One year on, there have been some changes to some of the programmes, such as Bank of China SmartSaver, DBS Multiplier and OCBC 360. There have also been new programmes that are added to the list!
1. Salary credit
For non-working individuals or those who receive monthly payments through cheques, unfortunately this is not for you. For those who earn less than $2000, you can only consider DBS Multiplier, as the rest require a minimum of $2000. (Do note that this $2000 is whatever is credited into your account after CPF deduction and other contributions. For Singaporeans & PR under the age of 55 years old who need to contribute 20% into your CPF, then you will need to be earning $2500 at least) And for DBS Multiplier, you need to fulfil the requirement of $7500 (inflow or outflow) by spending the rest on your credit card, home loan or investment dividends from your CDP account to earn the bonus interest of 1.08%. High income earners who earn more than $10k/month can consider DBS Multiplier even if they do not have the other requirements like credit card spending, home loan or investment dividends as you will earn a basic interest of 1.28%, which is the highest amongst the various banks.
Bank of China SmartSaver and OCBC 360 offer the same rate of 1.2%, but note that BoC requires an income of $6000/month whereas you need only $2000 for OCBC 360.
As for Maybank SaveUp and UOB One, you can still earn the bonus interests without the salary credit portion, so think wisely which programme is the most suitable for you.
2. Bill payments
Are you already paying your Telco or Power Supply electrical bills through your credit cards? That way, you get bonus points or miles on your credit cards and you can make payments for your credit cards and earn bonus interest on your savings!
Bank of China SmartSaver and OCBC 360 have both cut their bonus interests to 0.35% and 0.3% p.a. bonus interest respectively provided you make 3 bill payments a month. BoC requires $30 per bill, whereas OCBC requires $150 in total for 3 bills. These are ad-hoc payments that you can just make payment there and then.
Maybank SaveUp and UOB One requires you to setup GIRO payments beforehand (i.e. fill up form and submit for GIRO) and each program requires 3 GIRO payments a month as a requirement. Do note though that if you have already submitted your salary for UOB One, then this bill payment is NOT needed and you will not gain extra interest by doing so.
3. Credit Card Spending
Besides making you save, the banks also encourage you to spend to earn credit card rewards as well as bonus interest on your savings! As you can see, OCBC 360, Maybank SaveUp and UOB One all require $500 of spending every month. BoC requires $1500 of spending to get 1.6%, otherwise it is 0.8% for $500 – which is still very good! For Maybank and UOB, you are restricted to using Maybank Platinum Visa and UOB One respectively, both of which are rebate credit cards and have been discussed previously. Well, the good thing is you get excellent rebates of 3.33% (up to 5% for UOB One) for these 2 credit cards provided you meet the requirements per month for that quarter. For DBS Multiplier, anything goes… the sky’s the limit!
DBS Multiplier, Citibank Interestplus Savings and Maybank SaveUp are the only programmes that reward you with bonus interests if you take a loan from them.
5. Insurance and investments
DBS Multiplier, Citibank Interestplus Savings, Maybank SaveUp, OCBC 360, Standard Chartered Bonus $aver provide bonus interests if you insure or invest with them. DBS Multiplier is the best in this area since stock dividends or stock purchases via DBS Vickers are considered spending. Buy or sell $20k of stock, plus credit card spending and salary (so long as 3 categories are present) and you will get the highest tier of 2.68% bonus interest!
Most of the programmes are rather repetitive or copy-cats of one another. Personally, I do not like to engage in insurance or unit trusts from the banks. As such, personally I feel that Bank of China’s SmartSaver is of the more achievable programmes with 3.55% bonus interest.
DBS Multiplier is also one of the more unique programmes around, and at a top tier rate of 2.68%, it is certainly good for people who invests in stocks regularly or spend on their DBS credit cards and have a home loan with DBS.
The other one that is worth thinking about is UOB One, where you do not need to credit your salary, but simply ensure that you spend $500 per month and make 3 GIRO payments per month to earn the effective interest rate of 2.43%.
Outside this table, if you have spare cash to park in and do not want to think too much, then consider CIMB Fastsaver account, where you get 1% p.a. without doing any of the above coordination! Do note that this is valid for the first $50k only!