These days, saving up in Singapore is all about knowing how to jump through hoops to get the most interest.
You might even have caught yourself buying nonsensical things to hit minimum spend so that you can get more interest on your savings account. You don’t need us to tell you that that’s not a wise thing to do.
If you just want a savings account that gives you good returns without extra actions and requirements, CIMB FastSaver might be your answer.
Let’s see how it works.
How does the CIMB FastSaver Account work?
To save using the CIMB FastSaver account, you just need a minimum deposit of $1,000. This will give you 1% p.a., which is already 0.95% more than a basic savings account.
UPDATE: CIMB will reduce their interest rate to 0.5% from 15 July 2020 onwards, up to the first $50,000 in your account.
This is quite a significant drop from the original 1% interest rate, which was already not very high. It was only the requirement of maintaining a minimum $1,000 deposit that made it attractive compared to savings accounts offered by other banks that made it a worthy competitor.
Pretty much all other savings accounts that offer more than 1% require either a salary credit, a minimum credit card spend, a growing balance, a high amount of minimum monthly balance, or a combination of these actions.
Banks like to advertise the maximum interest rate to entice Singaporeans, telling you that you can earn more than 3% in interest if you save with them. But in fact, you can only earn such high interest rates if you are quite affluent. Meaning, you must have something like at least $50,000 in the bank or transact amounts similar to (income and expenditure) $30,000 and above.
At least you can still earn 1.5% if you have between $75,000 and $100,000 in your account, which is still pretty decent.
Here is a comparison of the changes that will take place come 15 July 2020:
|CIMB FastSaver account||Current rates (p.a.)||
New rates from
15 July 2020 (p.a.)
|Interest rate (up to $50,000)||1%||0.5%|
|Interest rate (next $25,000)||1.5%||0.8%|
|Interest rate (next $25,000)||1.8%||1.5%|
|Interest rate (>$100,000)||0.6%||0.4%|
|Nationality||Singaporeans, PRs, Foreigners||–|
|Minimum monthly balance||$1,000 (to earn interest)||–|
|Bonus interest cap||$75,000||–|
Who should choose the CIMB FastSaver account?
Let’s say you are diligently fulfilling all the requirements of the OCBC 360 including crediting your salary, spending at least $500 on your OCBC credit card, increasing your monthly balance and paying for an OCBC investment product. With this, you get the maximum interest rate of 2.45%.
But, your deposit is already more than $70,000, so you have hit the bonus interest cap. More money won’t yield more interest, so maybe you can consider a low-hanging fruit like the CIMB FastSaver and put the excess in there to generate 1.5% p.a.
1.80% p.a. (from 15 July) without having to keep track of any requirements. When your deposit in the CIMB FastSaver account reaches $100,000, then the interest rate becomes 0.4% 0.6% from 15 July 2020.
Also, if you’re someone who hates boring banking tasks like making sure you spend enough to max out higher interest on your savings, this account is great for you.
It’s also perfect for those who doesn’t have tremendous amounts to stash away (but have at least $1,000), like young people who have just started working. They don’t need to worry about meeting minimum credit card spending requirements by some popular savings accounts, which may be a stretch.
Potential pitfalls of the CIMB FastSaver
A major downside of the CIMB FastSaver is that CIMB ‘Clicks’ Internet banking is not as user-friendly and intuitive as those of the other banks.
There are also no multiplier-type actions (e.g. spending on CIMB credit card or crediting salary) where you can boost your interest rate, as the CIMB FastSaver account is more of a “stash-and-forget” type of savings account. That also means that other banking functions like taking home loans, investments, insurance or fixed deposits won’t help you boost the interest rate.
For multiplier-type accounts, you should look elsewhere on MoneySmart: Your Savings Account Sucks, Here Are Some That Don’t – 2019 Edition.
CIMB FastSaver vs UOB Stash – which is better?
Ok, since CIMB FastSaver is a stash type account, how does it stack up with others?
Let’s compare it with another stash account in the market: UOB Stash Savings Account. You get to earn between 0.05% and 1.5% p.a. if you fulfil the requirement of maintaining your previous month’s Monthly Average Balance (MAB), minimum $10,000. The more you have, the more you get, up to $200,000 in deposits. After that, the interest rate returns to 0.05%.
Note that the 1% (base + bonus) is reached only if you have an account balance of at least $50,000. Furthermore, you need to keep your money in there for at least 13 months to earn the full interest.
There is also a bonus interest cap at 1.5% p.a., which can be earned if you have between $100,000 and $200,000 and your MAB increases. Once the account crosses $200,000, you won’t earn the 1.5% p.a. anymore.
In comparison, with the CIMB FastSaver, you get to enjoy 0.5%
1% (from 15 July 2020) p.a. interest rate from a savings amount of $1,000 to $50,000, 0.8% 1.5% p.a. from $50,001 to $75,000 and 1.5% 1.8% p.a. from $75,000 to $100,000. You don’t have to keep transferring to your account every month to earn interest rate, which makes it more hassle-free.
But if you have more than $100,000, perhaps you should go for the UOB Stash, which allows you to enjoy 1.5% interest if you fulfil the needed actions until your deposit amount reaches $200,000.
CIMB FastSaver vs Citibank MaxiGain — which is better?
Another account that doesn’t require regular maintenance is the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account. However, with the Citi MaxiGain, you are really maximising your gains only if you have at least $70,000 to stash away.
One cool benefit is that if you have $70,000 in your Citi MaxiGain account, it gives you access to City Priority benefits, which includes perks such as preferential rates, birthday deals and one-for-one deals. In terms of priority banking, it has one of the lowest barriers.
The Citi MaxiGain’s base interest rate is pegged at 50% of the 1-month SIBOR, an interbank interest rate that fluctuates daily. Currently, the SIBOR is at 1.78%, so if you open the account now, the interest rate will be at 0.89% p.a.
The base interest rate of Citi MaxiGain used to be much more attractive at 70% of the 1-month SIBOR.
There’s also bonus interest that starts from 0.05% p.a. and capped at 0.6% p.a., provided that your balance in the month does not fall below the previous month. In other words, you just have to leave your $70,000 in there and let it grow.
Compared to the CIMB FastSaver, the Citi MaxiGain has a much more attractive interest rate (0.89% base interest + 0.6% bonus interest = 1.49% if you leave your money in for a year). But, to get that rate, you need to have $70,000 of “spare cash”, which I believe is quite a feat for some of us.
If you do not have $70,000, the minimum deposit is $15,000 and with that, you can earn a 0.6% p.a. bonus interest (0.05% every month stacked up).
Conversely, the CIMB FastSaver only needs $1,000 minimum deposit to start earning a 0.5%
1% interest p.a. (from 15 July), which may be better for those us who don’t have that kind of “spare cash”.
How to open a CIMB FastSaver account
OK, if the CIMB FastSaver fits your bill for a simple and effective savings account to save up to $100,000, how can you apply?
The setting up of the account is super easy. Just fill out the CIMB FastSaver Online Application form on the CIMB website.
Upon submission, a CIMB FastSaver account number will be issued instantly. All you need to do is to activate the account by transferring a minimum of $1,000 from another bank account of yours via Internet banking and voila! It’s finished! It literally takes minutes and you can even do it from the comfort of your bed.
What do you think about the CIMB FastSaver? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!