How to open a foreign currency account in Singapore

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Published 22 Nov 2022

If you get paid or have to make payments in a foreign currency, or need to hold foreign currency for some time, opening a foreign currency account means you can avoid the cost associated with conversion and exchange rate volatility.

Opening a foreign currency account in Singapore is easier and faster with online borderless accounts.

What currency do you need?

Choose a currency

Fast and easy setup

Where to open a foreign currency account

Wise Money Transfer

Wise Money Transfer

Highlights

  • No hidden fees. No bad exchange rates. No surprises.
  • Indulge convenience by transacting thru the Wise App anytime and anywhere!
  • Regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).


Pros

  • Low and competitive fees.
  • Easy to understand fee structure.
  • Easy to use website and mobile apps.
  • High transfer limit.

Cons

  • Limited currencies and destination countries compared with some competitors.
  • Can only send funds to the recipient's bank account.
Airwallex Money Transfer

On website

Airwallex Money Transfer

Highlights

  • Spend less on FX fees and more on growth.
  • Make payments in 31 currencies, into over 130 countries and counting.
  • You always get access to Airwallex's best rates, no matter the transaction volume.

Pros

  • Create an account in just a few minutes.
  • No international transfer transaction fee.
  • Favorable currency exchange rates.
  • Quick transfers.

Cons

  • Limited transfer methods.
  • Fewer transfer currencies are available than some competing services.
OFX Money Transfer

OFX Money Transfer

Highlights

  • Enjoy better rates and fees.
  • Transfers to most countries take 1-2 business days. Track your transfer online or with the OFX mobile app.
  • With support staff located in Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA.
  • ASX-listed and regulated by MAS.

Pros

  • Easy and quick account opening.
  • Transfers over 50 currencies in 170 countries.
  • No fees if transferring below $10,000.
  • Enjoy additional features for business transfers.

Cons

  • Limited payment options.
  • Minimum transfer applies.
Aspire

Aspire

Highlights

  • Open a business account under SGD or USD anywhere in the world.
  • Send and receive international payments in 30+ currencies across 130+ countries at competitive rates.
  • Integrate your account to major accounting software.

Pros

  • Offers an integrated financial solution to business owners.
  • No minimum deposit.
  • No monthly fees.
  • Earn rewards.

Cons

  • No cash or cheque deposits.
Volopay

Volopay

Highlights

  • Offers money transfers, corporate credit cards, and other services for your business requirements.
  • Transfer funds to 130+ countries with competitive pricing and no hidden fees.
  • Earn cashback when you spend using the Volopay card.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Access to advanced financial tools.
  • Get a physical and virtual corporate card.
  • Pay $0 for its Standard Plan.

Cons

  • If your company has large international transactions, you may have to pay more for the Volopay Pro Plan.
Youbiz

Youbiz

Highlights

  • 0% transaction fee when you pay overseas in 150+ currencies.
  • Set up a multi-currency account and receive foreign currencies with no fees.
  • Get a corporate card to earn unlimited 1% cashback on all spend. Terms and Conditions apply.

Pros

  • Fast and easy signup process.
  • Get unlimited cashback with no cap.
  • Access to a line of credit.
  • No fees when you pay bills through FAST.

Cons

  • Only holds up to 9 currencies.

First time?

How to open a foreign currency account

Opening a foreign currency account in Singapore is simple, especially if you open an account with an online provider.

  1. Choose a provider. You can get a foreign currency account from a traditional bank or online service, such as on this page. We only list reputable brands that are tried and tested.
  2. Register and open your account. To open a new account, you must provide your details, including your email address, phone number, and photo ID. Businesses may be required to provide additional documents.
  3. Start using your account. You could deposit a small amount there first until you get used to it.

Help choosing

What to look for

Here are some of the most important factors to consider when comparing foreign currency accounts.

  • What currencies are supported? Accounts for currencies such as the US dollar, euro, and British pound are available from most.
  • Linked card. Can you use a debit card to access funds in the account? Can it be added to Apple Pay, Google Pay, or another digital wallet?
  • Funding methods. How can the account be funded? Are there limits?
  • Account fees. Are there any monthly account fees charged?
  • Foreign currency transaction fees. Are there any fees to convert between currencies?
  • Minimum balance. Do you need to maintain a minimum balance in your foreign currency account?
  • Maximum balance. Is there a maximum limit on how much you can keep in the account?
  • Overdraft facility. Can you get an overdraft in a foreign currency if you need one?
  • Supported transfer types. What fees apply to the various types of transfers supported?
  • Settlement time. How long would it take for funds to settle in your foreign currency account? How quickly are outbound transfers processed?
  • Withdrawals and payments. Are there any limits on how much can be withdrawn or paid out?
  • The interest rate. How much will you make if you keep a balance in the account?
  • Cashback and other perks. Will you get cashback on your spending or any additional perks?
  • Flexibility and tools. Does the account integrate with the platforms you business relies on, e.g. marketplaces and accounting software?

Still not sure?

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Send foreign currency invoices to your overseas clients and customers.
  • Collect payments in a foreign currency without having to convert to SGD.
  • Save money when paying for imports or online purchases in a foreign currency.
  • Avoid currency conversion fees when making payments or when paying suppliers, services, and staff in foreign currency.
  • Hedge against exchange rate volatility by buying and saving a foreign currency ahead of time.
  • Valid for international travel and shopping online.

Cons

  • If opening an account with a traditional bank, you may be required to have a local currency account before you can open a foreign currency account with them.
  • Some traditional banks require a high minimum balance to keep a foreign currency account open.
  • Higher fees compared to regular transaction accounts in the local currency.
  • A variety of fees are applicable on foreign currency accounts.

Want more help?

FAQs

Can I open a foreign currency account in Singapore?

Anyone can open a foreign currency account in Singapore with one of the providers listed above.

What types of foreign currency accounts are there?

You can open a foreign currency account for personal or business use. The documentation required to open an account will vary depending on the type of account you wish to open.

What can a foreign currency account be used for?

You can use your foreign currency account to collect payments from marketplaces such as Amazon, payment processors such as PayPal, buy now pay later platforms such as Klarna, send payments to companies and suppliers, pay overseas mortgages, and more.

Do foreign currency accounts in Singapore pay interest?

Some foreign currency savings accounts in Singapore pay interest, but this is typically low, as is the case for most savings accounts.

What fees are applicable on a foreign currency account?

Depending on who you open an account with, fees that may be charged include the following:

  • Account opening fees
  • Monthly maintenance or ongoing fees
  • Telegraphic transfer fees on receipts and payments
  • Currency conversion fees
  • Cardholder fees for any linked debit cards
  • Cash withdrawal fees and ATM fees
  • Interest in overdraft facilities

How long does it take to open a foreign currency account?

The time it takes to open a foreign currency account depends on who you are opening the account with.

The fastest way to get a foreign currency account is with an online provider such as Wise or Airwallex. Expect it to take longer for a traditional bank to make a foreign currency account available.

It is best to begin the process at least a few business days before you use your foreign currency account to be safe