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As a child, I grew up learning about the importance of saving money — the concept where you stick all your available coins into a piggy bank before depositing everything into the bank at the end of the year.
30 years ago, those were good times.
According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, average interest rates of bank savings deposits in 1990 was a nice 3.50% p.a., but today, this hovers around 0.16% p.a. — easily cannibalised by the inflation rates (January 2020’s core inflation was 0.3%).
I’m actually losing money over time… ouch.
So as adults who know better, we try to hedge against inflation and other rising costs by choosing bank accounts with higher interest rates (I’m getting 1.85% p.a. on my savings deposits account), investments (i.e. unit trusts, bonds, shares), endowment plans, fixed deposits and even cashback cards.
But the problem with many of these is that there are so many conditions to fulfil, such as compulsory credit card spend, a lock-in period, high minimum amount to start, etc.
The Singlife Account, which recently launched on 18 March, might be a gamechanger. It offers 2.5% p.a.^ with no lock-in period and a free Visa debit card. To get started, you only need to fund an initial S$500, and keep your account value above S$100.
As it’s an insurance savings plan, it also provides insurance coverage, which may make it a useful add-on to your insurance portfolio.
Here’s a look at some of the key features of the Singlife Account:
First things first: Singlife’s track record
Singlife has been around for a few years now, rolling out insurance plans since 2017 that include endowment, term life, critical illness, cancer, and universal life.
It’s also licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore as a life insurance company, and all Singlife policies (yes, including the Singlife Account) are protected up to specified limits by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation.
In 2018, Singlife was named as one of the emerging 50 on the Fintech100 list, which announces the world’s “top 50” and “emerging 50” companies that are transforming the financial services industry in the areas of digital payments, lending, insurtech and neo-banking.
And for the Fintech100 list released in 2019, Singlife rose to #40 on the list.
To qualify for this list, companies need to be in good financial standing with attractive capital injections. They are also judged by a panel that includes senior partners from H2 Ventures and KPMG. Singlife is also backed by industry-recognised leaders, namely IPGL (Holdings) Limited, Sumitomo Life, Aflac Inc. and Aberdeen Standard Investments. They have secured a US$90 million investment from Sumitomo Life Insurance — a major life insurance in Japan in 2019 and that brings their total funding to date to US$153 million.
You can grow your savings by up to 2.5% p.a.
I’m glad that the Singlife Account offers a fuss-free 2.5% p.a.^ returns, with a few simple conditions:
- 2.5% p.a. returns on first S$10,000
- 1% p.a. returns on amounts above S$10,000
- No returns for amounts above S$100,000
To kickstart this, I need to FAST transfer S$500 to my Singlife Account, and keep the account value above S$100. Interest is calculated daily and credited on a monthly basis, so even if I have S$4,000 on payday and S$1,000 the week after, it’s all taken into account.
You can even get your own Visa Debit Card
It’s optional, but you’ll be entitled to a free Singlife Visa Debit Card (Singlife Card).
What am I going to do with another piece of plastic? Well, for a start, if you don’t have any Visa card, you’ll enjoy the convenience of paying with Visa all over the world. Yes, even for online shopping, or for booking hotels and air tickets.
You don’t even need to pay forex fees and charges. A few cents here, a few dollars there, it all adds up. It is one of the key perks why people get a multi-currency account or travel wallet in the first place. Currency conversion rates on the Singlife Card follow Visa’s competitive exchange.
The Singlife Card is a debit card, so no over-stretching your budget on crazy shopping sprees.
You can easily withdraw/deposit funds via FAST
With the Singlife Account, it’s easy to FAST transfer money in and out from your bank account.
I can do this any time of the day, and as many times as I want. Also, it means that my money isn’t stuck in here like some investments that usually come with a lock-in period.
The termination process is almost instant. Insurance coverage, interest crediting and the Singlife Card will cease. The account value will be credited to your bank account via FAST. If you change your mind, you can reinstate your Singlife Account anytime which is subject to approval.
You get the insurance protection
It’s not just about growing your savings, but getting insurance protection as well.
Each Singlife Account provides life insurance cover, which is renewed yearly till you turn 100 years old. In the event of death, if you are:
60 years and younger, the payout will be the sum of the
– account value; AND
– 5% of the account value or S$50,000, whichever is lower
61 years and above, the payout will be the sum of the
– account value; AND
– 1% of the account value or S$50,000, whichever is lower
For example, if a 59-year-old Singlife Account holder has an account value of S$100,000 and passes away, the payout is S$5,000 AND the account value in the Singlife Account.
There’s also a limited-time offer of a retrenchment cover that pays out 3 months of your average monthly Singlife Card spend if you are retrenched.
Everything’s on your mobile phone
These days, everything is mobile. And Singlife, being an insurtech company, is definitely riding that tech wave.
From the Singlife app, it’s easy to check your Singlife Account’s transactions and all the policy documents are easily accessed from the app. Paperless, eco-friendly and everything’s in one place. Who knows how many insurance documents I’ve misplaced or have disintegrated in my drawers?
For security, I can lock my Singlife app with a 4-digit pin number; and in cases where the Singlife Card is stolen or misplaced, I can immediately lock it via the Singlife app and request for a replacement via the same platform.
No need to dig for a phone number, call the customer service, hold the line, get frustrated with the automated instructions and so on. It’s also good if you’re overseas and didn’t buy talktime.
Singlife says that the typical sign-up time is 15-18 minutes, due to standard things that they need to check in order to protect the customer against fraud, impersonation and data misuse. But I probably took about 5-7 minutes… I used MyInfo to fill in my details, answered a few questions and was soon a Singlife Account holder.
Singlife will be rolling out even more features soon
Singlife says that the app will get a few more features and more insurance plans under their Protect and Grow product verticals will be launched on the Singlife App within this year.
Users will also be able to link their Singlife Card to their Samsung Pay/Apple Pay/Google Pay accounts in the future. I’m definitely keeping my eyes peeled for more exciting features that Singlife will be rolling out progressively!
How do I sign up for a Singlife Account?
Here’s what you need to do to get started:
- Singapore resident with valid NRIC or FIN
- Aged between 18 and 65
- Valid Singapore number and Singapore residential address
How to sign up
- Download the Singlife App on your mobile phone from here.
- Set up a Singlife ID & apply for your Singlife Account
- Start with just S$500 (transfer via FAST, from your OWN bank account)
- Only one Singlife Account per person
Find out more about the Singlife Account.
What do you think about the Singlife Account? Let us know in the comments below!
^2.5% p.a. on first S$10,000 | 1% p.a. on amounts above S$10,000. | There are no returns for amounts above S$100,000. | Returns are not guaranteed.
The information is meant for your general knowledge and does not regard any specific investment objectives, financial situations or particular needs any person might have and should not be relied upon as financial advice. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC.
This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Information is correct as at 25 March 2020.