Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world, and its banking sector is incredibly developed. The total assets of all banks in Singapore amount to over $2.3 trillion.
The country has a strategic geopolitical location and is one of the world’s leading financial centers.
In 2023, there were over 150 banks in Singapore, only eight of which were local banks. Out of the eight, five were locally incorporated full banks owned by three banking groups. The other three local banks were digital banks with full bank licenses in Singapore.
As our company is incorporated in Singapore, we have extensive knowledge of the local banking landscape, both traditional and digital, business and personal.
With so many excellent banks to choose from, I made a list of the banks we think are the best in Singapore, and I think they can provide the most value to you as a customer and/or a business owner. Let’s dive in!
- Best Bank in Singapore Overall – DBS Bank
- Best Digital Bank in Singapore – Trust
- Best Bank in Singapore for Expats – DBS
- Best Bank in Singapore for Business – OCBC
- Best Bank in Singapore for Savings – Bank of China
- Best Bank in Singapore for Investing – DBS
- Best Private Bank in Singapore – Bank of Singapore
- Best Bank in Singapore for Younger People – SC JumpStart Account
Best Bank in Singapore Overall – DBS Bank
- DBS is one of the largest financial corporations in Asia
- Established in 1968 as The Development Bank of Singapore Limited
- It holds total assets under management of S$686 billion
- DBS is one of the “Big Three” banks in Singapore (with OCBC Bank and the United Overseas Bank (UOB))
- DBS has been successively named “World’s Best Bank” by many institutions and industry magazines
DBS is the biggest bank in Singapore, but does that mean it’s the best as well? After all, we’ve all seen how banks start to deteriorate once they get really big.
However, DBS has managed to retain and even improve its products and customer service. I found the bank to be easy to work with and even helpful when I ran into some issues.
If you’re planning to get only one bank account in Singapore, DBS will be more than sufficient. It offers any financial product imaginable, so you won’t have to open additional accounts. Plus, the app is intuitive and easy to use.
You can open an account in any of their 150+ branches, but I found that it’s very easy to open an account online. The fastest option is to open it using Myinfo with Singpass to pre-fill the application form.
Foreigners will have to supply their passport (if not using SingPass), proof of residential address, and proof of tax residency.
All in all, this multinational bank deserves all the accolades it gets from industry magazines, and it shouldn’t disappoint you.
Best Digital Bank in Singapore – Trust
- Backed by Standard Chartered Bank and the FairPrice Group
- Trust offers a savings account, a credit card, and insurance
- No hidden fees, no annual fees for the credit card, and no monthly fees for the savings account
- Savings on groceries and food spend in Singapore
- Earn up to 2.5% p.a. interest
- Instantly switch between debit and credit accounts on one card
Being a website specialized in digital banks and mobile payment apps, naturally, we tested and used many mobile apps from around the world. I found that the digital bank that works best is, in fact, Trust.
This online-only bank is backed and founded by the famous Standard Chartered bank, which has been in Singapore for more than 160 years, and FairPrice Group, the nation’s leading grocery retailer, for the past 50 years.
Partnerships like these are nothing unusual in the banking space as the customer gets the best of finance and shopping in one account.
You can easily apply for a savings account and a credit card, as well as insurance.
The savings account makes it easy to save money with up to 2.5% p.a. interest rate on your first S$75,000 deposit. You also get to save up to 11% on groceries and food at FairPrice if using the Trust debit card. The money is insured up to S$75k by SDIC.
I love digital banks because they have no fees, and Trust is no different.
Additionally, the credit card is also totally free and comes without annual and foreign transaction fees forever. You also get to save 21% on groceries at FairPrice and 20% on fuel at Caltex stations.
Best Bank in Singapore for Expats – DBS
If you have just moved to Singapore, obviously, one of your first to-do things is to open a bank account.
We all know how banks can be problematic when foreigners try to open a bank account with them. Often you need all documents imaginable.
Banks in Singapore are used to dealing with many foreigners, so you shouldn’t have issues no matter which bank you choose.
With DBS, it’s even easier as the bank offers complete convenience when it comes to opening a bank account. You will only need to supply your:
- Employment pass, or
- The In-Principle Approval Letter issued by the Ministry of Manpower
- Proof of residential/mailing address
- Letter of Offer
- Letter of employment
- Latest payslip
- Local utility bill, etc.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be dealing in many currencies, so your best option is the DBS Multiplier account that lets you keep SGD and 12 additional foreign currencies (AUD, CAD, CNH, EUR, HKD, JPY, NZD, NOK, GBP, SEK, THB, and, USD).
With the DBS Visa debit card, you will pay like a local anywhere in the world, as well as online.
Plus, you can earn up to 4.1% p.a. on your savings, and you won’t have any minimum salary and credit card spend.
Best Bank in Singapore for Business – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC)
- Formed in 1932 from 3 banks (Overseas-Chinese Bank, Chinese Commercial Bank, and Ho Hong Bank)
- It holds total assets under management of S$521 billion
- Second largest bank in SE Asia by assets and among the bigger banks in Asia-Pacific
- OCBC trades on the Singapore Exchange
- OCBC also owns the Bank of Singapore
OCBC is the second biggest bank in Singapore. It’s a truly multinational company with a presence in almost 20 countries.
The bank offers personal and business accounts for SMEs to large corporations. As a matter of fact, the bank has been voted as the best for SMEs in Asia-Pacific.
It can help your company from its inception with resources for startups, short and long-term loans, as well as an all-in-one account with everything you need.
I love the fact that the bank gives us unlimited FAST/GIRO transactions for free, as well as cashback on our (free) business debit card. It also offers detailed insights into our spending, trends, and cash flow.
DBS and Citibank are also great alternatives. The US-based Citibank has been in Singapore for more than 120 years already. You can’t go wrong with any of these three banks, however.
Best Bank in Singapore for Investing- DBS
Yet again, DBS takes the cake. Am I biased, or is DBS really that high-quality? I’d say the second statement is true.
DBS offers many options for you to invest, and you can do it all through the dedicated mTrading app. They even offer a handy investment calculator, so you know exactly how much you’ll need to invest each month to fulfill your investment goals.
For a quick start to investing, I recommend the DBS Invest-Saver, which lets you invest in ETFs or Unit Trusts (UTs). Start investing with as little as S$100 a month. It’s quick and easy as you don’t need a trading or CDP account but a one-time setup. After that, it’s all on autopilot.
Best Bank in Singapore for Savings – Bank of China
Although savings interest rates are fairly good across the board, some banks excel more than others. I found that keeping my money in BOC’s Savings Account helps me save more money.
It’s not so much due to their regular interest rates, which are fairly low. But once I opened the BOC SmartSaver Savings Account, which is a savings plan for BOC Multi-Currency Savings (MCS) account holders, my savings skyrocketed.
It’s due to the fact that you can earn up to 7.00% p.a. on your first S$100,000 by jumping through some simple hoops:
- Wealth Bonus Interest
- Buy qualified BOC wealth products to earn 2.40% bonus interest for 12 successive months
- Card Spend Bonus Interest
- Spend at least $1,500 in a month 0.80%
- Spend at least $500 posted in a month 0.50%
- Salary Crediting Bonus Interest
- Monthly salary of $6,000+ 2.50%
- Monthly salary of $2,000 to $6,000 1.90%
- Payment Bonus Interest
- Successfully complete 3 bill payments of at least S$30 each 0.90%
- Extra Savings Interest
- Fulfill at least one of the requirements 0.60%
Best Private Bank in Singapore – Bank of Singapore
- It holds total assets under management of S$109 billion
- The private banking arm of OCBC Bank
- Acquired by OCBC Bank in 2009 from ING Group for US$1.46 billion
- Serves high net-worth individuals and wealthy families
- Customized wealth management, investment, and lending services
- Branches in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai
The Bank of Singapore is, in fact, the private banking component of the above-mentioned OCBC Bank.
It was previously known as ING Asia Private Bank. However, it was acquired by OCBC Bank almost 15 years ago from ING Group for USD 1.46 billion. As of 2023, Bank’s assets under management were USD 109 billion, making it one of the leading private banks in Asia.
What I can tell from my brief experience with them is that they offer a holistic approach to your wealth to offer ways of asset creation, preservation, hedging, as well as alternative investment types and planning.
Best Bank in Singapore for Younger People – SC JumpStart Account
- For young adults between 18 and 26 years
- Up to 2.5% p.a. on your deposit balance
- 1% cash back on eligible debit card spends
- No minimum spending or lock-in period
- No need for salary-crediting
- No service or annual fees
This is an everyday banking account for younger people. It’s part of the famous Standard Chartered bank that has been around in Singapore for a very long time.
If you are between 18 and 26 years old or you have kids that age, the JumpStart account offers a very good interest rate of 2.50% p.a. on your balance. It’s also completely free and comes with 1% cash back on debit card spending.
New JumpStart applicants can be Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and foreigners with a permit. Apply easily with your SingPass, which retrieves your personal details and income information directly from MyInfo.
However, you can also fill up the application form manually and upload the documents that are needed if you don’t have or don’t want to use a SingPass account.
Other Notable Banks in Singapore
I already listed my favorite banks in Singapore. However, there are many alternatives to these banks that deserve to be mentioned.
Although I have not used all of them personally, I have friends, family, and business partners that have and, through talking with them, have a grasp on their products and services.
United Overseas Bank (UOB)
In terms of assets under management, UOB is the third in Singapore with S$334 billion. It was founded in 1935 as United Chinese Bank and now offers personal and business accounts, private banking, investing, venture capital, and more.
Citibank Singapore is a division of the famous Citibank from the United States. It’s been in Singapore since 1902, when it was known as the International Banking Corporation (IBC).
Citibank is known for being the first to popularize the use of ATM machines in Singapore, as well as the first to popularize telephone banking services.
The bank now offers a whole suite of financial products and services such as bank accounts, mortgages and other loans, insurance, wealth management, and more.
Maybank is the largest bank in Malaysia that is doing business in Indonesia and Singapore as well and was founded by Singaporean business tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat.
It’s a full-service bank that offers personal and business accounts, credit cards, mortgages and other loans, as well as life and general insurance.
Standard Chartered Bank Singapore
This is the subsidiary of British banking and financial giant Standard Chartered. The bank is one of the oldest ones in Singapore, as it opened its first branch in 1859.
I already mentioned it in this article that it’s great for young people; however, it’s an excellent choice for anyone – private citizens or corporations.
Last on our list is the famous HSBC, which has been a full-service bank in Singapore since 1877. It offers a wide range of financial services, including personal and commercial banking, private and investment banking, insurance, and trustee services, as well as securities and capital markets services.