-time expense tracking all in one place. From streamlining payments to overseas suppliers to managing global payrolls and accessing bank-beating FX rates, businesses can boost the efficiency of their financial operations using one single platform.

Conclusion

For SMEs and startups considering opening a business account, OCBC offers several options, including the Business Growth Account, Business Entrepreneur Plus Account, and Multi-Currency Business Account, each tailored to different business sizes and the business's need for international transactions. These accounts provide businesses access to OCBC Velocity and OCBC Business App, helping companies streamline their finances through added features such as cash flow monitoring, payroll management, and accounting software integration. Compared to OCBC, Airwallex offers a more cost-effective alternative with zero monthly charges and competitive FX rates. It also simplifies business financial management with a centralised platform offering fast and cost effective global payments to 150+ countries, corporate cards, expense management tools, and integrations with popular softwares. Sign up for a free Airwallex business account today and streamline your SGD and international payments right away.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is the minimum balance for an OCBC business account?

The OCBC Business Growth Account has a minimum monthly balance requirement of $1,000 SGD, while the minimum balance requirement for their Business Entrepreneur Plus Account is $30,000 SGD per month.10

2. How do I contact OCBC Bank for business?

You can get 24/7 assistance from the OCBC Business Banking Chatbot or call their hotline at +65 6538 1111 during office hours. You can also fill out a contact form on their website or visit any OCBC Bank branch to speak with a representative in person.14

3. How to login to my OCBC business account?

For OCBC business login, you can access your account via OCBC Velocity or OCBC Business Mobile App using your registered username and password.

4. How much is the OCBC Business Growth Account per month?

The account charges a monthly account fee of $10 SGD, waived for the initial two months.10

5. Which is the quickest business account to open?

Eligible Singapore-incorporated businesses can instantly open an OCBC Business Growth Account with their Singpass login or Airwallex Global Account online.

Sources and references

1.  https://www.singstat.gov.sg/modules/infographics/economy

2. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/articles/best-smes-accounts.page

3. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/accounts/business-growth-account

4. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/accounts/business-entrepreneur-account-plus

5. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/accounts/multi-currency-business-account

6. https://www.sbf.org.sg/docs/default-source/advocacy-policy/sbf-research-reports/sbf-sme-internationalisation-index/sme-internationalisation-index-report-(wave-4)_march-2023_report.pdf?sfvrsn=7c2e6eb_1

7. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/accounts/renminbi-business-account

8. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/accounts/business-foreign-account

9. https://www.statista.com/outlook/fmo/banking/digital-banks/worldwide

10. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/help-and-support/accounts-and-services/business-pricing-guide

11. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/business-tools/business-financial-management

12. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/business-tools/business-mobile-banking

13. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/smes/businaess-tools/xero

14. https://www.ocbc.com/business-banking/contact-us

***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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