3 Best Bank Accounts for Undergraduates
 
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3 Best Bank Accounts for Undergraduates

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You’re about 2-years shy of graduating, having your first job and facing the real world (‘adulting’ as millennials call it), yet you haven’t really thought about the type of bank account you should sign up for. It’s high time you started.

This is especially so for all you undergraduates or recently ORDed personnel. Yes, YOU

It’s time to put your savings into the best possible accounts to max out your interest gains & make your money work for you.

TL;DR: 3 accounts to maximise your savings and spend your money efficiently

Millennials form one of the world’s most powerful consumers. It would seem as if our spending powers were limitless, which makes us wonder – what can we do better?

The answer is to choose the most suitable bank account for yourself, amongst the multitude of bank products out there.

To that end, here are 3 of the best accounts out there to make the most out of your money when it comes to spending AND saving! #realtalk

Bank AccountInterest %Minimum Balance RequirementFeesAge Requirement
OCBC Frank$10,000 - 0.2% per annum
$10,000 to $100,000 - 0.3% per annum
$100,000 to $500,000 - 0.4% per annum
$1,000 if you're above 26$2 per month if minimum balance falls below $1,000 (Above 26 yrs old)16
DBS E-Multi Currency-$3,000$7.50 (After 29 yrs old)18
CIMB Fast Saver$50,000 - 1% per annum
> $50,000 - 0.6% per annum
$1,000
-16

1. Daily Expenditure – OCBC Frank Account

Having more than one account may seem like a hindrance, but this method has its benefits as well.

For one, the availability of a separate account for the sole purpose of daily expenditures comes in handy if you’re actively trying to save money while indulging personal pleasures.

Here’s how!

Unlike other basic savings accounts offering upwards of 0.05% interest rates, you’re entitled to 0.2%  interest rates on your first $10,000!

To put that into perspective, consider the following:

  • Assuming you’re undergraduate with a part-time job, earning $8/hr, totalling to $768 a month (8 hours a day, 3 times a week).
  • 1 year = $9,216
  • Interest earned in 1 year = $18.432

Not exactly the most attractive figures out there, but hey – every bit counts.

What’s good:

  • No other conditions such as initial deposit amounts
  • No minimum credit card spend and salary credit.

The catch? Upon reaching your 26th birthday, you’re required to maintain a minimum balance of $1,000. Anything less and a $2 penalty per month applies.

Saving Goals

Saving can be tricky, especially when the word has been muddled with limited-time sales and discount coupons. What it should be about is dedicating a portion of your monthly allowances or salary to your savings account, before spending.

To do that, you’ll need to strike a fine balance between dedicating a % of your money into savings and another % into daily expenditures.

How do you make better decisions then? The answer – OCBC’s Saving Goals. Simply put, they are mini accounts within your savings account to “lock” your money, effectively rendering these sums un-usable till you’ve decided to release them.

Bear in mind that these mini accounts require an additional step to unlock, thereby acting as an added obstacle.

Money Insights

Managing money not one of your strong suits?

Well, OCBC has an automatic, computerised tracking system to do the money tracking for you!

Knowledge is power and with this tool, you can now analyse how much, when and where your money is flowing into at the touch of a button – Easy!

(Source: FrankbyOCBC Website)

Personalisation

(Source: FrankbyOCBC Website)

Choose from 120 uniquely designed cards because who doesn’t love personalised credit/debit cards?

Find out more here.

2. DBS E-Multi Currency Account

Summer, Winter Overseas Exchange. Black Friday Sales. Sounds familiar? I bet they do.

While these are admittedly incredibly exciting events to look forward to during our younger days, the costs associated with them are (no-surprise) not so fun.

So instead of needlessly worrying about details such as overseas transactions costs, exchange rates and withdrawal fees, why not let an all-in-one bank card do it for you?

Expenditure in Foreign Currencies

Think about it – the most common strategy would probably involve heading to the money changer to exchange a pre-allocated sum of money for your travels.

That in itself already involves the hassle of:

  • Finding the best money exchange rates
  • Travelling down to said money changer
  • Carrying cash around and making sure it does’t get stolen while in and out of country

Instead of making your life unnecessarily difficult, the DBS E-multi currency account gives you immediate access to 12 foreign currencies.

Here are their rates:

CurrencyAmountInterest Rates
SGD1st $10,0000.05%
Next $90,0000.05%
Next $250,0000.15%
Next $650,0000.23%
Remaining balance >$1m0.25%
AUD1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000.30%
Remaining balance >$1m0.30%
CAD1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
CNH (Renminbi)1st $10,0000.05%
Next $90,0000.25%
Next $250,0000.25%
Next $650,0000.50%
Remaining balance >$1m0.50%
CurrencyAmountInterest Rates
EUR1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
HKD1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
JPY (YEN)1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
NZD1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000.30%
Remaining balance >$1m1.05%
CurrencyAmountInterest Rates
NOK (Kroner)1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
GBP1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
SEK1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
THB (Baht)1st $10,0000%
Next $90,0000%
Next $250,0000%
Next $650,0000%
Remaining balance >$1m0%
USD1st $10,0000.03%
Next $90,0000.03%
Next $250,0000.03%
Next $650,0000.05%
Remaining balance >$1m0.10%

Linking Your Card with MCA

Now that we’ve got the interest rates out of the way, the next steps are essentially just filler procedures to streamline your spending and transfer processes.

All you need to do is to link your Visa Debit Card to the MCA and you’re good to go. Easy!

The account functions by having different “wallets” within to store your various currencies. I.e. by transferring money from your SGD wallet to the USD wallet, your Singapore dollars undergo some banking magic and the current exchange rate to become US dollars.

As long as you’ve got the specified currency in your MCA, you can pay for foreign transactions using that currency, minus any foreign exchange fee!

Savings

Thanks to this account, you’d hardly need to carry cash when travelling overseas. (Also, cash is dirty and full of germs.) Just convert whatever you need using your mobile banking app and pay for purchases using your debit card.

The only downside to this account is that currencies available are still quite limited.

Find out more here.

3. CIMB FastSaver Account

This account aids in accumulating your savings FAST. At 1% interest for the first $50,000 you’ve got one of the best deals in town. To put that into perspective, most of the savings accounts offered by DBS offers 0.05% interest on the first $50,000 (Excluding multiplier accounts of course).

However, this expectedly, comes with its own limitations. You must maintain a minimum balance of $1,000 in order to earn the 1% interest rate.

As a huge plus, you need not fulfil multiple conditions such as crediting salary or credit card spend. Simply, maintain the minimum deposit and you’re on way towards attaining your financial goals.

Find out more here.

$ Maximising Strategy

Assuming you’re a student (receiving a modest monthly allowance) and working part-time, you can do the following

  • Deposit your part-time salary into OCBC FRANK & earn 0.2% interest. (Assuming you draw $768 a month, that’s $18.432 of interest in a year.)
  • Deposit your allowances into CIMB FastSaver & earn 1%.
  • Open a DBS Multi Currency Account to lock in foreign currencies and reduce payment of unnecessary foreign transaction fees.

So…. here’s my strategy!

First, I’ll put the savings I have (that I don’t think I need for the next few months) into CIMB Fastsaver to earn the 1% interest.

Currently, I still get allowance from my mom (thank you Mami!) and also some extra cash doing freelance projects and my internship. These go straight into my OCBC FRANK to earn 0.2% interest.

I usually decide at the start of every month what I would need to spend on my needs, along with a bit of extra money for fun. I then transfer this into my fun account AKA the DBS e-Multi-Currency.

Of course, it’s not a problem to spend from your OCBC account. But when your budget has been depleted from your fun account, the alert would as a good reminder to check your spending ways.

Further Reading

For further reading, you can check out the Best Savings Account for Students in 2018.


Seedly Contributor: Dollar Scholar Squad

For more about the bank accounts that other undergraduates like to use, listen to our podcast “Money Bites” on Spotify here. On the train, when you’re pooping, anywhere!

Remember to download Seedly’s expense tracker to visualise your transactions from all your bank accounts. It’s free and secure, we use it ourselves!

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