Fixed Deposits

The Best Fixed Deposit Promotions in Singapore (2019)

Clara Lim

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Fixed deposit (sometimes called time deposit) accounts are low-risk investments that earn you interest over a fixed commitment period. 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
Maybank $20,000 12 months 2% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
Maybank $50,001 24 months 2% p.a. (online iSAVvy)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.95% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $500 12 months 1.85% p.a. (online only)
ICBC $20,000 9 months 1.85% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 12 months 1.85% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 6 months 1.8% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 12 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $500 9 months 1.75% p.a. (online only)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 6 months 1.75% p.a.
ICBC $500 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $20,000 3 months 1.7% p.a.
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.7% p.a. (expires 29 Jun)
Maybank $50,001 12 months 1.7% p.a. (online iSAVvy)
OCBC $20,000 12 months 1.7% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 3 months 1.65% p.a.
ICBC $500 3 months 1.6% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.55% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)
OCBC $20,000 6 months 1.55% p.a.
Citibank N/A
HSBC Advance N/A

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 “2.5% 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 30 Jun)
ICBC $500 12 months 1.85% p.a. (online only)
ICBC $500 9 months 1.75% p.a. (online only)
ICBC $500 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $500 3 months 1.6% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.55% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)

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

But Chinese bank ICBC has now introduced super-low fixed deposits with really good rates for as little as $500. The maximum of 1.85% p.a. is incredibly high for such a small deposit amount. (It’s just shy of the Singapore Savings Bonds Jun 2019 rate of 1.88% for one year.)

For something closer to home, the promotional rates offered by Malaysian bank CIMB are very attractive, but it does require a minimum deposit of $10,000. The best rate is 1.9% p.a. if you lock it in for 1 year. It’s pretty damn hard to beat this rate, even with a higher deposit amount.

 

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

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
Maybank $20,000 12 months 2% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.95% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $500 12 months 1.85% p.a. (online only)
ICBC $20,000 9 months 1.85% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 12 months 1.85% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 6 months 1.8% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 12 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $500 9 months 1.75% p.a. (online only)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 6 months 1.75% p.a.
ICBC $500 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $20,000 3 months 1.7% p.a.
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.7% p.a. (expires 29 Jun)
OCBC $20,000 12 months 1.7% p.a.

If you’ve got $20,000 or more lying around, you have a lot more options – this is where most of the competition is.

You can finally touch the 2% p.a. ceiling with Maybank’s Time Deposit bundle. The interest rate is very high at 2% p.a., but it requires you 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.)

If you can’t be bothered to deal, just go for ICBC’s fixed deposits. There’s hardly any strings attached and you can even choose from a decent range of tenures from 3 to 12 months. For maximum yield, apply online for the 12-month one.

Also worth a mention is Hong Leong Finance, which can be hit or miss, but is offering pretty good rates this month for a $20,000 deposit. You can get 1.85% p.a. for locking it in for a year.

 

Best fixed deposit promotions for $50,000 deposit

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
Maybank $20,000 12 months 2% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
Maybank $50,001 24 months 2% p.a. (online iSAVvy)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.95% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)
ICBC $500 12 months 1.85% p.a. (online only)
ICBC $20,000 9 months 1.85% p.a.
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 12 months 1.85% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 6 months 1.8% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 12 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Jun)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 6 months 1.75% p.a.
ICBC $500 9 months 1.75% p.a. (online only)
ICBC $20,000 3 months 1.7% p.a.
ICBC $500 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only)
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Jun)

If you’ve got $50,000 to spare, once again Maybank offers the highest fixed deposit interest rates in the market. Choose from the Maybank Time Deposit bundle (higher interest rate, but a bit troublesome) or the Maybank iSAVvy (slightly lower but twice the commitment period).

Other good options are CIMB or ICBC. If opting for a fixed deposit tenure of 12 months or more, you should be looking at at least 1.8% p.a. in returns.

If you don’t want to lock up such a big sum of money for the entire year, consider a shorter-term fixed deposit like 3 or 6 months. ICBC and Hong Leong Bank are offering the best rates for 6-month deposits this month, at 1.8% and 1.75% p.a. respectively.

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 3 months, 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 $75,000 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 than most FDs. 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 $200,000 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, fixed deposit interest rates are higher. The June issue of SSBs offer 1.88% p.a. interest for the first 3 years, which you can beat with a well-chosen fixed deposit promotion that gives you 1.95% p.a. or even 2% p.a.

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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