Fixed Deposits

The Best Fixed Deposit Promotions in Singapore (2019)

Clara Lim

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Fixed deposit or time deposit accounts are basically investments that earn you interest over a fixed tenure. You don’t need to do anything to earn this interest, just park your money with a bank. Think of it like mold on a piece of bread. Just leave it out in the open and mold will grow – FREE! – on your bread for you.

Seriously, though, fixed deposits are great if you have a substantial amount of money lying around and you don’t want to risk investing them. Fixed deposits are an extremely low risk way to grow your money.

 

Highest fixed deposit interest rates in Singapore 2019

Most banks have standard fixed deposit interest rates but as a rule of thumb, it is not worth it to open a fixed deposit unless there’s a good promotion going on. So I looked at promotional interest rates for SGD time deposits on the market.

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
State Bank of India $50,000 12 months 1.95% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only)
Maybank $20,000 12 months 1.88% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
HSBC Advance $30,000 12 months 1.85% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 15 months 1.85% p.a.
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.8% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 15 months 1.8% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 12 months 1.8% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 8 months 1.78% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
Citibank $50,000 6 months 1.78% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
HSBC Advance $30,000 6 months 1.75% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 12 months 1.75% p.a.
OCBC $20,000 24 months 1.75% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 8 months 1.7% p.a.
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.65% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
Maybank $50,001 12 months 1.65% p.a. (online iSAVvy only)
OCBC $20,000 12 months 1.65% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.5% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)

Disclaimer 1: I’ve ignored the crazy-high deposit amounts that banks use to inflate their interest rates because I know how disappointing it is to click on an advert for “1.9% p.a. fixed deposit” only to realise it’s for $1m deposits and up.

Disclaimer 2: Also, some banks have higher interest rates for foreign currencies (RMB, USD usually) but most regular Singaporeans don’t have huge sums of those lying around, so I’ll focus on the SGD ones here.

Disclaimer 3: Many of these promotional rates change monthly. Although some do not have a specified expiry date, the bank can change the rates anytime.

It’s a tad overwhelming, so I’ll split this into tiers based on the deposit amount in the following sections.

 

Best fixed deposit promotions for $10,000 deposit or less

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.8% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.5% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)

Usually, you’ll need at least $20,000 lying around in order to benefit from decent promotional interest rates.

However, the current promotional rates for CIMB are very attractive even for relatively low deposits. The minimum deposit is $10,000 across the board, and the best rate is 1.9% p.a. if you lock it in for 1 year. It’s pretty much impossible to beat this rate, even with a higher deposit amount.

If you only have $5,000 to deposit, you can consider ICBC’s Step-Up Fixed Deposit account which awards a different interest each month, working out to about 1.8% interest p.a. Alternatively, just stick to a good savings account.

 

Best fixed deposit promotions for $20,000 or $30,000 deposit

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only)
Maybank $20,000 12 months 1.88% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
HSBC Advance $30,000 12 months 1.85% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.8% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 15 months 1.8% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 8 months 1.78% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
HSBC Advance $30,000 6 months 1.75% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 12 months 1.75% p.a.
OCBC $20,000 24 months 1.75% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 8 months 1.7% p.a.

If you’ve got $20,000 or more lying around, you have slightly more options – but you’ll still be hard pressed to beat CIMB’s 1.9% p.a. ceiling. Chinese bank ICBC, too, is offering 1.9% p.a. for the same one-year tenure.

Another option to consider is Maybank’s Time Deposit bundle as the interest rate is pretty high at 1.88% p.a. However, this bundle concept is a little annoying because you also need to have at least $2,000 in a current/savings account with Maybank. (Each $1,000 in your current/savings account “entitles” you to a fixed deposit of $10,000 at this rate… confused yet? Wait till you read the T&Cs on Maybank’s website.)

HSBC is offering an attractive fixed deposit interest rate of 1.85%, but it’s exclusive to HSBC Advance customers. Don’t be too put off by the exclusivity though: HSBC Advance is one of the most attainable priority banking programmes in Singapore, requiring just a $3,500 recurring monthly salary credit.

For short-term fixed deposits, you can consider StanChart (1.78% p.a. for 8 months), HSBC Advance (1.75% p.a. for 6 months), or CIMB (1.7% p.a. for 6 months).

 

Best fixed deposit promotions for $50,000 deposit

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
State Bank of India $50,000 12 months 1.95% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Jan)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only)
Maybank $20,000 12 months 1.88% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
HSBC Advance $30,000 12 months 1.85% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 15 months 1.85% p.a.
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.8% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 15 months 1.8% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 12 months 1.8% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 8 months 1.78% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)
Citibank $50,000 6 months 1.78% p.a. (expires 31 Jan)

If you’ve got a $50,000 to spare, you can finally beat CIMB’s 1.9% p.a. ceiling – State Bank of India is offering 1.95% p.a. for deposits of $50K and up.

Apart from that, the options are pretty much the same. I should highlight, though, that Citibank is offering a very short term fixed deposit promo that’s a good option if you don’t want to lock up your money for a year. They’re offering 1.78% p.a. for just 6 months.

Of course, banks are notoriously fickle about their interest rates, and this could easily change next month. For the latest promotional rates, remember to bookmark this page and our MoneySmart fixed deposit comparison page before you commit.

Plus, here’s a quick and dirty summary of what you need to know about fixed deposits.

 

Fixed deposit vs savings account – what’s the difference?

Once an attractive alternative to that pathetic 0.05% p.a. interest on savings accounts, fixed deposits – like so many ageing Channel 8 starlets – are fading from collective memory. Today, every bank in Singapore is competing for your dollar with high interest savings accounts, so it’s actually possible to earn 2% or 3% p.a. on your savings. What a time to be alive!

Here are the differences between fixed deposits and savings accounts at a glance:

Fixed deposit Savings account
Tenure As low as 1 month, but go for at least 12 months for better rates None
Interest rate The longer the tenure, the better the interest rate Usually the same regardless of tenure
Amount to deposit Fixed amount, usually at least $10,000 Smaller initial deposit and minimum monthly balance ($500 to $3,000)
Currency SGD by default, but some banks offer higher interest rates for foreign currency SGD by default. There are a few multi-currency accounts, but no difference in interest rate
Can you withdraw? Contrary to popular belief, yes, but you lose the interest Yes, no impact on interest, but don’t fall below the minimum balance
Interest payments Quarterly or annually Monthly
Risk level Virtually risk-free, insured up to $50,000 by Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC)

 

Fixed Deposit vs. Savings AccountsWhat was that term?Fixed deposit (FD/Time Deposit)It’s a type of bank account where you deposit a sum of money and leave it untouched for a time in exchange for interestFixed DepositSavings AccountTenureAround 1 to 12 monthsNo tenureInterestRateAmountto depositCurrencyCan youwithdraw?InterestpaymentsRisk levelInterest rates are better with longer tenureInterest rates are unaffected by tenuremin. $10,000$500 to $3,000Smaller initial deposit and minimum monthly balanceFixed amountSome banks offer higher interest rates for foreign currencyDifferent currencies have no effect on the interest rateYes, but you’ll lose the interestYes, and it has no impact on interestMonthlyQuarterly or annuallyVirtually risk-free, insured up to $50,000 by Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC)

 

Fixed deposit vs Singapore Savings Bonds – which is better?

In an earlier article, we compared the Singapore Savings Bonds to fixed deposits. There are a few key distinctions between these virtually risk-free investment vehicles.

First, the entry point for Singapore Savings Bonds is much lower. The minimum investment is just $500, which is WAY lower than the $10,000 or $20,000 you’d need to secure a decent fixed deposit interest rate. On the flip side, there’s a cap of $100,000 (increased to $200,000 from Feb 2019) you can put into Singapore Savings Bonds. There’s no cap for fixed deposits.

Second, fixed deposits are shorter term investments, with the lock-in period usually hovering around 12 months. After the period is over, you should shop around again for another place to park your money.

With SSBs, however, the interest rate climbs every year, so the longer you keep the money in there (up to a maximum of 10 years) the more you get. At the same time, SSBs have higher liquidity than fixed deposits. You will not be penalised if you withdraw your money at any point. You do have to pay a $2 transaction fee each time you buy or redeem a bond, though.

As for interest rates – which is obviously the most important point! – there’s been a bit of an “interest rate war” going on in the past year or so. Right now, Singapore Savings Bonds interest rates are higher.

For example, the December issue of SSBs offer 1.89% p.a. interest for the first year, which is almost on par with the best fixed deposit interest rate in town (1.9%). The annual return goes up to 3.04% p.a. for the 10th year.

Would you consider parking your money in a fixed deposit account? Why or why not?

 

Related articles

What Every Singaporean Needs to Know About Fixed Deposit Accounts

Singapore Savings Bonds: Is It Better Than When It First Launched in 2015?

Your Savings Account Sucks, Here Are Some That Don’t – 2019 Edition

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Clara Lim

I used to be MoneyDumb. I hung out at H&M every day and thought that a $50 lunch set was a good deal. These days, I spend my time researching the crap out of life and trying to maximise utility on micro-decisions. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.

Comments (2)

  1. OCBC 360 is way better than fixed deposit.

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