If you’re a parent who’s reeling at the price of childcare and later, tuition, you need all the help you can get. The baby bonus (free money) from the government helps you defray costs. To receive your bonus, you have to open a Child Development Account (CDA).
There are three CDA accounts in the market – POSB Smiley CDA, OCBC CDA and UOB CDA. Here’s a rundown of what you can use the CDA for.
Dollar-for-dollar matching: double your savings for your child
Basically, any money that you save up for your child and deposit in the CDA account will be matched one-for-one, up to a maximum that is determined according to how many children you have as follows:
- First child: $3,000
- Second child: $3,000
- Third child: $9,000
- Fourth child: $9,000
- Fifth child and above: $15,000
That means if you deposit $1,000 into the CDA, the government will give you an additional $1,000 the next month. You get to keep your CDA account open until your child hits the age of 12, so you’ve got quite a bit of time to save up the amount necessary to bag you the entire bonus.
Enjoy interest rates of 2% p.a. on deposits, baby bonus and cash gifts
After receiving your baby bonus payout and cash gifts, your CDA account (POSB Smiley CDA, OCBC CDA or UOB CDA) generates 2.0% per annum on the account balance. Read full details on what the baby bonus entails.
For POSB Smiley CDA, the 2.0% interest rate is only for up to a maximum balance that depends on how many children you have, after which it defaults to 0.05%.
When you consider the fact that you’re getting that interest not only on your own deposits but also on all the money the government gives you to match, it’s a pretty good deal.
Pay for childcare, healthcare and early childhood services with your CDA account
If you’re wondering, “Can I withdraw CDA money?” The answer is no. The money in your CDA is supposed to be spent on your child, and can only be paid out to the following service providers:
- Child care centres
- Kindergartens and special education schools registered with the MOE or CPE
- Early intervention programmes registered with the NCSS or Centre for Enabled Living
- Healthcare institutions
- Assistive technology device providers (eg. for hearing aids)
- Optical shops
Basically, this means you get to use the money in your CDA account for childcare, early childhood or other special needs programmes, as well as healthcare for your child. And we all know how expensive all these things can get.
Note that all institutions must be registered with the MCYS under the Baby Bonus Scheme. So before you use any of their services, make sure you check that they’re an approved institution or you won’t be able to use money from your CDA to pay.
After your child turns 13, any remaining money in the CDA account will be deposited into the PSEA account, which is can be used at approved education institutions in Singapore.
Which CDA account do you have and what have you used it for? Tell us in the comments!