Update 02/10/2020: Singlife Account has reduced its interest rate to 2% p.a.
I’m beginning to really like Singlife. For starters, applying for their insurance policies can be done entirely online. I don’t have to meet my clients, they don’t have to see my ugly mug, and we get policies signed and dusted with maximum efficiency.
Now, they’re really flexing their online chops as Singapore’s leading digital insurer by offering… a savings account (of sorts) that offers 2.5% pa return on your money. No hoops to jump through: there’s no need for salary crediting, card spend, or buying any insurance or investment product.
Technically, this is an insurance product instead of a bank account. What I think is going on is that instead of applying a digital banking license, all Singlife did was to offer an insurance policy that behaved like a savings account to sidestep those regulatory requirements.
But hey, if it walks like a duck and quacks like one, shall we just call a spade a spade? There is absolutely no lock-in period for this product, and it works just like a bank account: you transfer money in via FAST, and you can transfer money out the same way – instantly and without fees.
1% pa on next $90,000
|Tenure||No fixed tenure|
|Conditions||Returns are non-guaranteed|
|Other Features||– Singlife Visa Debit card for spending|
– No forex fees
– Free death coverage of 105% of account value
– Free retrenchment coverage
The “catch” of this account is that the 2% pa is given on a relatively low amount of $10,000. I can see why cash-rich people would scoff at this, but I don’t think anyone should complain. Just place $10,000 in this and put your excess savings elsewhere. Also, the 2% isn’t guaranteed, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue since bank savings accounts interest rates are subject to change anyway.
If you want a guaranteed interest rate, look at Etiqa’s Elastiq plan instead.
The earnings are credited every month from when you start your account (eg. starting an account in mid-March means your returns will be credited in mid-April) , which is a little different from bank accounts which credit interest at the start of the following month.
The sign-up process for this is also pretty painless and it takes all of 5 minutes with your SingPass. Plus, it comes with free insurance: upon death, your dependents get an additional 5% of your account balance (1% if you are 61 or older) capped at $50,000.
Interesting companion card
The account also gives you an optional Singlife Card which is essentially a debit card for the account. Instead of giving cashback or miles, it provides a really interesting reward for its usage: retrenchment coverage.
In the event of retrenchment from a full-time occupation, the benefit will provide your average monthly spend for the past 6 months on the card as a payout for 3 months.
It is a fresh take on card rewards, but not one that is very attractive compared to cold hard cashback or miles. If you spent $1,000 per month, you would get $3,000 in the event you get retrenched, but that’d mean losing significant amounts of cashback and miles over a possibility that may never materialise. I’m sure retrenchment coverage can be bought at a far cheaper rate than the opportunity cost of using this card over other cards.
Perhaps one would put spend that are typically excluded by most credit card companies on this card, such as… insurance! How apt. If your premiums are $500 per month and you put all of that on your Singlife Card, I suppose you get 3 months of $500 when you do get retrenched… hurray? I think I would still try to find ways to earn miles/cashback on my insurance premiums rather than using this card.
What it may come in really handy is its lack of additional charges when used overseas or on transactions not in SGD. It will be converted into SGD at the exchange rate applied by Visa, and Singlife will not impose a fee on it.
Some people may use overseas spending as an opportunity to buy miles (pay FX fee but gain miles), while some may just want the convenience of paying by card and not spend on exchange fees. The latter would find this card useful.
numberless design! Glad this is catching on.
Update 17 March: Got my card and the 16-digit number is on the back of the card 🤷🏻♂️
Limited: Get 1.8% p.a. on your savings
Sign up and App Features
The app is simple and has the basic features necessary of a savings account, and it even tells you the total interest you’ve earned on a daily basis – something which bank accounts don’t.
I like that digital banking is becoming a thing now, and if this account is any indication, it seems that there is a potential of tech companies disrupting banking by providing compelling rates on top of the convenience of doing things digitally. This account opening is by far one of the easiest process I have done for a savings account, which is extra surprising considering how this is technically an insurance product.
Now, all we need is Grab-Singtel to come in with something similar, say 3% on a $30,000 account? One can hope.
- No conditions or requirements for high
2.5%2% pa on your savings
- Simple, usable app, easy sign-up process
- Free death coverage
- Card has no additional forex fees or charges
- Low amount of $10,000 for
- Companion card’s retrenchment coverage isn’t compelling enough to give up cashback/miles
- Having to explain this isn’t a “bank account”, but an insurance policy that acts like a savings account. Ugh semantics
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
8 Stars of Sethisfaction
Update 02/10/2020: Previous rating was 9/10 for its 2.5% p.a. rate. It has since been reduced along with its rate drop.
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