Sunday, September 20, 2015

Singapore checking/current accounts

I am not going to talk about interest rate for customers because interest rate nowadays is negligible.
Citibank checking account
This is for personal checking account: Minimum balance is SGD5000; below SGD5000, SGD10 fee per month applies; free checkbook.

OCBC current account (bank opens on Sundays)
This is for personal current account: Minimum balance is SGD3000; below SGD3000, SGD7.50 fee per month applies; checkbook is charge at SGD10 per book.

POSB eCurrent account
This is for personal eCurrent account: No minimum balance required (BUT there is the risk of POSB taking money from your SAVINGS ACCOUNT to pay any outstanding amount in the current account); A monthly fee of SGD 2 applies if SAVING ACCOUNT is below SGD1500; SGD10 per checkbook.

UOB current account
For personal current account: Minimum balance at SGD3000; SGD7.50 per month applies if deposit is below SGD3000; SGD10 per checkbook.

Standard Chartered “Cheque & Save” (current) account
For personal account: Minimum balance of SGD5000; monthly fee of SGD2 applies; additional SGD7.50 per month applies if deposit is below SGD5000, thus, if deposit is SGD4999, you pay SGD 9.50 (compared to SGD10 per month for Citibank with same condition); free checkbook

CIMB current account
Note that I don’t like complicated product choices (which CIMB is doing).
For StarSaver account: Minimum initial deposit of SGD5000; there is no minimum balance required (BUT interest to customers is applied when balance is at SGD5000 or above); SGD1 per month applies; Balance below SGD5000 is not charged any additional fee; checkbook cost not mentioned.
For Shariah type, refer to CIMB StarSaver-i account.

HSBC Current account
For personal account: Minimum balance of SGD3000; below that, SGD7.50 per month fee applies; free checkbook

Comparison and my thoughts
  • Minimum balance requirement should be less than SGD5000. SGD3000 seems to be the standard (except POSB which tap into SAVINGS ACCOUNT, which is risky in my opinion because SAVINGS & CURRENT SHOULDN’T BE MIXED!).
  • Not interested in any interest on deposit to customers because the number is negligible nowadays. I would prefer to use the SGD2000 for other investment purposes rather than park it in CURRENT ACCOUNT (which charges 2.5% fee if the balance drops below SGD5000 [Citibank]).
  • I am not interested in FREE checkbook. I haven’t even used up 10% of the 50 pages checkbook given by Citibank! Why would I be bothered with SGD10 per book then? FREE books don’t interest me. Reasonable monthly fee is more enticing.
  • Low to no monthly fee for CURRENT account with requirement for low balance in current/checking account. I prefer to keep SGD3000 in the current rather than park additional SGD2000 for the minimum SGD5000 current account. The extra SGD2000 could have been used in other investments.
  • CURRENT and SAVINGS account should be SEPARATED! Banks that tap into SAVINGS to pay off CURRENT accounts are risky business unless that SAVING is not the only and main savings basket to the customer.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Customers with checking accounts in Singapore should be aware of T&C and bank service fees

What irks me and probably many others is that banks don't work in the best interest of customers. When banks advertise next time, they should just say the truth, "WE WORK ONLY FOR YOUR MONEY & CUSTOMERS ARE JUST NUMBERS".

I have just realized that Citibank checking account had updated their terms and conditions (T&C). It used to be that we have to keep a minimum of $2000 in the account to have the service fee waived. I was surprised to notice that that minimum amount had been revised to $5000. If customers have less than $5000 in their checking accounts, a monthly fee of $10 per month applies. I am charged $50 for 5 months.

What does it mean?

Citibank is earning at least 2.4% pa of interest if my deposit is $4999 (above $5000 for waiver). Or at least 12% pa if my deposit is $1000. Also, if I have $100 in the account, it will only take 10 months for Citibank to wipe it clean.

Now, what upsets me is that Citibank did not contact me to inform about the service fee charges. There is no courtesy call to talk to customers and advice them to top up the deposit so that Citibank will not keep on savaging customers' hard-earned deposits (without them knowing about it; akin to a silent killer, e.g. cancer). If there should be any service charges, we as customers should be made aware of first before Citibank (or any other banks) starts deducting deposits! Furthermore, Citibank should charge us via bills and not by automatic deduction from our accounts! At least with bills, customers are made aware of impending fees or bills to be paid. By surreptitiously deducting our deposit is unfair (especially when some customers don't regularly check online statements) or might be oversea on months' assignment.

Why Citibank bother to get customers' contact details if Citibank will not use that to talk to customers when there is a REAL NEED? To me, the only use of my contact detail to Citibank is to SPAM call me about additional credit cards, more loans, insurance etc. That is not for my best of interest. That to me is a nuisance. It irks me more especially when Citibank failed to call me when they decided to charge me service fees. If Citibank had billed me instead of deducting from my deposit, I would have been less upset. Parking my money with Citibank is not safe anymore after this incident and especially considering that Citibank could at their whims decide to deduct something from my checking account (without notifying account holders). I am deciding to look for alternatives real soon.

Note that I have severed any link/business with Maybank Singapore. The reason: I was upset by the way Maybank handled my online money transfer oversea. I was charged two types of fees to transfer the money, i.e. transfer fee and exchange fee in Singapore for a sum of money that I wanted transferred to someone in Malaysia.

I was shocked to get a call from the recipient saying that the amount I transferred was insufficient. It seemed that Maybank Malaysia decided to charge me a transfer/deposit fee as well (and deducted the sum from the money transferred without notifying me!). That was a big embarrassment to me especially when the exact sum transferred was to pay off an EXACT debt! Nowadays, whenever I see solicitors from Maybank credit cards/services, I simply tell them that I hate the bank they represent and walk off.

I am contemplating of doing the same for CITIBANK.

Sorry, I just needed to vent out my frustration. That was my two cents thought.

Related complaints about fees for checking accounts in other banks

Read also
Singapore Checking/current accounts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Re: Indonesia's Vice-President Jusuf Kalla criticises neighbours for grumbling about haze

I just couldn’t resist responding to this article about some Indonesian politicians’ unsophisticated reply to Indonesian neighbours’ (mainly Singapore and Malaysia) concern about the haze. Read the article here.

"For 11 months, they enjoyed nice air from Indonesia and they never thanked us. They have suffered because of the haze for one month and they get upset" – Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla.

My analogy to the statement above is like this,

“For 364 days, I have given you painless and carefree days, and you have not thanked me. I just give you one day of senseless slapping to your face and you start to get upset”

Do you think that make sense to us Singapore (and Malaysia)?

Just a thought.