Priority Banking vs Private Banking: Which One Suits You Better?

Yen Joon

Yen Joon

Last updated 19 May, 2024

If you’re willing to drop tons of money with a bank, you’re on the way to becoming a priority or private banking customer. But which one suits your banking needs better?


Best priority banking accounts on SingSaver


Priority banking and private banking are often confused as the same things; while they do share many similarities, they’re actually opposite sides of the same coin.

So in this article, we’ll explain the difference between the two, the perks they offer, and which service is better equipped for your banking needs. 

Table of contents

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What is priority banking?

Priority banking (also known as premier banking) is a banking tier above personal banking, which is what most of us regular folks use. It’s intended for affluent customers. 

In fact, to be a priority banking customer, you would need to transact a six-digit figure with a bank. This can range anywhere from S$100,000 to S$350,000. However, this amount varies from bank to bank. 

However, the amount doesn’t need to consist of 100% cold, hard cash; your total assets with a bank can be a mix of cash and investment and insurance products, otherwise known as assets under management (AUM).

In exchange for your investments, you’ll be treated as a VIP member. This means that you’ll enjoy exclusive benefits that are reserved only for you. These include exclusive lifestyle perks, preferential rates for loans and credit cards, priority queuing at the bank, and your own Relationship Manager. 

But note that the perks differ from bank to bank. In general, the perks are less attractive if the AUM is lower.

Why would people want to transact in such large amounts with a bank through priority banking?


Priority banking perks

#1: Dedicated Relationship Manager

One of the biggest carrots that banks dangle would be a dedicated Relationship Manager, and with good reason.

Not only are they there to offer 24/7 assistance for your banking needs, but they are also equipped with professional financial advice to aid you in your financial journey.

#2: Preferential rates

Being a priority banking customer also means you can enjoy preferential rates all around. Aside from the higher interest rates (that are usually not openly disclosed online) for your savings, you’ll also get to enjoy better foreign exchange rates (i.e.purchasing foreign currencies at a lower price).

Some banks also offer fee waivers for selected services such as service fees, management fees and chequebook fees for several bank accounts, remittance fees and ATM card replacement fees.

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Plus, get additional welcome rewards on top of the above offer (T&Cs apply):

- Get additional S$500 Cash Reward from Citibank when you apply for a Citibank Mortgage loan with min. loan size of - S$800,000 within 3 months of account opening
- Get additional S$250 Cash Reward for every S$50K purchase of investment and/or insurance from Citibank
- Get additional S$100 Cash Reward from Citibank when you complete an Investment Risk Profile and Fact Find
- Get additional S$100 Cash Reward from Citibank when you hold a valid Primary Citibank Credit Card

#3: Lifestyle perks

Moving on to the more exciting part of things. You’ll be thrilled to know that there is a slew of lifestyle perks that comes with a priority banking membership.

Foodies can do what they love best with attractive dining discounts, while frequent flyers can take advantage of the free limousine service to and from the airport, as well as exclusive access to luxurious airport VIP lounges around the world.

#4: Priority queueing at banks

Most banks offer priority queueing at physical banks, meaning that you get an ‘express pass’ and will be attended to immediately. You’ll be able to access their private counter since you’re a priority banking customer — so say goodbye to snaking queues!

Do note that each bank offers different perks to stand out from the rest, so do your due research beforehand to know what you’ll be entitled to.

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Pros and cons of priority banking

Pros of priority banking Cons of priority banking
Lower net worth required: Requires customers to transact in amounts ranging from S$100,000 - S$500,000 so it is easier to qualify Less investment-centric: Limited perks aiming at growing your wealth
Higher interest rates: Priority banking typically offers higher interest rates to incentivise you to store your funds with them  
Zero bank fees: All banking fees, convenience fees and other bank-related fees are usually waived  

Citigold_Tactical_54_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

⚡Flash Deal⚡: Get an Apple iPhone 15 128GB (worth S$1,311) or 40,000 Max Miles (worth a one-way Business Class to Japan/Korea)+S$300 or an upsized S$1,100 cash when you successfully apply for a Citigold account and make a S$250,000 deposit within 3 months of account opening and maintain these funds until gift fulfilment. Also, apply through SingSaver and enjoy 3.1% p.a. on a 6-month SGD Time Deposit (equates to S$3,875 cash reward!). Valid till 31 July 2024. T&Cs apply.


Plus, get additional welcome rewards on top of the above offer (T&Cs apply):

- Get additional S$500 Cash Reward from Citibank when you apply for a Citibank Mortgage loan with min. loan size of - S$800,000 within 3 months of account opening
- Get additional S$250 Cash Reward for every S$50K purchase of investment and/or insurance from Citibank
- Get additional S$100 Cash Reward from Citibank when you complete an Investment Risk Profile and Fact Find
- Get additional S$100 Cash Reward from Citibank when you hold a valid Primary Citibank Credit Card


What is private banking?

Meanwhile, private banking is a tier above priority banking and is considered to be the pinnacle of banking.

While priority banking is for affluent customers, private banking targets ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) with at least S$1 million worth of AUM with a bank.  

As you may have guessed, private banking offers a wider range of exclusive perks than priority banking; these include investment-centric ones that aim to grow your wealth.


Private banking perks

Here’s what you can expect from a private banking relationship:

#1: Dedicated private bankers

Similar to priority banking, you’ll have a personal dedicated Relationship Manager, but sometimes you may even get a team of private bankers to assist you in your financial planning.

They pay personal attention to your financial needs and are able to provide financial advice and solutions with the sole purpose of growing your wealth. You’ll also get the opportunity to meet with specialists and gain exclusive access to the border market to help you take your finances to the next level.

#2: Preferential rates 

With private banking, you’ll also enjoy preferential rates, though they are a lot more attractive than priority banking.

Similarly, you’ll get preferential rates when you purchase and sell currencies. Aside from that, you can enjoy lower interest rates on loans and credit cards, exclusive investment rates, as well as special banking features only for private banking customers like safe-deposit boxes, higher miles conversion rates and free money transfer services on a global scale.


#3: Lifestyle benefits

Fancy free limousine transfers and access to VIP lounges? That’s what you’ll get with private banking.

On top of that, sit back and enjoy travel privileges that offer discounts on dining and travel bookings. Some banks also provide 24/7 concierge service that gives you recommendations on the best hotels, attractions and flights when you’re on vacation, ensuring that all your needs are taken care of and your stay is as hassle-free as possible.


Pros and cons of private banking

Pros of private banking Cons of priority banking
Wider range of wealth management benefits: Includes financial solutions for retirement, estate succession planning Higher net worth: Ranging from S$1,000,000 to S$5,000,000, so not many can qualify
More exclusive perks: Offer private transactions, priority access and even exclusive hedge funds Lower interest rates: Interest rates are considerably low at about 0.05% p.a.
  Higher management fees: Some private banking comes with higher management fees than regular banks, since you have access to a dedicated private banker

Priority banking vs private banking in Singapore: Which suits your banking needs better?

Now that we know the differences between the two, let’s take a look at which one offers better banking needs. 

AUM requirements

The most obvious difference between priority banking and private banking is the AUM that you need to park with a bank.

As mentioned, the AUM for priority banking is around S$100,000 to S$350,000. Check out the AUM requirements for different banks in Singapore below:

🏦 Priority banking
Bank
AUM / Total Relationship Balance (TRB)
DBS Treasures
S$350,000
UOB Privilege
S$350,000
Maybank Premier
S$300,000
Citigold
S$250,000
CIMB Preferred
S$250,000
HSBC Premier
S$200,000, or

Credit a monthly salary of S$15,000 into HSBC EGA, or

Take up at least S$1 million in Singapore property loan / AUD$200,000 in Australian property loan
Standard Chartered Wealth $aver
S$200,000 
OCBC Premier Banking
S$200,000
RHB Premier
S$200,000

Compared to priority banking, private banking has a much higher minimum AUM requirement:

🔐 Private banking
Bank
AUM
HSBC Private Bank
US$5 million
DBS Private Bank
S$5 million
DBS Treasures Private Client
S$1.5 million
UOB Privilege Banking
S$350,000
UOB Private Bank
S$5 million
Citigold Private Client
S$1.5 million
Standard Chartered Priority Private
S$1.5 million
OCBC Premier Banking
S$200,000
OCBC Premier Private Client
S$1 million


Wealth management services

As a priority banking member, you have your dedicated Relationship Manager who will help you with your banking needs. Your Relationship Manager will also offer you financial advice on your financial matters, such as investment opportunities and how to achieve your financial goals. 

In comparison, private banking offers more specialists for you to work with. In addition to your Relationship Manager, you’ll also have various private bankers and specialists in legal, tax, mortgage, and insurance at your disposal. 

These specialists offer wealth management services that are focused on growing your wealth, such as investment and insurance products, portfolio management, tax advice, retirement planning, and estate planning. 

Investment options

Speaking of investment, another benefit of being a priority banking or private banking member is that you can access investment products unavailable to the average retail investor. These include structured deposits, bonds, equity-linked notes, and more. 

That said, you can access more investment products as a private banking customer, such as private hedge funds and ready-made portfolios exclusive to you. Aside from the exclusivity, these products offer potentially higher returns as well.

Perks

Both priority banking and private banking offer similar lifestyle and financial perks, such as:

  • Dining and travel discounts

  • Access to airport lounges across the world

  • Access to priority centres across Singapore to do your banking errands in privacy and comfort

  • Access to private counters so that you can skip the queue at banks

  • 24/7 concierge services, limousine services, and other personal services

  • Safekeeping service to store your valuables

  • Free parking at priority centres

  • Preferential rates on savings, fixed deposits, loans, mortgages, and foreign exchange transactions

Management fees

With a more personalised service, private banking comes with a higher management fee compared to priority banking. But this is given considering that you’re working with more specialists and bankers who help you manage your wealth. 

Interest rates

Both priority banking and private banking offer preferential rates, whether it’s savings, loans, mortgages, and foreign exchange. However, priority banking offers slightly more attractive rates compared to private banking.

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Priority banking vs private banking: which one should you choose?

Priority banking and private banking are both great if you want to park huge amounts of assets with a bank, given the lifestyle and financial benefits that both offer.

Priority banking offers better interest rates and lower management fees, whereas private banking provides a broader range of wealth management services that aren’t available for priority banking members.

Finally, the AUM requirements are also significantly lower for priority banking. If you’re in a position to consider both options, you have to consider whether the additional value offered by private banking is aligned with your needs and goals.


Citigold_Tactical_54_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

⚡Flash Deal⚡: Get an Apple iPhone 15 128GB (worth S$1,311) or 40,000 Max Miles (worth a one-way Business Class to Japan/Korea)+S$300 or an upsized S$1,100 cash when you successfully apply for a Citigold account and make a S$250,000 deposit within 3 months of account opening and maintain these funds until gift fulfilment. Also, apply through SingSaver and enjoy 3.1% p.a. on a 6-month SGD Time Deposit (equates to S$3,875 cash reward!). Valid till 31 July 2024. T&Cs apply.


Plus, get additional welcome rewards on top of the above offer (T&Cs apply):

- Get additional S$500 Cash Reward from Citibank when you apply for a Citibank Mortgage loan with min. loan size of - S$800,000 within 3 months of account opening
- Get additional S$250 Cash Reward for every S$50K purchase of investment and/or insurance from Citibank
- Get additional S$100 Cash Reward from Citibank when you complete an Investment Risk Profile and Fact Find
- Get additional S$100 Cash Reward from Citibank when you hold a valid Primary Citibank Credit Card

 

In my past life, I was always broke because of a lack of financial literacy. Now, I publish a few posts every week* on personal finance to help you manage your money better. *I mean, I’ll try

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