Banks in Singapore have all lowered their savings account interest rates since COVID-19. Which begs the question: which savings account should you stash your cash in now?
Before COVID-19 struck, the average salaried worker could easily earn about 1.85% to 2% a year on high-interest savings accounts such as DBS Multiplier and UOB One.
But economic pressures have caused banks to lower their deposit interest rates. The ‘new normal’ savings accounts interest rate has fallen to about 1% to 1.6% instead — and that’s for the high-interest savings accounts.
To save you the trouble of looking through all these new interest rates, here’s an easy and up-to-date comparison of the best savings accounts in Singapore. Interest rates are valid from December 2020 onwards.
Best savings accounts for salaried workers
Salaried employees in Singapore are basically spoilt for choice when it comes to high-interest savings accounts. Almost every bank has a savings account that pays bonus interest for crediting your salary and spending on their credit cards.
Let’s find out how much interest an average Joe can get on his $10,000 savings, assuming a take-home pay of $3,500 and monthly credit card spending of $500.
|Savings account||Interest rate||How to maximise||Minimum balance|
|BOC SmartSaver||1%||– Pay 3 bills (min. $30) to get an extra 0.30%|
– High earners (min. $6,000 salary) get an extra 0.50%
|DBS Multiplier Account||0.4%||– No min. salary or credit card spending, as long as they add up to $2,000|
– Bump up your interest rate to the next tier with a DBS home loan
|No min. balance until age 29 (subsequently $3,000)|
|UOB One Account||0.50%||– Pair with UOB One Card for cashback||$1,000|
|Standard Chartered Bonus$aver||0.38%||– Pay 3 bills (min. $50) to increase by 0.07%||$3,000|
|OCBC 360 Account||0.55%||– Increase monthly balance by $500 to bump up your interest by 0.2%||$3,000|
Winner: BOC SmartSaver Account
There used to be a three-way fight between DBS Multiplier, UOB One and OCBC 360 accounts.
But ever since all three local banks reduced their interest rates (the latest round being DBS Multiplier and UOB One updates from August 2020 onwards), the DBS Multiplier account is the current ‘winner’.
We like that there is no minimum credit card spend or salary credit (as long as both add up to at least $2,000).
You can bump up your transaction total easily by opting for a DBS home loan (your cash + CPF monthly payments will count towards it). Now that bank interest rates are low, it’s not a bad idea to refinance and reduce your monthly expenses anyway.
However, DBS announced on 1 December 2020 that it too would have to further slash the Multiplier account’s interest rates due to the economic climate. This will take effect on 1 January 2021. Considering the same situation listed above, you will only be generating an interest rate of 0.4% p.a.
Unfortunately, this brings the DBS Multiplier account below the other accounts on the list, with the exception of Standard Chartered’s Bonus$aver account. Make hay while you still can and start considering other options out there.
Worth considering: BOC SmartSaver Account
If you have a take-home salary of more than $6,000, you might want to consider Bank of China’s SmartSaver account. You can get 0.8% just for salary credit and spending $500 on your credit card. That’s double the DBS Multiplier account’s rates from January 2021 onwards.
But BOC has not updated its interest rates since August 2020, so who knows how long the high interest rates would last?
Best savings accounts without salary credit
Those without regular salaries — freelancers, gig workers, landlords, retirees, stay-at-home parents — need not be left out of the savings account game. But you might need to be creative with how you earn bonus interest with your account.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you are a freelance writer. You don’t have a regular paycheck, but you do spend on your credit card, and you have bills to pay like anyone else. How much can you earn on your $10,000 savings stash?
|Savings account||Interest rate||How it works||Minimum balance|
|Maybank Save Up Programme||Up to 3%||– Spend $500 + GIRO (min. $300) for 1%|
– Add on insurance or investment to get 3%
– Starts from $5,000 annual premium for insurance
|No min. balance until age 25 (subsequently $1,000)|
|Citi InterestPlus Account (applications ceased from 1 Aug 2020 onwards)||Up to 2.55%||– Spend $25 on credit card + insure OR invest to earn 1.35%|
– Spend, insure AND invest to earn 2.55%
– Min. $250 a month or $25,000 lump sum for insurance or investment
|None, but maintain min. $5,000 for better interest rates|
|Standard Chartered Bonus$aver||Up to 2.5%||– Spend > $2000 + pay 3 bills to earn 0.7%|
– Invest in unit trust (min. $30,000) for extra 0.9%
– Buy insurance (min. $12,000) for extra 0.9%
– You can stack insurance + investment bonus interest
|OCBC 360 Account||Up to 0.9%||– Step up monthly balance by $500 to earn 0.1%|
– Step up $500 AND insure or invest for extra 0.5%
– Starts from $2,000 annual premium for insurance
|UOB One Account||Up to 2.5%||– Spend $500 + pay 3 bills (no min.)|
– Highest interest rate with no need to insure or invest
Winner: UOB One Account
Yes, the UOB One account’s 0.5% interest rate for the first $15,000 puts it at the bottom of the list.
But it is the only one with simple, attainable requirements. Just spend $500 on your UOB credit card and pay three bills by GIRO (no minimum amount), and you’re done.
There is no need to insure or invest with the same bank, and the low minimum balance makes it appropriate for these lean times.
Switching to the UOB One account? You’ll need to pick up a UOB credit card to pair it with.
Worth considering: Maybank Save Up Programme
If you don’t mind putting some cash in insurance and/or investments, the Maybank Save Up Programme is worth looking into. Pick any three transaction types to get 2.75% bonus interest on top of the base interest rate, adding up to close to 3%.
Spend $500 on a Maybank credit card, pay bill(s) by GIRO (minimum $300 in total), and you’re two-thirds of the way there.
For the last one, you can insure with Maybank (min. $5,000 annually) or buy a unit trust (min. $25,000). If you happen to need a home, car, renovation or education loan, those count as eligible transactions too.
Bonus: Best zero-effort savings accounts
We get it. Not everyone is keen to hit minimum spending requirements or monitor their account balance every month.
If you’re a lazy saver, or simply want a second account to complement your primary high-interest savings account, here are some great bank accounts that reward you for doing nothing.
|Savings account||Interest rate||How it works||Minimum balance|
|POSB SAYE Account||Up to 2%||– Commit to regular monthly savings (you specify the amount)|
– Must not withdraw for 2 years
– No age limit
|Standard Chartered JumpStart||0.4%||– No action required|
– Capped at $20,000
– Open to 18 to 26 years old only
|OCBC Bonus+ Savings Account||0.5%||– Increase balance by $500 every month|
– To earn interest, do not withdraw
|UOB Stash Account||1%||– Stash $100,000 to earn 0.8%|
– Any amount above $100,000 earns 0.05%
– To earn interest, maintain or increase your account balance
|CIMB FastSaver||0.75%||– No action required|
– 0.75% on $100,000 savings
– For savings above $100,000, you earn 0.3% p.a.
You’ll notice that some of these savings accounts require you to not touch the funds in order to earn the advertised interest rate. If that’s the case, you might also want to consider a fixed deposit account.
Should you switch savings accounts?
If you have a lot of savings in your account, you’re probably itching to take action and switch banks. But do consider a wait-and-see approach for the next few months as we expect more interest rate cuts to occur.
Banks do change their interest rates every now and then, so it’s best to keep an eye on such things. Stay up to date and compare savings accounts easily with SingSaver.
Read these next:
UOB Stash Account Review (2021)
When Should You Open A Second Bank Account?
How Much Savings Should I Have At 35 In Singapore?
Fixed Deposits in Singapore: Complete 2020 Guide
7 Good Reasons to Change Your Savings Account