OCBC tweaks interest rates for popular 360 account

Since OCBC Bank's 360 account was introduced in 2014, deposits on the product have grown 30 per cent year on year.
Since OCBC Bank's 360 account was introduced in 2014, deposits on the product have grown 30 per cent year on year.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

OCBC Bank has announced several changes to its popular savings account, called 360, lowering some interest rates while raising others.

The bank told The Business Times last November that it would "change the construct" of the account, without giving details then.

Starting April 1, a payment bonus - when at least three bills are paid online or through Giro - of 0.5 per cent will dip to 0.3 per cent, and the overall bill payment has to be at least $150, a criterion that was absent before.

Spending at least $500 using OCBC credit cards will no longer yield 0.5 per cent, but 0.3 per cent.

A previous category that had given another 1 per cent interest on the incremental balance between the current month and the previous month will be replaced.

Only those who save $200,000 or more in the account will earn an additional 1 per cent interest, and this is on their first $70,000.

Another category introduced in 2015, where an additional 1 per cent interest was given to those who bought new eligible financial products such as endowment plans of certain amounts, will be tweaked.

Consumers will get 0.6 per cent for lower amounts spent on such products, and those who meet higher limits will earn 1.2 per cent.

There has been a double-digit growth in the number of customers taking up financial products with OCBC since 2015.

OCBC deposits head Ling Seng Chuan said: "As more customers are planning their wealth, we increased the wealth bonus interest and introduced a new wealth bonus tier with lower requirements to make this bonus interest more accessible."

MoneySmart chief executive Vinod Nair said: "I would advise people not to buy an insurance policy or investment products from a bank just to earn the extra interest on your deposit... always compare online." He said while most who have $70,000 to $200,000 in deposits will now earn less interest, "the switching cost probably isn't worth the effort".

Customers can earn up to 3.05 per cent - previously 3.25 per cent - while certain eligible customers can possibly earn 4.05 per cent on their first $70,000, OCBC noted.

The cap to earn bonus interest will rise from $60,000 to $70,000, while a base rate of 0.05 per cent is unchanged, among other things.

The 360 account was last updated in May 2015. Since it was introduced in 2014, deposits on the product have grown 30 per cent year on year.

Mr Ling said: "While there are some reductions in bonus interest, there are also several enhancements. We also reward customers who consolidate balances with us."

Economics tutor Anthony Fok, 32, said: "It's not great... but I also save elsewhere so I'm not that affected."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2017, with the headline 'OCBC tweaks interest rates for 360 account'. Print Edition | Subscribe