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Banking, Money & CostsBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Singapore (City) - Banking, Money & Costs
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Singapore has a range of banks to select from – there are many local and foreign banks operating in Singapore, and kiosks (or ATMs) for cash withdrawals and other simple bank transactions (e.g. fund transfers, payment of bills) are available throughout the city 24 hours.
When opening an account, each bank may have different requirements, depending on their policies. Be prepared to bring along your Employment Pass or Residency Permit, passport, and sometimes, banks may require an employment letter or letterhead with a registered residential address. The leading consumer banks in Singapore are ABN AMRO, Citibank, DBS, HSBC, OCBC, Standard Chartered and UOB.
It is worthwhile to do some research before you leave home, especially if you intend to maintain home country bank and credit card accounts from Singapore. Most banks in Singapore offer internet banking services, but you may have to make special arrangements for secured online inter-bank transfers and payments. Most banks offer remittance services, a popular service used among many foreigners based in Singapore. If you are interested to invest in Singapore stocks and shares, the Stock Exchange of Singapore trading sessions are held Mondays to Fridays, from 9 am to 12.30 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm. The Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX) is Asia’s Pacific’s first demutualized and integrated securities and derivatives exchange and is listed on its own bourse.
Having a personal credit card facility based in Singapore is useful, especially if you intend to travel to other parts of Asia from Singapore. Singapore’s credit card industry is very competitive, and the major credit card companies regularly offer attractive discounts and packages. There are just too many offers to list here, do shop around before signing up with one that meets your needs. Some credit cards offer free annual subscriptions, while others offer hefty discounts, vouchers, gifts and tempting reward-points systems for expenses. Different credit card companies have different requirements, but in general, to qualify for a credit card as a foreigner, you must hold a valid Employment Pass and meet the minimum annual income, which varies from bank to bank. For a DBS credit card, the minimum income is SGD$45,000, and it is SGD$60,000 for a Citibank Credit Card. Alternatively, other cashless systems that do not require a minimum income threshold are debit cards, available from major banks.
If you chose to file your taxes in Singapore, Singapore income tax returns must be filed by April 15 each year. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore is located at 55 Newton Road Singapore 307987 and its website at www.iras.gov.sg has a helpful summary on tax information for foreigners, with clarifications on the various tax rates and the eligibility criteria. Refer to the list of countries that have tax treaties with Singapore to prevent double-taxation.
For more information about taxes in Singapore and the obligation to pay taxes in Singapore if you are a foreigner working and residing in Singapore, there is a section on taxation in the Expat Focus Singapore Country Guide.
Costs of Living
Singapore is among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, and has a standard of living to match. Mercer’s cost of living survey in 2008 ranked Singapore as the 13th most expensive city in the world for expatriates, behind other Asian cities such as Tokyo (2nd), Seoul (5th) and Hong Kong (6th). It will be useful to do some research on the cost of living here to determine the kind of lifestyle you can expect to enjoy within your budget.
Rent is likely to be the biggest expense for expatriates. For expatriates with school-going children, education in international schools in Singapore will be a second big ticket expense item, along with a car, if you choose to buy one.
Expat Health Insurance Partners
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