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At least, for me.
The OCBC 360 and UOB One accounts are perhaps the hottest high-interest savings accounts around now.
Both accounts offer annual interest rates upwards of 3% with reasonably achievable criteria.
I’ve read several articles comparing the 2 accounts with the general consensus being that UOB One is the better savings account due to its high interest rates.
But personally, the OCBC 360 account works better for me than the UOB One account and is my preferred savings account as of now.
Today, I’ll explain my thoughts on why this is the case.
First, let’s take a closer look at each of these accounts.
The UOB One account has a base interest rate of 0.05%.
Bonus interest rates offered by UOB One are summarised in the table below.
Note: the interest rates stated in the table are already inclusive of the base interest rate
AND 3 GIRO
|(A) AND min.
credit via GIRO
How it works is that your interest rate will be determined by your account’s monthly average balance (MAB) and the criteria you meet.
From the table above, we can see that the minimum requirement to be eligible for high interest is card spending of at least S$500 on an eligible UOB card.
Eligible UOB cards include:
- UOB One Card
- UOB Lady’s Card (all card types)
- UOB EVOL Card
- UOB One Debit Visa Card
- UOB One Debit Mastercard
- UOB Lady’s Debit Card
- UOB Mighty FX Debit Card
Failure to meet this requirement of card spending results in yielding only the base interest rate of 0.05%.
Other than card spending, there are 2 ways to further boost your interest – via GIRO transactions or salary crediting – with the latter resulting in higher interest rates.
Also, bonus interest rates are awarded on a “slice” of your account balance.
So the effective interest rate (EIR) that applies to your total account balance is often not a value depicted in the table.
For example, if we assume the following:
- account balance of S$50,000
- card spending of >S$500 on eligible UOB card
- salary credit of >S$1,600
You will be eligible for 3.85% interest on your first S$30,000 and 3.90% interest on your next S$20,000.
This means the EIR on your S$50,000 balance is 3.87%, calculated by:
3.85% * 0.6 + 3.90% * 0.4 = 3.87%
The OCBC 360 account has a base interest rate of 0.05%.
Bonus interest rates offered by OCBC 360 are summarised in the table below.
Note: the interest rates stated in the table are not inclusive of the base interest rate
*: EIR is computed based on an account DAB of S$100,000
The OCBC 360 account also awards interest based on your account DAB and criteria fulfilled.
However, unlike the UOB One account, there is no primary criterion that must be fulfilled to start earning bonus interest.
Instead, you earn the applicable bonus interest for each criterion you meet.
This means you have more flexibility in terms of deciding how you want to earn bonus interest – whether it is by crediting your salary, meeting card spending, etc.
Eligible OCBC credit cards for fulfilling the card spending requirement include:
- OCBC 365
- OCBC NXT
- OCBC 90°N
- OCBC Titanium Rewards
This selection available here isn’t as great as that for UOB One – none of these credit cards is considered to be particularly good and is only decent at best.
UOB One VS OCBC 360 – Which Is Better?
Now that we have a better idea of the applicable interest rates for each account, which account is better – ie offers higher interest?
Let’s consider a few scenarios, taking into consideration the following points.
First, the main factors I’ll focus on are card spending and salary crediting.
This is because the combination of these 2 factors contributes the most to bonus interest requirements for both accounts.
Next, I won’t be considering cases where you invest, insure, or have more than a S$200,000 balance with the OCBC 360 account.
In general, investing and insuring with your bank is usually not the optimal choice because they tend to charge high fees.
I also don’t think most people would want to keep S$200,000 in cash sitting around in a bank account.
Note: I will be referring to the increase in DAB by S$500 for OCBC 360 accounts as the “Save” requirement.
With Card Spending
These are the only scenarios in which the UOB One account should be considered since card spending is the main requirement to earn bonus interest.
Spend + Salary
If we assume that you are able to meet the card spending and salary requirements only, then the applicable interest rates are:
- UOB One – from 3.85%
- OCBC 360 – from 2.65%
In this scenario, UOB One offers much higher interest rates.
Spend + Salary + Save
If we assume that you are able to meet the card spending, salary, and saving requirements, then the applicable interest rates are:
- UOB One – from 3.85%
- OCBC 360 – from 3.85%
In this scenario, the interest rates offered by both accounts are similar.
But UOB One has a slight advantage by offering higher rates for account balances exceeding S$30,000 onwards, while OCBC 360 only awards higher rates from S$75,000 onwards.
This might seem like an unfair comparison seeing as UOB One does not have a “Save” component of bonus interest.
But in my opinion, it’s fairly easy to meet this requirement with the OCBC 360 account.
The whole point of hunting for the highest interest rates from savings accounts is to maximise the benefits of saving.
Increasing your account DAB by S$500 is not much, and should be easily met by most people if you’re keeping your expenses in check.
It might be a headache wondering if you’ll be able to fulfil this requirement since most of us wouldn’t be tracking our DAB.
One way to mitigate this is to keep the OCBC 360 account as a savings account and keep the money you need to pay for expenses in a separate account.
This way, the DAB in your OCBC 360 account will be more stable.
Spend + Save
If we assume that you are able to meet the card spending and saving requirements only, then the applicable interest rates are:
- UOB One – from 0.65%/2.50%
- OCBC 360 – from 1.85%
In this scenario, OCBC 360 offers much higher interest rates.
However, there is a way to earn higher interest with the UOB One account even without salary crediting – by making 3 GIRO transactions.
Doing so will yield an interest rate of 2.50% or higher with the UOB One account, beating out the OCBC 360 account.
This is useful for people without a steady flow of income or people who don’t get their salary credited via GIRO.
Without Card Spending
If we consider scenarios where the card spending requirement is not met, then the UOB One account becomes practically useless.
Salary + Save
If we assume that you are able to meet the salary and saving requirements only, then the applicable interest rates are:
- UOB One – 0.05%
- OCBC 360 – from 3.25%
If we assume that you are able to meet the salary requirement only, then the applicable interest rates are:
- UOB One – 0.05%
- OCBC 360 – from 2.05%
If we assume that you are able to meet the saving requirement only, then the applicable interest rates are:
- UOB One – 0.05%
- OCBC 360 – from 1.25%
At this point, if you can neither meet the card spending nor salary crediting requirements, you’re better off using other accounts.
Why I Prefer OCBC 360 To UOB One
There are 2 major reasons why the OCBC 360 account works better for me than the UOB One account, though they are slightly related.
1: Card Spend Requirement
The main reason that UOB One doesn’t work well for me is that I don’t consistently hit S$500 of card spending every month.
This means that on some months, I won’t be eligible for bonus interest with the UOB One account, and will end up earning only 0.05%.
I think the monthly spending requirement of S$500 is easily underestimated by many people.
It’s not a large amount of spending, so it should be reasonably easy to meet.
But there are a number of challenges you might face.
For one, it should be noted that it requires card spending – not total spending.
This means that all cash or QR payments that you make are not counted in the S$500.
So even if you’ve been tracking your expenses and your total monthly expenses consistently exceeds S$500, you need to check if it remains true for card spending only.
On top of that, you need to make sure this is still true for card spending charged to your eligible UOB card only.
You can try to achieve this by consolidating your payments on your UOB card, but this might mean missing out on some bank-exclusive promotions from time to time.
Also, there might be months when your routine spending is thrown off, like when you travel overseas and spend with travel cards like amaze or Revolut.
Simply put, I don’t like the idea of being held hostage by the card spending requirement just to earn interest.
To be fair, this is an issue mainly because I’m still quite young and don’t have much monthly expenses.
I could see how this spending requirement would never be an issue for someone in a later phase of life who has more expenses to pay for.
2: Credit Card Rewards
Next, even if I could hit S$500 of card spending every month, there are no eligible UOB cards that I want to use.
This is because my preferred choice of credit card rewards is miles, but none of the eligible UOB cards is good for earning miles.
The best option for earning miles is the UOB Lady’s card, but only ladies are eligible for it, so that’s not an option for me.
In fact, even when including the eligible OCBC credit cards for the OCBC 360 account, there’s no card that I’d happily use.
The best miles card to consider is the OCBC Titanium Rewards card which offers 4 miles per dollar (mpd) on shopping transactions.
But there are many other cards that also earn 4 mpd on a wider variety of transactions that I’d be better off using, like the HSBC Revolution or UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (PPV).
Still, the OCBC Titanium Rewards card is the best miles card to consider between the eligible UOB and OCBC cards.
So if I ever were to fulfil the card spending requirement for either of these accounts, it’ll most likely be with OCBC instead of UOB.
If UOB ever includes the UOB PPV card as an eligible card for the UOB One account, that’ll be a different story.
The UOB One account is in fact better than the OCBC 360 account – but only on the condition that card spending is met.
Personally, I don’t like that because, in my current phase of life, I don’t always have >S$500 card spending per month.
And it doesn’t help that there are no attractive UOB miles cards to use to fulfil this card spending requirement.
As a result, OCBC 360 is the easy winner for me – I can easily earn 3.25% interest just by crediting my salary and saving S$500 every month.
If you’ve reviewed your monthly expenses and believe that you can consistently spend S$500 every month with a satisfactory UOB card, then UOB One is right for you.
But if you’re anything like me – not able to consistently hit S$500 of card spending every month and looking to earn miles instead of cashback – OCBC 360 is the way to go.
Which savings account do you prefer and why? Let me know in the comments below!