MariBank Review: How Does It Compare Against GXS And Trust Bank?

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 27 November, 2023

MariBank is a savings-focused digital bank that handily holds its own among competitors, but it lacks card services and other banking features. Read on to find out if MariBank is right for you. 

The digital banking space in Singapore is becoming livelier than before. The latest player to arrive on the scene is MariBank, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-based SEA Limited, which also owns Shopee.

Here’s our review of MariBank, what it does, and how it stacks up against digital banking peers such as GXS Bank and Trust Bank.


 

Table of contents

What is MariBank?

MariBank is a fully digital bank that offers banking services online. It has no physical offices, service branches or ATMs, so all transactions can only be performed over the internet.

To access MariBank services, users will need to download the MariBank mobile app to their phones, and sign for an account. Account registration requires a Singapore-registered phone number and a SingPass ID.

MariBank is licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and carries a Digital Full Bank License. The bank is also a Deposit Insurance (DI) Scheme member, which means your deposits up to S$75,000 are fully insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). 

 

What does Maribank offer?

MariBank caters to both retail banking users and business users. For retail banking, it offers the following two services.

Mari Savings Account

This is a no-frills savings account that pays 2.88% p.a. on your deposits. There is no minimum deposit required, no salary crediting, and no minimum spending required to earn this interest rate. 

Interest earned is credited to your account daily, so you get a nice, steady trickle of passive income. Note that this 2.88% p.a. interest is a promotional rate which lasts until 31 March 2024, and may be subject to change.

The Mari Savings Account can also be used for payments. One way is by linking your account to Shopee. This allows you to top up your ShopeeWallet with your Mari Savings Account balance, or pay directly from it during checkout. 

Your Mari Savings Account also supports payments via PayNow QR codes. You can also send and receive funds via PayNow. 

There are no fees or charges for opening or using a Mari Savings Account.

Mari Invest 

Mari Invest is an investment account that lets you grow your money with low-risk investments. At present, Mari Invest provides up to 4.06% p.a. interest (based on a 4-week return as of 31 Dec 2023), although this rate will fluctuate in tandem with market conditions. 

There are no fees or charges for using Mari Invest, and 100% of your deposits are invested. The minimum investment is S$1, and there are no lock-ins, so you can withdraw your funds at any time.

Mari Invest participates in the Lion-MariBank SavePlus fund, which is managed by Lion Global Investors. From 30 June 2024, an annual management fee of 0.125% p.a. will be levied on Lion-MariBank SavePlus. 

This fee is deducted directly from the fund itself, so no further deductions will be made from your returns. 

Note that Mari Invest is not a savings account, and users have to bear investment risk. Funds in Mari Invest are also not insured, although they are held separately in a custodian account, and will be safeguarded from creditors should MariBank go into liquidation. 

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Benefits of MariBank

Higher interest without the fuss 

MariBank Savings Account and Mari Invest allows you to grow your savings faster with higher interest rates, without having to jump through several hoops. All you have to do is to make a deposit of any amount to start earning interest. So there’s no salary crediting needed, no minimum deposit required, and no minimum spending. 

Also, the interest rates offered by MariBank are quite competitive, matching up to many other high-yield banking accounts. Here’s how it compares against other popular savings accounts.

Savings account

Realistic interest rate

MariBank

2.88% p.a. (first S$50,000)

GXS Bank

2.68% p.a. (Savings Pockets) 

Trust Bank

2.50% p.a. (NTUC union member)
2.00% p.a. (non-NTUC union member)

UOB One Account

3.00% p.a. (first S$30,000)

OCBC 360 Account

3.85% p.a.  (first S$100,000)

DBS Multiplier Account

1.80% p.a. (first S$50,000)

Also read: Best Savings Accounts in Singapore to Park Your Money

Shopee and PayNow

If you frequently buy from Shopee, you may appreciate the convenience of paying for your purchases with funds in your MariBank account. You can also top up your ShopeeWallet with MariBank and pay that way instead. 

With MariBank, you can send and receive money via PayNow for convenient and seamless money transfers between your other bank accounts, or those of your friends. You can also pay other merchants using PayNow QR.

Deposits insured up to S$75,000

The funds in your MariBank Savings Account are insured up to S$75,000 by the SDIC. This gives you similar levels of protection as with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. 

As noted earlier, this applies only to your MariBank Savings Account, and not MariBank Invest. 

SingSaver_Score_Big_2024_KV1_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

✨SingSaver Score Big CC Campaign✨: The first 10 applicants to apply for participating products daily at 12pm and 6pm will score a rewards upgrade to a PlayStation®5 (Slim) Disc Edition (worth S$799). Meanwhile, the first 10 to apply at 3pm will score a rewards upgrade to a Dyson Airwrap™ Multi-styler and Dryer (worth S$859). Remaining applicants will enjoy existing rewards. Check out FAQs here. Valid till 30 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

SingSaver Exclusive Offer: Enjoy the following rewards when you sign up for an HSBC credit card.

HSBC Advance_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

HSBC Advance and Visa Platinum Credit Card: Receive a Dyson V8 Slim™ Fluffy (worth S$509) or an Apple iPad 9th Gen 10.2" WiFi 64GB (worth S$508.30) or S$350 eCapitaVoucher or 18K Max Miles (worth a trip to Tokyo) upon activating your card and spending min. S$500 by the end of the following calendar month from the card account opening date. Valid till 20 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

HSBC_TravelOne_KV1_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

HSBC TravelOne Credit Card: Receive a Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer (worth S$699) or an Apple iPad 10th Gen 10.9"  WiFi 64GB (worth S$529) or an Apple Watch Series 9 (worth S$604.50) or S$375 eCapitaVoucher or 24K Max Miles upon activating your card and spending min. S$1,000 plus pay an annual fee of S$196.20 by the end of the following calendar month from the card account opening date. Valid till 20 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

Rewards Upgrade Campaign_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

⬆️Rewards Upgrade Campaign⬆️: Upgrade your rewards when you top up S$200 to get a Sony Portable Theatre System HT-AX7 (worth $$769). Alternatively, top up S$588 for a Sony ZV-1M2 Vlog Camera (worth $1,209) or top up S$1,099 for an Apple iPhone 15 Pro 128GB (worth S$1,664.25). Valid till 20 June 2024. T&Cs apply.

 

Drawbacks of MariBank

Limited features

At present, MariBank only has a savings account and an investment account for retail bankers. There isn’t much you can do apart from growing your savings with higher interest rates and relatively less fuss. 

Payment options are also limited to PayNow QR, and Shoppee transactions.
 

No spending rewards

MariBank does not offer rewards like cashback or points for spending. This isn’t surprising, as the bank does not have a credit or debit card yet. For now, MariBank appears to be heavily focused on savings, but spending rewards may start being offered if or when it decides to offer card services as well.
 

No overseas functionality 

MariBank seems designed for local use only. With no debit or credit card, you cannot use MariBank to pay when overseas, or make ATM withdrawals while traveling. 

There are also no cross-border payment features, and neither is there the ability to hold currencies other than Singapore Dollar.

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How does Maribank compare against GXS Bank and Trust Bank?

Savings account

Features

Interest rate

Deposit cap

Fees

MariBank

Savings account, investment account

Savings: 2.88% p.a.

Invest: up to 3.87% p.a.

S$75,000

No fees

GXS Bank

Savings account, debit card, loan

Savings: 2.38% p.a. to 2.68% p.a. (up to S$75,000)


Loan: from 2.99% p.a. (EIR 5.65% p.a.)

S$75,000

Savings: No fees


Debit card: Overseas and foreign current transactions (not implemented yet)


Loan: Late payment fees

Trust Bank

Savings account, credit/debit card, loan

Savings: up to 2.00% to 2.50% p.a.


Loan: from 3.48% p.a. (6.42% p.a.)

S$125,000

Savings: No fees


Credit/Debit card: No fees


Loan: 3% early repayment fee 

MariBank vs GXS Bank

At 2.88% p.a, MariBank offers a higher savings interest rate than GXS Bank. The latter provides 2.38% p.a. in the main account, and 2.68% p.a. for funds in the Savings Pockets, which are sub-accounts geared towards specific goals.

Furthermore, MariBank Invest lets you earn potentially higher interest of up to 3.87% p.a., in exchange for taking on investment risk. 

However, GXS offers more features, including a debit card, and a revolving loan facility (GXS FlexiLoan) that lets you set your own payment terms. 

Hence, MariBank is a better choice if you’re focused on growing your savings with high interest rates. But if you’re looking for a more full-fledged banking experience, including card services, overseas payments and loans. GXS would be better suited. 

MariBank vs Trust Bank

Again, MariBank wins out over Trust Bank when it comes to savings, with higher interest rates and greater convenience. 

While Trust Bank offers up to 2.50% p.a. interest on your deposits, there’s a bit of work involved in getting there. Firstly, the base interest rate is just 1.50% p.a., but if you make at least five eligible payments in the month, you can get an additional 0.50% p.a. interest (non-NTUC union members) or 1.00% p.a. (NTUC union member).

Thus, to maximise your interest on your savings account, you should have a NTUC union membership and the Trust Card, which you’ll need to use at least five times a month. 

Therefore, as with GXS Bank, MariBank is the better option if you’re simply looking for a fuss-free way to grow your savings with high interest and no other nonsense involved.
 

MariBank vs traditional banks 

When compared against traditional banks, MariBank Savings Account’s main advantage is the lack of hoops to jump through to earn a competitively high interest rate – although not the highest. 

There’re also no lock-ins, no minimum deposit sum, and comparable deposit insurance coverage up to S$75,000, making it ultimately the more convenient option to grow your savings.

As for MariBank Invest, while its currently advertised interest of up to 3.87% p.a. can more than stand up to fixed deposit rates, remember that this higher interest comes with investment risk, so you should weigh the benefits and risks accordingly. 

 

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Is MariBank right for you?

As it stands, MariBank is best suited to those who are looking for a high interest savings account without too much fuss and restrictions. Its no-fee offering will also prove attractive to those adverse to fees and charges, while the all-digital structure adds another layer of convenience and speed. 

What is lacking are payment options beyond PayNow, spending rewards and overseas capabilities, but these may very well come online in the near future, depending on how MariBank wants to position itself. 

If all that sounds good to you, there’s no harm giving MariBank a try. Just be aware that the 2.88% p.a. savings account interest is subject to change depending on macroeconomic conditions. And if you’re thinking of going for the higher interest offered by MariBank Invest, bear in mind that you’ll be taking on investment risk, even if slight.

Read these next:

Digital Banking Showdown: GXS Bank vs. Trust Bank, and the Future of Traditional Banking
UOB One Account Review: A Hassle-Free High Yield Savings Account Of Up To 7.8% Interest Per Year
OCBC 360 Account Review: Earn Up To 4.65% Interest Per Year On Your Savings
GXS Savings Account Review: Digital Savings Account with Attractive Interest Rates, No Fees, and No Strings Attached

An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.

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