Are Milo Tin Savings Making a Comeback? DBS, UOB, OCBC Roll Out “Money Locking“ Features

Are Milo Tin Savings Making a Comeback? DBS, UOB, OCBC Roll Out “Money Locking“ Features

Remember how ridiculous it felt to watch our grandparents put their money in the milo tins? Do you recall how they feel more at ease doing that than putting it in the bank? Well, they’re having the last laugh. In recent years, Singapore has become a hotbed for cybercrime, with cases rising to a staggering 49.6% and a loss of over S$651.8 million. In response, we’re reverting to this age-old method.

As scams become more intricate over time, major banking institutions such as DBS, OCBC, and UOB have made attempts to safeguard our savings with a newly introduced mechanism called ‘Money Lock’. What exactly is this feature? Why are some of us feeling hesitant about it? Only one way to find out. 


‘Money Lock’ Feature—Your Personal Digital Bank Vault 

In a nutshell, the ‘Money Lock’ feature allows us to set aside funds that cannot be digitally transferred without strict identity verification. As locked funds cannot be released via digital channels, cybercriminals cannot access them even if they gain direct digital access to our accounts (through malware attacks or phishing scams). 

Moreover, it’s supposed to be more difficult for scammers to access your account and funds through physical means ie. visiting a bank branch or ATM.


DBS, UOB & OCBC—Which Is The Best Out Of The Bunch? 

In 2023, all 3 major banks launched their “money lock” feature, albeit with different executions. The most noticeable distinction perhaps boils down to how much interest your “locked” funds will earn

DBS DigiVault  UOB LockAway OCBC Money Lock 
Availability  Existing savings accounts, Fixed deposits & Standalone account Standalone account  Existing savings accounts & Fixed deposits 
How to Unlock/Draw Money  Any of the 87 DBS/POSB branches  Any of the 68 UOB branches  Any of the 33 OCBC branches & 1000+ shared OCBC/UOB ATMs
Overseas: Submit a request via the Secured Mailbox in the OCBC Digital app or Internet Banking.
Interest Rate (p.a.)  DBS DigiVault Standalone Account: 0.05% (My Account) 

DBS Multiplier: Up to 4.10% 

DBS Fixed Deposit: 3.20% (March 2024, min. 1000$) 

UOB LockAway Account: 0.05%. Up to 5.00% (if you lock more than $100,000) OCBC 360: Up to 7.65% OCBC Fixed Deposit: 3.00% (March 2024, min. $30,000)


DBS DigiVault 

DBS was the first major bank in Singapore to launch DigiVault in September (most banks rolled out their version two months later). Currently, there are 3 ways you can lock your money with DigiVault:

  • Lock savings in your existing DBS savings accounts 
  • Lock savings in Fixed Deposits
  • Set up a separate digiVault account for locking money only

This extension of Digivault to existing accounts offers more than the initial launch when you had to open a standalone account and receive the meagre benefits of a 0.05% interest rate! If you choose DigiVault, we would suggest the two preceding options to continue enjoying the fixed rates of 4.1% to 3.5% within your DBS Multiplier and/or POSB SAYE accounts. 

Note: You must personally come to a DBS/POSB branch to verify your identity and make a request to access your funds. It can take up to 2 working days to process related requests. 


UOB LockAway

Unlike DBS, UOB LockAway has stuck to its principle of requiring you to own a separate account for locking up money. The funds are currently capped at $75,000 per person and, unsurprisingly, have an interest rate of 0.05%.  

Although UOB advertised rates of up to 5% per annum, this is primarily due to the ongoing promotional interest rate. Even if you were to lock up a large sum, say more than $125,000, the maximum Effective Interest Rate (EIR) is still only 2.45% per annum (from April 1, 2024). 

The account doesn’t come with a chequebook, and existing cards cannot be linked to it. Access to funds is also restricted to in-person transactions at the bank’s branches only. 


OCBC Money Lock  

If you are an existing OCBC customer, you can use OCBC Money Lock without opening a new bank account. The feature is available to all new and existing OCBC current and savings accounts. Simply tap the “Money Lock” button on the OCBC app, and your funds will be locked in under a minute.

Once locked, your money cannot be transferred or used for: 

  • Local and overseas transfers, even between our accounts
  • New or existing payment arrangements such as GIRO, standing instructions or future-dated transfers
  • Bill or credit card payments
  • Fixed deposit placements or investments
  • Insurance purchases or payments
  • Loan or tax repayments
  • ATM withdrawals or transfers

The funds locked in the chosen account are combined with the funds that are not locked to calculate the interest earned. As a result, you won’t miss out on the bonus interest earned on your account balances, especially for those on the OCBC 360 Account (up to 7.65% p.a). Unlocking is also quite user-friendly. It can be done at any OCBC ATM by using your physical ATM debit/credit card, and your PIN.

Overall, the OCBC Money Lock outperforms the other two digital vaults on the list due to its better interest rate offerings and ease of use. That said, why should we even debate on whether to choose a reduced interest rate or better security when we should benefit from both? 


High interests vs. Assured security – Why Should We Have To Choose At All? 

Banks see this as an opportune moment to offer reduced interest rates in exchange for increased “locked” security. However, it is not an amusing idea. It may be beneficial for the banks commercially but not so much for everyday customers (like you and I). 

Since OCBC and DBS have offered the best of both worlds, we can only hope that UOB would follow suit by offering the milo-tin sturdy security and attractive interest rates. As consumers, we definitely won’t settle for lower interest rates—especially with inflation and rising cost of living. We have to make the best out of every dollar saved. 

Thus far, it’s proven to be a winner amongst OCBC customers. Of the 38,000 bank accounts that have activated their money lock features, 33,000 are OCBC customers

With the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) now working closely with major retail banks to advance the money lock feature, hopefully, other banks will follow in OCBC’s footsteps and roll it out in such a way that customers never have to choose between maintaining a higher interest rate or locking up for security assurance.


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