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 2.05% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
Maybank $50,001 24 months 2% p.a. (online iSAVvy)
State Bank of India $50,000 12 months 2% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.98% p.a. (online only)
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.95% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)
ICBC $20,000 9 months 1.88% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 6 months 1.85% p.a.
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Mar)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 13 months 1.8% p.a.
Citibank $50,000 6 months 1.78% p.a. (expires 28 Feb, not updated yet)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 13 months 1.78% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 12 months 1.78% p.a. (expires 28 Feb, not updated yet)
OCBC $20,000 12 months 1.75% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 8 months 1.7% p.a.
HSBC Advance $30,000 12 months 1.65% p.a. (expires 31 Mar)
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.55% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)
ICBC $20,000 3 months 1.55% p.a.
HSBC Advance $30,000 6 months 1.55% p.a. (expires 31 Mar)

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
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.95% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.7% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.55% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)

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

But Chinese bank ICBC’s Step-Up Fixed Deposit account, which awards a different interest each month, lets you get really good rates for as little as $5,000. It’s recently been revamped for the better, and the average of 1.95% p.a. is remarkably high for such a low deposit amount.

For something closer to home, the promotional rates offered by Malaysian bank 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 really hard to beat this rate, even with a higher deposit amount.

 

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

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
Maybank $20,000 12 months 2.05% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.98% p.a. (online only)
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.95% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)
ICBC $20,000 9 months 1.88% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 6 months 1.85% p.a.
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Mar)
Hong Leong Finance $20,000 13 months 1.78% 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 break the 2% p.a. ceiling with Maybank’s Time Deposit bundle. The interest rate is very high at 2.05% 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.

If you prefer parking your money with a local bank, UOB is running a very good 1.8% fixed deposit promotion for only 10 months’ tenure.

 

Best fixed deposit promotions for $50,000 deposit

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
Maybank $20,000 12 months 2.05% p.a. (with $2,000 deposit in current/savings account)
Maybank $50,001 24 months 2% p.a. (online iSAVvy)
State Bank of India $50,000 12 months 2% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.98% p.a. (online only)
ICBC (Step-Up Fixed Deposit) $5,000 12 months Approx. 1.95% p.a.
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.9% p.a. (online only, expires 31 Mar)
ICBC $20,000 9 months 1.88% p.a.
ICBC $20,000 6 months 1.85% p.a.
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Mar)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 13 months 1.8% p.a.

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 ICBC or State Bank of India.

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, which ICBC and CIMB both offer. ICBC is better, with 1.85% p.a. on a 6-month deposit, while CIMB gives you 1.7% p.a.

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 $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 $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, Singapore Savings Bonds interest rates are higher.

For example, the March issue of SSBs offer 1.95% p.a. interest for the first year, which is almost on par with the best fixed deposit interest rates in town. The annual return goes up to 2.55% 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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