Easy and affordable to open bank accounts

ATMs of banks OCBC, DBS and UOB at the departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 2, on Feb 15, 2019.
ATMs of banks OCBC, DBS and UOB at the departure hall of Changi Airport Terminal 2, on Feb 15, 2019. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

We thank Mr Joseph Wong for his letter (Do more to help vulnerable groups cope with advances in banking, April 3).

In terms of banking access, Singapore is at a strong starting point. According to World Bank estimates, 98 per cent of Singapore residents above the age of 15 have bank accounts. The figure would be higher for adults.

To make it easy and affordable for Singaporeans to open bank accounts, major retail banks in Singapore have offered basic banking accounts with low initial deposit and minimum account balance since 2002.

The local banks also waive the account balance fall-below service fees for specific customer segments such as the elderly and recipients of public assistance.

To further assist the small segment of the population with no bank accounts, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is working with the local banks on extending fee waivers to Singaporeans who are unable to afford the cost of opening and maintaining bank accounts.

Mr Wong also highlighted that some Singaporeans may not have smart devices. Many available e-payment options, such as debit and stored value cards, do not require smartphones or data plans.

MAS will continue to monitor accessibility of banking and payment services, and work with the industry and community to help and educate Singaporeans so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of digitalisation.

Jerome Lee

Director (Corporate Communications)

Monetary Authority of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'Easy and affordable to open bank accounts'. Print Edition | Subscribe