by Christian Funke
What is really interesting about Singapore is its stability and safety, for which the country is well known in Asia and throughout the world. I wanted to use this stability and safety for parts of my savings, as long as I´d find a free account which can be easily opened while in Singapore as a visitor.
Stopover for a new account
DBS „Development Bank of Singapore“ (www.dbs.com.sg) offers such accounts: Even without official residence in Singapore this account is free, as long as a balance of S$ 1000 is maintained, otherwise it’s priced at S$2/month.
Free account from S$ 1.000 minimum balance
Savings account with Visa-Debit Card
The account’s name is „DBS Savings Plus“. Unlike the name suggests it is more a current account than a savings account. Interest stands at less than 1%, which is normal for all stable currencies at present.
Customers with residence in Germany might want to ask if it’s possible to reduce interest from 0.0x% to 0%. It´s hardly any loss, and if interest is “zero” the account does not have to be declared to the German tax man. I didn’t ask because I live in Switzerland where I have to declare each and every account because of the existing “wealth tax”.
The account-opening process
Opening the account is very easy: All it took was my passport for identification purposes. I had to orally state my address without any proof, it was recorded as such.
What I didn’t expect: The associated debit card is printed and issued on the spot! If you deposit funds in the account the card can be used 5 minutes after opening the account. All documents and the needed key generator for online banking are handed over as well. When leaving the branch the account is fully up and running!
DBS Key-Generator and Visa-Debit Card
Once you have this account it’s possible to:
- Store assets in S$ (SGD)
- Use the debit card 1:1 in S$
- Use the debit card worldwide (this will attract a fee)
- Send and receive funds in SGD, within Singapore, free of charge
- Use Currencyfair and / or Transferwise to transfer funds to Singapore
- Use „normal“ transfers to repatriate funds (at a fee)
What is not possible:
- Currencyfair and/or Transferwise do not allow to repatriate funds from Singapore, as Singaporean law prohibits this.
To get your money it can be transferred internationally directly from DBS, withdraw or pay with the card, or withdraw cash in any DBS-branch locally in Singapore.
Account with DBS in Singapore – Summary
This account allows “parking“ assets in one of the safest countries in the world, and allows sending and receiving funds within Singapore. Interest is low, and there’s a currency risk to the S$. Sending funds to the account is easier and cheaper through Transferwise / Currencyfair than repatriating funds via direct transfers. This account is ideal for people who frequently visit Singapore, or people who want to spread their assets far and wide.
About the author
Christian Funke is an enthusiastic traveller. Having lived near the German / Belgian / Dutch tripoint, he already maintained, pre-euro, accounts in these three countries to save on banking fees. After the introduction of the €uro and increased travel activity he extended and adapted this “hobby” accordingly.
The author is available for questions via the comment box.
Frequently read articles about account opening in other countries:
- Open a bank account in Germany and USA
- Open a business account in Germany for self-employed
- Free German credit card