This article was originally published on 13 September 2017 and has been updated on 15 October 2020.
Having a newborn in the family is an amazing feeling. Months of anxious waiting dissipate, as you finally carry your little one for the first time. Congratulations, and on behalf of Singapore, thank you for contributing to our birthrate.
Depending on the complication of the delivery, you are likely to spend between two to four days at the hospital. These few days may seem hectic, but it’s nothing compared to how busy you are going to be once you get home, and no longer have the hospital staff tending to the needs of you and your baby.
There are a few things you can do during the first few days in the hospital. One of these would be to sign up for your newborn Child Development Account.
What Is The Child Development Account?
The Child Development Account (CDA) is part of the baby bonus scheme designed to help parents with the cost of raising children. These include a cash gift from the government and the CDA.
The CDA is special savings account where money in the account can be used to pay for educational and healthcare expenses at approved institutions. You can find the list of approved institutions in this list.
CDA benefits come in two components.
CDA First Step
As announced in the 2016 Budget, all Singaporean children born from 24 March 2016 onwards will receive an initial $3,000 in their CDA.
For the first and second child, the government will do a dollar-for-dollar matching whenever parents top up their child’s CDA, up to $3,000.
This amount increases to $9,000 for the third and fourth child, and $15,000 for the fifth and subsequent child.
Sounds Great, How Do I Sign Up?
Good news. To open a CDA, an online submission is all that’s required. You do not need to make a trip to the bank.
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
Once you are eligible, you can proceed to sign up!
Step 2: Sign Up Using Your SingPass
You need to complete a simple online form that would take about 5 to 10 minutes. You can do this during your hospital stay, or even as early as 8 weeks before your child is born. You will need to login using your SingPass.
We suggest signing up after you have completed the birth registration for your child. This way, the system will automatically include your child’s details (i.e. name, NRIC) when you are completing the form.
For first-time parents, you may wish to note that you can register your child at the hospital itself. The registration fees are slightly higher but it saves you from having to make a separate trip down to ICA.
You will be glad to know that you can also apply for your baby’s birth registration and baby bonus (including the CDA) via LifeSG, a newly-revamped app by the government that boasts more than 40 government services being brought under a single app. You can download it on Android and iOS. Find out more about the LifeSG App in this article.
Step 3: Complete The Form
The form is simple to complete. You have to confirm your contact details and choose your preferred mode of communication.
You will also be asked to indicate the bank account that you wish for the baby bonus cash gift to be deposited in. Remember, this is the cash gift, not the CDA. Put in your own bank account details here, or whichever account you want the funds to be deposited into.
Step 4: Select A Bank For The CDA
The CDA is a savings account so you will need to choose a bank that you prefer for the CDA to be opened at. This will be done online, so you do not have to physically head down to any banks. You can select from OCBC, UOB and POSB.
While most banks are pretty homogeneous when it comes to the CDA, there are two factors you should consider when choosing a bank.
Firstly, banks sometimes give you a little extra perk if you open a child’s savings account with them, along with the CDA. Hence as far as possible, try to open the CDA with the bank that you intend to open a savings account for your child in the future.
Secondly, it’s better for you to choose a bank that you already have an existing Internet banking relationship with. This will make it convenient for you to monitor the CDA, since the account will be tied to your name. This way, you wouldn’t need another Internet banking login to access the account.
Step 5: Wait For The Money To Come In
The CDA will be opened by the bank you select in a few days with an initial balance of $3,000. You will receive a notification once this has been done. A NETS card will be issued under your child’s name and sent to your home address. You can then use it to pay for eligible products and services at CDA approved institutions.
Read Also: 6 Ways To Maximise Your Child’s CDA