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Recently, there’s been a flurry of news about banks increasing the interest rates on their various savings accounts.
As consumers, this is good news because it means that our idle cash will be able to work harder for us in an attempt to mitigate the rising inflation rates.
The question now is: which savings account should you choose?
In this post, I’ll tell you what the best savings accounts are for both adults and students.
Read on to find out!
Best For Adults – OCBC 360
Starting off with the best savings account for adults, we have the OCBC 360 account.
As of writing this post, the OCBC 360 account has some of the easiest criteria to meet to qualify for bonus interest, and it also offers the highest bonus interest for meeting such criteria.
Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
1: Highest Interest Rates
I’ll be comparing the OCBC 360 account to the high-interest accounts offered by other banks.
Since each bank has slightly different criteria to qualify for bonus interest, I’ll assume the following characteristics of an average young working adult in Singapore:
- Take home salary of S$2,000 or higher
- Credit card spending of S$500/month or higher
Here is a summary of the interest rates offered by various savings accounts across different banks, broken down by criteria where applicable:
*: requires salary credit amount of S$3,000/month
^: requires card spending criterion to be fulfilled
As you can see, based on the criteria set out above, the OCB 360 account offers the highest interest rate at 2.65%.
2: Easy Criteria For Bonus Interest
Next, the criteria to qualify for bonus interest on the OCBC 360 account are fairly easy to meet.
To qualify for 2% bonus interest via salary crediting, it only requires a salary amount of S$1,800 which is a low threshold that most working adults should easily meet.
To qualify for 0.6% bonus interest via credit card spending, it requires a monthly spending amount of S$500.
This isn’t low to the point that it’s easy for everyone to hit, but it’s also not a particularly high amount that makes it difficult to hit.
Another criterion that the OCBC 360 account offers that other savings accounts don’t is saving.
By increasing your account’s average daily balance by S$500 monthly, you will qualify for a bonus interest of 1.2%.
These 3 criteria are relatively easy to meet, and if you do, you will qualify for a grand total of 3.85% interest – that’s an incredibly high interest rate, even compared to pre-Covid times!
Things To Note
If the high interest rate offered by the OCBC 360 account has caught your interest, here are some points that you should take note of.
1: Which Credit Card To Choose?
To qualify for the bonus interest via credit card spending, you have to make S$500 of eligible card spending every month on one of the following cards:
- OCBC 365
- OCBC 90oN
- OCBC Titanium Rewards
I won’t dive in too deeply about each of these cards, but here is a summary of the key features and my thoughts about each card.
This is a high cashback card that offers 3 – 6% cashback for several categories of transactions including dining, groceries, utilities, transport, etc.
It has a monthly spending requirement of S$800 and a cashback cap of S$80/month.
Personally, I don’t really like this card because I find the spending requirement of S$800 too high.
It only offers 3% cashback on most of its bonus categories, and only offers 6% cashback for dining.
It also doesn’t award cashback for offline or online shopping.
Other high cashback cards are likely to be strictly better than the OCBC 365 card, such as the UOB EVOL or DBS Live Fresh cards.
This is a general miles card that offers 1.2 miles per dollar (mpd) on eligible transactions.
This is very much like a DBS Altitude or Citi PremierMiles card, and there’s really nothing outstanding about this card.
OCBC Titanium Rewards
This is OCBC’s rewards-cum-specialised-miles card that offers 4 mpd on both online and offline shopping transactions.
Not earning 4 mpd on categories like dining, food delivery, and groceries makes it a less-than-ideal card.
Now, we have a problem.
All 3 credit cards that are eligible to qualify for bonus interest on the OCBC 360 account aren’t too appealing (at least, to me), so what’s the plan?
To be honest, using the OCBC 360 account without the bonus interest from credit card spending is still worthwhile.
With 2% from salary crediting and 1.2% from saving, that puts the total interest rate at 3.2%, which is still an excellent rate.
Since none of the cards appeal to me, this will probably be my strategy for using the OCBC 360 account.
If I had to recommend a card, it would probably be the OCBC Titanium Rewards.
I don’t think the OCBC 365 card offers enough cashback to justify an S$800 monthly spending requirement, and the OCBC 90oN card is pretty mediocre.
With the OCBC Titanium Rewards, at least you have good rewards earn rate, even though it’s fairly limited in eligible categories
2: Eligibility & Deposit Requirements
The OCBC 360 account has an age requirement of 18 and can be opened by Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and foreigners.
There is an initial deposit sum of S$1,000 and a minimum monthly average daily balance (MADB) of S$3,000.
Failure to meet the MADB will incur a fall-below fee of S$2 for each month but is waived for the first year.
To avoid any of these issues, just ensure that your account has at least S$3,000 at all times after the 1st year of account opening.
3: Account Opening Promotion
Note: the account opening promotion has been fully redeemed as of 11 November 2022.
OCBC is running a promotion for customers who open a new OCBC 360 account where they can earn up to S$150 in cash and credits.
Here are the details of the promotion.
This promotion runs from 1 November 2022 – 31 December 2022 (both dates inclusive).
The promotion is only applicable to new OCBC customers, which refers to any person who:
Does not currently hold any existing OCC accounts or products, and Has not held any OCBC accounts or products in the 6 months preceding the Promotion Period.
In other words, you must not have had any relations with OCBC from 1 May 2022 – 1 November 2022 to be eligible for this promotion.
OCBC employees are also not eligible for this promotion.
The cash reward of S$150 is split into S$118 cash and S$32 cash credit.
To qualify for the S$118 cash reward, you need to:
Open a new OCBC 360 account during the Promotion Period; Successfully credit a salary of at least S$1,800 via GIRO with a description “GIRO-SALARY” within 2 calendar months of account opening; and Have your account be in good standing order at the time of reward fulfilment To qualify for the additional S$32 cash credit reward, you need to: Apply for an eligible OCBC credit card and have it approved within 2 calendar months from your OCBC 360 account opening date; Make 5 qualifying transactions on the same card within 2 calendar months from your OCBC 360 account opening date; and Have your card be in good standing order at the time of reward fulfilment
As mentioned earlier, eligible credit cards include the OCBC 365, OCBC 90oN, and OCBC Titanium Rewards.
Qualifying transactions refer to transactions that are not stated as exclusion categories in the terms & conditions of each respective card.
Best For Students – Standard Chartered JumpStart
The best savings account for students is, without a doubt, the Standard Chartered JumpStart account.
I’ve talked about this account many times on my blog and I’ve always recommended it because it somehow always manages to edge out its competition.
So, what exactly is so great about the JumpStart account?
1: Highest No-Frills Interest Rate
Firstly, the JumpStart account offers an interest rate of 2% on the first S$20,000 balance and 0.1% on the incremental balance.
This is the same rate as pre-Covid days, which means you’re earning yourself a whopping S$400 per year just by leaving your money in the bank.
The best part?
You don’t have to do anything to qualify for this interest rate.
No salary crediting, no card spending, no minimum balance – absolutely nothing.
And I think this is what makes the account perfect for students because there are no hoops to jump through to enjoy high interest rates.
Other accounts that offer similar interest rates have such criteria that make them unattainable for students.
With the JumpStart account, you can simply park your money there and leave it to earn that juicy 2% interest.
The JumpStart account also offers a bonus interest of 0.5% if you invest in their unit trusts, allowing you to earn up to 2.5% interest.
I generally recommend against purchasing unit trusts because of the high fees that tend to be involved.
I’d rather invest in low-cost instruments like ETFs to reduce the cost of investing.
However, I’m not familiar with the unit trusts that StandChart offer.
So if there are any that appeal to you and you want to invest in them, it’ll be a nice bonus.
2: No Fees & Minimum Balance
The JumpStart account is one of the few, if not the only savings account to charge no fees and impose no account minimum balance.
Many bank accounts impose a minimum monthly average daily balance (MADB), where if you fail to meet this specified amount, you will be charged a fall-below fee.
Even the kids account you’ve been using since you were, well, a kid, probably does the same.
While it may seem like an underwhelming benefit, it’s more helpful than you might think.
You don’t have to worry about maintaining a specified amount of money in the account.
So even if you use it to pay for expenses, you won’t be charged with any fees for having a lower balance than usual.
3: Earn Cashback With Accompanying Debit Card
Other than a high interest rate, the JumpStart account also comes with a debit card.
It earns 1% cashback on all eligible MasterCard transactions, capped at S$60/month.
There are no spending requirements.
Note that NETS transactions will not qualify for cashback.
While 1% cashback isn’t anything to get excited about, it’s decent enough for students.
Also, despite the terms & conditions stating that it doesn’t award cashback for mobile wallet top-ups, this debit card is known to earn cashback for GrabPay wallet top-ups.
It’s worked this way for years, and hopefully, it continues to do so for many to come.
This makes it possible to double-dip on rewards with GrabPay.
The recent nerf to the GrabRewards program doesn’t make this point too attractive, but nevertheless, it beats the base rate of the debit card itself.
The JumpStart account is quite unique because it imposes a maximum age limit for customers who can open the account.
You can only open the account when you’re between the ages of 18 and 26, both years included.
Once you turn 27 years old, you’ll no longer be able to open a JumpStart account, but you’re allowed to retain your account if you had already opened it.
The account is open to Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, and foreigners.
What If You Have More Than S$20,000?
If you’re a student and somehow have more than S$20,000 of savings, good for you!
But you’re faced with an issue – the incremental balance above S$20,000 only earns 0.1% interest in the JumpStart account.
Needless to say, it’s not ideal to keep more than S$20,000 in your JumpStart account.
An alternative you can consider is the CIMB FastSaver account.
It offers 1.5% interest on the first S$10,000 balance with no criteria to fulfil.
Banks are increasing the interest rates of their savings accounts and this is good news for us.
Most working adults should be able to achieve an interest rate of >3% with the OCBC 360 account by crediting their salary and saving every month.
Students can maximise their savings with Standard Chartered’s JumpStart account which offers 2% interest.
Which savings accounts are you using? Let me know in the comments below!