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Top 3 Bank Accounts for SMEs (2013)

Ryan Ong

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SME banking used to be a simple. You walked in, gave your money to the teller, then watched it devalue faster than yesterday’s newspaper. Hell, I think the bus fare to get to the bank would have beaten the interest for the month. Fortunately, our finance sector has made SME saving a more productive activity:

 

Why Do You Need a SME Bank Account?

There’s no law that requires you to separate business and personal bank accounts. Just as there’s no law about checking for toilet paper before taking a dump. Both are things you’ll deeply regret not doing, later on.

When you use your personal bank account for business, it’s nigh impossible to separate business and personal expenditures. That’s bad for tracking your money. And come a tax audit, your response could involve asking what the food’s like in jail.

Also, it looks unprofessional when a customer has to make out a cheque to you (and not your business).

 

1. DBS Entrepreneur’s Account for Start-Ups

 

DBS ATM
Ah, a buying 4D event. (No queue and working).

 

Capitalizing on their wide reach, and aptitude for wildly imaginative names, is DBS’ Entrepreneur’s Account for Start-Ups.

This is, hands down, the easiest business account to open. It requires a low initial deposit, can be approved quickly, and has no hidden fees (that I can find). As an added plus, DBS outlets are easier to find in Singapore than dead horses are in European meatballs.

 

Minimum Initial Deposit

Minimum Balance Per Month

Fall-Below Fee

Notable Features

$500

$10,000

$15

Waiver of fall-below fees for first 6 months

Two year subscription to DBS IDEAL*

No annual fee on corporate debit card for 2 years

 

*DBS IDEAL is an online e-banking platform. This is for businesses to view accounts, make remittances, track expenditures, etc. through a secure portal.

There are fees for the service (e.g. setup fee, security device fee, monthly maintenance fee). These will be covered by a product pricing guide, which isn’t released yet. But anyone opening this SME account will have the fees waived for two years.

Good for: People who like being able to drop in on the bank outlets. Also, brand new start-ups who may fall below the minimum balance for a while.

 

2. OCBC Business Entrepreneur Account

 

OCBC bank building
“This IS a pretty tall building. So, what was the penalty for falling below the minimum again? And why is the window open?”

 

This might be the most popular SME bank account in Singapore. I don’t have definite numbers, but it was the most common name when I was nosing around.

This account is best for brand new businesses, or side-income start-ups. For the first six months, there’s no minimum balance. Even after that, the minimum balance is a low $8,000 per month. The business debit card comes with your company logo, and has an impressive rewards list.

Oh, and you may be able to open the account immediately (if you’re in a rush).

 

Minimum Initial Deposit

Minimum Balance Per Month

Fall-Below Fee

Notable Features

$500

$0 for first six months

$8,000 from seventh month onwards

$25

Business debit card with company logo, good rewards

Free cheques for two years

Possible to get instant approval

OCBC provides online banking services (Velocity@ocbc). Fees vary based on features required, and the number of users.

Good for: Side-business or side-income type start-ups, where you’re likely to enjoy the rewards from the debit card. Also useful if your suppliers / contractors are the elderly sort who think the Internet is black magic (and hence still collect cheques).

 

3. UOB Current Account

 

UOB building
And the lighting perfectly complements the way we built it. Out of debtor’s bones.

 

Despite it’s incredibly fancy name, UOB’s Current Account is no-frills SME banking. Yeah, who could tell, right?

This straightforward account, which comes with free Internet banking. There are no monthly charges, just $20 per security token. You also get a debit card (UOB’s Corporate Unicard). Interesting note: It lets you withdraw up to $10,000 per day without prior arrangements. If that happens a lot in your business, you might find this convenient.

Minimum Initial Deposit

Minimum Balance Per Month

Fall-Below Fee

Notable Features

$1,000

$8,000

$25

No cheque charges for first 30 cheques each month

No cost Internet banking (Only $20 fee for security token)

You can add frills to this account if you want. You’ll have access to UOB’s cash management services, which can provide constant transaction updates, cash flow advice, COE open bidding, etc. Fees will vary based on the required services.

Good for: If your business has been going for a while (you don’t fall below the minimum balance anymore), and you’re paying for Internet banking, you may want to switch to this.

Image Credits:
yumievriwanAbhisher_Kumar, jubelz, Gaurav

Which SME bank account do you use? Comment and let us know!

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Ryan Ong

I was a freelance writer for over a decade, and covered topics from music to super-contagious foot diseases. I took this job because I believe financial news should be accessible and fun to read. Also, because the assignments don't involve shouting teenagers and debilitating plagues.