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Foreigner opening a Singapore bank account on a tourist visa

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#1 BangkapiBoy

Posted 11 November 2010 - 08:28 AM

I'm a USA citizen here on a tourist visa and want to open a Singapore bank account.  Which bank will let me do this?  I've already stopped into DBS, OCBC, and RHB and they told me I couldn't open an account without a work permit or PR.  Does anyone have any leads?  The last bank I went to thought Citibank might open an account for me.  Thanks for your help.

#2 Captain Chaos

Posted 11 November 2010 - 12:54 PM

So far as I know, you need a valid long-term residents permit of some description to open a bank account in Singapore (PR; Employment Pass, S-Pass or Work Pass; Dependants Pass or Long Term Visit Pass. Not sure about Students Pass) Singapore's been under pressure as it was previously considered an "un-cooperative tax regime" so they are pretty strict about not just opening bank accounts on a whim, sorry...

#3 กำนัน

Posted 11 November 2010 - 01:24 PM

The following is a boiler plate email response I got from HSBC in Singapore when I enquired about opening an account as a non-resident...

Dear Mr Mandrunk,

Good day to you!

Thank you for your interest in banking with HSBC. I will be assisting you in the account application process.

Here is an overview of the services we offer to non-residents of Singapore, through our International Banking Centre. There is no capital gains tax in Singapore, and interest income accruing from Singapore are not subject to withholding tax in Singapore for non-residents. We provide an extensive range of wealth management services, including Deposits, Investments, Savings and Current accounts in major currencies (USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD and HKD) to ensure that your financial needs are taken care of.  

Please note that all accounts with our International Banking Centre can only be used solely for personal transactions, and that we are unable to accept applications for business purposes.

Premier customer will enjoy:

  • A Relationship Manager assigned for your banking needs
  • Fax banking
  • Premier branded debit cards (for selected accounts)
  • Preferential interest rates for Term deposits
  • Discounts on Telegraphic transfers/ Commission in lieu of exchange
  • Free transfer funds between your self-named accounts within HSBC via Internet banking
  • Free cash withdrawals via HSBC Global ATM machines
  • To qualify, you will need to maintain a total of SGD200,000 or USD150,000 (equivalent) or more in credit balances and investments (For balances below that, there would be a monthly Premier service fee of SGD50)
  • If you are an existing Premier Customer with any of our HSBC offices around the world, you will get to enjoy HSBC Premier Services in Singapore, without having to maintain the required balance.
  • Attached are the bank tariffs for your information

For customer with basic needs, we do offer non-Premier accounts as follows. The minimum balance to maintain for a non-Premier offshore account (for foreigners residing outside Singapore) is SGD75,000 equivalent. For balances below that, there would be a monthly offshore service fee of SGD30.

-SGD Savings Account
-SGD PowerVantage Account
-Foreign Currency Savings Account - denominated in either USD, GBP, EUR, AUD, CAD or HKD
-Multi Currency Savings Account - available in five key currencies (AUD, EUR, GBP, SGD, USD) by default. Other currencies ( HKD, JPY, CAD, CHF, and NZD) will be made available upon request.

It is possible to amble into the Bangkok Branch of HSBC and get them to do all of this for you without even setting foot in Singapore. HSBC are also advertising heavily on Orient Expat at the moment and seem to be taking a large chunk of our CPM banner space.

#4 BangkapiBoy

Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:22 PM

I just wanted to put around $5000 in an account, but I could put up to $10,000.  HSBC Offshore would do, but still that is a 75,000 minimum.  Thanks both for answering with info.

#5 กำนัน

Posted 11 November 2010 - 02:25 PM

Just to be a pedant, 75,000 is the minimum to waive the service charge, but lower amounts are possible.

#6 Stocky

Posted 12 November 2010 - 01:46 AM

AFAIK you can still open an offshore account with any of the Multi-National banks, provided you give them a copy of your passport, a permanent address with proof that you live there (utility bills will do). I opened my offshore account with HSBC several years ago and my visit to the bank was only on a tourist visa.

#7 Jimmy1978

Posted 19 April 2012 - 05:29 AM

Have you tried POSB? They have a savings account for all foreigners, and I think all you need is your passport and some form of proof of address. As far as I remember, the bank interest rates were pretty decent too.

Edited by กำนัน, 19 April 2012 - 06:12 AM.
See below

#8 กำนัน

Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:12 AM

Shill community members are not welcome on this forum... not even ones that work for major banking institutions. Orient Expat members trust the advice they are given here, because shillers are identified and banned.

#9 TizMe

Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:29 PM

All bank interest rates in Singapore are s###.

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