Note: This article has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness
With the average savings interest rates offered by Singapore banks hovering at 0.2%, we need to take a look at how we can make our money work harder for us. Other than looking at long term investments to protect and grow our nest egg, it is essential that we set aside a certain percentage of cash for liquidity so that we can tap on it during rainy days or for our emergency needs. In this article, I am going to introduce some of the ways to maximise our cash that is not used for long term investments, at the same time providing us liquidity.
Introducing the Singlife account, the insurance savings plan that offers up to 2.5% per annum (returns are non-guaranteed), with no lock in period and comes with a free Visa Debit card. To get things started, you only need to fund the account minimum SGD $500 and keep the value above SGD $100 to enjoy the benefits. There is also no fall below fee. The Singlife Account is also insured under SDIC (Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation) up to SGD $100,000.
One can sign up for an account via their Singlife app which took me about 10 minutes to get things started. Fund transfer is done via FAST which means funds are reflected almost immediately in your Singlife account.
Sign up using my Singlife Referral link
What we are both entitled to:
Both referrer and referee will receive a top up of SGD$10 into our respective Singlife accounts after the successful activation of your (the referee) Singlife’s Visa Debit Card.
Edit as of November 2020:
Singlife’s Paid Referral Programme has enjoyed a successful run and will come to a close as of 1 November 2020. Upon the Effective Date of Termination (1 Nov 2020), all referees who have successfully in-forced their Singlife Account(s), by the Effective Date of Termination, will have up to fifteen business days (i.e. by 20 Nov 2020) to order and activate their Singlife Visa Debit Card to qualify for the S$10 bonus.
Interest rates per tier. Interest rates are calculated daily and credited monthly.
– 2% p.a returns on first SGD $10,000
– 1% p.a returns on amounts above SGD $10,000
– No returns for amounts above SGD $100,000
What you need to be aware of is that the 2% p.a is only applicable to the first SGD $10,000. Singlife has a disclaimer that its returns are not guaranteed.
In order to earn the last 0.5% p.a bonus rate to hit the maximum rate of 2.5% p.a for the first SGD$10,000, you will have to spend at least SGD$500 per policy month under Singlife’s Save, Spend, Earn Campaign. This campaign is valid from 1 November 2020 to 28 February 2021.
One thing to note, the insurance cover from Singlife may not be as comprehensive as the other offers on the market. I personally use this for the higher savings rates and complement it with my own insurance.
– Elastiq >> Note: Elastiq is fully subscribed. Another tranche, Gigantiq is currently being offered.
Elastiq is a universal life plan offered by local insurance company Etiqa. With a minimum sum of SGD $5000, one is able to enjoy a guaranteed interest at 1.8% per annum for the first three years, with a minimum holding period of 90 days. Thereafter, the crediting rate will be determined by Elastiq based on the prevailing rate. In an environment of low interest rates offered by banks’ savings accounts, Elastiq’s interest rate is considered generous. As a reward for not having any partial withdrawal from your Elastiq account for the past three years, Elastiq offers a non-guaranteed loyalty bonus equivalent to 0.3% of the average monthly account value for the past 36 policy months and at every subsequent 3 policy year interval (6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th Policy year and so on).
Anyone who is a Singapore Resident or holding valid documents to prove your residence status in Singapore, between the age of 17 and 75 is eligible to purchase one Elastiq policy.
The first payment can be done via FAST transfer, PayNow or Direct Debit from a bank account which will activate your policy. Subsequent top-ups in multiples of SGD $500, minimum sum of $500, can only be done via TiqConnect, an individual login portal where you have an overall view of the policies you have with Etiqa. If you find performing adhoc top ups is a hassle, there is an option to set recurring top ups. Please do not make the same mistake as yours truly where I performed a FAST transfer using the method as the initial top up. Apparently Elastiq does not recognise that transaction and I had to follow up with Elastiq to get my top up reflected in my account.
Partial withdrawal in your Elastiq account may be performed after 90 days in multiples of SGD $500. Full surrender of the policy is also possible though I must highlight the fact that you are not eligible to re-purchase an Elastiq policy within the same tranche once you have surrendered your policy. There are no withdrawal charges although there is a SGD $5 service fee if your account value falls below SGD $5000.
As you can see above, the immense popularity of Elastiq has resulted in the tranche being closed for further subscriptions. Etiqa is now offering a new tranche, Gigantiq.
Gigantiq comes at a slightly higher rate of return at 2% p.a (1% guaranteed and 1% p.a bonus for the first year). This 2% p.a return rate only applies to the first SGD$10,000 in the first year. Any amount after that will be 1% p.a. The maximum that you can deposit in Gigantiq is SGD$200,000.
There is a minimum account balance of SGD$50, of which the penalty charge is SGD$50 if the account balance falls below.
While there are no withdrawal restrictions, there is a $0.50 service fee for Direct Credit to POSB or DBS.
Sign up using my Etiqa Referral Code: R184228
Referral rewards vary for various products. Kindly refer to their website for more details on Etiqa’s referral program.
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