One of the world’s major financial centres, Singapore gives expats access to leading banking systems with dozens of local and foreign banking and financial institutions present in the city-state.
Needless to say, expats will find a full spectrum of services in Singapore, from consumer banking, asset management and foreign exchange to dedicated insurance services and investment banking.
Money in Singapore
The unit of currency is the Singapore dollar (SGD). One dollar is divided into 100 cents.
Notes: 2 SGD, 5 SGD, 10 SGD, 20 SGD, 25 SGD, 50 SGD, 100 SGD, 1,000 SGD and 10,000 SGD
Coins: 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 SGD.
Banking in Singapore
With so many foreign and local banks in Singapore, expats will certainly not be at a loss for a reputable service provider. It's important to consider the services offered, location and the ATM network available when choosing a bank.
Opening a bank account
It's easy to open a bank account in Singapore, and the process can be completed in a single day. English is the primary administrative and professional language in Singapore, so expats are unlikely to face a language barrier when it comes to managing money.
Documentation requirements will vary from bank to bank but expats will likely need a copy of their passport, employment pass and a minimum deposit amount to open an account. Some banks also require a proof of address.
ATMs abound in Singapore, most of which accept international cards. ATM fees at local banks tend to cost less than their international counterparts.
Credit cards are widely accepted, though expats should be advised that international cards tend to incur high transaction costs.
Taxes in Singapore
All expats working in Singapore are liable to pay income tax, though the specifics will depend on their tax residency status.
Expats are considered tax residents in Singapore if their period of stay is longer than 183 days in a year, or if they have Singapore Permanent Residency (SPR). Non-residents are taxed at either a flat rate of 15 percent or at the same rate as a tax resident in their position would be taxed – whichever is higher. Residents are taxed progressively between zero and 22 percent based on their income bracket and are eligible to apply for various tax reliefs. More information on the specifics of tax residency can be found of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore website.
►Estimate your monthly expenses with our guide to the Cost of Living in Singapore
Are you an expat living in Singapore?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Singapore. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
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