Best Foreign Business Banking Account in 2019. StanChart vs. Citi. vs. Maybank vs. HSBC

 
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Which bank should you open a business banking account with?

In “Best Business Banking Account in 2019. OCBC vs UOB vs DBS”, we compared the business banking account options provided by our local banks.

We decided that it would be more holistic to extend this effort to foreign banks.

This time, we consider 4 foreign banks, namely Standard Chartered, Citibusiness, Maybank and HSBC. The criteria for comparison were retained to ensure consistency.


1. If your decision is based on the complexity of the application process.

SCB CitiBiz Maybank HSBC
Documents Required 1. Account Opening Form 2. Photocopy of All Signatories/ Director(s)/ Shareholder(s)’ identification documents 3. Photocopy of Company Memorandum of Articles of Association 1. Account Opening Form 2. Bank’s standard copy of resolution 3. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Form 4. Common Reporting Standard Form 1. Account Opening Form 2. Bank’s standard copy of resolution 3. Certified true identification copies of Board of Director(s)/ Shareholders(s)/ Other relevant parties 4. Certified true copy of Constitution and Minutes of meeting reflecting list of office bearer 1. Country of Incorporation 2. Nature of Business 3. Company Directors’ Information Other documents to be advised accordingly after Customer Profiling
Process 1. Apply online 2. Bank contacts client 1. Download and complete necessary forms 2. Contact bank 1. Apply online 2. All authorised persons must be present at branch with original identification documents 1. HSBC understands client(s)’ business 2. HSBC representative recommends a suitable account 3. Case manager assists with application process 4. Review of Application 5. Account Activation
Disclaimer *All the information is believed to be accurate; however, no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information are made. All information, commentary, recommendations or statements of opinion provided in this article are for general information purposes only. We do not claim to be authoritative

What stands out from the rigmarole of document submissions and physical appointments is HSBC’s well-guided process of opening a business account.

Criteria 1 Winner: HSBC


2. If your decision is based on the types of account available.

SCB CitiBiz Maybank HSBC
Accounts 1. BusinessOne 2. Business$aver 3. Business Non-USD Foreign Currency 1. CitiBusiness High Yield 2. MaxiSave Account 1. Maybank FlexiBiz 2. Maybank PremierBiz 1. HSBC BusinessVantage 2. Current Account 3. Reminbi Current Account
Disclaimer *All the information is believed to be accurate; however, no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information are made. All information, commentary, recommendations or statements of opinion provided in this article are for general information purposes only. We do not claim to be authoritative

In terms of variety, all banks provide an average of 2 types of business accounts. 
Upon closer inspection, however, we felt that the accounts from Maybank fit the operating needs of SMEs better compared to offerings from the other banks. Saver accounts might not be as relevant for small business operations.

Criteria 2 Winner: Maybank


3. If your decision is based on the requirements of the account.

Additional Charges
SCB CitiBiz Maybank HSBC
BusinessOne Business$aver CitiBiz High Yield MaxiSave Account FlexiBiz PremierBiz BusinessVantage Current Account
Fall-below Fees $50 $50 Not stated Not stated N.A. $35 Not stated Not stated
Early account closure fee (within 6 months) $500 $500 Not stated Not stated $50 $50 Not stated Not stated
FAST (per transaction) Not stated Not stated Not stated Not stated $0.50 $0.50 Not stated Not stated
Cheque 2 free cheque books 2 free cheque books Free Free $0.50 Free Not stated Not stated
Disclaimer *All the information is believed to be accurate; however, no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information are made. All information, commentary, recommendations or statements of opinion provided in this article are for general information purposes only. We do not claim to be authoritative

Unfortunately, we are unable to find detailed information online about many of the bank accounts.
This is unacceptable at this day and age when information is so proliferated. We firmly believe that all financial institution should adopt openness and transparency to keep their current and potential clients informed.

Criteria 3 Winner: Maybank


4. If your decision is based on the benefits of the account.

Featured Benefits
SCB CitiBiz Maybank HSBC
BusinessOne Business$aver CitiBiz High Yield MaxiSave Account FlexiBiz PremierBiz BusinessVantage Current Account
Features 1.Dedicated Client Care Centre 2.Free Internet Banking Services 3.Billing done on monthly/quarterly basis 4.No interest paid on balances 1.Dedicated Client Care Centre 2.Progressive interest rates based on bank balance 3.Billing done on monthly/quarterly basis 4.Consolidated e-statements on a monthly basis 5.Attractive interest rates of up to 0.078% p.a. 1.Competitive Time Deposit Rates 2.Online Banking Services available 3.Attractive interest rates of up to 0.1% p.a. 1.Competitive Time Deposit Rates 2.Online Banking Services available 3.Attractive interest rates of up to 0.1% p.a. 1.Attractive interest rates of up to 0.038% p.a. 1.Attractive interest rates of up to 0.318% p.a. 1.Customer profiling 2.Virtual meeting with HSBC case manager available 1.Customer profiling 2.Virtual meeting with HSBC case manager available
Disclaimer *All the information is believed to be accurate; however, no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information are made. All information, commentary, recommendations or statements of opinion provided in this article are for general information purposes only. We do not claim to be authoritative

In our opinion, the benefits offered by Standard Chartered are more comprehensive and relevant to an SME’s needs.

Criteria 4 Winner: Standard Chartered


Ultimately, we felt that the foreign banks could have provided more information to the general public.

Although there may be strategic reasons to not reveal product details to non-clients online, we feel that this can be counterproductive as it doesn’t allow potential clients to clarify their doubts by themselves online.

As the winner of two categories, Maybank reveals the most complete information online compared to the rest of the foreign banks and we feel that this make them the most SME-friendly foreign bank in Singapore!

Overall Winner: Maybank!

Having said so much, I really could be wrong about the intention and the mechanics of OCBC’s Serial Entrepreneur credit scheme.

In the absence of more information, I have to say that this is a really good scheme as the financing landscape is often viewed as too rigid in Singapore

This might also encourage the other local banks to create similar schemes to provide these financing which will ultimately benefit many more SMEs in Singapore.


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About The Author

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J. Kang is the foodie who spends most out of her undergraduate time scouting for food around Singapore Management University. The Corporate Communications major enjoys communicating with guests while she is working behind the locally-inspired bar(s), occasionally.

 
J. Kang