The cost of living has been increasing aggressively in Singapore and will continue to with the expected increase in GST and public transport and water costs.
One way to alleviate financial woes is to take advantage of high interest savings accounts to make our money work harder.
While there are high interest accounts around like OCBC 360 and UOB One, they are littered with various criteria that not everyone might be able to meet.
Regarding high interest accounts with no requirements involved, CIMB takes the cake with their latest promotion offering an interest rate of 3.50%.
This is one of the highest savings account interest rates available to people who are not drawing a regular salary like students, retirees, and non-working or self-employed adults.
In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about this promotion.
From 1 Oct 2023 – 31 Mar 2024, CIMB is offering a flat promotional interest rate of 3.50% for customers with a qualifying savings account.
There is no cap on the funds that are eligible for this promotional interest rate and no lock-in period for the funds in the account, so you can withdraw them at any time.
This promotion is available to both new and existing CIMB customers, though the terms and conditions of the promotion differ slightly.
This promotion is open to both new and existing CIMB customers and runs from 1 Oct – 31 Oct 2023, both dates inclusive.
Qualifying CIMB Accounts
For the purpose of this promotion, a qualifying CIMB account refers to any of the following accounts:
- StarSaver (Savings)
- StarSaver (Savings)-i
FastSaver, FastSaver-i, StarSaver (Savings), and StarSaver (Savings)-i are savings accounts that have a S$1,000 account minimum balance to start earning interest.
StarSaver and StarSaver-i are current accounts that have a S$5,000 account minimum balance to start earning interest.
All of these accounts have no fall-below fee even if your account balance falls below the minimum requirement for earning interest.
You can find the fee schedule for all these accounts on CIMB’s website here.
Prevailing, Bonus, & Total Interest Rates
The prevailing interest rate refers to the normal interest rate of the respective CIMB account outside of this promotion.
The total interest rate refers to the promotional rate of 3.50%.
The bonus interest rate refers to the difference between the total interest rate and the prevailing interest rate of the respective balance in the account.
Here are the tables of the prevailing, bonus, and total interest rates of the FastSaver and StarSaver accounts.
StarSaver/StarSaver-i (Current & Savings):
Interest Crediting Dates
The interest earned from the prevailing interest rate during the month will be paid on the last day of the month.
If you qualify for the bonus interest rate, the bonus interest earned during the month will be paid on the 20th of the following month.
If the 20th falls on a weekend or a public holiday, it will be paid on the next working day.
For the purpose of this promotion, “fresh funds” are funds that do not originate from any existing account with CIMB Bank including without limitation the following:
- funds in the form of non-CIMB cheques;
- other funds that are not transferred from any existing CIMB current, savings or fixed deposit account;
- other funds that are not withdrawn from any existing CIMB current, savings or fixed deposit account and re-deposited (whether partial or all of the amount withdrawn) into the new account with CIMB within the promotion period.
In English, as long as the funds you deposit into your CIMB account originate from another bank account that you own (ie DBS/OCBC), it should qualify as fresh funds.
T&Cs – New CIMB Customers
A new CIMB customer is defined as a person who:
- does not have any existing single/joint CIMB Fixed Deposit or Current/Savings account(s), and
- has not terminated/closed any single/joint CIMB Fixed Deposit or Current/Savings account(s) within the past 12 months.
To qualify for the promotional interest rate of 3.50% as a new CIMB customer, you must:
- open a qualifying account online during the promotion period,
- deposit a minimum of S$1,000 (savings account)/S$5,000 (current account) in fresh funds into the qualifying account, and
- maintain or increase each month-end balance against the previous month-end balance.
Points 1 and 2 are fairly straightforward.
Simply pick a qualifying account of your choosing and open it online via CIMB’s website.
Then, make a deposit originating from a non-CIMB account into your newly opened account with the stipulated funding requirement.
Point 3 is where it gets interesting.
This promotion employs the use of a month-end balance, whereas most other savings account-related promotions tend to use the daily average balance (DAB) per month.
Month-end balance literally refers to the balance in your account at the end of the month, ie 31 October, 30 November, etc.
This means that you don’t have to worry about your account balance during the month itself.
As long as your month-end balance of each month is equal to or more than the previous month’s, you will qualify for the bonus interest rate for that month.
However, note that all applicable interest is still computed on a daily basis.
Here is a sample calculation of total interest adapted from CIMB’s website:
You can review the promotion details from the terms & conditions here.
T&Cs – Existing CIMB Customers
An existing CIMB customer is defined as a person who owns any qualifying CIMB account as a main account holder during the promotion period.
To qualify for the promotional interest rate of 3.50% as an existing customer, you must:
- hold a qualifying account within the promotion period;
- deposit incremental fresh funds into the account;
- maintain a minimum deposit of S$1,000 (savings account)/S$5,000 (current account) to qualify for bonus interest;
- register for this promotion within the promotion period through the official website or CIMB Eva Chatbot; and
- not have registered for the same promotion in the previous months.
For existing CIMB customers, the promotional rate of 3.50% is not applied to the entire balance in the qualifying account.
Instead, it is only applied on the incremental balance compared against the month-end balance prior to the promotion period, ie 30 Sep 2023.
This means that you will only earn bonus interest when your account balance exceeds the account balance as recorded on 30 Sep 2023.
For example, if your month-end balance for Sep 2023 is $5k, you will only earn bonus interest on the days when your account balance exceeds $5k.
Furthermore, you will only earn bonus interest on the incremental amount from $5k – so if your account balance is $6k, you will only earn bonus interest on $1k.
Here is a sample calculation of bonus interest as your account balance varies adapted from CIMB’s website:
Unlike the promotion for new CIMB customers, there is no requirement to maintain or increase each month’s month-end balance to qualify for bonus interest.
You can review the details of the promotion from the terms & conditions here.
Which Account Should You Open?
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this promotion as a new customer, which CIMB account should you open?
The one I’d recommend is the CIMB FastSaver account.
It has a lower minimum account balance to earn the prevailing and bonus interest rates as compared to the StarSaver current account.
It also offers more competitive prevailing interest rates as compared to the StarSaver (savings) account.
Collectively, this means the FastSaver account is more likely to remain useful even after the promotion is over.
Objectively speaking, an interest rate of 3.50% isn’t the highest attainable rate in our current environment.
However, it is the highest interest rate offering for an account with almost no criteria to meet.
The only requirement is either maintaining your account month-end balance (new customers) or maintaining your incremental account balance (existing customers).
Either way, this should be quite easy to do.
This promotion is thus an excellent option for anyone who wants to park their cash in high yield accounts but is unable to take advantage of other high interest accounts.
This includes students, stay-at-home parents, self-employed, and unemployed people to name a few.
Even those who do have access to other high interest accounts can consider taking advantage of this promotion too.
For example, using the OCBC 360 account with only salary crediting and saving will yield an interest rate of 3.25%.
This is lower than CIMB’s promotional rate of 3.50%, though the difference is arguably minor.
Nevertheless, I think this is an excellent promotion as the reward-effort ratio is quite high.
If you want to enjoy this promotion, be sure to sign up as soon as possible because time is ticking – the period for earning 3.50% interest ends on 31 Mar 2024 regardless of when you sign up.
Will you be taking part in this promotion? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below!