Banking / Account Opening Form

Banks and other financial institutions are crucial to businesses and the modern economy. They provide a secure platform for us to manage our financial transactions. Almost all businesses and individuals would need at least one bank account with a bank, to conduct financial transactions. Unfortunately it is getting increasingly difficult to do so given the stringent regulatory environment in relation to compliance, money laundering and terrorism financing. 


The documents under this category consist of many commonly used general banking documents, including account opening form, customer declarations on the ultimate beneficiary, risk disclosure, authorisation letter to the financial institution on the operation of account, requests for bank verifications of account information, as well as board minutes for the opening of bank account. 


A. Account Opening Process

Below are the typical steps to open an account with a bank / financial institution:


1. Decided on the bank / financial institution


First and foremost, you will need to consider the size, reputation and financial strength of the bank. Who are the shareholders of the bank? Is it owned or backed by the government? Is there a deposit guarantee / insurance scheme? If so, what is the amount being guaranteed? Is it conveniently located? How advance is the technology? Do they have internet banking that is easy to use? Do you know someone in the bank that could make the process easier? If so, you can make an appointment with him / her.


2. Decide the type of bank account to open

There are several types of bank accounts, such as savings accounts, current accounts, time deposit accounts, and current accounts. Do you open one account or many different accounts? What types of banking services do you need? Does your bank also provide an investment account?


3. Fill in the bank account opening form

The account application form must be filled out correctly in all aspects. The necessary name, address, occupation, and other details must be filled in where needed. You may also be asked to sign on a signature card. If it is a joint bank account, it must be signed by all of the account holders. Some modern banks also take biometrics information of the account holders (e.g. facial recognition and fingerprints) in addition to signatures.


4. Provide documents required by the Bank

The account holder is required to provide documents and references to verify the information in the account opening form. These include identification documents, address proof, references, etc. (please see below).


5. Verification and Approval

The bank staff will verify the application and follow up with any questions if required - e.g. purpose of the account and source of fund. Further compliance approval may be required in relation to any unknown source of fund, opening of account by a high-risk person (e.g. politically sensitive person),  any other suspicious activities such as money laundering, bribery, or terrorist financing. The staff will then make an internal recommendation on the opening of the bank account.


6. Deposit the initial amount into the account

The account holder will need to make a deposit of the minimum amount required by the bank into the account after it has been approved and opened. The bank will provide the account holder with a passbook, checkbook and deposit slip. If it is a time deposit, open a time deposit slip. For current accounts, checkbooks and payslips are issued. The bank may also go paperless with. internet banking and will issue such statements and slips electronically.



B. Account Opening Documents


1. Personal Bank Account

Below are documents and information typically needed by a financial institution to open a personal bank account:

  • Identification with photo - e.g. ID Card or Passport
  • Proof of address - e.g. utility bills, phone bill, internet service, bank or government notices issued within the last 3 months

2. Company Bank Account

Below are documents and information typically needed by a financial institution to open a corporate bank account:

  • Certificate of Incorporation and subsequent Certificate of Change of Name (if applicable)
  • Business Registration Certificate
  • Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association / Articles of Association
  • Certificate of Incumbency issued within last 6 months (for overseas company)
  • Director's declaration incorporating or annexing an ownership chart of the beneficial owners
  • Certified Copy of Minutes of the Meeting Regulating the Opening of the Bank Account
  • Identification documents of beneficial owners, authorized signatories and directors
  • Company Chop

Where appropriate, the financial institution may also ask for the following information:

  • Employment information including occupation, employer / business, and monthly salary
  • Proof student status such as letter from university / college or student card applicant
  • Purpose of the account and reason for setting up the account
  • Source of initial wealth and / or income, and source of fund for the account
  • Expected transaction amount and the level of activities
  • Types of banking services required
  • Jurisdiction of tax residence