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Crap banks in Singapore

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Crap banks in Singapore

Post by ukdesigner » Thu, 08 May 2008 4:59 pm

I'm wondering if anybody else has come across the uslessness of the banks for business in singapore.

Here's my dilema with a global bank here in sg.

me... I'd like to open a business account please
bank... certainly
me... I'd like a debit card aswell please
bank... we don't do those
me... ok, i'll have a credit card then please
bank... oh sorry but your business is too new to have one. You have a cheque book though to buy things.
me... so how do i pay for things online (which I do all time with my type of business (clue as to nature in my name by the way)
bank... don't know, pay by cheque
me... are you serious? Buy something on-line and say I'll send them a cheque :x
bank... no answer ](*,)

so... what do I do apart from carry on transfering money into my personal account to pay for things for my business or using my uk account and get ripped off with the currency exchange rate and a handling fee of course? Neither are exactly ideal. By the way I'm a sole prop not a Pte Ltd.

I'm curious as to how everybody faired when they set up. I mean in the banks in the UK I walked in, opened an account, got a debit card, cheque book, credit card etc etc all sorted on the spot. I appreciate I had a credit history there and have none here but how can a person/business get one without having any credit? I even suggested they give me a credit card with a low limit to start off with an increase it over time if they were happy. No go on that too.

The banks here are seriously starting to p*ss me right off!

Any suggestions? SMS, Strong Eagle, you've both been here a while. How did you fair?
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Post by sierra2469alpha » Thu, 08 May 2008 5:27 pm

Designer - what can I say - going through that process as well.

By FAR the biggest initial thing is to get yourself setup personally IN Singapore. Get a huge limit on your credit card to cover business expenses (ours is $SGD65K). Then get a supplementary card, most of the "expat" [errrghhh] banks will do that fee free. Call that card BUSINESS - at least it helps when you get the statements to itemise everything.

In terms of TRUE business accounts, and I appreciate you are sole prop., and this business is a PTE. LTD., let me recount what they want from on end : FULL names, business interests, fiduciary and financial obligations of EACH shareholder of the company (kind of hard when we have close on 220 shareholders in the ultimate company); etc etc etc.

Now, that being said, that business doesn't really want to fork out for exchange rate hedging etc. However we need to transfer monies between different currencies etc, so this might not fit your profile.

So, if sole prop, and dealing only in $SGD, or limited other currencies, it doesn't really matter if it's a business account or personal - as long as you can satisfy the record keeping requirements of the tax peeps (IRA).

Alternatively, what we did with the other business, is we spoke to our "old home bank" and said we were setting up an overseas office. They gave us a few perks, but not that many. Unfortunately they do not have regional representation here in SIN.

We appreciate your frustration, and hope this reply is of some use.

P & C

[edited: correctness and clarification]

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Post by banana » Thu, 08 May 2008 5:30 pm

Had that same issue when I incorporated. Strictly speaking, your business needs to be active for 2 years before they will grant you access to credit facilities. Apparently, you can work around that by making a sizeable deposit but small businesses with that kind of coin is probably not going to worry about much.

Is your bank "truly the world's local bank"? They seemed pretty good for international transactions even if the charges are quite steep. For online purchases, most banks should have some kind of iBanking service that can help. Otherwise you can always ask your vendors if they accept remittance services like PayPal or MoneyBooker.

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Post by ukdesigner » Thu, 08 May 2008 5:34 pm

That's the funny thing.. I am set-up here. I've put in my accounts for the period of last year and am now getting work on a local basis as much as from the UK. But the bank will not budge on the 2 year policy. Must have 2 years of accounts... I do but not Singaporean accounts - NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I have money in the bank - NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I think I'm gonna have to move banks and see what the others will offer. I've hardly used them because they are so crap. I even told my "relationship manager" who is also crap that I'll move my account unless I have an electronic way of accessing my funds excluding internet banking. Still no joy.

The funny thing is that I gave up my credit card when I settled down here as I didn't think I needed it and wold get one here. They just aren't interested.
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Post by sierra2469alpha » Thu, 08 May 2008 5:37 pm

banana wrote:...

Is your bank "truly the world's local bank"? ...Otherwise you can always ask your vendors if they accept remittance services like PayPal or MoneyBooker.
Hi Banana - good post BTW :) We have "truly the royal pain in head bank" as some of our bankers. Internet banking from them is to say the least poor, even as a "top tier" client (hint: Premier, d'oh gave it away!), and their inter-country forex rates seem to be, shall we say, designed to extract maximum revenue from our "high net worth [in our case, low net worth] clients".

Low cost forex is a pretty rare thing unless you have high-end personal bankers or a good corporate bank. In our example, the first one, we're struggling. With the second, we're struggling.

PayPal and MoneyBooker just add a fee on top of already usurious forex rates in our research - hope that helps.

P

[edit: can someone please help me spell usureious!!}

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Post by banana » Wed, 14 May 2008 12:37 pm

Thanks.

Agree that they charge exorbitant rates but which bank doesn't? :lol: Two things I like about them is that they are about the only bank (at least that I know of) that actually have a central database which translates to convenience on so many levels. The other is that their staff didn't give me that "you're local as well so here's some shitty service" routine.

I curious now though. OP, what kind of purchases are you making for your business that you absolutely MUST have a credit card?
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Post by startofthejourney » Wed, 14 May 2008 2:06 pm

the learning for people like me, who are living in singapore, is to amass as many credit cards as possible whilst one is still an employee.

and not wait to take a 'company' credit card when one floats a company here in singapore, because that one may come after a couple of years !

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Post by ukdesigner » Wed, 14 May 2008 11:20 pm

its not a MUST have but would've just been an extra.

I buy images on-line for my work and usually have to pay up-front before the customer pays me, that's all.
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Post by E-T » Thu, 15 May 2008 3:43 am

startofthejourney wrote:the learning for people like me, who are living in singapore, is to amass as many credit cards as possible whilst one is still an employee.
The worst advice to offer is using personal credit cards for business purposes. Many do this, and that's also why many are in deep wells being caught on both ends - unable to pay off.

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Post by startofthejourney » Thu, 15 May 2008 11:49 am

Hi ET

You are dead right in a general context. One should not use credit cards to rollover debt. Its the worst kind of financing avenue one could explore.

Personally for me I have never rolled over a credit card debt.

I was referrring here to the convenience aspect, which is where the thread started. For convenience sake one needs a card which singapore banks do not want to give to fresh companies but without which its difficult to survive.

Therefore best to have a few in hand before you leave your job and start a company.

Cheers

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Post by banana » Thu, 15 May 2008 12:30 pm

ukdesigner wrote:its not a MUST have but would've just been an extra.

I buy images on-line for my work and usually have to pay up-front before the customer pays me, that's all.
Yes, that completely slipped my mind. By designer, I thought you were exclusively the other type - the ones that create their own visuals from scratch with Illustrator etc.

Most major stock photo sites have a brick-n-mortar presence in Singapore, as well as a number of other alternatives. It's admittedly a little inconvenient, which I guess is the main gripe you have.
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Post by trinity511 » Fri, 23 May 2008 7:44 am

ukdesigner wrote:.
I buy images on-line for my work and usually have to pay up-front before the customer pays me, that's all.
Hi UK
Just peaked my interest, in that I started my working life as a photographer over 25yrs ago and am currently trying to find my way back into the field and have been checking out the options of selling my photographs to stock photography sellers. I'm just curious as to how often you use these services and your thoughts on the matter. I would appreciate any input/insights you may have and understand if you have no comments also.

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Post by sierra2469alpha » Fri, 23 May 2008 9:03 am

trinity511 wrote:I would appreciate any input/insights you may have and understand if you have no comments also.
Hi Trin - as a start have a look at jpgmag.com - interesting concept. A friend of ours put us onto it. Haven't lodged anything with them yet, but might do.

HTH, P

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Post by ukdesigner » Fri, 23 May 2008 2:46 pm

nice one. I'll add that onto my growing list.

I use istockphoto alot, as it has vector and imagery. It's very affordable and sometimes you can find that quirky image you want.

There's a few others...

bigstockphoto
dreamstime

I think in all those cases you can upload your photos and if people buy you get some money.
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Post by Winxkid » Mon, 02 Jun 2008 10:36 pm

Definitely the banks in SG can't be on par with England as MAS practise tight control and banks here have to constantly keep their books in good look or else they gotta get prepared to be strike-off the book of MAS. :cry:

The transparency is not as good as Europe and HK but definitely the best in S.E.A... if one had to take the heat, it gotta be the authority who makes the banks behave in this way 8-)
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