Open a Bank Account for Your Domestic Worker in Singapore: Why and How

From 1 January 2019, employers of foreign domestic workers (FDW) in Singapore are no longer allowed to safe keep any money belonging to their domestic helper including the salary in order to protect both parties from money-related disputes[1]. Therefore, opening a bank account for your domestic helper will be one of the best ways for both, you and the maid to manage her money.

 

The benefits of domestic helpers having a bank account are multiple:

  • Avoiding salary-related disputes. Employers can set up auto-transfer instruction to ensure their maid’s salary is transferred on time every month. In addition, the domestic helper can keep track on salary payments and thus it undeniably helps to curb the number of disputes regarding non-payment of salaries.
  • Safety is also a big advantage as bank accounts ensure the protection of the money – especially from theft and loss in disasters.
  • Better managing their personal finance. Accessibility is another great advantage as banking makes it possible for the domestic worker to withdraw just the right amount that she needs, whenever she needs it – reducing the amount of cash she carries.

Some employers worry that domestic helpers may be lack of financial literacy skills if they do not safe keep the salary for the maid. The domestic helper may spend all the funds and will turn to money lenders in the end. In fact, there are NGOs in Singapore that provide foreign domestic workers with financial literacy courses. The domestic helpers can learn how to budget and spend money wisely.

 

The available bank account opening options

If you are considering opening a bank account for your domestic helper in Singapore, have a closer look at the following options that are definitely interesting for Foreign Domestic Workers given the advantages they offer:

  • OCBC Monthly Savings Account has a minimum monthly balance of S$50, no minimum initial deposit, no monthly account fee; and you can also have access to a wide network of ATMs island wide.
  • POSB Payroll Account (FDW) offered by DBS Bank also does not require an initial deposit. There is also no minimum average daily balance to be maintained each month (refer to notes for terms and conditions). For work permit applications submitted from 7 October 2018, employers of domestic workers can apply for the POSB Payroll Account (FDW) on their maid’s behalf when they request for issuance of a work permit via mom.gov.sg/fdw-eservices.
    The Centre of Domestic Employees also assists foreign domestic workers to open a POSB Payroll Account (FDW). The account opening is facilitated at the CDE’s branches.

 

There are other banks in Singapore offering saving accounts with a low minimum average daily balance. Alternatively, you can check with your bank to see if they offer services for FDWs.


[1] https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2018/1007-new-work-permit-condition-to-protect-both-employers-and-foreign-domestic-workers-from-money-related-disputes