Saturday, October 22, 2011

Favourite bank account in Singapore - CIMB StarSaver account

Starting 14 Oct 2011, Singapore's largest banks DBS and POSB are cutting savings interest rate for the first SGD100k from near zero(0.125%) to almost zero (0.05%). (Source) It cannot get worse.

Don't be too quick to condemn the bankers as greedy and all out to squeeze profits out of small depositors. Big banks like DBS/POSB which are flushed with cash deposits are not as keen to attract more deposits as the smaller banks. Understandably, too much cash can be burdensome to the banks if they are not able to allocate the huge cash deposits into investments with returns that beat the savings rate. Therefore, it is a win-win situation that we depositors allocate more of our savings to the smaller banks who not only offer higher interest rates but also do a better job at putting our savings to better use because capital allocation is easier when capital size is smaller.

Currently, my favourite bank account is the CIMB StarSaver account. It simply beats the competition hands-down. It is a no-brainer to open this account with CIMB. The lowest savings interest rate start at 0.5% which is already 10 times more than DBS's 0.05%. Depositors enjoy up to 0.8% rate if they make regular deposits of SGD500 monthly. Please go to the website for details.

There is no fall-below fees and no minimum deposit requirement unlike most other bank accounts I came across.

Another feature that makes it superior are the free cheque books provided. The other banks I know of charge SGD2 a month (SGD24 annually) for maintenance and SGD15 for each new cheque book. If someone knows of a better deal, please inform me. A cheque book is a necessity for people who need to withdraw substantial sums of money from time to time. These are usually the people who make their own financial investments.

With the highest savings rate and the free cheque book, I keep the bulk of my savings in CIMB StarSaver account.

There are disadvantages with this bank account to take note. CIMB has very few ATM machines and only 2 branches in Singapore as of today. So, it is not convenient to withdraw money and do face-to-face banking with them. You can still do internet banking with them. To work around this problem, I put the bulk of my savings with CIMB but keep a smaller amount of money in the local banks to make use of their vast network of ATMs and branches. On this aspect, our local banks are superior to the foreign banks in Singapore.


  1. You are putting the bulk of your hard-earned savings at risk by putting it in a small, foreign bank like CIMB. 2008 has shown that even big banks can go bankrupt. Never say never. Better be safe than sorry. Why be greedy for that extra 0.5% gain and risk your hard-earned savings?

    I am still keeping most of my savings in DBS.

  2. "There is no fall-below fees and no minimum deposit requirement unlike most other bank accounts I came across."

    I've checked the website and it showed that there's a min initial deposit of $5000

  3. SGD5000 is the initial minimum deposit. After depositing SGD5000, you can withdraw everything without suffering any fall-below fees. However, I doubt if anyone would want to withdraw everything when this account offers the highest interest rate, at least for the moment.


    Choose the "Fee & Charges" tab. You will see that the fall-below fee is nil.

  4. "You are putting the bulk of your hard-earned savings at risk by putting it in a small, foreign bank like CIMB. 2008 has shown that even big banks can go bankrupt. Never say never. Better be safe than sorry. Why be greedy for that extra 0.5% gain and risk your hard-earned savings?"

    Please see my reply at

  5. While you can withdrawl the initial $5K after opening the account, but there will also be no interest for any money (<$5K) left in the account.

    1. Not having any interest for less than $5,000 is still better than getting charged for having less than S$3,000 (e.g. UOB current account)

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