On 4 November 2019, OCBC announced that start-ups can now open an OCBC business banking account in Singapore immediately after incorporation, rather than experiencing the typical one day wait. This is made possible through an Application Programming Interface (API) between OCBC Bank and global information services provider, Experian. Once a business is incorporated, OCBC Bank can, through Experian, validate the start-up’s business profile issued by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
This is the latest enhancement to the bank’s business account opening process. In November 2018, the bank improved its digital account opening process by leveraging the nation’s data repository MyInfo and MyInfo Business.
Based on data from the Department of Statistics of Singapore, more than 65,000 businesses were incorporated in the 12-month period from August 2018 to August 2019. Obtaining a bank account is critical a critical step for all new start-ups. Without one, an entrepreneur would not be able to perform other key steps such as contributions to the CPF Board as an employer or receiving customer payments via NETS. Trading businesses for instance, must have a business banking account to make payment of duties, taxes and other charges to Singapore Customs.
Mr Gabriel Lim, owner of Gabe Asia Pte. Ltd. which sells kids apparel said, “Starting a business is not easy and incorporation is only the beginning. Soon after incorporation, I have to focus on setting up my business; stocking up my inventories, setting up online payment and engaging delivery services. All of this will require us having a business banking account. It is important that this can be set up as soon as possible, to facilitate payments and collections for my business.”
Said Ms Christie Chu, Head of Emerging Business and Commercial Banking Cash, OCBC Bank, “Banks play a key role in the start-up and SME ecosystem partly because the bank account is at the center of business operations.”
She continued by explaining that this move, which streamlines the account opening and incorporation process so that start-ups can begin running their businesses as soon as possible, is part of OCBC’s aims to strengthen the connections among all players in the Singapore business ecosystem
OCBC is also looking to assist new start-ups by putting together a guide that will be accessible all aspiring entrepreneurs on its website, containing practical tips from successful entrepreneurs with first-hand experience. This is made possible by its track record serving the start-up segment and engaging start-ups to understand more about their journey and the challenges they face.