Money, Banks, Expenses and Payment


There are many things to consider when moving to Singapore. As you are entering a new phase of life it is important to start off organised and prepared to face new and exciting challenges. Leaving the country can be stressful - but new financial opportunities also open up. So plan ahead to make the most of your time abroad.


It is necessary to set aside money for relocating, even if you are being relocated by your company. How much you will need depends on the location and the reason for why you are moving. You will need money for the move itself (if self funded) and then to set up in the new location. You may need to buy furniture, pay rent, set up accounts, pay school fees and join clubs. The list goes on. To better prepare yourself for these costs is to get rid of any outstanding debt, pay off loans and to set up an ‘emergency fund’ so you know you have some money aside for any potential surprises.



The currency used in Singapore since 1967 has been the Singapore dollar. The Singapore dollar officially replaced the previous currency, the Malaya and British Borneo dollar in that year. Bank notes are available for the denominations of 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 1000 and 10000 Singapore Dollars.


Opening Account

Anyone can open a bank account in Singapore, if they don't have a passport they may be able open one online through the internet without even going to the bank. Those getting a bank account can apply to have a Singapore dollar credit card. Most international credit cards, like MasterCard and Visa, are accepted in Singapore, and there are abundant ATM machines that are useable with international debit cards.

There are several benefits for non-residents (foreigners) and expatriates to open a banking account in Singapore. Please click on "Open Bank Account" for advise on how to open a personal bank account in Singapore for foreigners.



There are several international banks active in Singapore, including Citibank, Maybank, and Standard Chartered - and most of the international banks don't charge their customers for each others' ATM use. There are many different national banks in the country. It is common for most banks to provide automated phone banking or online website banking services, which many customers in Singapore are resorting to so they can decrease the lengthy waiting queues in the branches.


Commercial Banks

Commercial banks in Singapore are licensed under and governed by the Banking Act. They may undertake universal banking. Besides commercial banking, which includes deposit taking, the provision of cheque services and lending, the banks may also carry out any other businesses which are regulated or authorised by MAS, including financial advisory services, insurance broking and capital market services. Banks are however prohibited from engaging in non-financial activities.

Commercial banks operate as full banks, wholesale banks or offshore banks. There are 5 local banks and 120 foreign banks, of which 28 are foreign full banks, 55 are wholesale banks and 37 offshore banks.