This article was originally published on 25 October 2019 and has updated with new information.
A bank account is essential for helping us manage our savings and finances. We can pay our bills with it, transfer funds to others, keep cash for contingencies that we can conveniently access from an ATM network, and more.
However, many bank accounts in Singapore have a minimum average balance (usually from $500 to as high as $3,000) that has to be maintained in the account each month. If this balance is not met, a monthly fall-below fee of between $2 and $5 is imposed.
For those who don’t want to be penalised because they don’t pay attention to their monthly balances or are tight on cashflow, here are 4 bank accounts that do not come with any fall-below fees:
|Bank||Account||Main Features At A Glance|
|Standard Chartered||SuperSalary||– Receive 0.2% on top of regular time deposit rate if your account is funded by payroll
– Enjoy 1% cashback on eligible MasterCard spend with the free Cashback Debit Card
|OCBC (In Conjunction with NTUC)||Plus! Savings Account||– Comes with Plus! Visa Credit / Debit Card|
|ICBC Singapore||Current Account||– Free cash withdrawal at all ICBC ATMs within Mainland China with ICBC UnionPay Debit Card
– All current accounts are multicurrency accounts. Deposit and save multiple currencies such as SGD, RMB, USD and EUR in a single account
|CIMB Bank||CIMB FastSaver Account||– Enjoy an interest rate of up to 0.75% per annum on deposits|
We examine these 4 bank accounts with no monthly fall-below fee based on the following factors: 1) Interest Rates; 2) ATM/Debit Cards; 3) ATM Networks; 4) Cheque Book; 5) Other Ancillary Charges.
#1 Interest Rates
|SuperSalary||– Base interest rate of 0.03% per annum
(New-to-product customers enjoy an additional rate of 0.27% per annum on the average daily balance for the first 8 calendar months, subjected to a maximum of $1,000,000. Promotion ends 31 December 2021)
|Plus! Savings Account||– 0.05% per annum on the first $50,000
– 0.05% per annum on the next $450,000
– 0.05% per annum above $500,000
|Current Account||– Base interest rate of 0.10% per annum on SGD deposits
– Base interest rate of 0.50% per annum on RMB deposits
– Base interest rate of 0.08% per annum on USD deposits
|CIMB FastSaver Account||– 0.30% per annum on the first $50,000
– 0.50% per annum on the next $25,000
– 0.75% per annum on the next $25,000
– 0.30% per annum above $100,000
(Interest will only be paid with deposits of more than $1,000. An initial deposit of $1,000 is required upon account opening.)
As you can see from the comparison, CIMB FastSaver Account offers the highest base interest rate of 0.30% per annum on deposits. However, do note that you need to place an initial deposit of S$1,000, and maintain the amount or more in the account in order to earn the interest.
While you can also enjoy up to 0.30% interest on Standard Chartered’s SuperSalary account, it is a promotional rate for new-to-product customers and only lasts for 8 months.
For those who transact in foreign currencies, such as RMB and USD for example, you can consider ICBC’s Multicurrency Current Account, as it is the only multicurrency account with no fall below fee. Moreover, it also offers interest on deposits in foreign currencies.
#2 ATM / Debit Cards
|Account||Card Fees & Features|
|SuperSalary||– Comes with free Cashback Debit Card that earns 1% cashback on eligible MasterCard spend using the card|
|Plus! Savings Account||Credit Card:
– Annual fee of $107 waived on the first year
– Fee waiver from 2nd year onwards with $2,500 charged in Visa transactions each year.
– Annual fee of $24 waived on the first year
– Fee waiver from 2nd year onwards with $1,200 charged in Visa transactions each year.
|Current Account||– Comes with free ICBC Visa (USD) and UnionPay (RMB) Dual Currency Debit Cards.|
|CIMB FastSaver Account||– ATM card at $10 per card upon request|
Unlike other bank accounts, the CIMB FastSaver Account does not come with a free ATM card. But the lack of ATM card should not be a major problem for those seeking a bank account solely for the purpose of putting aside their savings. In any case, you can apply for an ATM card at a charge of $10.
On the other hand, the SuperSalary Account comes with a free MasterCard debit card that awards a 1% cashback on eligible MasterCard transactions. As we all know that many debit cards on the market come with limited perks, therefore the 1% cashback on the debit card is an attractive feature, especially to those who prefer not to transact using credit cards.
If you transact often in USD (or RMB in Mainland China), ICBC’s debit cards come with dual currency function (SGD and USD for Visa, and SGD and RMB for UnionPay), where transactions will be deducted directly from the corresponding foreign currency deposit in the account.
Read Also: How Safe Is The Money In Your Bank Account
#3 ATM Networks
|SuperSalary||– Standard Chartered ATMs
– ATM5 ATM network
– soCash via SC Banking App
|Plus! Savings Account||– OCBC and UOB ATMs|
|Current Account||– ICBC ATMs
– soCash app linked to ICBC Banking App
|CIMB FastSaver Account||– CIMB ATMs|
If ease of accessing your accounts or cash via the ATM is important to you, then OCBC’s Plus! Savings Account is the clear winner of this category. Since the account taps on the OCBC banking network, cash withdrawal should not be a problem as you can access your savings through OCBC and UOB bank’s 1,200 ATM network around the island.
On the other hand, customers of Standard Chartered and ICBC Singapore Banks can use soCash to withdraw cash at convenience shops via the SC Banking App (for Standard Chartered) and soCash App (ICBC Singapore) respectively.
#4 Cheque Book
While cheques are no longer as widely used as it used to be, some individuals still prefer to have cheques and some businesses and organisations still (stubbornly) insist on crossed cheques as payments.
|Account||Card Fees & Features|
|SuperSalary||– Cheque book at $10 each|
|Plus! Savings Account||– Cheque book at $10 each|
|Current Account||– SGD cheque book at $15 each|
|CIMB FastSaver Account||– No cheque book provided|
#5 Other Ancillary Charges
|SuperSalary Account||– Non-inward credit fee of $5 will be imposed after the fourth month of account opening if there is less than $1,500 credit received into the account each month|
|Plus! Savings Account||– Counter transactions will be subjected to a fee|
|Current Account||– Maintain at least one transaction every year, otherwise a dormant account fee of USD$10 will be charged each month of account inactivity after a year of inactivity|
|CIMB FastSaver Account||– Counter transactions at $5 per transaction|
While these banking accounts do not charge any monthly fall-below fees, there are certain conditions that come along with such accounts, which is something you should take note of before signing up for them.
For instance, the SuperSalary account is designed mainly for salary crediting. Hence, you need to ensure that there will be a monthly inward credit of at least S$1,500 every month, either through salary crediting or GIRO, to avoid paying the $5 fee.
In addition, transactions over the counter will be charged at a fee for Plus! Savings and CIMB FastSaver accounts, while ICBC’s Multicurrency Current Account charges a monthly dormant account of USD$10 each month for after a year of inactivity (such as a deposit or withdrawal) on the account.
Best Bank Account In Singapore With No Fall-Below Fee
If you want a bank account that rewards you with cashback on your debit card spending, the SuperSalary account should suit your needs, provided that you use the bank account to credit your salary.
For someone who prefers to have the convenience of having a wide ATM network to withdraw cash, the Plus! Savings Account should meet your needs.
If you travel frequently, especially to Mainland China, the ICBC Multicurrency Current Account offers preferential rates on RMB transactions and the ability to convert and hold other foreign currency.
And if you are looking for a no-frills account to stash your savings without locking in to a fixed period, CIMB’s FastSaver Account is probably your best bet, as it offers a relatively higher interest rate compared to the other options.