Find the Best Banks for Your Expat Needs in Singapore

Singapore is a popular destination for expats from all over the world. With its high quality of life, low taxes, and strong economy, it’s no wonder that people are drawn to the Lion City.

As an Aussie expat, one of the first things you’ll need to do when you move to Singapore is open a bank account. This will give you access to your money, make it easy to pay your bills, and allow you to take advantage of the many financial services that Singapore has to offer.

There are a number of different banks in Singapore that offer accounts for expats. Some of the most popular banks include DBS, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered, and Citibank.

When choosing a bank account, there are a few things you’ll need to consider, such as the interest rate, the fees, the ATM network, and the customer service.

In this article, we’ll compare the top six banks for expats in Singapore. We’ll look at the features and benefits of each account, so you can choose the best one for your needs.

So, whether you’re just starting to plan your move to Singapore or you’re already here, read on to learn more about the best banks for expats in Singapore in 2023.

DBS Bank

DBS has a range of services for expats including multi-currency accounts, wealth management services, and even special privileges for foreigners working in Singapore. Their DBS Expat Programme, for example, might be interesting.

Pros

DBS offers a comprehensive range of banking services, and their DBS Expat Programme is specifically designed for expats. They also have an excellent digital banking platform which makes banking easier and more convenient. Here are some of the services that DBS offers to expats:

  • Multi-currency accounts: DBS offers a variety of multi-currency accounts that allow you to hold multiple currencies in a single account. This can be helpful if you receive income in multiple currencies or if you need to make payments in different currencies.
  • Wealth management services: DBS offers a range of wealth management services to expats, including investment advice, portfolio management, and estate planning. These services can help you to grow your wealth and protect your assets.
  • Special privileges: DBS offers a number of special privileges to expats, such as access to airport lounges, discounts on hotels and flights, and priority banking services. These privileges can make your life easier and more enjoyable as an expat in Singapore.

The DBS Expat Programme is a comprehensive package of services designed to help expats settle in Singapore. The programme includes:

  • A dedicated relationship manager
  • Access to a range of financial products and services
  • Assistance with immigration and visa matters
  • Information and support on living in Singapore

The DBS Expat Programme can be a valuable resource for expats who are new to Singapore. The programme provides you with the support and guidance you need to get settled in and start enjoying your new life in the Lion City.

Cons

DBS Bank is a popular choice for expats in Singapore, but there are some potential cons to consider before opening an account with them. Here are a few of the most common cons:

  • High minimum balance requirements: Some DBS accounts have high minimum balance requirements, which can be difficult to maintain for some expats.
  • Fees: DBS charges a variety of fees for their services, including ATM fees, foreign exchange fees, and account maintenance fees. These fees can add up, so it is important to be aware of them before opening an account.
  • Customer service: Some expats have complained about the quality of DBS’s customer service. The wait times can be long, and the staff may not be as helpful as they could be.
  • Lack of transparency: Some expats have also complained about the lack of transparency in DBS’s fees and charges. It can be difficult to find out exactly how much you will be charged for certain services, which can be frustrating.

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OCBC Bank

OCBC offers various account options for foreigners, and some of their accounts are multi-currency, which is advantageous for expats. They also provide a variety of financial services.

Pros

Here are some of the pros of OCBC Bank for expats:

  • Wide range of products and services: OCBC Bank offers a wide range of products and services to expats, including savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment products. This means that you can find the right product or service for your needs.
  • Global reach: OCBC Bank has a global reach, with branches in over 18 countries. This means that you can access your money and services no matter where you are in the world.
  • Good customer service: OCBC Bank has a good reputation for customer service. The staff are generally helpful and knowledgeable, and they are able to speak English.
  • No minimum balance requirements: Some of OCBC Bank’s accounts do not have minimum balance requirements. This means that you can open an account even if you do not have a lot of money.
  • Attractive interest rates: OCBC Bank offers attractive interest rates on some of its savings accounts. This means that you can earn more interest on your money.

Overall, OCBC Bank is a good option for expats who are looking for a bank with a wide range of products and services, a global reach, and good customer service.

Here are some specific OCBC bank accounts that are popular with expats:

  • OCBC 360 Account: This account offers a high interest rate on your savings, as well as a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and discounts on travel insurance.
  • OCBC Premier Banking Account: This account is designed for high-net-worth individuals and families. It offers a range of exclusive benefits, such as access to a dedicated relationship manager and priority banking services.
  • OCBC Global Transfer Account: This account allows you to make international transfers at competitive exchange rates. It also offers a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and online banking services in multiple languages.

Cons

Here are some of the cons of OCBC Bank for expats:

  • High fees: OCBC Bank charges a variety of fees for its services, including ATM fees, foreign exchange fees, and account maintenance fees. These fees can add up, so it is important to be aware of them before opening an account.
  • Lack of transparency: Some expats have also complained about the lack of transparency in OCBC Bank’s fees and charges. It can be difficult to find out exactly how much you will be charged for certain services, which can be frustrating.
  • Customer service: Some expats have complained about the quality of OCBC Bank’s customer service. The wait times can be long, and the staff may not be as helpful as they could be.
  • Limited ATM network: OCBC Bank’s ATM network is not as extensive as some other banks in Singapore. This means that you may have to pay ATM fees when you use an ATM outside of OCBC’s network.

United Overseas Bank (UOB)

UOB has services specifically targeted to foreigners, and they offer a range of account types. Their digital banking platforms are easy to use, which is convenient for expats.

Pros

Here are some of the pros of United Overseas Bank (UOB) for expats:

  • Global reach: UOB has a global reach, with branches in over 19 countries. This means that you can access your money and services no matter where you are in the world.
  • Wide range of products and services: UOB offers a wide range of products and services to expats, including savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment products. This means that you can find the right product or service for your needs.
  • Good customer service: UOB has a good reputation for customer service. The staff are generally helpful and knowledgeable, and they are able to speak English.
  • No minimum balance requirements: Some of UOB’s accounts do not have minimum balance requirements. This means that you can open an account even if you do not have a lot of money.
  • Attractive interest rates: UOB offers attractive interest rates on some of its savings accounts. This means that you can earn more interest on your money.

Overall, UOB is a good option for expats who are looking for a bank with a wide range of products and services, a global reach, and good customer service.

Here are some specific UOB bank accounts that are popular with expats:

  • UOB OneAccount: This account offers a high interest rate on your savings, as well as a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and discounts on travel insurance.
  • UOB Privilege Banking Account: This account is designed for high-net-worth individuals and families. It offers a range of exclusive benefits, such as access to a dedicated relationship manager and priority banking services.
  • UOB Global Transfer Account: This account allows you to make international transfers at competitive exchange rates. It also offers a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and online banking services in multiple languages.

Cons

Here are some of the cons of United Overseas Bank (UOB) for expats:

  • High fees: UOB charges a variety of fees for its services, including ATM fees, foreign exchange fees, and account maintenance fees. These fees can add up, so it is important to be aware of them before opening an account.
  • Lack of transparency: Some expats have also complained about the lack of transparency in UOB’s fees and charges. It can be difficult to find out exactly how much you will be charged for certain services, which can be frustrating.
  • Customer service: Some expats have complained about the quality of UOB’s customer service. The wait times can be long, and the staff may not be as helpful as they could be.
  • Limited ATM network: UOB’s ATM network is not as extensive as some other banks in Singapore. This means that you may have to pay ATM fees when you use an ATM outside of UOB’s network.

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered is a British bank with a strong presence in Singapore. They offer a variety of account types and have good online and mobile banking services.

Pros

Here are some of the pros of Standard Chartered for expats:

  • Global reach: Standard Chartered has a global reach, with branches in over 70 countries. This means that you can access your money and services no matter where you are in the world.
  • Wide range of products and services: Standard Chartered offers a wide range of products and services to expats, including savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment products. This means that you can find the right product or service for your needs.
  • Good customer service: Standard Chartered has a good reputation for customer service. The staff are generally helpful and knowledgeable, and they are able to speak English.
  • No minimum balance requirements: Some of Standard Chartered’s accounts do not have minimum balance requirements. This means that you can open an account even if you do not have a lot of money.
  • Attractive interest rates: Standard Chartered offers attractive interest rates on some of its savings accounts. This means that you can earn more interest on your money.

Overall, Standard Chartered is a good option for expats who are looking for a bank with a global reach, wide range of products and services, good customer service, and attractive interest rates.

Here are some specific Standard Chartered bank accounts that are popular with expats:

  • Standard Chartered Priority Account: This account offers a high interest rate on your savings, as well as a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and discounts on travel insurance.
  • Standard Chartered Platinum Credit Card: This credit card offers a number of benefits, such as travel insurance, airport lounge access, and cashback on purchases.
  • Standard Chartered Global Transfer Account: This account allows you to make international transfers at competitive exchange rates. It also offers a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and online banking services in multiple languages.

Cons

Here are some of the cons of Standard Chartered for expats in Singapore:

  • High fees: Standard Chartered charges a variety of fees for its services, including ATM fees, foreign exchange fees, and account maintenance fees. These fees can add up, so it is important to be aware of them before opening an account.
  • Lack of transparency: Some expats have also complained about the lack of transparency in Standard Chartered’s fees and charges. It can be difficult to find out exactly how much you will be charged for certain services, which can be frustrating.
  • Customer service: Some expats have complained about the quality of Standard Chartered’s customer service. The wait times can be long, and the staff may not be as helpful as they could be.
  • Limited ATM network: Standard Chartered’s ATM network is not as extensive as some other banks in Singapore. This means that you may have to pay ATM fees when you use an ATM outside of Standard Chartered’s network.

Overall, Standard Chartered is a reputable bank with a wide range of services for expats in Singapore. However, there are some potential cons to consider before opening an account with them, such as high fees, lack of transparency, customer service, and limited ATM network.

Citibank Singapore

Citibank offers multi-currency accounts and a variety of other services that may be attractive to expats, such as a global banking service that lets you manage your Citi accounts worldwide with one single login.

Pros

Here are some of the pros of Citibank Singapore for expats:

  • Global reach: Citibank has a global reach, with branches in over 100 countries. This means that you can access your money and services no matter where you are in the world.
  • Wide range of products and services: Citibank offers a wide range of products and services to expats, including savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment products. This means that you can find the right product or service for your needs.
  • Good customer service: Citibank has a good reputation for customer service. The staff are generally helpful and knowledgeable, and they are able to speak English.
  • No minimum balance requirements: Some of Citibank Singapore’s accounts do not have minimum balance requirements. This means that you can open an account even if you do not have a lot of money.
  • Attractive interest rates: Citibank Singapore offers attractive interest rates on some of its savings accounts. This means that you can earn more interest on your money.

Cons

Here are some of the cons of Citibank Singapore for expats:

  • High fees: Citibank Singapore charges a variety of fees for its services, including ATM fees, foreign exchange fees, and account maintenance fees. These fees can add up, so it is important to be aware of them before opening an account.
  • Lack of transparency: Some expats have also complained about the lack of transparency in Citibank Singapore’s fees and charges. It can be difficult to find out exactly how much you will be charged for certain services, which can be frustrating.
  • Customer service: Some expats have complained about the quality of Citibank Singapore’s customer service. The wait times can be long, and the staff may not be as helpful as they could be.
  • Limited ATM network: Citibank Singapore’s ATM network is not as extensive as some other banks in Singapore. This means that you may have to pay ATM fees when you use an ATM outside of Citibank Singapore’s network.

HSBC Singapore

HSBC is a global bank with a strong presence in Singapore. They offer a variety of accounts and services that could suit the needs of expats.

Pros

Here are some of the pros of HSBC Singapore for expats:

  • Global reach: HSBC is a global bank with branches in over 70 countries. This means that you can access your money and services no matter where you are in the world.
  • Wide range of products and services: HSBC offers a wide range of products and services to expats, including savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment products. This means that you can find the right product or service for your needs.
  • Good customer service: HSBC has a good reputation for customer service. The staff are generally helpful and knowledgeable, and they are able to speak English.
  • No minimum balance requirements: Some of HSBC Singapore’s accounts do not have minimum balance requirements. This means that you can open an account even if you do not have a lot of money.
  • Attractive interest rates: HSBC Singapore offers attractive interest rates on some of its savings accounts. This means that you can earn more interest on your money.

Here are some specific HSBC Singapore bank accounts that are popular with expats:

  • HSBC Premier Account: This account offers a high interest rate on your savings, as well as a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and discounts on travel insurance.
  • HSBC Platinum Credit Card: This credit card offers a number of benefits, such as travel insurance, airport lounge access, and cashback on purchases.
  • HSBC Global Transfer Account: This account allows you to make international transfers at competitive exchange rates. It also offers a number of other benefits, such as free ATM withdrawals and online banking services in multiple languages.

Cons

Here are some of the cons of HSBC Singapore for expats:

  • High fees: HSBC Singapore charges a variety of fees for its services, including ATM fees, foreign exchange fees, and account maintenance fees. These fees can add up, so it is important to be aware of them before opening an account.
  • Lack of transparency: Some expats have also complained about the lack of transparency in HSBC Singapore’s fees and charges. It can be difficult to find out exactly how much you will be charged for certain services, which can be frustrating.
  • Customer service: Some expats have complained about the quality of HSBC Singapore’s customer service. The wait times can be long, and the staff may not be as helpful as they could be.
  • Limited ATM network: HSBC Singapore’s ATM network is not as extensive as some other banks in Singapore. This means that you may have to pay ATM fees when you use an ATM outside of HSBC Singapore’s network.

Overall, HSBC Singapore is a reputable bank with a wide range of services for expats in Singapore. However, there are some potential cons to consider before opening an account with them, such as high fees, lack of transparency, customer service, and limited ATM network.

Setting up Your Banking as an Aussie Expat in Singapore

One of the essential things an expat needs to do in Singapore is to set up a bank account. This will allow you to easily manage your finances and make payments.

The basic documents you will need to open a bank account in Singapore are:

  • Your passport or a relevant pass issued by the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority of Singapore (ICA).
  • Proof of address in Singapore, such as a utility bill or a telephone bill.

Some banks may also require you to provide a letter from your employer or a copy of your employment contract.

Once you have gathered the necessary documents, you can visit a bank in person to open an account. You can also open an account online, but this may require you to upload scanned copies of your documents.

Here are some tips for opening a bank account as an expat in Singapore:

  • Do your research and compare different banks before you choose one.
  • Consider your needs and requirements when choosing a bank.
  • Check the eligibility requirements of the banks you are considering.
  • Gather the necessary documents and make sure they are up to date.
  • Visit the bank in person to open an account if possible.

Set up Two Bank Accounts: One International and One Local

Setting up two bank accounts when you are an expat in Singapore is a great way to make sure that you have all of your financial bases covered. One account should be with an international bank, such as NAB or ANZ, so that you can keep your money from your home country. This is usually cheaper than using a non-bank remittance service and there is a possibility of better exchange rates. The other account should be with a local bank, such as DBS or OCBC, for daily transactions like withdrawals. Local banks have a wider network of ATMs, which makes it more convenient to withdraw cash.

Here are some of the benefits of setting up two bank accounts when you are an expat in Singapore:

  • Better exchange rates: When you transfer money from your home country to Singapore, you will usually get a better exchange rate if you do it through your international bank. This is because international banks have better relationships with other banks around the world.
  • Lower fees: Non-bank remittance services can charge high fees for transferring money. If you use your international bank, you will usually pay lower fees.
  • Convenience: Having an account with a local bank will make it more convenient to withdraw cash and make payments in Singapore. Local banks have a wider network of ATMs, and they are more likely to accept your home country’s currency.
  • Access to expatriate banking services: Some local banks offer expatriate banking services, which can be tailored to your specific needs. For example, DBS offers a Multiplier Account that allows you to hold foreign currencies and Singapore dollars in the same deposit account.

If you are an expat in Singapore, setting up two bank accounts (one international and one local) will give you the best of both worlds and make it easier to manage your finances.

Investing in Australia from Singapore with Odin Mortgage

Odin Mortgage is a mortgage broker that specializes in helping expats invest in Australia from overseas. We have a team of experienced mortgage brokers who can help you find the right mortgage for your needs.

If you are an expat in Singapore who is interested in investing in Australia, we can help you find the right property and mortgage for your needs.

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Frequently asked questions

Yes, expats can open bank accounts in Singapore. However, the eligibility requirements for opening a bank account in Singapore vary from bank to bank. Some banks may require you to have a valid work permit or employment pass, while others may only require you to have a passport and a proof of address.

Yes, a non-Singapore resident can open a bank account in Singapore. However, the eligibility requirements for opening a bank account in Singapore for non-residents may be more stringent than the requirements for expats. Some banks may require you to have a minimum balance in your account, while others may require you to have a letter from your employer or a copy of your employment contract.



Yes, a foreigner can maintain a bank account in Singapore. However, the terms and conditions of your account may be different from the terms and conditions of an account held by a Singapore resident. For example, you may be required to pay higher fees or you may be restricted from making certain types of transactions.



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