This article was written in collaboration with OCBC. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg. This article was originally written on 13 December 2018 and have been updated on 1 October 2020 to reflect the new interest rates
After entering the working world, one of the first financial decisions you should make is to choose and open a high-interest savings account, and start using it regularly to maximise the interest you can earn from using your savings account.
High-interest savings accounts are particularly relevant for working adults because they pay account holders bonus interest for fulfilling a simple set of criteria each month. These criteria include crediting your monthly salary to the account, achieving a minimum monthly spend on your credit card, and saving more each month.
One of the most popular savings accounts in Singapore is the OCBC 360 Account. This account is popular not only because it has been around for a while, but also because it’s convenient to use.
How Does The OCBC 360 Account Work?
Let’s start off by understanding how the OCBC 360 Account works.
As of 1 October 2020, the OCBC 360 Account allows account holders to earn bonus interest on the first $75,000 in four areas: Salary, Save, Wealth (Insure), Wealth (Invest) and Grow. You will also earn a base interest rate of 0.05% a year on your entire account.
Source: OCBC 360
One thing that we like about the OCBC 360 Account is that bonus interest in each area can be earned independently. This means you do not need to complete any particular area in order to be eligible for the bonus interests in other areas. You can just complete any of the four areas, depending on your preference.
Salary: Credit your monthly salary of at least $1,800. For this, you earn a bonus interest of 0.4% p.a. on the first $25,000 of your account balance. You’ll earn 0.8% p.a. on your next $25,000 (i.e. between $25,001 and $50,000) and 1.2% for amount between $50,001 to $75,000. If you have $75,000 in your account, your effective interest rate will be 0.8% for this category.
Save: You will earn between 0.1 to 0.4% p.a. if you increase your account’s average daily balance from the previous month’s balance by at least $500.
Wealth (Insure): Purchase any new eligible financial product from OCBC. For this, you earn a bonus interest of 0.4% p.a. on the first $25,000 of your account balance. You’ll earn 0.8% p.a. on your next $25,000 (i.e. between $25,001 and $50,000) and 1.2% for amount between $50,001 to $75,000. Bonus interest will be accorded for a period of 12 months.
Wealth (Invest): Invest in any new unit trusts ($20,000), structured deposits ($20,000) or bonds and structured products ($200,000). For this, you earn a bonus interest of 0.4% p.a. on the first $25,000 of your account balance. You’ll earn 0.8% p.a. on your next $25,000 (i.e. between $25,001 and $50,000) and 1.2% for amount between $50,001 to $75,000. Bonus interest will be accorded for a period of 12 months.
Grow: Maintain at least $200,000 of average daily balance in your account and earn 0.4% p.a. on your first $75,000.
As you can see above, the OCBC 360 Account gives different level of bonus interest for the first $25,000, next $25,000 ($25,001 to $50,000) and amount between $50,001 to $75,000.
How Much (More) Can You Earn Compared To A Basic Savings Account?
If you have $50,000 in your OCBC 360 Account and fulfil the Salary, Save and Invest criteria, you will earn an interest of $59.02 each month.
You can use this nifty calculator on OCBC’s website to calculate how much interest you can earn each month.
In comparison, if you leave your money in a regular savings account (at 0.05% p.a.), you will only receive $2.08 of interest each month – a difference of about $57 each month! This difference becomes even higher once your savings grow.
Who Would Find The OCBC 360 Account Useful?
In the competitive banking world that we live in today, there are also other high-interest savings account that you can also consider. So what gives the OCBC 360 Account its advantages?
# 1 Convenience
With a large network of ATMs and typically shorter queues(remember, you can use UOB ATMs as well!), the OCBC 360 Account is an ideal choice for many working adults in Singapore to credit their monthly salary to. The bonus interest that it gives (0.6% to 1.2%) is one of the highest that you can earn, just by crediting your salary.
We also like the fact that account holders can decide which of the bonus interest criteria they wish to fulfil. Each criteria can be fulfilled independently.
For example, even if you don’t credit your monthly salary via GIRO to your OCBC 360 Account but can increase your account balance each month, and have bought an eligible OCBC wealth product, you can still earn bonus interests in these other areas.
# 2 Rewards You For Building Up Your Savings
The OCBC 360 Account allows you to earn bonus interest if you increase the monthly average daily balance of your account by $500, compared to the previous month.
If you are looking to build up your savings (which is what you should be doing when you first start working), the OCBC 360 Account rewards you for doing so.
According to OCBC, about 70% of their existing OCBC 360 Account users are saving and increasing their account balance by $500 or more each month. So it seems like the majority of account holders would benefit from this.
# 3 Those Who Have Bought Wealth Products From OCBC
If you have bought an investment or insurance product from OCBC, there will be a natural advantage to use the OCBC 360 Account, since you will automatically earn bonus interest from Wealth.
The OCBC 360 Account: A Useful Tool For Young Working Adults
To sum it up, receiving your monthly salary through GIRO, saving more each month, buying insurance and investing in our future are things that most working adults will already be doing each month once they start work.
The idea here is that by consolidating all these activities on an OCBC 360 Account, you can earn higher interest on your savings.