As a Malaysian who’s tried to invest in the U.S. and other Asian markets, you will probably understand the frustration of finding out that most international stockbrokers don’t accept Malaysian ringgit as a deposit currency.
Of course, there are alternatives such as using an international telegraphic transfer to make a direct deposit in currencies in U.S. or Singapore dollars. However, the fees and exchange rate may not be worth it.
Alternatively, fintech services such as Wise or Bigpay will allow you to deposit money at a reasonable fee. Still, these services won’t come with the same level of insurance and regulation that your bank accounts have. Deposits made through these fintech services may be rejected or delayed by your stockbroker due to money laundering concerns.
As such, having a personal offshore bank account might be a good idea for some Malaysians, so you can store your funds in a stronger currency and/or use it as an in-transit account. In this guide, I will show how Malaysians can open an offshore Singapore dollar bank account without needing to set foot in Singapore.
Before we begin with the steps, here are the requirements:
- Your Malaysia IC
- Your Tax Identification Number (TIN)
- A CIMB Malaysia bank account
- SGD1000 initial deposit
Open a CIMB Malaysia account
If you already have a CIMB Malaysia account, skip this part and move on to the next section.
To open a CIMB Singapore bank account, you must first have an existing CIMB bank account in Malaysia. You can open a CIMB bank account online or in person at any CIMB branch in Malaysia.
If you intend to apply online and are not a current CIMB Malaysia account holder, I strongly advise you to open the new, fully-digital CIMB OctoSavers Account-i to avoid the hassle of visiting a branch; your bank card will be delivered to your doorstep. All you have to do is apply via their CIMB Apply App.
Open a CIMB SG FastSaver Account
Visit the CIMB SG FastSaver product details page and fill in the application form.
Provide all the necessary information:
- Upload a copy of your IC.
- Provide your Tax Identification Number (TIN) if you are a taxpayer (i.e., you pay tax to LHDN)
- Upload your e-signature
Upon completion, you should receive an email and SMS containing a summary of your application details.
Link your CIMB Malaysia account to your CIMB Singapore account. Log in to your CIMB Clicks Malaysia account. Click on ‘Services’ > ‘Account Linking’. Select ‘Singapore Account’.
Key in your Malaysia IC number.
Wait for account linkage to complete after 1-2 business days.
Once the account linkage is approved, proceed to make an eKYC initial deposit of SGD1,000 into your CIMB Singapore account. To activate your CIMB Singapore account, you must make your initial transfer through your own CIMB Malaysia account.
Note: It is also possible to save money on foreign exchange fees by making a small transfer of at least SGD 1 (via CIMB Malaysia) and the remainder (SGD 999) via fintech platforms such as BigPay or Wise.
Wait for CIMB Singapore to finalise your bank account application. Expect a call from CIMB SG (+65 number) in the following 1-3 business days. They will ask for your IC number and how you plan to utilise the CIMB SG account.
Wait another 1-5 business days for CIMB Singapore to authenticate all your details. If your CIMB SG account application is accepted, you should receive an account activation email and an SMS containing your CIMB SG activation code. If your bank account application is refused, your initial deposit will be refunded to you.
Sign up for CIMB Singapore internet banking. Visit CIMB Clicks Singapore, click on ‘First Time Login’. Create your username and password for CIMB Clicks Singapore, and type in the activation code.
When you are finished, download and activate the CIMB Clicks SG app to launch the digital token. You must undertake this procedure to be able to perform all future transfers.
Hopefully, this short guide will help to open an SGD bank account and ease your process in depositing funds with an international broker. If you have additional questions on bank accounts, do not hesitate to leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.