Among stash type savings accounts in Singapore, the Citibank MaxiGain savings account used to have one of the highest interest rates, but from 2 Dec 2019, this is no longer the case.
The base interest rate for the Citibank MaxiGain savings account has been revised to 50% of the 1-month SIBOR instead of the previous 70%. The maximum bonus interest rate you can get will also be revised from up to 1.2% to up to 0.6% p.a.
It’s still a decent rate, but the minimum deposit requirement to get the maximum interest rate is on the high side. Let’s delve into the account and see how it compares with other stash savings account.
Citibank MaxiGain savings account
Base interest rate (up to $150,000)
(with minimum $70,000 daily end-of-day balance)
|50% of 1-month SIBOR rate (1.78%)
|Bonus Interest rate||Up to 0.60%|
|Nationality||Singapore Citizens and PRs|
|Fall-below fee||$15 if your TRB* falls below $15,000 each month|
|Initial deposit||$10,000 ($15,000 if you don’t meet the TRB*)|
|Minimum (daily/monthly) balance||$70,000 (to earn base interest)|
|Bonus interest cap||$150,000|
*Total Relationship Balance (TRB) refers to the sum of:
- The average daily balance on your Citibank checking, savings, and deposit accounts
- The average daily value of your investments with Citibank
- All outstanding amounts payable on your secured loan accounts
How does the Citibank MaxiGain savings account work?
Unlike other savings accounts that give you a fixed interest rate, Citibank MaxiGain’s base interest rate is pegged to the SIBOR rate, an interbank interest rate that fluctuates daily. It refers to the interest rate at which banks in Singapore borrow funds from one another.
As of 2 December 2019, if you have a minimum of $70,000 end-of-day balance in your Citibank MaxiGain account, you will earn a base interest of 50% of the 1-month SIBOR rate (currently at 1.78%). This equates to a base interest of 0.89%.
Usually, it’s mortgage loan rates that are pegged to SIBOR, so it is unusual for Citibank MaxiGain to peg its savings account interest rate to the SIBOR. This can be a good feature as it means that you are partially hedged against rising interest rates if for example, you have a home mortgage pegged to SIBOR.
The current SIBOR rate is on the rise, so you will benefit from an increasing interest rate on your savings. However, the converse is also true when the SIBOR rate decreases.
Bonus interest is given at 0.05% incremental per month for a year as long as you meet the criteria by ensuring that the lowest balance in a month is equal to or greater than the lowest balance in the previous month. This means that after a year, you can earn an additional 0.6% interest. Added on to the base interest, you are looking at a maximum of 0.89 + 0.6 = 1.49% interest rate.
It’s still decent, but definitely not as good as the previous rates, which were 70% of 1-month SIBOR + up to 1.2% of bonus interest, which hit 2.5% at one point.
Balance cap for bonus interest
The interest cap for the Citibank MaxiGain account is also pretty high for a savings account. The base and bonus interest are paid out on balances up to $150,000.
Citi Priority benefits
Another cool feature of the Citibank MaxiGain account is that if you have $70,000 in your account, it gives you access to Citi Priority benefits. This includes perks such as preferential rates, birthday deals and one-for-one deals. When it comes to priority banking, it has one of the lowest barriers.
Potential pitfalls of the Citibank MaxiGain
The minimum deposit required to earn the full base interest is very high at $70,000 compared to other savings account. If you don’t have that, there might be other better alternatives to save including options like fixed deposits.
To meet the criteria for earning bonus interest rate, it might also mean restrictions on withdrawals, which is not great if you have a big event coming up like a wedding or house renovation.
Lastly, as the interest rate of the MaxiGain savings account is subjected to the ups and downs of the SIBOR rate, no one can say for sure what your next month’s interest rate would be.
Due to the changing nature of SIBOR, it is also likely that the bank will change the terms and conditions quicker than other banks. They recently brought down the base interest from 70% to 50% of SIBOR and the maximum bonus interest now is 0.60%, which you will get if you have increased your balance month on month over a 12-month period.
Citibank MaxiGain vs UOB Stash vs CIMB FastSaver – which is better?
The Citibank MaxiGain, UOB Stash and CIMB FastSaver are all stash accounts. So which one will suit you better?
For the CIMB FastSaver, all you need is $1,000 in your account and you immediately start earning an interest of 1% on your first $50,000. It’s true that 1% is not exactly the highest rate you can get out there, but it’s the highest rate considering that the only requirement you need to fulfil is to deposit $1,000, as opposed to the initial deposit of between $10,000 and $15,000 required for UOB Stash and Citibank MaxiGain.
The interest rate increases to 1.5% for savings above $50,000 and falls to 0.6% after $75,000. It’s a great savings account for young people who have just started working and don’t have much savings yet.
On the other hand, the UOB Stash gives you the same 1% interest only if you have saved above $50,000 in your account. That’s 50 times more savings needed to reach the same interest rate as the CIMB FastSaver. You also need to ensure that you maintain a monthly average balance above $10,000 in the account.
Out of the three savings accounts, the Citibank MaxiGain used to have the best interest rate at over 2%. Now, it’s more realistic for you to start at 0.89% and earn 1.46% in the last month, but still, if you are disciplined, the interest rate is considered above average for stash accounts. It also comes with extra perks like getting access to City Priority benefits. However, you do need to have $70,000 in your account to enjoy its full benefits.
How to open a Citibank MaxiGain account
The Citibank MaxiGain undeniably has the highest interest rate in terms of a stash savings account but the minimum amount you need to park there to earn that rate is high. If you are able to meet the minimum $70,000 balance to earn base interest, this savings account would be a great addition to your financial portfolio.
To open a Citibank MaxiGain account, you can first check your eligibility on Citibank’s website. Next, you will have to visit your local Citibank branch office to fill out some forms and set up your account.
Once your savings account has been activated, you can make your first deposit. Remember that there is a minimum TRB of $15,000 for Citibank. So if you don’t have any other accounts, investments or loans with Citibank, you should make a first deposit of at least $15,000.
Got $70,000 to spare? Would you put it with Citibank MaxiGain? Tell us why or why not below.