Why is the interest rate increasing in Singapore?
Interest rates in Singapore and abroad have been going up drastically since mid 2022. To get an idea of how drastic it is, refer to the SORA table below.
|Value date||1-month Compounded SORA||3-month Compounded SORA|
|31 Jan 2022||0.2328||0.2065|
|28 Feb 2022||0.3101||0.2504|
|31 Mar 2022||0.2949||0.2760|
|29 Apr 2022||0.3588||0.3227|
|31 May 2022||0.9443||0.5263|
|30 Jun 2022||1.0316||0.7720|
|29 Jul 2022||1.8263||1.2712|
|31 Aug 2022||1.9078||1.5967|
|29 Sep 2022||2.2091||1.9732|
|28 Oct 2022||3.2311||2.4534|
|29 Nov 2022||3.3295||2.9007|
|30 Dec 2022||2.7776||3.0966|
|31 Jan 2023||3.3496||3.1307|
|28 Feb 2023||3.5828||3.2352|
|31 Mar 2023||3.6828||3.5420|
|28 Apr 2023||3.5265||3.6047|
|31 May 2023||3.6175||3.6211|
|30 Jun 2023||3.7528||3.6414|
|31 Jul 2023||3.6375||3.6774|
|31 Aug 2023||3.6693||3.6949|
|29 Sep 2023||3.7762||3.7052|
|31 Oct 2023||3.7719||3.7512|
|30 Nov 2023||3.6626||3.7464|
Nowadays, most home loans or mortgages are based on 1-month compounded SORA or 3-month compounded SORA, replacing the soon-to-be-phased-out SIBOR and LIBOR-based SOR.
As the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) increases its interest rate to fight off inflation and manage the rising cost of living in the United States, the rest of the world is inevitably affected as well. In Singapore, the SORA rates have been rapidly rising since Q2 2022.
As a result, home buyers will now have to pay a higher interest rate to finance their property loans. Likewise, businesses with SORA-based loan products will also feel the negative impacts.
On the other hand, the rise in interest rate also means that the bank’s saving account interest rate and fixed deposit interest will increase as well. Almost all major banks are vying to entice individuals with extra cash on hand to place a fixed deposit (FD) with them to prop up their SGD holdings.
A fixed deposit, also known as a time deposit or term deposit, is a savings account whereby a customer will commit to depositing a sum of money with a bank for a fixed period of time. During this period, the money cannot be withdrawn or there may be penalties, depending on the terms of each bank.
Since the banks rolled out the FD promotions, many Singaporeans and residents have been queuing at the banks to get their spare cash to work harder for them. The rates have hit slightly above 4% per annum in 2022 and are the highest seen in 24 years! Beginning 2023, several banks have started to lower the FD interest rates or reduced the tenure for the promotional rates.
If you have spare cash, check out the rates below to benefit from the current situation. We have also included some considerations to ponder before placing a fixed deposit at the end of this page to help readers get an idea of the risks involved. Fixed deposits are not fully risk-free.
List of SGD fixed deposit interest rates in Singapore (December 2023)
Below are the latest interest rates for Singapore Dollar (SGD) fixed deposits offered by major banks and financial institutions in Singapore. To allow apples-to-apples comparisons, we have compiled a list of 12-month fixed deposit tenure placed physically at the counter for all SDIC-insured banks (as of 6 December 2023):
|12-month Fixed Deposit (SGD)||% per annum||Min. Deposit||Renew||Notes|
|RHB||3.6||20,000||–||Only for Jurong East branch or online. 3.68% for premier banking. Same rates apply for 6-month tenure and lower rates for 3-month.|
|HL Bank||3.6||100,000||–||6-month tenure at 3.5% & 3-month tenure at 3.4%. 3.65% for 12-month & 3.6% for 6-month, min $500k.|
|Maybank||3.35||20,000||–||Need bundle deposit into another regular bank account to qualify. iSavvy online deposit at 2.65%.|
|BOC||3.25||5,000||–||3.3% via mobile banking. +0.05% for $300k onwards.|
|Hong Leong Finance||3.25||20,000||–||3.3% per annum for 6-month & 9-month tenures.|
|DBS / POSB||3.2||1,000||–||Rate for first $19999 only. 0.05% from $20000 onwards.|
|UOB||3.1||10,000||–||Same rates for 6 and 10-month tenures|
|ICBC||3.05||20,000||Yes||3.1% via e-bank (min = 500)|
- SBI offers 3.65% per annum for 6-month fixed deposits with a minimum placement of S$50,000. The bank no longer offers 12-month tenure as of 1 December 2023.
- Citibank offers 3.5% per annum interest rate for a 3-month fixed deposit placement and 3.3% per annum for a 6-month fixed deposit between S$50,000 and S$3,000,000 The offer is only open to Citigold and Citigold Private Client. The bank no longer offers any promotional rates for 12-month FD tenure as of 6 January 2023.
- CIMB offers 3.15% per annum interest rate for 12-month SGD Fixed Deposits with a minimum deposit of S$10,000. Preferred banking customers enjoy rate of 3.2% per annum. Other tenure options including 3-month, 6-month and 9-month FDs are available at varying rates between 3.35 – 3.55% per annum. However, this is an online promotion in which the placement has to be made online.
- Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) offers 3.1% per annum interest rate for 8-month SGD Fixed Deposit with a minimum deposit of S$25,000. Priority banking and priority private banking customers enjoy preferential rate of 3.2% and 3.3% per annum, respectively. The bank no longer offers any promotional rate for 12-month FD tenure as of 5 January 2023.
- OCBC offers 3.1% per annum promotional interest rate for a 6-month time deposit placed online (internet banking / OCBC digital app) with a minimum deposit of S$30,000 in cash or CPF. Customers who make a placement at the branch will only get an offer of 2.7% per annum for the same 6-month tenure. The bank no longer offers any special rate for 12-month fixed deposit as of 1 March 2023.
- HSBC offers 3% per annum for a 3-month fixed deposit placement between SGD 30,000 and SGD 199,999.99, and 3.65% for placements from SGD 200,000. 3% per annum for 6-month placement between SGD 30,000 and SGD 199,999.99 and 3.5% per annum placement from SGD 200,000. HSBC no longer offers a 12-month fixed deposit promotion from 1 September 2023.
- While some banks explicitly mentioned that deposits have to be made from fresh funds, some did not. From our ground checks, it is safe to assume that all banks require deposits to be made from fresh funds, unless otherwise stated. Fresh funds means the money for the fixed deposit cannot be transferred from within the same bank or institution.
- Premature termination fee may apply, depending on the terms of each bank.
What are Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) insured deposits?
The SDIC is a company limited by guarantee set up by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to administer an insurance scheme that protects monies placed by individuals and non-bank depositors with banks and financial institutions in Singapore. The insurance covers SGD-denominated deposits only, and up to SGD 75,000 placed with members of the scheme.
In the event that a financial institution or bank collapses, the insurance will compensate the first SGD 75,000 of each depositor’s monies. This applies not only to savings deposits but also to fixed deposits, CPF, and SRS schemes. If a depositor has multiple accounts or deposits with the troubled bank, all accounts will be aggregated and covered up to SGD 75,000 only.
If you are planning to place a fixed deposit, you will need to consider the risk of a bank failing that will make you lose all your monies. To mitigate this risk, though how unlikely it may be, you can split your deposit across different banks up to a maximum of SGD 75,000 each.
Should I place a foreign currency fixed deposit that is offering higher interest rates?
As you go through the fixed deposit interest rates offered by various banks and institutions, you may notice that some foreign currency fixed deposits are offering higher interest rates ranging from 3% to 10%. While you may be tempted to put your money there to earn the higher interest, there are substantial foreign exchange risks involved with this option.
For example, if you intend to place a 12-month CNY-denominated fixed deposit today, you will first need to convert your SGD to CNY. Similarly, when your FD matures in 12 months, you will then need to convert it back to SGD at the prevailing rate. In the event that CNY depreciates against SGD over the year, you will make a foreign exchange loss. The loss may even be more than the interest rate you earn from the FD, depending on how much it depreciates.
Also, it is useful to note that foreign currency denominated deposits are not covered by SDIC insurance. In the event that a insured bank fails, you will lose your principal even if it is a member of the scheme. If you are risk averse and are not prepared to make any losses, foreign currency FD is not suitable for you.