Fixed Deposits

The Best Fixed Deposit Accounts in Singapore (2018)

The best Fixed Deposit Accounts in Singapore

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 2018

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 $100,000 24 months 1.95% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
State Bank of India $10,000 24 months 1.9% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
State Bank of India $100,000 12 months 1.85% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.84% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Sep)
State Bank of India $10,000 12 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 12 months 1.8% p.a. 
State Bank of India $100,000 6 months 1.70% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
State Bank of India $10,000 6 months 1.65% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.64% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Sep)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.61% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 12 months 1.6% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
HSBC (Advance) $30,000 12 months 1.6% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 12 months 1.6% p.a. 
Maybank $50,001 12 months 1.6% p.a. (online iSAVvy only)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.55% p.a. (via e-banking)
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.5% p.a. (expires 29 Sep)
HSBC (Advance) $30,000 6 months 1.5% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.49% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Sep)
OCBC $20,000 12 months 1.4% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 8 months 1.4% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)

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 interest rates for $10,000 deposit

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
State Bank of India $10,000 24 months 1.9% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
CIMB $10,000 12 months 1.84% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Sep)
State Bank of India $10,000 12 months 1.8% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
State Bank of India $10,000 6 months 1.65% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
CIMB $10,000 6 months 1.64% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Sep)
CIMB $10,000 3 months 1.49% p.a. (online only, expires 30 Sep)

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 State Bank of India (SBI) are very attractive even for relatively low deposits. 1.9% p.a. for min $10,000 deposit for 24 months is considered very generous, so take advantage of it before it expires on 30 Sep 2018.

If you don’t want a 2-year lock-in, opt for CIMB. This September is CIMB’s 9th anniversary, and to celebrate, they’re adding 0.9% p.a. to all their time deposit rates. The minimum deposit is $10,000 across the board, and the best rate is 1.84% p.a. if you lock it in for 1 year.

If you don’t have $10,000 to dump in a fixed deposit, just stick to a good savings account. Don’t blur blur go and open a DBS fixed deposit account because they really don’t have the best rates!

 

Best fixed deposit interest rates for $20,000 or $30,000 deposit

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.61% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 12 months 1.6% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
HSBC (Advance) $30,000 12 months 1.6% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
ICBC $20,000 12 months 1.55% p.a. (via e-banking)
UOB $20,000 10 months 1.5% p.a. (expires 29 Sep)
HSBC (Advance) $30,000 6 months 1.5% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
OCBC $20,000 12 months 1.4% p.a.
Standard Chartered $25,000 8 months 1.4% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)

To be honest, SBI has all the competition beat this month (Sep 2018). With a rate like 1.9% p.a. for such a low commitment sum (min $10,000 deposit, 24-month tenure), it makes sense to park anything over $10,000 with them.

But if for whatever reason you don’t want to go with SBI (or CIMB),  your next best option is ICBC – 1.61% p.a. for min $20,000, 12-month tenure. Standard Chartered is close behind, offering 1.6% p.a. for min $25,000 deposit, 12-months tenure. HSBC has the same rate as Standard Chartered, but requires at least $30,000 deposit.

For those who prefer local banks, UOB offers the highest rate of 1.5% p.a. for min $20,000 and a relatively short tenure of 10 months.

 

Best fixed deposit interest rates for $50,000 deposit and up

Bank/financial institution Min. deposit amount Tenure Promotional interest rate
State Bank of India $100,000 24 months 1.95% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
State Bank of India $100,000 12 months 1.85% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 12 months 1.8% p.a. 
State Bank of India $100,000 6 months 1.70% p.a. (expires 30 Sep)
Hong Leong Finance $50,000 12 months 1.6% p.a. 
Maybank $50,001 12 months 1.6% p.a. (online iSAVvy only)

If you’re rolling in cash and just casually have $100,000 collecting dust, then you are one of the few who can benefit from what’s currently the highest fixed deposit rate in the market. Until 30 Sep 2018, SBI is offering 1.95% p.a. for min $100,000 deposit and 24-month tenure. If you are only prepared to lock the cash in for 1 year, the rate is 1.85% p.a.

If you’re only kind of rich with just $50,000 to spare, I wouldn’t bother looking at the rest of the banks that state a $50,000 minimum deposit. The rates are between 1.6% p.a. to 1.8% p.a., which is lower than SBI and CIMB’s rates for min $10,000 deposit.

Those require at least a 12-month tenure though, so if you want a shorter lock-in period, consider SBI interest rates for a 6-month tenure (1.7% p.a., min $100,000).

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.

Back then, the expected interest rates for the Singapore Savings Bonds were far better than any of the current interest rates offered by banks. But this has changed quite rapidly as banks have upped their game recently and started offering WAY better fixed deposit interest rates.

However, compared to fixed deposits, Singapore Savings Bonds also have higher liquidity. You will not be penalised if you withdraw from the Singapore Savings Bonds.

Of course, unlike the Singapore Savings Bonds, you are able to open a fixed deposit account at any time. Also, there is a cap of $100,000 you can put into Singapore Savings Bonds. There is generally no cap for fixed deposits.

Fixed Deposits vs.Singapore Savings BondsWhat was that term?Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB)It’s a type of bond. When you buy a bond, you lend money to the issuer. The issuer in this case is the Singapore government.Fixed DepositSingapore SavingsBondsBetter interest ratesYou can open an account at any timeNo cap for how much you put into the accountYou get penalized for withdrawing your moneyHigh liquidity, there are no penalties for withdrawalsThe process of opening and managing your account is more complicatedThere is a $100,000 cap for the amount you can put into Singapore Savings Bonds

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What Every Singaporean Needs to Know About Fixed Deposit Accounts

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Your Savings Account Sucks, Here Are Some That Don’t – 2018 Edition

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

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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.