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.

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