Best Banks in Singapore

Fintech Harbor Consulting | Best Banks in Singapore
Reviewer: Bohdan Popovchenko
Reviewer: Illia Ivanko
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Table of contents
The country has a longstanding reputation as a stable and attractive financial center in the Asia-Pacific region. Its sector is highly reliable and transparent, with effective regulation and supervision.
One of the key factors that make Singapore an attractive jurisdiction is its strong economy and political stability. The country has low levels of corruption and good legal protection, which creates a favorable environment for international investors and entrepreneurs. In addition to the favorable environment for international investors and entrepreneurs, company formation in Singapore offers numerous benefits such as efficient administrative processes, robust legal framework, and attractive tax incentives.
In addition, the state has a well-developed infrastructure and strong connections with other financial hubs around the world, giving it access to international markets and opportunities to increase its operations.
Furthermore, Singapore’s commitment to fostering innovation and embracing emerging technologies is evident in its support for EMI license applications. This regulatory framework enables businesses to provide electronic money issuance and payment services, facilitating seamless financial transactions in the digital era.
Moreover, Singapore’s progressive approach extends to the realm of cryptocurrencies, as the country offers a comprehensive regulatory framework for obtaining a Singapore crypto license. This enables businesses to operate within a secure and regulated environment, fostering trust and attracting global investors seeking to participate in the thriving cryptocurrency market.
Finally, Singapore is actively working to improve its reputation as a banking jurisdiction by regularly updating and improving its policies and regulations. Taken together, this makes it one of the most attractive financial destinations in the world.
Fintech Harbor Consulting | Best Banks in Singapore

Best Banks in Singapore

This country is home to many financial institutions, each with its own unique features and advantages.
In addition, it is worth pointing out that banks in Singapore are very much in demand. This is due to the fact that Singapore is primarily a very interesting jurisdiction for business because of its simpler administration, well-developed infrastructure, laws, and good tax environment.

Top Banks in Singapore

  • DBS Bank
  • OCBC Bank
  • UOB Bank
  • HSBC Singapore
  • Citibank
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Criteria for Evaluating the Best Bank in Singapore

There are several key criteria to consider when choosing a Financial institution for your business, including:
  • Reputation: Choose an institution with a good reputation and longevity in the market. In fact, this is a condition that applicants pay attention to, as credibility and time in the market reflect the institution’s stability
  • Variety of services: an institution that offers a wide range of services and meets your business needs is the best one.
  • Convenience: Choose one that provides convenient tools and technology to manage your finances.
  • Innovations: Institutions that follow the new technology will be more user-friendly and will also be the first to provide you with new services. In this aspect, you may want to look at neobanks, which often add new features to make payments or Internet banking easier to use
  • Cost: Price almost always plays a major role when choosing any service. Banking in this country is no exception.
Fintech Harbor Consulting | Best Banks in Singapore

Choosing the Best Bank for Your Needs

In general, choosing a bank for your business should be based on your unique needs and priorities, as well as thorough market analysis and review of the services and conditions offered.

Types of Financial Institutions

There are nine types of licenses in Singapore. That includes:

  • Local

There are four companies under the Local category. They are DBS, OCBC, and UOB.

  • Foreign

There are around 150+ foreign banks.

  • Full Bank,

ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, HSBC

  • Qualifying Full Bank,

In a general sense, these types of entities are very similar but are used for different purposes. As full institutions, mainly foreign ones are registered and licensed. They also set up a local subsidiary that obtains a Qualifying Full Bank license. This helps the institution to work better and more flexibly with local physical customers.
For example, Citibank Singapore Limited is registered as a Qualifying Full Bank. Citibank N.A. is registered as a Full Bank.

  • Wholesale Bank,

The distinguishing feature is that this type of institution does not conduct retail banking activities in the local currency, SG dollars.

  • Merchant Bank (Investment banks in Singapore),
  • Representative Office,

In this case, it is not a separate company, but only a representative office of an entity that is registered in another country. It is not allowed to conduct banking activities as such. It is only allowed to carry out market research and establish contacts for further work.

  • Finance Company,
  • Money Broker, and
  • Financial Holding Company.

The first six types cover virtually the entire banking market in the country.

Fintech Harbor Consulting | Best Banks in Singapore

Opening an Account with the Best Bank in Singapore

We’ll also show you some good options for local and Foreign banks whose services are worth using.

1. DBS

It is one of the top-3 in Singapore. It’s been in operation for more than 50 years in the country, and its revenue in the past period was more than 10 trillion dollars. Therefore, DBS is growing, attracting new customers, and actively providing financial and banking services.
It is important to note that DBS is one of the biggest in Singapore. That means it has more authority and capability in dealing with individual and corporate clients in the country. It owes this to local regulations. As such, it provides customers with easier and more profitable banking services.
But, at the same time, DBS is also popular with foreigners who would like to save or invest their money.

2. OCBC

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited is a Singapore-based multinational institution that serves both local clients and the whole of Southeast Asia. OCBC has assets of more than S$521.3 billion. This makes it the second-largest bank in Singapore. This means resilience and security of resources, especially in difficult times.
Furthermore, OCBC is already more than 90 years old. It is currently represented in 18 countries with more than 600 branches. That is suitable for local companies as well as for companies operating or established in its region of operation.

3. UOB - United Overseas Bank

It is one of the largest banks in Singapore but is also the third-largest in Southeast Asia by total assets. At the end of March 2017, the net profit was S$807 million. It was founded in the year 1935. It has a presence in over 19 countries and it has a total of 500 branches all across the world.
As with the previous options, it offers different types of services for both individuals and companies.
As these local banks are very similar to each other both in terms of services provided and in terms of capacity to operate, the competition between them is a plus for the customer. As each one wants to get more clients, they have to use different tools to attract them. One of them is the pricing policy.
Among the well-known foreign banks that provide their services in Singapore are the following:
  • Citibank Singapore (a subsidiary of the American global Citibank)
  • Maybank (The largest in Malaysia)
  • HSBC Singapore (Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation)
  • Bank of China, etc
Fintech Harbor Consulting | Best Banks in Singapore

Digital Banks in Singapore

There are several digital banks in the country that offer clients new and innovative ways to manage their finances. Some of the well-known digital and neobanks in Singapore include for example:
  • Revolut
  • Airwallex
  • Startrys
Digital institutions in Singapore offer the following benefits:
Convenience: All financial management processes can be done through a mobile app, which is very convenient for customers.
Innovation: Digital institutions and neo-banks use the latest technology to provide customers with more convenient and efficient services.
Fast and easy: Account opening and transaction processes at digital and neobanks are usually faster and easier than at traditional ones. As well, the client can easily set up the business account online.
However, there are some disadvantages to using digital and neobanks:
Limited: Some digital and neobanks may be limited in providing certain services, such as loans.
No physical presence: Digital and neobanks usually do not have physical offices, which may be inconvenient for some customers.
Bank Regulations and Legislation
MAS – Monetary Authority of Singapore
The MAS is the sole banking regulator in Singapore. It is also the central bank. MAS is a corporate body established under the MAS Act. Its board of directors is responsible for MAS policy and general administration and informs the government about its regulatory, supervisory, and monetary policies.
MAS seeks to regulate banks reliably in line with international standards and best practices while allowing for well-managed risk and innovation. It uses a set of tools to achieve its regulatory objectives, including:
  • Risk-based measures.
  • Restrictions on activities and risk.
  • Institutionalized requirements for good corporate governance.
The MAS Act stipulates that the main objectives of MAS are:
  • Maintaining price stability contributes to sustainable economic growth.
  • Strengthen a sound and credible financial center and promote financial stability.
  • Ensure prudent and efficient management of Singapore’s official foreign exchange reserves.
  • Develop the country as an internationally competitive financial center.
Fintech Harbor Consulting | Best Banks in Singapore

Main services of Singapore banks for foreigners

In general, a customer of the Singapore bank is not restricted in the services provided compared to other global or regional banks.
Therefore, a customer can use the following services of Singapore Banks:
  • Opening of personal accounts
  • Corporate account opening
  • Issuing cards for personal and company use
  • Credit card facilities
  • Using SWIFT and other regional systems for international money transfers
  • Online banking and more.

FAQ

In general, this country is a very secure and reputable jurisdiction. Strict compliance standards are applied to these institutions in obtaining and renewing their licenses. Therefore, most of the reputable local, as well as foreign banks that are licensed in Singapore, are sufficiently reliable to use their services.
The best bank is the one that offers the most favorable and convenient options for you. Some of these include DBS, OCBC, UOB – Local institutions, Citibank SGP, Maybank, HSBC SGP, Bank of China, etc.
DBS, OCBC, UOB – Local largest institutions
Yes, foreigners can also open a bank account in Singapore. This can be done either in person or remotely.

Conclusion

Thus, Singapore is an authoritative and advantageous jurisdiction to open an account for both yourself and a company. This is facilitated by government policies, a domestic tax regime, and a diversity of financial institutions that increase competition. These factors together make Singapore banks highly sought after by customers around the world.
The fact that it’s also very profitable to start and maintain a business in the country also contributes to this. Therefore, opening an account in Singapore is all the more rewarding!
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