Want to earn high interest for your savings
For the past few years, earning high interest in low-risk products has been
almost impossible in Singapore. Save for CPF providing 2.5% for Ordinary
Accounts and 4% for Special Accounts, putting money in banks for even bonds
will yield marginal returns of 1-2%.
With the recent rise in interest rates, one would have more options today to
enhance their yields from savings. The 3 products with the least risk in the
market today will be Fixed Deposit, Singapore Saving Bonds and T- Bills.
If you are curious about which option is the best for you, here is a summary
of each product.
Fixed Deposit (FD)
Fixed Deposits are usually placed with banks in Singapore. A sum of money is
blocked for a fixed deposit as per determined by the bank. The interest is
provided at the start of the fixed deposit. At the end of the period, you
would get back the principal and the interest earned from the FD. Interests
are tax exempted.
Currently, one of the highest FD rates over 1 year is provided by RHB at 3.4%.
You can check the
latest FD rates for Singapore banks
Min investment: Usually from $5,000, although some banks prefer a higher
amount (eg $20,000). It does not need to be in multiples of $1000
- One of the easiest ways to get high interest.
The Deposit Insurance Scheme protects up to $75,000 of your total deposit in
If you need funds, you need to break the FD. Some banks may not provide
interest if it is not kept within the agreed period.
Interest may differ from initial placement and is often much lower if you
break your FD early.
- Some banks charge penalties for breaking FD
How to apply?
An application can be made at the bank over the counter or online for selected
Cash is to be used to place Fix Deposit. There are no options for CPF funds.
SRS funds may place in FD but at a much lower rate.
No fees for placement
Those who would prefer fuss-free investment.
Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB)
These are issued by Singapore Government with the principal guaranteed by the
government. SSB is usually issued for 10 years. Investors will get coupon
payments every 6 months, and the coupons tend to increase over time. Returns
are tax exempted.
Minimum Amount to invest: $1,000 and in multiples of $1000
Interest will be known throughout the whole 10 years, thus taking out
guesswork from investment.
Investors can withdraw at any given month with no penalty. Accrued interest
will be returned today with the principal.
Investors can choose to reinvest their funds at the new SSB if the cap is
- Suitable for small amounts.
- SRS funds can be used for investment.
Interest rates are locked in, and you may be ‘stuck’ at a lower rate unless
- There is a cap of SGD 200K for the total investment
- 1st-year rate may not be as attractive as FD
You need an individual CDP account and can only invest with the selected
banks (DBS, OCBC, UOB)
You may not get full allocation if the demand outstrips supply. That would
mean some funds will be left idle.
How to apply
SRS is open to individuals aged 18 years and above. You need an account
with one of the three local banks and an individual CDP account.
Apply through DBS/POSB, OCBC and UOB ATMs of Internet Banking or OCBC
mobile application. SRS investors may apply through their respective SRS
Operator’s Internet banking
Redemption can be done in any given month before the bond matures with no
penalty. You will be paid principal and accrued interest.
The application will close on the 4th working day before the end of the
month at 9pm.
$2 per transaction ( buying and selling)
Those who are looking for a regular stream of income. It is also good for
long-term investors who can park their funds for a longer period.
Singapore Treasury Bills (T-Bills)
T-bills are short-term Singapore Government Securities issued at a discount to
their face value. Investors will receive the full face value at maturity. They
are available in 6month or 1-year T-bills. T-bills are AAA credit rated, and
you can purchase with Cash, SRS and CPF. Returns are tax exempted.
Minimum Sum: $1000 and multiples of $1000
Liquidity risk – You can sell but at market price. The principal is not
- You have to face re-investment risk at a lower rate compared to SRS account.
- May not always get the full amount.
*Competitive vs non-competitive bids
Competitive: You can choose a baseline of what yield you might want to accept.
Should the Cut off yield be higher, you will get the T-bill at the cut of
yield. In most cases, you should get a full allocation, especially if you place a competitive bid below the stated yield. Do your maths wisely and do not over-commit.
Bid for 3%
Eventual yield: 3.5%
You will get 3.5%
If the eventual yield is less than 3% ( eg 2.95%), you will get nothing.
Non-Competitive: You will accept the cut-off yield from the auction.
How to apply?
You can apply via cash, SRS or CPF.
For cash application
You need a bank account with DBS/POSB, OCBC,
or UOB. You will also need an individual CDP account with Direct Credit
Services activated. Apply via ATM or internet banking.
For SRS application
You will need an SRS account with DBS/POSB, OCBC or UOB. Apply under internet
banking portal or the SRS operator
For CPFIS application
For CPFIS-OA, you will need a CPF investment account with one of three CPFIS
agent banks ( DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB). if you are investing using CPFIS-SA funds,
there is no need to open any CPD investment account. YOu will need to submit
an application in person at any bank of the CPFIS bond dealers.
$2 per transaction for selected banks. Some banks will also charge for custodian fees on quarterly basis.
Those with a shorter time horizon would like higher rates than FD. This is
more suited for well-versed investors due to the requirements.
This is not intended as investment advice but as information on what is
available.. Each individual has their own risk appetite. For financial
planning, it is best to consult your financial planner for advice.