Having spent most of my adolescent and adult years accustomed to 1% -4% interest rates on my savings accounts, never would I imagine that I would witness 7.8% interest rates in my lifetime. Well, as a result of the fastest interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve, that is the reality now. This spells good news for savers, but bad news for borrowers especially home-owners who are on floating mortgage packages. As Federal rate hikes mean expanding net interest margin for commercial banks, they are even hungrier for deposits. Therefore, there are many high-yield savings accounts trying to out-do each other to compete for a finite amount of monies from us (at least for Heartland Boy’s case). That is why I want to share some tips on how to get the best interest rates from banks’ high-yield savings accounts.
1. UOB One Account
As shown in Diagram 1, 7.8% interest rate on the UOB One would undoubtedly capture anyone’s attention. However, when it comes to advertising headlines from UOB, it always pays to read between the lines and be more vigilant. A closer look reveals that 7.8% interest rate only applies to a certain tier of your entire savings in the UOB One Account as shown in Diagram 2.
While 7.8% interest rate is only offered to amounts ranging from $75,000 to $100,000, it is still very enticing because the qualifying criteria are relatively low:
2) Salary crediting must be a minimum of $1,600 and be performed via GIRO/PAYNOW (with the transaction reference “SALA”/ “PAYNOW SALA”).
Tip #1– Ensure that your salary crediting is performed via GIRO/PAYNOW as this is stated under the terms and conditions of the UOB One Account. The fact that salary crediting via PAYNOW is also recognised means the threshold is lowered even further, if you get the hint.
Tip #2: Even if you cannot qualify for salary crediting despite the lower barrier, here’s how you can easily qualify for 3 GIRO transactions. Simply make the effort to set up a monthly GIRO donation to a charity. If the registered charity enjoys IPC status, you will also enjoy tax deductions. Coupled with the bonus interest that you earn from the bank, it may even offset the actual donated amount. This methodology of killing 2 birds with 1 stone is something that the Heartland Boy household has been employing for years!
Tip #3: This is with regards to a limited time UOB Lunar New Year Savings Promotion that I think is worth taking advantage of. As shown in Diagram 3, an eligible bank customer can take advantage of both challenges and earn up to$1,900+ cash rewards.
Promotion ends 28 Feb 2023 and you can refer to the terms and conditions here.
2. DBS Multiplier Account
DBS Multiplier has changed and improved over the years to the extent that it has become a given to qualify for the Salary/Dividend/SGFinDex category. Therefore, my tips are to help you increase both the value of the eligible transactions and to unlock more categories.
Tip #1: Heartland Girl credits her salary to a joint account held under our names. This way, it allows both of us to qualify for the Salary Credit category via just her salary. Alternatively, if you are trying to exceed $30,000 in total transaction value, both husband and wife may credit their salaries into a joint account.
Likewise, a DBS Multiplier account holder can perform the same trick by instructing Central Depository (‘CDP’) to credit dividends into the join account.
Tip #2: To unlock the insurance category, all Manulife regular and single premium insurance policies distributed by DBS/POSB are recognised. More importantly, no minimum premium amount is required to qualify.
I purchased CancerCare online and paid less than $7/month for a total of 12 months. In return, I get to unlock additional interest far in excess of the premium I am paying. There are many examples of such insurance policies online that cost less than $10 per month.
Tip #3: I don’t need to qualify for the Investments component as I already have a home loan, credit card as well as insurance with DBS/POSB. Nevertheless, I understand that some account holders might be curious whether I have any tip on the Investments component.
The easiest actions are to perform a Dollar-Cost Average plan with DBS Invest-Saver since it starts from as little as $100/month. Purchasing equities trades online via DBS Vickers count too although the commission payable will be higher than low-cost online brokerages such as WeBull or Moomoo. (fantastic sign-up gifts of over $200-$300!)
3. OCBC 360 Account
Tip #1: As shown in Diagram 5, I highlighted that the realistic effective interest rate is likely to be 4.65% per year based on (Salary + Save+ Spend) for most customers. It is relatively simple to complete the tasks of crediting salary, saving and spending as their eligibility are not too demanding.
However, I will not recommend purchasing an insurance or investment product just to unlock new tiers in the OCBC 360 account to earn an additional 1.5% p.a. on the first $100K of your deposit. This is because the qualifying criteria are not low, unlike DBS Multiplier as aforementioned.
Finally, under the Grow category, take note that 2.4% bonus interest rate is only paid on the first $100K. Since an average daily balance of $200K is required to qualify, the effective interest rate is 1.2% for this category. By virtue of qualifying, it also means that you are diluting your effective interest rate as each category would be divided by at least 2 since the denominator is now $200,000 and not $100,000.
Let’s demonstrate this with a worked example of a OCBC 360 account owner who qualifies for the Salary + Save + Spend + Grow categories as shown in Diagram 6:
A total interest rate of $7,000 over $200,000 works out to an effective interest rate of 3.5%. This explains why I think it may not be worthwhile to qualify for the Grow category.
Tip #2: Similar to other banks, OCBC is offering a Chinese New Year exclusive promotion. 360 Account customers get to enjoy a preferential fixed deposit rate of 4.08% for SGD time deposits with a lock-in tenure of 8 months. USD time deposit rates are at 5.08% instead.
If all these actions required to qualify for bonus interest rate bother you, other fuss-free alternatives would be CIMB StarSaver Account. The interest rate may be lower but gets higher if you have cash deposits in excess of a quarter million. There is a lot of catching up to do for Citi Plus as its interest rates are lower than the local banks. I did sign up as I was able to receive close to $700 cash rewards via SingSaver.
With how fast interest rates have changed in 2022, I hope this review of the high-yield savings accounts from the 3 local banks would help you get the best interest rate on your hard-earned monies. Since the Lunar Chinese New Year is just around the corner, you should know where to best stash your ang bao monies in.
This article is published on 8 Jan 2022
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