The digital bank sector in Singapore is akin to a blue ocean whereby the first bank to gain a foothold may gain significant first mover advantage. Word from the grapevine is that GXS heard about Trust’s impending news release and “potong jalan” (translates into cut the road from Malay) by making a press release on the eve of Trust’s announcement. This is despite its flagship product not even being ready! Therefore, retail consumers were kept in suspense and wondered how competitive GXS’s savings account would be. Well, after months of waiting, I finally got to try GXS Bank. Here is my review of GXS Bank and Trust Bank’s savings account.
GXS Bank is a digital bank backed by a consortium consisting of Grab Holdings and Singtel. It holds a banking license issued by Monetary Authority of Singapore (‘MAS’). On the other hand, Trust Bank is a partnership between Standard Chartered and FairPrice Group. Even though they are newcomers, I gain comfort from the following:
- When it comes to heritage and corporate reputation, I would say that they probably do not come bigger than them.
- Besides, as savings accounts, your deposits with them are insured by Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) by an amount up to $75,000.
Reassured by this knowledge, I evaluate the digital banks’ savings account on several fronts.
1. Interest Rate of GXS Bank and Trust Bank
In Diagram 1, I compare the interest rates offered by both GXS and Trust’s savings accounts. At first glance, it is evident that GXS is superior to Trust as 3.48% triumphs 2.5% hands down.
At 3.48% interest rate, it is very attractive especially since one is not required to perform any action unlike high-yield savings accounts from the traditional brick and mortar banks. It makes no sense to leave your money in the main pocket as they only yield a base interest rate of 0.08%. Any GXS user should definitely proceed to create Savings Pockets as shown in Diagram 2.
What is good about these savings pockets is that it breaks down the steps that you need to take to get there – how much principal to put in per month, how much interest to expect from GXS as shown in Diagram 3.
It also allows for customisation with your own photos and I would say visualising this entire process can serve to be a very powerful motivation.
This motivation is served on a daily basis because the interest is credited daily. This allows the GXS bank customer to take advantage of compound interest. There is also no lock in period and penalty for withdrawal. With no fees and no minimum balance required, it makes as a good savings account for students and first-jobbers.
Unfortunately, one can only deposit up to $5,000 into the GXS Savings Account, including the Saving Pockets. Not to worry, the depositor continues to earn interest beyond the maximum amount of $5,000. Regardless, capping the maximum deposit at $5,000 is a dampener. I can only hope that this is because it is still at the beta phase.
The base interest rate is 1.5% on the first $75,000 in the Trust Bank savings account. If you are a NTUC Union member, get an additional 1% bonus interest on the first $75,000 deposit by making 5 eligible purchases with your Trust Card. Non NTUC Union members receive 0.5% instead. Therefore, the cumulative interest rate on the first $75,000 can be in the range of 1.5% to 2.5%.
2) Card Spend
In this department, Trust wins hands down because the Trust Card really boosts cashback if one spends within the FairPrice ecosystem – think NTUC FairPrice, Kopitiam etc. The returns are better than any cashback credit cards in the market at this juncture. I wrote a comprehensive review of the Trust card previously in this article.
At this juncture, GXS does not have an equivalent credit/debit card yet. However, it does advertise for a 1.2X points booster if one uses the GXS main account to offset purchases on Grab and Dash mobile apps. I personally don’t think this is worthwhile as one is better off paying their spending on Grab via credit cards. Example – additional 10% with UOB One Card for Grab rides, 0.3% to 1.5% for top ups to Grab wallet with UOB Absolute Card or AMEX True Cashback card.
3) Sign up Freebies from GXS and Trust
GXS Bank Promotion
I was only made aware of GXS’s beta launch when a pop-up of the product appeared on my Grab mobile app. I promptly signed up and downloaded the GXS mobile app. Registration and setup was smooth as everything was done via Singpass.
For a start, there is a sign-up bonus of 2,500 Dash and Grab Points simply by linking your GXS account on these apps. Note that they are not mutually exclusive. 2,500 Grab points is worth $5 credits and not 1 to pass up on such easy freebies, I promptly pressed the button to link my Grab with GXS as shown in Diagram 5.
The next sign-up bonus from GXS also requires minimal effort. For every $2.50 interest that the customer earns in the Main Account and Savings Pocket, GXS will match it. This GXS Save Boost promotion is capped at $10. This brings the total sign-up bonus to be $15 for the GXS Savings account for little effort. If you add in the $10 interest from the side pocket, this translates to a total of $25 worth of cash for just 21 days of keeping $5,000 in GXS for an effective interest rate of 8.7%.
Trust Bank Promotion
Receive a S$10 FairPrice E-voucher credited to your Trust app if you sign up for it via any referral code as shown in Diagram 7.
If you appreciate the work that I have done thus far, you can use my referral code < DFFZV6CZ>. This $10 e-voucher can be used for purchases at FairPrice or Unity outlets whether online or at the physical stores.
Previously, Trust Bank user would receive an additional $25 by making their first spend on either the Trust Debit or Trust Credit card. I am not sure if this promotion is still running as at the time of this article.
This article is published on 24 Jan 2023. Update, on 19 July 2023, GXS successfully applied to MAS to raise the deposit limit to $75,000.
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