SINGAPORE – Standard Chartered Bank has raised the maximum interest rate on its Bonus$aver account to 7.88 per cent a year – its highest ever for the product – up from 4.88 per cent.
This is the latest move as banks raise the rates on savings accounts amid stiff competition for customers’ deposits, which are one of the cheapest sources of funds for banks and help them incur lower costs in lending money to borrowers. Players started to raise the interest rates on their flagship accounts from August 2022.
The Bonus$aver’s maximum interest rate is now the highest among players here, but customers will need to fulfil criteria that include crediting a salary of at least $3,000 and spending at least $2,000 on a card linked to the account. Customers also need to invest, buy insurance and pay their bills through the bank to get the 7.88 per cent rate on balances of up to $100,000.
UOB, which now has the second-highest rate of 7.8 per cent a year, offers it on account balances between $75,000 and $100,000 when customers credit their salary of at least $1,600 and spend at least $500 a month on an eligible UOB card.
This is the second time StanChart has raised the terms of its Bonus$aver account amid a rising interest rate environment stemming from the United States Federal Reserve’s rate hikes to dampen red-hot inflation. The bank raised the maximum rate from 2.38 per cent to 4.88 per cent a year in October 2022.
The qualifying criteria for its various categories are unchanged.
Customers can now get bonus interest of 1.25 per cent a year when they spend at least $500 with their Bonus$aver credit and debit cards, up from 0.6 per cent a year previously.
The rate is 2 per cent a year when customers spend at least $2,000, compared with 1.6 per cent before.
Customers can also get bonus interest of 2.5 per cent a year when they credit their salary of at least $3,000, up from 1.2 per cent previously.
They can earn bonus interest of 1.5 per cent a year for both investments and insurance, compared with 1 per cent before.
Customers need to buy an eligible unit trust through the bank, with a minimum subscription sum of $30,000, to qualify for the bonus interest. The requirement for the insurance category is the purchase of an eligible policy with an annual premium of at least $12,000.
The bonus interest for bill payments – when customers make three eligible bill payments of at least $50 each in a month from their Bonus$aver account via Giro or the bank’s online banking platform – is now 0.33 per cent a year, compared with 0.07 per cent before.
The bonus interest rates are on top of the prevailing interest rate that customers earn, which is 0.05 per cent a year, up from 0.01 per cent.
Mr Usman Khalid, StanChart’s global and Singapore head for deposits, mortgages and payments, said investors have lowered their risk tolerance levels given current market conditions and also show a greater preference for liquidity.
“With the new rates from our Bonus$aver and Wealth $aver account, it is a win-win situation for clients who value the flexibility of instant access to their capital, while looking for ways to maximise their interest on their savings,” he said.
The bank also increased the maximum interest rate on its Wealth $aver account to 8 per cent a year, up from 5 per cent previously. The account is available only to StanChart’s priority banking clients who have at least $200,000 of assets under management.
Customers can now earn 3.5 per cent a year, up from 2 per cent, on their first $500,000 in the account if they have assets under management – deposits, investments and insurance – of at least $1.5 million.
The rate is now 2 per cent a year, up from 1 per cent, if they have assets under management of $200,000 to $1.5 million.
The bank is also giving a promotional bonus interest rate of 3 per cent a year, accrued for six months, for eligible customers who sign up for the Wealth $aver account. This is up from the previous rate of 1.5 per cent a year.