Opening a bank account; more than eeni meeni miini moh

Indian expats will find it very easy to open a bank account and buy/use personal finance products and services in Singapore. Consumers are well protected by the very vigilant and forward looking regulator the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). However, they should watch out for the right kind of offers and benefits.

Caption: Asia Square building in the CBD area which houses Citibank, Google and other global brands.

Singapore is a financial hub. Many expats open offshore bank accounts in the country without even moving there. If you are moving there, you can transfer your bank account even before you start living there, as long you hold an account in an international banks like Citibank, ABN-AMRO, Standard Chartered, BNP Paribas or HSBC where transfers are possible.

Choosing the right bank in Singapore can be daunting with a myriad of options be it Indian banks, which have branches there, Singaporean banks and of course international banks. However, Indians who live in Singapore choose banks based on several factors


Like in any country, it is wise to have a bank branch close by. Though most transactions are done on mobile, online or via a card, a frequent visit or two might be necessary in case of an event. It is also comforting to have a branch of your bank nearby.

Remittance services:

Generally speaking, Indians tend to go for banks which offer easiest remittance services. However, most banks have costs associated with them and is known to be expensive. It is only the international banks like Citibank which have a standard cut on remittances across countries.

ATM network:

Most Singaporean banks offer free withdrawals from their ATMs. If you were to withdraw from other ATMs, there are charges that can vary across banks. To avoid these, it is a good idea to go for a bank that has enough bank accounts in and around your home and workplace.

Ease of transaction

Some Singaporean banks like xxx xxx offer NETS scheme wherein an ATM card can be used at gas stations, at retail outlets and others without extra charges. While this scheme is widely criticized for many reasons, it can be quite helpful. All the top Singaporean banks like DBS, United Overseas Bank (UOB) and even Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) offer this scheme.

Minimum balance regulations

Some salary accounts of banks might come without minimum balance requirements. The penalties for not maintaining them might be high. So most of them prefer to go for banks which have the least of minimum balance.

Caption: Source: Xyz and Lkn
Documents necessary for expats to open a bank account


  • A valid passport
  • Employment Pass (In case of students, they need a study pass)
  • IT return copies and PAN number
  • Letter from your bank in India (home country) recommending you as a customer
  • Proof of Address: Documents acceptable as address proof include
  • Utility bills which is less than three months old like a bank statement, telephone bill
  • Government correspondence
  • Letter with proof of employment addressed to you
  • Rental agreement

In addition to all these, you will also require an introduction from one of the existing clients of a bank.