Review: Maybank i-Savvy and StanChart e$aver Savings Account – 1.7 to 1.8% pa on Up to $1 million? No Spending or Income Crediting Required!

Twins separated at birth, Maybank i-Savvy and StanChart e$aver accounts are almost one and the same, and one of the rare occasions one review covers two products. The concept is simple: deposit fresh funds into the account and you will receive almost 2% pa interest. No pesky spending nor income crediting needed.

The catch is that the near 2% rate is usually applicable only for 2 months before it reverts to a pathetic amount, but if you use these accounts together, you can get an ongoing, rather decent interest rate for your savings without having to fulfil the usual activities other bank accounts require. There’s a rather low minimum of $10,000 required, and the maximum is a staggering $1 million of cash savings!

How it works

As of today, the StanChart e$aver account will look at your balance in January 2020 – let’s call this the Assessed Month – to decide how much funds you add are considered fresh funds and hence eligible for bonus interest. If you are new to this account, your balance during the Assessed Month is $0. Thus, every dollar you put into the e$avver account generates interest according to the following:

Deposit AmountInterest Rate
<$50,0001.75% 1.55% pa
$50,000 to < $200,0001.80% 1.60% pa
>$200,0001.90% 1.70% pa

(Right after I wrote this article on 31st Jan, the interest rates for e$aver were cut by 0.20 percentile points on 1st Feb. Previous rates are crossed out and left there for posterity.)

If we placed $60,000 into this account, we’d be getting 1.80% 1.60% pa for the next two months. We are just going to leave it there for a month; we’ll see why in a while.

Do note that the money must come from outside of your StanChart accounts to qualify.

Maybank i-Savvy works similarly, and a little better. Right now, they are giving 1.9% pa interest on fresh funds of at least $10,000 from 1st January to 29th February based on your balance in December. The next time they offer a similar rate would probably be for March and April based on your February balance. That is to say, February is the Assessed Month for Maybank’s next promotion.

Likewise, StanChart will have another period for April and May based on your balance in the Assessed Month of March.

Too long; didn’t read, just do this:

The key is to alternate your funds monthly between the two accounts so that your balance for the Assessed Months for both accounts is $0 ($500 for i-Savvy to avoid a fall-below fee) so that your money always count as fresh, incremental funds for both accounts.

MonthFebMarAprMay
i-SavvyAMXAMX
e$averXAMXAM

AM = Assessed Month (keep $0)
X = Money is placed here

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Returns

Deposit AmountBlended Interest Rate
<$50,0001.725%
$50,000 to < $200,0001.75 % pa
>$200,0001.8% pa

Given that e$aver has worse interest rates now, is it possible to alternate between two i-Savvy accounts for 1.9% pa? The answer is yes: get a second iSavvy account you can control (here’s where your family members come in). The same applies if e$aver starts offering higher interest rates, although it has been paling in contrast to iSavvy in recent memory.

Who is this for?

It is great for high SES people who have so much in cash savings that they have exceeded the caps on their salary crediting bank accounts for bonus interest, which are typically capped at between $70,000 to $100,000. The i-Savvy + e$aver combo gives a home to such funds, and at $1 million maximum it’s quite a roomy shelter.

It’s also good for not so high SES people who want higher interest on their cash savings but for one reason or another cannot fulfil the various requirements typical higher-interest accounts demand.

Some caveats

e$aver can be kept at $0 without any repercussions, but remember to keep at least $500 in the i-Savvy account on alternate months to avoid a fall-below fee.

Do note that the interest rates do change from time to time. Maybank was offering 2% in the last few month of 2019, and it’s now 1.9%. Also, forgetting to alternate the funds in a month breaks your cycle and you will have to skip a month of interest unless you have elsewhere for the funds:

MonthFebMarAprMay
i-SavvyAMUgh, forgotAM (X)No bonus
e$averXAM (X)No bonusNo bonus

As a consequence of not transferring in March, you will not have bonus interest for e$aver for April or May. Transferring the funds out isn’t a solution either as you would hit April which is the AM for i-Savvy’s May and June. By forgetting to transfer for an entire month, you would miss out one month’s worth of interest. Ouch.

It’s not too bad if you forget for a day or two, because your lost interest would be proportionate in the following month, ie. 2 out 31 days = 6.46% of your interest lost. That’s about $102 if you have a million dollars.

“Missed 2 days’ worth of interest on my $1 million savings.”

Conclusion

It may be a bit troublesome to alternate the funds every month, but I imagine people wouldn’t use this as a really long term solution. It works great as a temporary store of wealth, a few months perhaps, and beats fixed deposits of short tenures. Great for situations when you have sums of money you haven’t decided on how to deploy, and it’s better than current Singapore Savings Bond rates while being more liquid.

This is also related to my previous post on getting 3% on your savings account. You can replace UOB One with one of these accounts if you cannot meet the requirements for UOB One.

There’s currently a $20 promo if you sign up for i-Savvy online. Still, place money into whichever account is marked X in the table above (right now it’s e$aver), but there’s no harm in opening an account with Maybank with a small $500 balance to get $20 first. Do note that I don’t receive any incentive for this, and it’s for the first 888 so it’s probably already gone? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The good:

  • Generally fuss free 1.8 to 1.9% 1.7% to 1.8% pa interest rate (depending on the promotion)
  • High capacity of $1,000,000

The bad:

  • Interest rates have and might fluctuate (literally after I wrote this article on 31st Jan, the interest rates for e$aver were cut by 0.20 percentile points)

The ugly

  • Forgetting to transfer in a particular month and end up having a high balance during the Assessed Month

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
7 Stars of Sethisfaction

7.2 for iSavvy, 6.8 for e$aver

6 thoughts on “Review: Maybank i-Savvy and StanChart e$aver Savings Account – 1.7 to 1.8% pa on Up to $1 million? No Spending or Income Crediting Required!”

  1. Hi, this writeup is great and perfect timing as I was also recently monitoring rates on this strategy. May I ask please how you managed to get over the minimum Ave daily balance of $1k on e-saver (mentioned no repercussions as opposed to maybank $500 ADB min? Thank you!

    1. Maybank doesn’t allow the balance to be below $10 so they are able to take the fall below fee. The e$aver can be emptied to $0 and there’s no fee charged.

  2. I think the e-Saver, similar to I-Savvy account, also charges a fall-below fee of $5 monthly if your AVERAGE daily balance in a calendar month falls below $1,000. I was charge twice in consecutive months for this – in the 2nd month, I topped up the account to $1,001 near the end of the month, not realising that the average balance for the month was still below $1,000 and hence was charged the fall-below fee again.

    1. Hi Victor, as mentioned in my comment above, e$aver doesn’t charge fall-below fee if the balance is $0. It will do so if the balance has enough funds for it to deduct.

  3. Hi Seth, thanks for the insight! So the transfer should be done on the last day of the month? Can we do a scheduled transfer in advance using mobile apps?

    As you said, they will not deduct fall-below fee if e$saver is $0. Will they deduct the fee when you transfer back the money in the following month?

    1. SC allows for automated monthly funds transfer but not so sure about Maybank.

      From what I know, it will try to deduct the fee after each month has ended, and if there are no fees to be deducted it stops there. I have transferred in money after not maintaining the minimum balance and have not been deducted.

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