Although Singapore started awarding digital banking licenses at the end of 2020, there are already many domestic and international digital banks that are licensed not as digital banks but as Major Payment Institutions and offer financial and banking products and services.
I recently wrote about banks in Singapore in general, but in this article, I’m showing you the best digital, online, challenger, neobanks, or whatever else you want to call them.
Having used and reviewed hundreds of similar financial apps, as well as owning a business in Singapore, I’m in a unique position to tell you what the best mobile banking apps are at the moment. So, without further ado, here are the best digital banks categorized by their purpose, including their advantages and disadvantages.
- Best Digital Bank Overall – Trust
- Best for Everyday use – Revolut
- Best for Savings Accounts – GXS
- Best for International use & Transfers – Wise
- Best for Businesses – Aspire
- Best for SMEs – Airwallex
- Best for Freelancers – Wise
- Best for Company Registration – Sleek
- Best for Buy Now, Pay Later – Atome
- Best Digital Wallet – YouTrip
- Other Digital Banks in Singapore
Best Virtual Bank Overall – Trust
|No annual, foreign transaction, or cash advance fees||I didn’t find any significant cons to share with you|
|High savings interest rates|
|Instantly switch between debit and credit card|
|Savingsat FairPrice Group|
|Rewards and coupons|
Trust is a digital bank backed and founded by the famous Standard Chartered Bank, present in Singapore for 160 years, and FairPrice Group, the nation’s leading grocery retailer.
Although this may sound unusual, partnerships like these are nothing strange in the banking space. Oftentimes, a strong retailer with a lot of brand recognition establishes an account on their own even, and customers get the best of finance and shopping in one account.
I love how they made such a good product that combines all the best in banking and cloud technology to bring us savings accounts with high APY, credit cards, and insurance products.
The savings account lets you earn a high-interest rate on the first S$75,000, which is the amount the SDIC insures your funds. However, you’re also saving money on groceries and food at FairPrice Group at a rate of 11%.
The credit card, on the other hand, comes with its own savings. You get 21% savings at FairPrice and up to 20% on fuel at Caltex.
With Smart switch, you can also instantly switch between your debit card and credit card at any time how many times you want.
Best for Everyday use – Revolut
|Free account available||The best features are in paid accounts|
|Multi-currency accounts||Poor customer support|
|Instant international money transfers||Some customer accounts are frozen temporarily due to security reasons|
|Connect all your bank accounts||No savings interest rate|
|Daily discounts and cashback|
|Great for traveling and sending money abroad|
|Crypto, and commodities trading|
Revolut is a well-known, and popular challenger bank from the UK that already has over 25 million personal users and more than 500,000 businesses.
Revolut’s Asia-Pacific headquarters opened in Singapore in 2018, and their services have been available since October 2019.
The fintech company expanded to all corners of the world and even obtained a full banking license in Europe.
Although it lacks some perks and benefits that the company offers in the UK or the US, Revolut Singapore is one of the best banking apps in the country for everyday use. Especially if you have the top account (S$19.99/m).
There’s also a free account and a Premium that costs S$9.99/m. All three accounts allow you to open kids’ accounts for free, withdraw fee-free at ATMs up to a monthly limit, free card delivery, crypto and commodity investing, international spending, and more.
The top account, called Metal, also gives you an exclusive stainless steel debit card with cashback in any currency (choose from 25+ currencies), unlimited and free money transfers, the highest free ATM withdrawal allowance, up to 5 free kids’ accounts, unlimited foreign exchange, etc.
Best for Savings Accounts – GXS
|No monthly fees||Not many features yet|
|No minimum balance|
|Integration with Grab and Dash|
GXS is the first licensed digital bank in Singapore and a product of Grab Holdings and Singtel – Uber of Southeast Asia, and a major communications technology group, respectively.
The bank launched in August 2022, and there isn’t much feedback from customers yet, but from what I can see, it is a really modern bank with, what’s important, daily high-interest rates on your savings pockets.
You don’t have to lock in your funds for any amount of time and can even withdraw them whenever you want.
The bank is also inherently integrated with both Grab and Dash, parent companies’ popular apps, so you can seamlessly add funds and spend your rewards.
Best for International use & Transfers – Wise
|No monthly fees||1.75% + S$1.5 fee for ATM withdrawals above S$350|
|Transparent money transfers||Debit card not free|
|Great exchange rates||No savings interest rate|
|Easy to sign up||No cashback|
|IBAN from 10 different countries|
|Holds 50+ currencies|
Wise is a well-known money transfer service and digital bank from London, UK that is present worldwide, including Singapore.
The company that I use quite a lot offers you an international debit card that you can use in 175 countries, gives you nine local account details, including SGD, USD, GBP, EUR, lets you hold 49 currencies in your account, and helps you transfer money worldwide cheaper and faster than the competition.
There’s not much to add here. The benefits are clear as a day, and you can also get them for your business. If you make any payments or transactions outside of Singapore, you’ll want to check out Wise.
You can open a Wise account in minutes without unnecessary documentation and headaches that local banks can impose.
Best for Businesses – Aspire
|No monthly fees or minimum deposit||No cash or check deposits|
|Access to credit and loans|
Aspire is a Singapore-based digital bank that was founded in 2018 by Andrea Baronchelli (CEO) and Giovanni Casinelli (CTO). It exclusively offers business accounts for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Although it was also offering personal accounts, it decided to shift its focus to businesses.
The company offers a complete package for SMEs that blends a bank account and credit card, as well as invoicing and expense software.
You can open an account for your organization in 10 minutes if you have the required documents handy. If you don’t have a company in Singapore yet, you can open one with Aspire too. It doesn’t matter if you live in Singapore or not.
There are too many perks and benefits to mention them all, so I’ll just mention those that I find extremely important for my businesses.
Apart from a business bank account, you get expense management and payable management. Both give you complete control over your budgets, cards, bills, accounts, etc.
Speaking of cards, they come with cashback and let you hold three currencies – SGD, USD, and IDR. Opt for physical or virtual cards you can add to Apple and Google Pay.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with Aspire for your business needs.
Best for SMEs – Airwallex
|No monthly fees||Expenses S$5 per cardholder per month|
|Domestic and foreign currency accounts|
|Competitive transfer rates|
|Integrates with global marketplaces|
|Connects to Xero|
I want to highlight another business bank here – Airwallex. Although it was founded in 2015 in Australia, it’s present in Oceania, Southeast Asia, the US, UK, EU, and Canada.
The fintech was founded by four Chinese friends, Jack Zhang, Lucy Yueting Liu, Jacob Dai, and Max Li.
In Singapore, it offers a global account, borderless cards, low-cost international transfers, Xero integration, and a suite of APIs to launch your financial products, accept payments, programmatically make payouts, and more.
What I like the most about this bank account is that you can open local bank accounts in 12 currencies, including AUD, CNY, HKD, USD, GBP, EUR, and CAD. You can also hold 40+ currencies in the multi-currency wallet. All of this for free.
Even virtual and physical employee and company cards are issued for free. Meaning you can focus on your business expenses and not on bank costs.
Best for Company Registration – Sleek
|Easily register a company||Accounting S$75/m|
|Accounting and payroll|
|A complete package for business owners|
|30-day money back guarantee|
Sleek is a Singaporean fintech that launched in SG in 2017 and expanded to Hong Kong in 2019.
Whether you’re a local or you live outside of Singapore, Sleek can help you register a company quickly and easily.
You can fill out the online form from the comfort of your sofa, with transparent pricing and everything you need to comply with local and international laws.
Why open a company in Singapore in the first place? Not only is it ranked number two in the world for doing business, but it has droves of tax incentives that lure foreigners to this amazing country.
If you look at the bottom of this website, you’ll notice that my company also hails from Singapore. That’s right, I recognized how easy it is to incorporate there and take advantage of all that entails.
With Sleek, you get not only a business bank account but also a corporate secretary (required by law) and an accounting and bookkeeping package if you need it.
Best for Buy Now, Pay Later – Atome
|Free to use||Only one type (pay in 3) available|
|No interest rate|
|Thousands of partner stores|
|Easy to use|
Pronounced A-To-Me, Atome was launched in 2019 and offers a simple Buy Now, Pay Later service and is present, apart from Singapore, in eight other markets across Southeast Asia.
The company has partnered with 5,000 offline and online retailers in almost all categories.
To buy something in 3 installments with 0% interest or other fees, choose Atome at checkout, or scan their QR code at the cash register in-store.
You’ll have to make the first payment then and there and the other two in the next 60 days, spread 30 days apart.
Best for Freelancers – Wise
Today’s freelancers need to have a global bank account if they want to save money on currency conversion when they get paid by their contractors.
Not only do you often, if not always, get paid in a different currency than your own, but many expenses are also in foreign currency and prone to fluctuations.
Wise helps you, as it helped me not to worry about any of that. It supports all major currencies that you can hold independently in your account and exchange them at the right time and rate.
You can use an international debit card to pay for any expenses in-store or online in the local currency.
Best Digital Wallet – YouTrip
|Multi-currency wallet||In-app exchange restricted to 10 currencies|
|No monthly fees||S$5,000 limit on wallet balance|
|No transaction fees|
|Integration with EZ-Link|
YouTrip is a popular multi-currency digital wallet based in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. The company itself is made up of people with backgrounds in leading tech firms and the world’s most renowned financial establishments.
You can use the app to spend in more than 150 currencies overseas at fair exchange rates and without any additional fees.
You can hold up to S$5,000 in a secure mobile wallet and instantly top it up by using any Singapore credit or debit card.
YouTrip also offers business accounts called YouBiz. You get corporate cards for your business with unlimited 1% cashback and no foreign exchange fees.
The business account is also free and lets you make unlimited virtual and physical cards that you can dedicate to specific departments, expenses, categories, and employees.
Other Notable Digital Banks in Singapore
As digital banking is expected to continue to grow in Southeast Asia, more banks by fintech companies and multinational conglomerates are expected to emerge.
They will be rolling out new features, higher savings interest rates, tools, and products to tempt customers from traditional financial institutions.
- Parent company Ant Bank
- Wholesale only
- Daily interest on balance
- Open with Corppass
- No annual or monthly fees
ANEXT is a wholesale bank that was launched in June 2022 by the famed Ant Group. It was approved in 2020 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to offer business bank accounts.
The bank’s focus is on micro, small, and mid-sized businesses (SMEs), especially those that have cross-border operations.
Businesses like these can easily open a bank account with no upfront fees completely online and only with the most basic documentation.
ANEXT offers SGD and USD dual-currency accounts with daily interest rates, no annual and fall-below fees, free local payments, 24/7 free mobile banking, and more.
- AirAsia’s mobile wallet
- No monthly fees
- Budgeting and analytics
- Local or international bank transfers
- Competitive exchange rates
BigPay is a digital wallet brought to us from no other than Malaysian AirAsia. It was founded in 2017 and is available in Malaysia and Singapore.
It’s your typical digital banking account coupled with a debit card, budgeting, and analytics features, a receipt tracker, international transfers, bill payments, splitting bills, and more.
It’s also one of the first fintech in Asia to offer fully digital personal loans.
- Current, multi-currency, and fixed deposit accounts
- Term loans
- Supply chain financing
Green Link Digital Bank (GLDB) was the first officially licensed digital bank in Singapore. It’s owned by a Chinese developer and state-owned corporation, Greenland Holdings, and supply chain financing platform Linklogis Hong Kong.
It’s a wholesale bank which means it only serves micro companies and SMEs and doesn’t offer personal accounts.
The bank offers current, multi-currency, and fixed deposit accounts in USD and SGD.
Apart from that, you can also take out micro and regular term loans, as well as apply for overdrafts facility.
And lastly, payables and receivables financing and supply chain financing is also at your disposal.
How Safe is Digital Banking in Singapore?
Digital banks in Singapore are licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which allows users to feel more comfortable and safe banking with these licensed institutions.
This license often comes with a guarantee that secures customer deposits. Licensed digital banks in Singapore are members of the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC), with eligible deposits protected to a maximum of S$75,000.
On the other hand, fintech companies that are licensed as Major Payment Institutions must keep all their clients’ funds safeguarded in reputable banks, which will return ALL the money to clients if such an institution goes insolvent.
For example, Revolut keeps client funds safeguarded at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (Singapore branch) and DBS Bank.
Other than that, digital banks are at the cutting edge of technology, and customer safety is a vital part of this.
The authorization involves facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, or voice recognition, demonstrating how digital banks are utilizing the best of technology to provide customers with a secure experience.