Which Digital Bank Account Is Most Valued For Buck For SMEs? ANEXT Bank Vs GLDB Vs MariBank

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Which Digital Bank Account Is Most Valued For Buck For SMEs? ANEXT Vs GLDB Vs MariBank

Introduction

As the business world continues to transition more in ways of digital aspects, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are ready to make the best of various challenges in accessing financial assistance to expand their businesses. In Singapore, SMEs make up a significant portion of the country's economy. i.e. they make up to 99% of the enterprises and about 70% of the workforce in Singapore. They contribute nearly half of Singapore's GDP, and accessing funding is key for growth and sustainability for them. Thankfully, with the emergence of digital banking, SMEs can now easily access business loans online.

With the plethora of financial institutions in Singapore offering online SME business loans, it can be overwhelming for SMEs to decide on the right bank to open accounts with. However, selecting the right bank, either virtual or traditional, is crucial as it could make all the difference in the success of the business. This article will highlight the most valued digital banks offering hassle-free, financial SME services online in 2023, and the importance of thorough research and due diligence when selecting a digital bank for your business.

Two types of bank accounts: Traditional bank accounts and Digital bank accounts

When it comes to choosing a bank account for your SME in Singapore, there are two main options to consider: traditional bank accounts and digital bank accounts. Understanding the differences between these two can assist you in making an informed decision that best fits your business needs.


One of the advantages of traditional bank accounts is that they offer a sense of security and stability. Because they have been around for a long time, they have a track record of providing reliable and trustworthy services. Additionally, traditional banks also offer a wide range of financial services, including foreign currency accounts and international wire transfers, which can be useful for businesses that conduct business overseas.

However, one of the biggest drawbacks of traditional bank accounts is that they often come with high minimum deposits and account balances. This can make it difficult for small businesses with limited capital to open an account or maintain one long-term. Additionally, traditional banks may have more rigid onboarding requirements and KYC policies compared to digital banks.


One of the biggest downsides of digital bank accounts is the lack of commercial banking products. Many digital banks presently do not provide trade and commercial property purchase/refinancing services, and the quantum of other banking services such as business loans is typically smaller than what traditional banks can do.

Aside from the foregoing, digital bank accounts may not provide some of the services that traditional banks do, such as physical branches or comprehensive customer service assistance.

Ultimately, the choice between traditional and digital bank accounts comes down to your priorities and preferences. If you prioritize security, stability, and a wider range of services, traditional banks may be the better choice for your small business. If you prioritize accessibility, convenience, and interest-bearing corporate accounts, digital banks may be the better choice.

So, you have to be sure to research different banks and carefully consider the services, fees, and requirements that matter most to your small business. With the right bank account, managing your finances can become easier, more efficient, and more profitable.

For example, if you operate largely within Singapore, then a traditional bank account may offer the necessary services such as physical branches to carry out transactions, whereas a digital bank would be more suitable for start-up businesses or companies looking to have a secondary business account. Now let's take a look into some typical features of digital bank accounts.

Features of Digital Bank Accounts

Convenience

Convenience is one of the primary advantages of digital bank accounts. Digital banks are built with SMEs in mind, with simple interfaces and functions that enable business owners to keep track of their money quickly and effectively. Onboarding is often faster than with traditional institutions.

Low Account Fees

Another benefit is the low account fees charged by the banks. Since digital banks do not have a physical presence, overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and staff salaries are not a concern at all. That’s why they can offer their customers lower fees for transactions and often require no min balance or annual fees requirement.

Interest Bearing Business Account

Digital banks usually offer higher interest rates than traditional banks. This is because they do not have the same overhead costs as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. As a result, most business accounts provide interest with no minimum balance restriction.

Flexibility

Digital banks offer a level of flexibility to SMEs that traditional banks cannot. Since they do not have physical branches, they can offer services that are easily customizable to meet the specific needs of business owners. They can also provide more personalized services than traditional banks, which can be a considerable advantage for SMEs.

Disadvantages of Digital Bank Accounts

As long as there is a good, there is a no too. Meaning that certain drawbacks exist when it comes to digital bank accounts in reality. They can be:


No Branch Presence

Compared to traditional banks, digital banks often have no physical branches, which means that some banking transactions can be more challenging to complete in-person. You may need immediate assistance with a complex transaction or might want to access foreign currencies, making the availability of physical branches beneficial. While some digital banks offer online chat support and customer service hotlines, the quality of service may not be as high as that of traditional one.

Lack of Relationship Building

Traditional banks often prioritize relationship building and personal connections with their customers. Traditional banks try to understand their customers’ needs and provide tailored solutions. Digital banks, though they still provide customer support, do not emphasize as much on building relationships with individual customers, and this could be a significant disadvantage for SMEs that place value on a personal approach.

Digital Bank Accounts provided by Wholesale SME Digital Banks in Singapore

ANEXT Bank

One of the newest digital banks to receive a wholesale banking license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is ANEXT Bank. ANEXT Bank is backed by Ant Group, one of China's leading technological and financial groups.

The ANEXT Bank Business Account streamlines money management and transaction processing.

To begin, the ANEXT Bank Business Account pays returns of up to 0.48%* p.a. for their business transaction accounts. In a difficult economy, making every dollar count is critical, and a competitive interest rate will make cash deposits work a bit harder. Increased idle cash equals greater funds for expansion initiatives.

It is also a dual-currency account that supports both SGD and USD, as well as FX capabilities in key trading currencies such as EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, KRW, MYR, and THB, making cross-border transactions more convenient.

Green Link Digital Bank (GLDB)

Another upcoming digital bank in Singapore is Green Link Digital Bank, which was granted a digital wholesale banking license by MAS in December 2020. It is backed jointly by a consortium comprising of Chinese developer and state-owned enterprise Greenland Holdings and supply chain financing platform Linklogis Hong Kong.

Currently, GLDB offers both interest-bearing business current account and multi-currency account and offer between 1.90% interest rates for deposit balance up to S$50,001. As you deposit more balance into your respective GLDB accounts, you are entitled to earn up to 2.00% p.a.

Ready to apply? Reach out to us, and we'll guide you to the ideal bank for your financial preferences!


MariBank

MariBank is the latest entrant into the digital banking space and is owned by Singaporean tech giant Sea Group. The company began rolling out services to Sea Group employees in the third quarter of 2022, and will make them available to the public by invitation from March 14, 2023.

New entrant MariBank aims to deeply integrate into Singapore's digital economy with young consumers and SMEs through its three platforms: Shopee, Garena and SeaMoney. Currently, MariBank offers its services by invitation only to Singapore citizens or Singapore permanent residents aged 18 years and above.



Above table shows the transaction limits and minimum amounts you must adhere to when using MariBank account. This is generally similar with slight differences in amount and limit between digital banks.

MariBank is offering a daily interest rate of 2.50% on deposits on its Mari Business Account. There are no payroll credits or minimum expenses required to get the interest rate on your deposit. Please note, however, that MariBank does not currently issue debit cards.


Comparative Analysis: ANEXT Bank vs. Green Link Digital Bank vs. MariBank

Let's have a quick comparative analysis between three digital banks in table below.

Features
ANEXT Bank
Green Link Digital bank
MariBank
Ownership
Ant Group
Greenland Group and HK supply chain financing platform Linklogis
Sea Limited
Security
Very High (3FA verification)
HighHigh
Types of Account Available
Business Account (SGD & USD)
Current Account, Multi-Currency Account, Fixed Deposit Account
Mari Business Account
Products and Services
(Bank Account)
Foreign Exchange (FX), unlimited local transfers, cross-border transfers, PayNow, FAST transfer (both send and receive), SWIFT transfers
PayNow, MEPS+ or SWIFT transfers

Free local transfers

Exclusively for Shopee Sellers (from one free withdrawal per week to daily free withdrawals)

PayNow, SWIFT transfers

Fees

Zero upfront fees, No hidden fees, No annual account fees

Low flat fees from US$10 / S$15 for outward overseas transfers

No monthly account fees, No service fees

More on Overseas Fund Transfers

Zero upfront fees, No hidden fees, No processing and annual fees, zero transaction fees
Minimum Initial Deposit
Not required
Not required
Not required
Interest Bearing Account
0.48% p.a.
Up to 1.9% p.a. (Current Accounts &

Multi-Currency Accounts)

Up to 5.09% p.a. (Fixed Deposits accounts)

2.5% p.a. (business account)
Accessibility
Accessible 24/7 through mobile apps and online platforms
Accessible 24/7 through mobile apps and online platforms
Accessible 24/7 through mobile apps and online platforms
Other Products:
Business Term Loan/ Revolving Line Of Credit
S$300,000 for Business Term Loan & Line of Credit
Term Loan (S$300,000)S$200,000 for Revolving Line Of Credit

*Past 30-day returns as of November 7, 2023, serve as a reference point. However, it's essential to note that historical returns do not reliably predict future performance. Returns are subject to variation and are not assured.


Interested in applying for one? Check out these digital banks on our website here.

Conclusion

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital banking for SMEs, the ease and speed of opening an account play a pivotal role in shaping the overall experience. While traditional banks have made strides in offering instant account opening, our experience underscores the remarkable efficiency of digital banking platforms. In the comparison of ANEXT Bank, GLDB, and MariBank, the emphasis on swift and hassle-free application processes stands out.

For SMEs, time is a precious resource, and minimizing downtime is crucial, especially when establishing a business. The speed at which a digital bank account can be opened, often instantly, sets these platforms apart. Our encounters reveal that, in this aspect, digital banks excel, providing SMEs with a quick and seamless onboarding process.

In the realm of ANEXT Bank, GLDB, and MariBank, the emphasis on the ease of application and the rapidity of account activation is a shared commitment. As SMEs navigate the intricate landscape of financial decisions, the advantage of instant account opening becomes a game-changer, reducing administrative hurdles and enabling businesses to kickstart operations promptly.

In conclusion, while traditional banks are adapting to the need for instantaneous services, the experiential evidence points to digital banks as the frontrunners in providing SMEs with the swiftness and simplicity needed for account opening. The era of less downtime for SMEs is here, facilitated by the seamless onboarding experience offered by digital banking solutions.

Need more guidance in applying? Reach out to us here.

Read also: [2023 Edition] The Best Business Banking Accounts in Singapore
Read also: Everything You Need To Know About Singapore Digital Banking License And How Singaporeans Can Benefit
Read also: What You Need To Know Before Applying For A Business Term Loan
Read also: Guide to Start-Up Business Loans in Singapore 2023 Edition

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UPDATED AS OF 15 Jun 2024
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