Best savings accounts in Singapore to park your money (2020)

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Before Covid-19 struck, the average salaried worker could easily earn about 1.85 per cent to 2 per cent a year on high-interest savings accounts such as DBS Multiplier and UOB One.

But economic pressures have caused banks to lower their deposit interest rates.

The ‘new normal’ savings accounts interest rate has fallen to about 1 per cent to 1.6 per cent instead — and that’s for the high-interest savings accounts.

To save you the trouble of looking through all these new interest rates, here’s an easy and up-to-date comparison of the best savings accounts in Singapore. Interest rates are valid from July 2020 onwards.

Best savings accounts for salaried workers

Salaried employees in Singapore are basically spoilt for choice when it comes to high-interest savings accounts.

Almost every bank has a savings account that pays bonus interest for crediting your salary and spending on their credit cards.

Let’s find out how much interest an average Joe can get on his $10,000 savings, assuming a take-home pay of $3,500 and monthly credit card spending of $500. 

Savings account Interest rate How to maximise Minimum balance
BOC SmartSaver 1.85 per cent – Pay 3 bills (min. $30) to get an extra 0.35 per cent– High earners (min. $6,000 salary) get an extra 0.6 per cent $1,500
DBS Multiplier Account 1.6 per cent

– No min. salary or credit card spending, as long as they add up to $2,000

– Easily bump up your interest rate to the next tier with DBS home loan

No min. balance until age 29 (subsequently $3,000)
UOB One Account 1.25 per cent – Pair with UOB One Card for cashback– Can’t hit the min. spend? You can still get 1.25 per cent by paying 3 bills (no minimum) $1,000
Standard Chartered BonusSaver 0.7 per cent – Pay 3 bills (min. $50) to increase by 0.1 per cent $3,000
OCBC 360 Account 0.65 per cent – Increase monthly balance by $500 to bump up your interest by 0.2 per cent $3,000

Winner: DBS Multiplier Account

There used to be a three-way fight between DBS Multiplier, UOB One and OCBC 360 accounts. 

But ever since all three local banks reduced their interest rates, the DBS Multiplier account has emerged as the winner for salaried workers, giving us 1.6 per cent (previously 1.85 per cent) just for crediting our salary and spending on a DBS/POSB credit card.

We like that there is no minimum spending requirement — or minimum for anything else, for that matter — as long as your total transactions hit at least $2,000. 

You can also very easily jump up to the next bonus interest tier if you get a DBS home loan.

With bank loan rates low at the moment, that’s not a bad idea. Your monthly repayment (including the CPF component!) will count towards your total transactions.

Worth considering: BOC SmartSaver Account

If you have a take-home salary of more than $6,000, you might want to consider Bank of China’s SmartSaver account.

You can get 2.45 per cent just for salary credit and spending $500 on your credit card, which is very high by today’s standards. 

But BOC has not updated its interest rates since Covid-19, so who knows how long the high interest rates would last?

Best savings accounts without salary credit

Those without regular salaries — freelancers, gig workers, landlords, retirees, stay-at-home parents — need not be left out of the savings account game. But you might need to be creative with how you earn bonus interest with your account.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you are a freelance writer. You don’t have a regular paycheque, but you do spend on your credit card, and you have bills to pay like anyone else. H

ow much can you earn on your $10,000 savings stash?

Savings account Interest rate How it works Minimum balance
Maybank Save Up Programme Up to 3 per cent

– Spend $500 + GIRO (min. $300) for 1 per cent

– Add on insurance or investment to get 3 per cent

– Starts from $5,000 annual premium for insurance

No min. balance until age 25 (subsequently $1,000)
Citi InterestPlus Account Up to 2.55 per cent

– Spend $25 on credit card + insure OR invest to earn 1.35 per cent

– Spend, insure AND invest to earn 2.55 per cent

– Min. $250 a month or $25,000 lump sum for insurance or investment

None, but maintain min. $5,000 for better interest rates
Standard Chartered BonusSaver Up to 2.1 per cent

– Spend $500 + pay 3 bills to earn 0.4 per cent

– Invest in unit trust (min. $30,000) for extra 0.85 per cent

– Buy insurance (min. $12,000) for extra 0.85 per cent

– You can stack insurance + investment bonus interest

$3,000
UOB One Account 1.25 per cent

– Spend $500 + pay 3 bills (no min.)

– Highest interest rate with no need to insure or invest

$1,000
OCBC 360 Account Up to 0.85 per cent 

– Step up monthly balance by $500 to earn 0.25 per cent

– Step up $500 AND insure or invest for extra 0.6 per cent

– Starts from $2,000 annual premium for insurance

$3,000

Winner: UOB One Account

Compared to savings accounts offering as high as 3 per cent p.a., the UOB One account’s 1.25 per cent does not seem terribly impressive. But we like it because the requirements are simple. 

Just spend $500 on your UOB credit card and pay three bills by GIRO (no minimum amount), and you’re done. It gives you the highest interest rate in town with no need to insure or invest with the same bank.

Switching to the UOB One account? You’ll need to pick up a UOB credit card to pair it with.

Worth considering: Maybank Save Up Programme

If you don’t mind putting some cash in insurance and/or investments, the Maybank Save Up Programme is worth looking into. 

Pick any three transaction types to get 2.75 per cent bonus interest on top of the base interest rate, adding up to close to 3 per cent.

Spend $500 on a Maybank credit card, pay bill(s) by GIRO (minimum $300 in total), and you’re two-thirds of the way there. 

For the last one, you can insure with Maybank (min. $5,000 annually) or buy a unit trust (min. $25,000). If you happen to need a home, car, renovation or education loan, those count as eligible transactions too.

Bonus: Best zero-effort savings accounts

We get it. Not everyone is keen to hit minimum spending requirements or monitor their account balance every month. 

If you’re a lazy saver, or simply want a second account to complement your primary high-interest savings account, here are some great bank accounts that reward you for doing nothing.

Savings account Interest rate How it works Minimum balance
POSB SAYE Account Up to 2.25 per cent

– Commit to regular monthly savings (you specify the amount)

– Must not withdraw for 2 years

– No age limit

No minimum
Standard Chartered JumpStart 1 per cent

– No action required

– Capped at $20,000

– Open to 18 to 26 years old only

No minimum
OCBC Bonus+ Savings Account 1 per cent

– Increase balance by $500 every month

– To earn interest, do not withdraw

$3,000
UOB Stash Account 0.8 per cent

– Stash $10,000 to $50,000 to earn 0.8 per cent

– Next $50,000 earns 1 per cent

– To earn interest, maintain or increase your account balance

$1,000
CIMB FastSaver (July 15 onwards) 0.5 per cent

– No action required

– 0.5 per cent on up to $50,000 savings

– Higher interest for savings above $50,000 (up to $100,000)

$1,000

You’ll notice that some of these savings accounts require you to not touch the funds in order to earn the advertised interest rate.

If that’s the case, you might also want to consider a fixed deposit account.

Should you switch savings accounts?

It depends. Some choose to live with a sub-optimal savings account interest rate because it’s too troublesome to switch banks. 

But if you have a lot of savings in your account, it’s probably worthwhile to take action.

For example, if you currently park $50,000 with the OCBC 360 account, switching to the DBS Multiplier account now could mean almost $500 a year in extra interest.

Banks do change their interest rates every now and then, so it’s best to keep an eye on such things.

Stay up to date and compare savings accounts easily with SingSaver.

This article was first published in SingSaver.com.sg.