The Best Fixed Deposit Rates in Singapore (September 2020)

The Best Fixed Deposit Rates in Singapore (September 2020)

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 it. Fixed deposits are an extremely low risk way to grow your money.

 

Highest fixed deposit interest rates in Singapore (September 2020)

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Interest rates
DBS  $1,000  18 months 1.3% p.a. 
Maybank $25,000 24 months 1.2% p.a. (iSAVvy)
DBS $1,000 12 months 1.15% p.a.
DBS  $1,000  10 or 11 months 1.1% p.a. 
Maybank $1,000 24 months 1.0% p.a. 
RHB $1,000 36 months 1.0% p.a. 
DBS $1,000 9 months 0.95% p.a.
Maybank $1,000 18 months 0.90% p.a.
Maybank $25,000 12 months 0.85% p.a. (online iSAVvy)
RHB  $1,000 24 months 0.85% p.a.
RHB  $1,000 18 months 0.75% p.a.
ICBC $500 12 months 0.75% p.a. (via e-banking) 
Maybank $1,000 12 months 0.70% p.a.
ICBC $500 12 months 0.70% p.a. 
ICBC $500 9 months 0.65% p.a. (via e-banking)
Hong Leong $50,000 12 months 0.65% p.a.

Disclaimer 1: We’ve ignored the crazy-high deposit amounts that banks use to inflate their interest rates because we know how disappointing it is to click on a super attractive advert, 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 we’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, and the bank can change the rates anytime.

Fixed deposit board rates are usually very low — under 1% — but every month, many banks come up with fixed deposit promotions to offer good rates. In “normal”, non-Covid-19 times, these rates can go up to 1.8% to 2% p.a. However, with the current sluggish economy, fixed deposit interest rates remain low and many banks have dropped off our list — although still better than savings accounts.

Some banks such as Standard Chartered and Citibank don’t even make the cut this time round as their rates are way too low.

All the info can be a tad overwhelming, so we’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 Interest rates
DBS  $1,000  18 months 1.3% p.a. 
DBS $1,000 12 months 1.15% p.a.
DBS  $1,000  10 or 11 months 1.1% p.a. 
Maybank $1,000 24 months 1.0% p.a. 
RHB $1,000 36 months 1.0% p.a. 
DBS $1,000 9 months 0.95% p.a.
Maybank $1,000 18 months 0.90% p.a.
RHB  $1,000 24 months 0.85% p.a.
RHB  $1,000 18 months 0.75% p.a.
ICBC $500 12 months 0.75% p.a. (via e-banking) 
Maybank $1,000 12 months 0.70% p.a.
ICBC $500 12 months 0.70% p.a. 
ICBC $500 9 months 0.65% p.a. (via e-banking)

Usually, you’ll need at least $20,000 lying around in order to benefit from the higher promotional interest rates. However, now that the general rates have gone down, suddenly the lower-commitment options are a lot more competitive.

This month, DBS takes the top spot for this tier with a minimum deposit of $1,000 for at least 18 months to unlock the attractive interest rate of 1.30% p.a. This is quite a manageable amount, although you have to commit to a tenure of 18 months. Otherwise, you can still get a slightly lower interest rate of 1.15% p.a. for a year or 1.1% for 10 or 11 months. 

DBS is the best out there this month given the current economic climate and decreasing interest rates all around. It’s a good option if you want to save up and prefer local banks.

Maybank’s rates also remain high but you’ve got to leave your money in for minimum 24 months to hit the 1.1% p.a. rate. 

 

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

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Interest rates
Maybank $25,000 24 months 1.2% p.a. (iSAVvy)
Maybank $25,000 12 months 0.85% p.a. (online iSAVvy)

$20,000 to $30,000 is the usual threshold for most fixed deposit promotions. This month, there’s no difference even if you have $20,000 and more to deposit. 

If you do have $25,000 to deposit and want to lock it in for 2 years, there’s Maybank’s 1.2% p.a. provided if you apply via their online iSavvy portal. 

With $20,000 and above, you have more banks to choose from. However, other than Maybank, the rest give the same rates even if you were to put in less than $20,000.

Personally, we wouldn’t settle for anything below 1.20% p.a. In fact, DBS’ interest rates go down to a meagre 0.05% p.a. for deposits of $20,000 and above. 

Normally we’d recommend something at least 1.70% p.a. and above, but given the current climate, anything above 1.0% p.a. is already considered very good.

 

Best fixed deposit promotions for $50,000 deposit

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Interest rates
Maybank $25,000 24 months 1.2% p.a. (iSAVvy)
Maybank $1,000 24 months 1.0% p.a. 
Maybank $1,000 18 months 0.90% p.a.
Maybank $25,000 12 months 0.85% p.a. (online iSAVvy)
RHB  $1,000 24 months 0.85% p.a.
RHB  $1,000 18 months 0.75% p.a.
Maybank $1,000 12 months 0.70% p.a.
Hong Leong $50,000 12 months 0.65% p.a.

You’re probably thinking: the more money you can afford lock up, the better the interest rates should be, right?

Normally, this is indeed the case — those with at least $50,000 to mess around usually benefit from the best rates in the market. However, banks simply can’t afford to offer high interest rates at the moment.

As such, even if you have over $50,000 to chuck in a fixed deposit account, it won’t make much difference — not this month anyway. 

The best rate of 1.2% p.a. is with Maybank, and you need $25,000 to be eligible for it.

Of course, banks are notoriously fickle about their interest rates, and all these 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, which may actually offer better returns.

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 usually 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 July issue of SSBs offers a measly 0.31% p.a. interest average return after the first 2 years, which you can easily beat with a well-chosen fixed deposit promotion that gives you more than 1.0% p.a.

Would you consider parking your money in a fixed deposit account? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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