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7 Things To Know About Bidding For Your Own Certificate Of Entitlement (COE)

DIY your COE purchase to save on your purchase costs.


In Singapore, having a driver’s licence alone isn’t enough if you want to own your own vehicle. You also need a certificate of entitlement (COE), which gives you the right to own and use a vehicle in Singapore for a period of 10 years.

Introduced in May 1990, the COE system requires potential vehicle owners to place a monetary bid for the COE before the purchase of the vehicle. The number of COEs made available to the public is regulated through a quota system called the Vehicle Quota System (VQS) by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). While typically, most car buyers would rely on a dealer, you could also participate in this COE open bidding exercise as an individual.

#1 Decide On The COE Category Of The Vehicle Type That You Intend To Register

Before you start bidding for your COE, you first need to know the type of vehicle that you intend to register if your COE bid is successful. In Singapore, the COEs are grouped into five categories based on the vehicle’s engine capacity and engine power:

Non-transferrable Categories

  • Category A: Non-fully electric cars with engines up to 1,600cc and Maximum Power Output up to 97kW (130bhp); and fully electric cars with Maximum Power Output up to 110kW (147bhp)
  • Category B: Non-fully electric cars with engines above 1,600cc and Maximum Power Output above 97kW (130bhp); and fully electric cars with Maximum Power Output above 110kW (147bhp)
  • Category D: Motorcycle

Transferrable Categories

  • Category C: Goods Vehicle and Bus
  • Category E: Open – all except motorcycle

They are further grouped into non-transferrable and transferrable categories, which is applicable for COEs that were bid under the name of an individual. For instance, individual bidders are allowed to transfer their COEs once to others under categories C and E.

As you only get to make one bid in each bidding exercise, make sure that you are bidding for the right category that meets your vehicle’s specifications.

Read Also: Guide To Understanding How COE Bidding System Works In Singapore

#2 Take Reference Of Past COE Bidding Results

Once you have decided on the COE category, you may want to check its last transacted price or accepted quota premium. Fortunately, many automotive websites provide a historical chart of the COE price trends (like the one below).

Source: Motorist.sg

You can use this information to gauge the potential price trend (i.e., whether prices will go up or down) and price level for the upcoming bidding.

Simply put, the prices of COEs fluctuate based on demand and supply. For instance, the supply is dependent on the number of vehicle quotas released by LTA for each bidding exercise. The less there is – as has been the case since the fourth quarter of 2021 – the higher the bids that would be required to secure the available COEs. Conversely, demand is dependent on economic conditions. The stronger the economy, the higher the bids, as more people would feel confident in their finances to afford the purchase.

Given the tight supply of COEs and sustained strong demand from car buyers, the prices may not fluctuate too widely from the last bidding results. As such, you can make some reference to the previous bidding exercise results to know what it takes to make a successful bid:

(17 May 2023) Bidding Exercise Results:

  • Category A: $92,000
  • Category B: $113,034
  • Category C: $77,501
  • Category E: $125,000

Read Also: Will COE Prices Drop During A Recession? 

#3 COE Bidding Exercise Start On The First And Third Monday Of Each Month

You can bid for the COE two times each month, which usually starts at 12 pm on the first and third Mondays of the month.

The bidding exercise typically lasts for 3 working days and ends in the same week, at 4 pm on Wednesday, unless there’s a public holiday in between. In that case, the bidding exercise will close a day later.

Alternatively, you can check the schedule of COE bidding exercises for 2023 here.

#4 Prepare To Pay A Lump Sum Bid Deposit Under The Open Bidding System

Before you participate in the COE open bidding exercise, ensure that you have sufficient funds in your bank account, equivalent to the bid deposit required for the category that you intend to bid for and the administrative fee.

For COEs of categories A, B, C, and E, you would need to place a bid deposit amount of $10,000 regardless of your bid amount, whereas, COEs of category D only require a deposit of $1,500.

The bid deposit would be deducted from your account the moment you successfully submitted your bid. However, if you do not have a sufficient amount in your POSB/DBS bank account, you will not be able to submit your bid.

#5 Submit Your Bid Via DBS/POSB ATMs In Your Bank Account

As an individual (at least 18 years old), you can submit your COE bid in two ways – via DBS or POSB ATMs. However, do note that you must bid using your own bank account and cannot do so on behalf of others. If you are using a joint account, then you must use your own personal bankcard to bid.

The reason for this is that if the bid is successful, then the Temporary COE (TCOE) will be issued based on the Bidder’s identity (ID), which you must submit in the format shown below:

Bidder ID Type Sample ID Type
Singapore NRIC -S1234567D
Foreign Identification Number (FIN) -F1234567D, G1234567D, M1234567D

When you make a successful bid application, you will receive a system-generated Acknowledgement Code. Keep this confidential as you can use it to make enquiries on the bid or increase your reserve price.

#6 Minimum Reserve Price Is $1  

While no car buyer would say no to buying the COE at $1, which is the minimum reserve price, realistically, it has a low probability of occurring.

Instead, you may need to submit a competitive bid, taking into account past prices, to have a high chance of securing a COE. This bid that you submit as your reserve price, which you can revise higher as many times as you want, should be the maximum amount that you are willing to pay and have in your bank account.

Therefore, it pays to double check that you got your figures correct before submitting, as you do not want a $8,000 bid ending up as $80,000. Furthermore, as the reserve price must be in multiples of $1, don’t add any decimals like $88,888.88. Instead, keep them to whole numbers.

Read Also: COE Prices Continue Increasing. But Should Anyone Really Be Surprised?

#7 Once Your Bid Successful, Register Your Vehicle Within the Validity Period

In the event that you are unsuccessful in the bidding exercise, you can expect to be refunded your bid deposit within one working day after the announcement.

However, if you receive the good news that your bid has been successful, the next exciting step is to register your vehicle. At this point, you will need to pay the difference between the COE price and your bid deposit. And in the rare instances where your bid deposit is more than the COE price, the difference will be automatically used to offset the relevant registration and additional registration fees.

Do note that for COEs in categories A and B, you must register within 6 months. While for COEs in categories C and E, you must register within 3 months, while for COEs in category D obtained from May 2023, you must register within 1 month of obtaining the Temporary COE. If you fail to register your vehicle by the validity period, the TCOE will lapse and you will lose your initial bid deposit.

Type of Category Validity Period For Registration
A, B 6 months
C, E 2 months
D 1 month

Similar to buying the COE, you can also choose to register your vehicle yourself or get the dealer to complete it on your behalf.

Read Also: 2023 Edition: Best Value For Money Cars You Can Buy In Singapore

 

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