Insurance savings plans: Singlife Account vs GIGANTIQ vs SingTel Dash PET

PHOTO: The Business Times

Featuring greater flexibility with high-interest yields, meet the new generation of insurance-savings hybrids. 

If you’ve ever been torn between saving money and having insurance protection, you’d be glad to know there are financial products that combine the two.

These products — a type of universal life plan — promise to pay interest on the amount you put in, at better rates than traditional bank accounts. At the same time, you gain insurance benefits based on your account value. 

However, unlike most insurance life plans, there are no fussy rules and regulations such as early surrender penalties or strict premium payment dates.

In fact, these plans act more like regular savings plans, allowing you to make partial withdrawals and top-ups into your account whenever you feel like it, and with nary a fee or form in sight. 

So how do these really work? Should you think of them as bank accounts or insurance policies? Are they merely a flash-in-the-pan, or a genius product you never knew you’ve been missing all along? 

How do insurance savings plans work?

A good way to understand these insurance savings plans (again, we use the term loosely) is by examining the features and benefits they offer. 

Let’s compare three such plans available in Singapore that offer returns of up to 1.8 per cent p.a.: Singlife Account, SingTel Dash PET and GIGANTIQ by Etiqa.

Minimum amount Interest offered Account value that earns interest Insurance benefit Things to note  
Singlife Account $500

Up to 1.5 per cent p.a. on the first $10,000, and up to 1 per cent per annum on the next $90,000

Earn a bonus 0.5 per cent p.a. by spending $500 on your SingLife Visa debit card

$100 – $100,000

Death or terminal illness: Up to 105 per cent of account value

Retrenchment: Up to $10,000 over 3 months

Includes complimentary VISA debit card

No service, withdrawal or surrender fees

No lock-in period

Funds transfer via FAST

GIGANTIQ by Etiqa $50

1.8 per cent p.a. returns for the first year

Earn additional interest of up to 0.25 per cent p.a. on the first $10,000 for every protection plan purchased

Up to $10,000 Death: 105 per cent of your account value

Amounts above $10,000 earns 1 per cent p.a. for first year

GIGANTIQ is currently oversubscribed. However, you can leave your contact and be notified once availability resumes.

SingTel Dash PET $50 1.7per cent p.a. for the first $10,000 and 1.2 per cent p.a. for amounts above $10,000 $50 – $30,000

Death: Up to 105 per cent of account value

Additional insurance coverage for Covid-19 including hospitalisation benefit, intensive care unit benefit and death benefit

No service, withdrawal or surrender fees

No lock-in periodFunds transfer via SingTel Dash app (eNets)

1. Singlife Account: Generous returns with useful insurance benefits

PHOTO: Singlife

Of the three plans, Singlife Account stands out for its refreshingly different proposition. 

Sign up and you can earn up to 1.5per cent per annum (p.a.) on your deposits, up to the first $10,000. On the next $90,000, you’ll earn 1 per cent per annum. Sadly, if your account’s value exceeds $100,000, you won’t earn any more interest.

Let’s examine why this is so attractive. While the returns drop significantly after the first $10,000, you are allowed to get there on your own schedule. Other plans give high payouts for a limited time only. 

Now, let’s talk about the insurance benefits you’ll enjoy. Your account value (i.e. how much you have inside your Singlife Account) forms the death benefit that will be paid out upon your death or diagnosis of terminal illness; your beneficiaries will receive up to 105 per cent of the account value. 

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So, if you’ve managed to max out your Singlife Account, you’ve gained a $100,000 life insurance policy. Even if you don’t hit the cap, any amount you have accrued forms a life policy of equivalent value. 

Additionally, there’s also a retrenchment benefit which you can tap on. This benefit allows you to claim up to $10,000 over three months, should you become unemployed for four months or more.

The actual benefit you can claim is dependent on your spending habits: it is the average spent from your Singlife Card over the last six months of employment.

Singlife Card? Yes, your Singlife Account is linked to a complimentary VISA Debit Card with no annual fee or foreign exchange charges.

Since Nov 1, 2020, Singlife has also introduced their ‘Save, Spend, Earn’ campaign, allowing customers who spend $500 per policy month on the Singlife Visa Debit Card to qualify for a bonus 0.5 per cent p.a. return, on top of the new base return of 2 per cent p.a.

This gives Singlife account holders the chance to earn 2.5 per cent p.a., the highest amongst the options on this list.

Take note that in order to earn interest, your account value must be at least $100.

Who is it for?

With its flexible character and useful features, Singlife Account is best suited for users looking for a fuss-free everyday spending account while building towards the foundations of a life insurance plan. 

If you plan to sign up, do note that new sign-ups for the Singlife Account have been put on hold from Dec 15, 2020. This means that your name will be put on the waiting list to be notified when the app reopens for new customers this 2021.

Minimum premium, eligibility and other notes

If you’re interested to sign up for a Singlife Account, take note of the following:

  • Minimum premium: $500, top up at anytime
  • Maximum account value: No limit
  • Requires Singlife app
  • Eligibility: Singapore citizen, PR or Work Pass holder, between 18 and 75 years old
  • Funds transfer: FAST
  • Free-look period: 14 days

2. GIGANTIQ by Etiqa: Savings tool to help you grow spare cash for the first year (fully subscribed)

PHOTO: Etiqa

Etiqa previously offered Elastiq, an insurance savings plan that offered a guaranteed 1.80 per cent p.a. for the first three years. Elastiq has since been fully subscribed and Etiqa has now introduced GIGANTIQ.

GIGANTIQ is now offering 1.8 per cent p.a. returns on your first $10,000 for the first year (guaranteed 1 per cent p.a. and 0.8 per cent p.a. bonus).

Applicants and policyholders prior to Nov 19, 2020 would continue to receive the previously advertised 2.0 per cent p.a. (1.0 per cent p.a. guaranteed + 1.0 per cent p.a. bonus) rate.

Amounts more than $10,000 will earn 1per cent p.a. for the first year. Beyond the first year, you will earn prevailing market rates with your capital guaranteed.

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In terms of insurance coverage, you have a death benefit of 105 per cent of your account value. There is no lock-in period​ and you can top up or make withdrawals anytime.​​ Returns are earned daily and will be credited monthly into your account.

You can also earn additional interest of up to 0.25 per cent p.a. on the first $10,000 for every protection plan purchased from Etiqa. These insurance plans can include home, cancer or travel insurance.

The minimum amount required to get started with GIGANTIQ is just $50. While GIGANTIQ is currently oversubscribed. However, you can leave your contact and be notified once availability resumes.

Who is it for?

Savvy savers looking for an account to store their spare cash for a year, or for those looking to purchase an insurance plan with Etiqa.

Minimum premium, eligibility and other notes

If you’re interested to sign up for GIGANTIQ, take note of the following:

  • Minimum premium: $50, top up at anytime
  • Maximum account value: $10,000 to earn 1.8per cent p.a. in the first year; amounts above $10,000 earn 1 per cent p.a. in the first year
  • Eligibility: Singapore citizen, PR or foreigner with a valid Work Pass/Permit or Long-Term Visit Pass
  • Age: 17 to 75 (age next birthday)
  • Funds transfer: Payment only via DBS/POSB bank account, or via your Etiqa eWallet
  • You are only allowed to purchase one GIGANTIQ plan at a time
  • Tiq by Etiqa mobile app required

Do note that GIGANTIQ is currently oversubscribed. However, you can leave your contact and be notified once availability resumes.

3. Singtel Dash PET: Save and boost your digital wallet funds

PHOTO: Singtel

Those of you who are familiar with digital wallets would no doubt have heard of Singtel Dash. In case you’ve been meaning to jump on the bandwagon, but find the lack of interest a turnoff, PET may change your mind.

Essentially, PET (which is underwritten by Etiqa insurance, incidentally), adds the ability to earn some interest on the funds stashed in your digital wallet, providing the same advantage as a traditional bank account. 

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The plan is advertised as paying out 1.7 per cent per annum on your first $10,000, putting it on equal footing with many competing alternatives.

You also enjoy additional insurance coverage for Covid-19 with PET. This Covid-19 coverage includes hospitalisation benefit, intensive care unit benefit and a $52,000 death benefit.

To start growing your PET, you’ll need to put in a single premium of at least $50, and you can top up your account to a maximum of $30,000. 

Granted, you’ll be covered for up to 105 per cent of your total account value in death benefits when you sign up for this plan, but do bear in mind that the account value is capped at $30,000. You should make a proper assessment whether this is adequate for your beneficiaries.

Who is it for?

Digital wallet users looking to boost their digital wallet funds by collecting passive returns. 

Minimum premium, eligibility and other notes

If you’re interested to sign up for Singtel Dash PET, take note of the following:

  • Minimum premium: $50, top up at anytime
  • Maximum account value: $30,000
  • Eligibility: Singapore citizen, PR or Work Pass holder, between 17 and 75 years old
  • Funds transfer: eNets 
  • Singtel Dash app required
  • Free-look period: 14 days

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