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The Best Business Banking Accounts in Singapore 2021
When you start a business, one of the first things to consider is whether to open a business banking account. It is generally advisable to do so for a myriad of reasons.
Separating the finances of the business (such as business expenses, business assets, and cash flow) from personal finances makes them easier to manage. This is especially true for tax and accounting purposes.
Having a business banking account also goes a long way in improving the company’s image, by lending a sense of formality through the company name appearing on cheques and other payment methods for customers and clients.
But with so many banks in Singapore, all offering various business banking options, how does one know which is the most suitable business bank account to have?
In evaluating a business bank account, the most important things to look out for are:
· Monthly fees
· Minimum deposit and balance
· Usability and ease of access
· Limits on transfers and foreign currency conversion fees
· Customer support networks
With that in mind, here are some of the best bank accounts for companies in Singapore:
Of all the banking accounts featured here, CIMB BusinessGo demands the highest initial deposit and minimum balance. A minimum of S$30,000 must be deposited and kept as the minimum balance, or there will be a fall-below fee of S$88 per month, which is also one of the highest fees charged by banks in Singapore. Start-Ups that are looking for a lower minimum deposit have the option of Business Plus Current Account-i which starts at S$3,000 with a fall below fee of S$20 which is significantly cheaper than DBS Business Digital Account which comes with a monthly maintenance fee of S$18/-
However, this is about as far as it gets in terms of bad news. There are no maintenance fees charged, and any FAST transaction between FAST participating banks (which are practically all banks in Singapore) is free. Through BizChannel@CIMB, CIMB’s online business banking portal, there are also other perks such as preferential FX rates, free payroll transactions, and a fee waiver for the first cheque book.
But the most prominent feature of the CIMB BusinessGO and Business Plus Current Account-is that it offers an interest-bearing rate of 0.10 percent if the account balance is between S$30,000 to S$1,000,000, and 0.30 percent for balances between S$1,000,001 and S$2,000,000. These are quite rare as most business accounts are non-interest bearing especially for Business Plus Current Account-i that have such low minimum initial deposit and fall below fee requirements.
These rates have actually been significantly higher before, and may well rise again when the pandemic-led recession finally blows over, but the opportunity for a business to make money simply from having funds in its business banking account is one that towkays will not want to pass up.
DBS Business Digital Account/Multi-Currency Account
The DBS Business Digital Account is a very popular business bank account. For an account transacting only in Singapore dollars, it only requires a low initial deposit of S$1,000 and no minimum balance, which means there are no fall-below fees.
The Multi-Currency Account allows for transactions in Singapore dollars as well as 12 other foreign currencies, including Euros, British pounds, Australian dollars, and of course, US dollars. This has a slightly higher requirement, including a S$3,000 initial deposit and a S$10,000 minimum balance, with S$35 being charged if the balance falls below the minimum amount.
Accessing these accounts is relatively easy – simply log into DBS iBanking, or head to any physical DBS branch or ATMs located in Singapore.
However, DBS charges S$18 a month to maintain the Business Digital Account, which can be quite costly especially for Startups and Young Companies. It also charges a minimum of S$30 for any foreign currency transactions. The Multi-Currency Account would obviously be the better option if one’s company transacts in those 12 foreign currencies often, and it would also only cost S$3.33 a month. However, as noted, the requirements for opening a multi-currency account is markedly higher.
OCBC Business Growth Account
With no initial minimum deposit or balance required, the OCBC Business Growth Account offers an attractive set-up at no cost. Accounts can be opened online, with applicants able to receive their account numbers almost instantly.
Compared to DBS’ Business Digital Account, OCBC charges a relatively lower monthly fee of S$10, which is waived for the first two months. An additional multi-currency account, transacting in US dollars and Euros, can also be set up together with the Business Growth Account, and both will be charged under the same account fee of S$10 per month.
In addition, OCBC is the only bank which offers free FAST and GIRO transactions. However, its foreign transfer fees, excepting the multi-currency account, are comparable to DBS’ and could be considered restrictively high by some.
Overall, the OCBC Business Growth Account is a very solid choice.
UOB Current Account
UOB’s Singapore Dollar Business Current Account does not really offer any terms that stand out from the previous two. Like DBS, a minimum deposit of S$1,000 is required. Unlike DBS and OCBC, setting up a business bank account in Singapore with UOB requires a minimum daily balance of S$10,000, with a S$35 fall-below fee. Foreign transfer fees start from S$40.
On the plus side, UOB only charges an annual fee of S$35. Up to 50 outgoing FAST and PayNow FAST transactions per month will be free through UOB Infinity, their digital business banking platform.
And finally, there is a promotion going on right now, which confers some cash bonus in a fairly convoluted way. Sign up for an account before 30 November 2020, and new UOB customers will immediately enjoy a S$50 welcome bonus. Every S$100,000 deposited into the Business Current Account will net a further S$50 bonus. An additional S$10 bonus will be conferred for each of three other qualifying transactions. These can be looked at in greater detail on UOB’s website.
Maybank Flexibiz Account
Another popular option for companies prioritising the minimisation of cost, the Maybank Flexibiz Account requires a minimum initial deposit of S1,000 but has no minimum balance or fall-below fee. Most noticeably, it also does not charge any monthly or annual maintenance fees.
The only potential bad news is for companies who deal with many foreign transactions; at 0.91% Maybank charges the highest Forex mark-up rate – almost twice as high as the other banks listed here.
But for any local company that deals exclusively in local transactions, Maybank offers a very compelling low-cost option.
What about the other Banks?
Many other banks do offer their own iterations of business banking account packages. Some of them are catered for more specific demands. For instance, Standard Chartered and Citibank offer business banking accounts which require high initial deposits and minimum balances – even up to S$100,000 – but will charge no mark-up at all for any Forex transactions.
Many of them also do not offer the convenience of setting up an account online, requiring an appointment to be made at a physical branch.
Aspire Digital Business Account
For a more unconventional option that does not come from the traditional big banks, Aspire’s Digital Business Account merits looking into.
In order to compete with the incumbents, Aspire must offer very attractive terms. And so it does – with no minimum deposit, no minimum balance, and no maintenance fees of any kind. In addition, Aspire charges significantly lower foreign transfer fees than local banks due to their partnership and integration with Transferwise. They also offer the only business debit card in Singapore that has 1% cashback on all online marketing and SaaS spend.
As a digital business account, everything is conducted and processed online. This places a higher emphasis on its digital platform’s user experience and customer support since there is no physical location to turn to. But when done well, this actually benefits the customer, providing a far higher level of convenience and portability. This is especially useful for foreign directors who cannot physically come to Singapore to open a business account.
A more detailed comparison of all the banks’ business accounts mentioned here can be found below:
Read also: Singapore Business Federation × Salesforce Singapore: Small Business Relief Grants Programme
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