Big Nerf: UOB One Account Interest Rate Reduced

In what is perhaps inevitable, a reduction of interest rate of the UOB One account has been announced. From 1st May 2024, the maximum effective interest rate that one can enjoy from the popular high-yield savings account will be 4% p.a. This is a sizeable drop from the current 5% p.a. on S$100,000 balance.

Here’s a look on how our monthly interest would be affected and alternatives to look at.

Change in interest rates

UOB One applies interest in a tiered fashion: the first S$30,000 gets a certain rate, followed by the next S$15,000 with another rate and so forth. It is usually “top-heavy”, so the highest interest possible is only gotten with a larger bank balance.

The new mechanic is similar except there is a reduction in rates across the existing tiers and two new tiers.

Monthly Average BalanceInterest Rate Before 1st May 2024 (p.a.)New Interest Rate (p.a.)
First S$30,0003.85%3.00%
Next S$30,0003.90%3.00%
Next S$15,0004.85%3.00%
Next S$25,0007.80%4.50%
Next S$25,0000.05% (new tier)4.50%
Next S$25,0000.05% (new tier)6.00%
Interest rates assume both Spend and Salary requirements are met

Every single tier has had its rates cut pretty significantly so at first glance, it’s obvious that we are no longer going to get 5% p.a. effective interest rate (EIR) on a S$100,000 balance.

Effective interest rates show the actual impact

The impact is a lot more palpable when we calculate the EIR and the actual interest amount per month:

Monthly Average BalanceInterest Rate Before 1st May 2024 (p.a.)Monthly InterestNew Interest Rate (p.a.)
New Monthly Interest
$25,0003.85%S$80.203.00%S$62.50
$50,0003.87% S$161.253.00%S$125
$75,0004.07% S$254.373.00% S$187.50
$100,0005.00% S$416.673.38%S$281.25
S$125,0004.10% S$427.083.60%S$375
S$150,0003.50%S$437.504.00%S$500

At S$100,000 – the sweet spot to optimise UOB One – the interest has fallen quite dramatically from 5.00% to 3.38% p.a. The monthly interest is reduced by around S$135 which is more than a 30% drop.

Even though the new tiers give bonus interest on amounts above S$100,000, a S$125,000 balance is still better off with the old set of interest rates. Despite the top S$25,000 only getting 0.05% p.a. interest, the entire S$125,000 gets a higher 4.10% p.a. pre-nerf interest compared to the post-nerf interest of 3.60% p.a.

For a balance of S$150,000, the new rates pull ahead compared to the old one, but I imagine very few people are currently maintaining S$150,000 in their UOB One account. A more efficient way would be to max out the UOB One at S$100,000 for 5% p.a, then find another account of 3.5% to 4.88% p.a. to place the remaining S$50,000 for a good EIR. Nonetheless, I imagine there are people who do indeed prefer to just use one account for S$150,000 and be done with it, and this new tier should be useful for them.

No change to requirements

There is no change to any of the requirements of S$500 monthly spend or salary crediting. The workaround should still work and I believe that the bank would continue to turn a blind eye to it.

UOB One earmark promo

Another silver lining is that UOB’s Q2 2024 earmark promo is giving as much as S$1,000 for a earmark amount of S$150,000. For a period of 4 months, this is roughly 2% p.a. bonus interest. Coupled with the UOB One’s interest rates, there is potential for as much as 6% p.a. on S$150,000 which is really quite good.

The unfortunate thing is that the bank has caught on to the shenanigans of prepping for their earmark promo. While previous rounds have used the balance of the last day of the previous quarter, this round takes the monthly average balance of March 2024. This means that whether you zero’d your account in March 2024, you have to put additional funds in compared to the monthly average balance of the entire month of March.

I will study this new earmark promo in greater detail so stay subscribed for more updates. At first look, it seems that getting a “Player 2” to start a new account to earmark S$150,000 can be a relatively decent thing to do.

Alternatives

Presently, other high-yield savings accounts that come close to UOB One’s rates are OCBC 360 and StanChart Bonus$aver. I’ve already written a guide for OCBC 360, and will soon follow up with one for Bonus$aver. I feel that Bonus$aver is perhaps the closest replacement for UOB One, but the bad news is that I suspect UOB wouldn’t be the last bank to cut rates in the near future.

Update: Bonus$aver will slash interest to a maximum of 3.63% p.a. from 1st May 2024. Thanks Midoriya from the Telegram

History has a penchant for repeating itself – the last time I wrote about UOB One dropping rates was exactly 4 years ago. UOB has something against April Fools and leap years, I guess.

If history is any indication, other banks would soon follow. Subscribe to stay updated on such news and ways we can navigate these nerfs and seek out alternatives.

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5 thoughts on “Big Nerf: UOB One Account Interest Rate Reduced

  1. Article in the ‘salary workaround’ seems to suggest that users are unable to transfer funds from one account to another using ‘Salary’ as the description. However this article alludes user can still employ this ‘pro-tip’. Able to clarify what works?

    1. I also had this question after reading the post. From my calc it looks to have dropped to an effective rate of 4% if you maintain $150k balance.

  2. I always feel like when I finally get something and enjoy it, it’s taken away as quick as I can enjoy it… What the heck.

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