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Open Bank Account on tourist visa / visit pass

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question mark
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Open Bank Account on tourist visa / visit pass

Post by question mark » Fri, 14 Jun 2013 4:03 pm

Hello,

I'm currently living in Bali but plan on returning home to Europe later this year for a couple of months before moving either to Malaysia or Singapore.

I want to open a bank account with online banking facilities in one of those countries before going back, I contacted all major banks I found via the internet and DBS Singapore seemed most eager to take my money so far.
You may consider applying for the DBS Savings Plus account for foreigners. The DBS Savings Account – For All Foreigners is an account for your day-to-day banking needs.

However, please be informed that all foreigners who are not working/living in Singapore and wish to open an account with us for the first time, will need to be present at any DBS branch with their passport. In addition, all account opening are subject to the approval of the Bank.
I've searched for this topic and found a wide range of opinions/experiences varying from "impossible without working/residency permit" over "possible, need to have a sponsor/recommendation letter" to "just walz in with your passport, no problem".

I hope I can find some recent and helpful answers here.

Thank you all in advance!


edit:

UOB just sent me this:
Foreigners / Spouse (not working Singapore)



• Passport; and

• other form of more permanent identification e.g. identification cards or social security passes etc;

• Original Residential Proof (Can be the form of driver’s license, Identity Card or latest bank statements, utility bill, phone bill that shows customer’s name & address in English)

• A Letter of Reference from a reputable Bank whereby customer is currently having an existing banking relationship or a letter from an Introducer (the introducer must be an existing UOB Singapore account holder/known to the Bank)

• Initial deposit of SGD$1,000.00

Please note that the provision of the above documents does not automatically indicate that the Bank will accept the account opening for customer. The approval of the account opening is at the Bank’s sole discretion and the Bank reserves the right to reject the account opening without disclosing any reason.
which sounds a bit less welcoming but still ok

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zzm9980
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Post by zzm9980 » Fri, 14 Jun 2013 8:13 pm

I think if you come in with appropriate ID and enough cash, anything is possible. I'm guessing as a European trying to get your money out of the EU, they would welcome you with open arms. If you were an American withought residency, they wouldn't touch you with a 10m pole.

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Post by Strong Eagle » Mon, 17 Jun 2013 1:15 am

It is a MAS requirement that you be personally identified when signing signature cards so I am not aware of any way around being physically present to open the account.

I believe Citibank will open a foreign account with no other documentation than a passport. The monthly fees are heavy, though.

I had an employee working and living in KL who opened an account at UOB with a passport and a letter of recommendation from my company, which, incidentally, had its accounts with UOB.

I opened a personal account in Malaysia at UOB with a reference letter from UOB covering my company in Singapore.

I believe banks want the reference letters as some indication that you have a satisfactory banking history, or are at least connected to someone with same.

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Post by ecureilx » Mon, 17 Jun 2013 9:40 am

Strong Eagle wrote:I believe Citibank will open a foreign account with no other documentation than a passport. The monthly fees are heavy, though.
Citi, RBS, and HSBC are easy on that score ..

Know a few non-residents who hold accounts in them ..

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Post by question mark » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:10 am

Looking good so far, seems all the negative stories have been by US guys indeed; only received positive responses from all banks I contacted. With HSBC I could even open the account from abroad as long as I sign the docs in an HSBC office somewhere - there is none in Bali though and a flight to Jakarta isn't much cheaper than going to Singapore directly anyway.

I found they charge a "commission in lieu of foreign exchange" of 1.5% up to $300 on all transactions not including any currency exchanges which I find pretty outrageous, do all Singaporean banks do this (or at least do some take a lower cut)?

Edit: It's not about being cheap either, I'd rather pay a reasonable monthly fee than 3% to get my money out of there every time (receive deposit: 1.5%, ATM: 1.5%). The min fee is $50 which obviously prohibits using the account for day to day ATM withdrawals, especially in Indonesia where you often can only get $250 per transaction in the first place. Will clear up if it's indeed for ATM w/d too and post here.

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Post by ecureilx » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:49 am

question mark wrote: I found they charge a "commission in lieu of foreign exchange" of 1.5% up to $300 on all transactions not including any currency exchanges which I find pretty outrageous, do all Singaporean banks do this (or at least do some take a lower cut)?
Well, for ATM Withdrawals, almost all, if not all, do charge as above :)

To get away with it, I believe you can look for HSBC to have some internal transfer to your JKT account .. not sure how it works though, and withdraw from your JKT account

For me, for PH, I remit to my PH account, than withdraw over ATM on my SG card. Works out cheaper.

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Post by question mark » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 12:35 pm

Crisis averted I think; I didn't realize it says "For cash deposit/ withdrawal".

I'll just use the bank account to upload € to my (also € denominated) Skrill.com account and use my attached MasterCard then.

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Post by zzm9980 » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 1:52 pm

question mark wrote:Looking good so far, seems all the negative stories have been by US guys indeed; only received positive responses from all banks I contacted. With HSBC I could even open the account from abroad as long as I sign the docs in an HSBC office somewhere - there is none in Bali though and a flight to Jakarta isn't much cheaper than going to Singapore directly anyway.

I found they charge a "commission in lieu of foreign exchange" of 1.5% up to $300 on all transactions not including any currency exchanges which I find pretty outrageous, do all Singaporean banks do this (or at least do some take a lower cut)?

Edit: It's not about being cheap either, I'd rather pay a reasonable monthly fee than 3% to get my money out of there every time (receive deposit: 1.5%, ATM: 1.5%). The min fee is $50 which obviously prohibits using the account for day to day ATM withdrawals, especially in Indonesia where you often can only get $250 per transaction in the first place. Will clear up if it's indeed for ATM w/d too and post here.
Citibank doesn't charge a fee, and their currency exchange rates are reasonable. Not the best, but decent for most banks.

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Post by stiwi » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 6:05 pm

Commission in lieu of foreign exchange is charged by banks for international bank transfers and cash transactions over the counter but not in case of ATM withdrawals.

Foreign currency cash deposits / withdrawals over the counter are possible free of charge for DBS Multi Currency Account as well as for Standard Chartered foreign currency bank accounts having World Partner status (at least S$50k in deposits in any currency).

AFAIK only HSBC, ANZ and Citibank issue ATM cards to foreign currency accounts. Citibank is best in this case as they don't charge any ATM withdrawal fees. I have FCY account with Citibank in EUR and withdrew many times EUR currency in Europe with no charges whatsoever.

If your intentions are deposits / withdrawals to / from Moneybookers, I used Citibank for this purpose and always paid S$30 per transfer to Moneybookers and money arrived in full. In SCB with WP status I was charged US$15 and EUR20 less arrived each time money arrived to MB (EUR20 for intermediary banks fees I believe). Withdrawal fees from Moneybookers are cheap at EUR1.80 (if your country of residence is Singapore) or EUR3.50 if not. They always send payments instructed as OUR which means all charges are borne by them, therefore you always get payment in full (incoming FCY bank transfer fee of S$10 that most bank applies here is also not chargeable in this scenario).

As for the bank account opening on passport only it will not be possible. You need to have a proof of residence such as utility bill, credit card statement, driving licence showing your current residential address. Some banks might require more documents such as reference letter from your current bank.

Also keep in mind that responses you get from banks in reality might be different once you show up. A friend of mine went to DBS and they said they don't open bank accounts to non residents despite having in their offer account for foreigners... Again, try to approach three branches as you might get different responses in all of them, but some can be positive. If you intend to deposit significant amount of money, at least S$200,000 then there is nothing to worry about. All banks will open a bank account here for your with minimum documents required. It is $ingapore after all :)

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Post by question mark » Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:45 pm

Thanks for the info.

I'm Skrill/Moneybookers VIP so I can use their MasterCard for ATMs completely free of charge (in reality I pay the same charges as anyone else, then get them back at the end of the month). So paying $30 to get my money from the bank account to MB doesn't sound bad at all and I wouldn't ever have to use the bank's ATM card.

I know about proof of address requirements, no problem here. Unfortunately I most likely won't deposit $200k or higher, was more thinking about around 40k for starters.

I just decided I'll stay another 6 months minimum in Bali anyway so it's really not a pressing matter anymore, will simply visit Singapore soon and see what different banks/branches have to say and report back for anyone interested.

Thanks again to anyone who replied!

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