Not sure whether you should put your American dollar into a foreign currency fixed deposit in 2021? We’ve collated a list of the USD time deposit interest rates of the major banks so you won’t need to.
Whether you’re saving up for that big US trip once the travel bubble opens, or are simply looking to take advantage of the competitive interest rates, you can look to foreign currency fixed deposits to safeguard your cash.
- What is foreign currency fixed deposits?
- What should I look out for before depositing?
- Comparison of USD fixed deposits
- Which bank should you choose?
What is foreign currency fixed deposits (FCFD)?
Foreign currency fixed deposits, or time deposits, allow consumers to convert their SGD to a foreign currency and deposit it in the bank for a period of time known as the tenure. The amount is earned with interest at a pre-determined rate and can be taken out only after the maturity date. Doing so will result in a penalty or the loss of any interest that you’ve earned, so be sure that you have enough liquid cash on hand before depositing the amount.
Consumers usually put their foreign currency into time deposits for future use like having cash for when they’re travelling, or paying for overseas purchases with their foreign currency to avoid conversion fees.
Some investors also turn to FCFDs to hedge against foreign currency fluctuation.
What should I look out for before depositing?
Before depositing your money, it is best to give the bank a call and inquire about their interest rates, since the interest rates are always changing and may not be the most updated on the website.
You should also choose a tenure that you can commit to, which can range from one week to five years. The longer the tenure, the higher the interest rate. On top of that, the amount invested and the foreign currency exchange rate also play a part and affect the final amount that you withdraw after the maturity date.
When you decide to open a foreign currency fixed deposit account, you should check with your bank whether they have a prevailing inter-bank transfer fee that is charged when you deposit your money into the account. At present, banks like Standard Chartered, The Bank of East Asia and HSBC offer free transfer services, while others may charge a handling fee.
Comparison of USD fixed deposits
Here are the respective US dollar fixed deposit rates in Singapore:
||Tenure||Best interest rate available (p.a.)||Minimum deposit|
|Bank of China||1, 3, 6, 9, or 12 months||0.55%||US$500|
|CIMB ||1, 3, 6 or 12 months||0.25%||US$10,000|
|DBS / POSB||1 – 12 months||0%||S$5,000|
|Hong Leong Bank||2 weeks – 12 months||0.45%||US$1,000|
|ICBC||1 week, 1, 3, 6 or 12 months||0.40%||US$500|
|Maybank||1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 months||0%||US$50,000|
|OCBC||3 or 6 months||0.15%||US$5,000|
|State Bank of India Singapore||1, 2, 3, 6, 12, 18,24 months||0.60%||US$5,000|
|Standard Chartered||6 months||0.20%|
(0.30% under priority banking preferential rate)
|The Bank of East Asia||1, 2, 3 or 6 months||0.05%||US$100,000|
*The annual interest rate is for reference only. The bank’s interest rate will be adjusted from time to time according to market changes.
Bank of China USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||1 month||3 months||6 months||9 months||12 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$500||US$500||US$500||US$500||US$500|
With tenures ranging from one to 12 months, you’ll be able to choose a tenure that you’re comfortable with. Bank of China offers a spread of competitive interest rates depending on the stipulated time period that you choose, from 0.25% p.a. to 0.55% p.a., the second highest interest rate available of the lot.
With a low minimum deposit of just US$500, you won’t require much funds to reap the high interest rates, though lower deposits will subject you to a lower interest rate.
CIMB USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||1 month||3 months||6 months||12 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$10,000||US$10,000||US$10,000||US$10,000|
With CIMB, you’ll realise that the interest rates are much higher than those of savings accounts, making it worth your while to store your US dollars there. Tenures range from one to 12 months, allowing you to reap up to 0.25% p.a..
However, the minimum deposit amount of US$10,000 is relatively high compared to the rest, making it less attractive for those who do not have sufficient funds.
Citibank USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Minimum deposit amount||US$10,000|
Citibank is now offering a promotional interest rate for their USD fixed deposits at a solid 1% p.a., and the highest rate at present. The tenure is at three months, making it an extremely worthwhile deal, though the minimum deposit amount is slightly high at US$10,000.
Do note that the rates are applicable till 30th June 2021, so the rates might have changed.
DBS/POSB USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||1 – 12 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||S$5,000|
Though DBS/POSB ranks as one of the top banks in Singapore, their USD fixed deposit interest rate stands at 0% p.a., regardless of your tenure that ranges from one to 12 months.
Hong Leong Bank USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||2 weeks||3 weeks||1 month||2 months||3 months||4 months||5, 6 months||7 – 12 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000|
Hong Leong Bank offers the most flexible tenures, so you can take your pick from a period of as short as two weeks up to 12 months. This lets you choose a specific number of months that you prefer, without having to commit to the standard three-, six-, nine- and 12-month tenures.
Interest rates are relatively competitive, allowing you to reap up to 0.45% p.a. if you opt for a tenure of seven months and more. The minimum deposit is at US$1,000.
HSBC USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Minimum deposit amount||US$30,000|
From now till 31 July 2021, HSBC is having a promotion for US dollar fixed deposits that applies for new and existing HSBC Jade customers, Premier customers and personal banking customers. The interest rate prevails at 0.10% p.a., compared to the non-promotional rate at 0% with a minimum deposit of US$30,000 and tenure of three months.
ICBC USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
0.40% (via e-banking)
|Tenure||1 week||1 month||3 months||6 months||12 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$500||US$500||US$500||US$500||US$500|
ICBC is now having a USD fixed deposit promotion with competitive interest rates. You can choose a tenure of one week, one month, three months, six months or one year, allowing you to enjoy an interest rate of up to 0.40% p.a. when you use e-banking.
The minimum deposit required is US$500, comparably lower than the others on the list.
Maybank USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||1, 2, 3, 6 and 12 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$50,000|
Ranking the lowest interest rate available at 0% p.a. across all tenures is Maybank, on top of the US$50,000 minimum deposit.
Alternatively, robo-advisors (that also accept USD) can do a better job at growing your funds for you, from as low as S$50.
OCBC USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||3 months||6 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$5,000||US$5,000|
Those planning on depositing their funds in OCBC will be pleased to know that OCBC is having an ongoing promotion for USD fixed deposits. With a choice of either a three- or six-month tenure, you’ll get to enjoy 0.10% p.a. and 0.15% p.a. respectively, with a decent minimum deposit of US$5,000.
State Bank of India Singapore USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||1 month||2 months||3 months||6 months||12 months||18 months||24 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$5,000||US$5,000||US$5,000||US$5,000||US$5,000||US$5,000||US$5,000|
Offering the second highest interest rate at 0.60% p.a., State Bank of India Singapore (an Indian bank that has an offshore banking license in Singapore) provides one of the greatest chances of making your USD grow by leaps and bounds. However, do note that the tenure is longer than the rest at 24 months, meaning that you won’t be able to take your money out until the period is up. They also boast a relatively low minimum deposit at US$5,000 that’s affordable for most.
Standard Chartered USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Best Interest rate||0.20%||(0.30% under priority banking preferential rate)|
|Tenure||6 months||6 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$25,000||US$25,000|
Good news for those thinking of opening a USD fixed deposit or renewing their existing one with Standard Chartered: the bank is offering a guaranteed 0.20% p.a. on a six-month tenure, and a 0.30% under priority banking preferential rate, with a minimum deposit of US$25,000.
Do note that the promotional interest rates are not applicable for online placements, so you’ll have to personally head down to the branch to enjoy the special rates.
The Bank of East Asia USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Tenure||1 month||2 months||3 months||6 months||12 months|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000||US$1,000|
Though The Bank of East Asia (a Hong Kong banking and financial services company) offers a range of tenures of one and 12 months, the interest rates only go up to 0.05% p.a. alongside a minimum deposit amount of US$1,000.
With such low rates, your money would fare better in a multi-currency savings account where the rates are usually a lot more competitive.
UOB USD fixed deposit (July 2021)
|Best Interest rate||0.40%|
|Minimum deposit amount||US$20,000|
As part of their ongoing promotion from now till 30 July 2021, UOB is offering an interest rate of 0.40% p.a., compared to the usual non-promotional rate at 0.05% p.a. It is amongst one of the better interest rates that you can earn. The tenure stretches for six months, with a minimum deposit amount of US$20,000.
Which bank is best for USD fixed deposits in Singapore?
If you’re looking for a financial institution that can offer you the highest interest rates, then look no further than Citibank as it has the highest USD fixed deposit rate at 1% p.a. with a minimum deposit of US$10,000 and a decent three-month tenure that you’ll have to commit to.
For those who have a cap on the amount that they can deposit, both ICBC and Bank of China offer the lowest deposit amount at US$500. Despite this, Bank of China may be the better option since its interest rate can go up to 0.55% p.a., the longer the tenure and higher the deposit, compared to ICBC’s 0.10% p.a. cap.
For more flexibility, Hong Leong Bank has the highest number of tenure options to choose from – from as low as two weeks, to one to 12 months. This allows you to choose a specific time period to accommodate your financial needs, lowering the chances of you withdrawing the funds before the maturity date.
Alternatively, you can opt to stash your cash in multi-currency accounts (with base rates of 0.05% p.a.) that offer a variety of foreign currencies, or park your funds with a robo-advisor to invest on your behalf. Both options typically offer higher returns.
Read these next:
Best Fixed Deposits in Singapore: 2021 Guide – SingSaver
12 Best Fixed Deposit From Top Banks In Singapore To Lock In Your Savings (2021)
Guide To Digital Multi Currency Accounts (2021)
Why Multi-Currency Accounts Are Essential
Robo Advisors Singapore: Complete 2021 Guide
By Deborah Gan
A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke.