facebookMoney Lock Singapore Comparison (2023): DBS vs OCBC vs UOB
281123 Best Money Lock Accounts Singapore

Money Lock Singapore Comparison (2023): DBS vs OCBC vs UOB

profileJoel Koh

Back in the day, our grandparents used to store money in biscuit tins to keep their money safe.

Source: Leftover Currency

Thankfully, we don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of using biscuit tins to store our money, as online banking is so prevalent today. But, this may not be the safest way to store your money.

A joint study by the non-profit organisation Global Anti-Scam Alliance (Gasa) and data service provider ScamAdviser estimated that about US$1.02 trillion (S$1.4 trillion) was lost to scams occurring between August 2022 and August 2023. The study, which surveyed 49,459 individuals across 43 countries, identified that people in Singapore were the biggest scam victims who experienced an average loss of US$4,031 (~S$5,383) per victim.

Jorij Abraham, the Managing Director of Gasa, emphasized that the most prevalent scams globally involve online shopping, identity theft, and investments. Most notably, phishing scams, a form of identity theft, emerged as the most common scam in Singapore in 2022, with 7,097 reported cases and victims collectively losing S$16.5 million, as indicated by figures from the Singapore Police Force (SPF). For these cases, the SPF noted that fraudsters would assume the identities of authorities or reputable organisations to deceive victims into divulging their credit card particulars and banking account details.

What is a Money Lock Account/Feature?

In a bid to protect Singaporeans against these scams, the big three local banks, DBS, OCBC and UOB, have announced new money-locking features where your funds can only be unlocked after you have visited the bank branches in person to verify your identity.

If you are looking to keep your money safe from scams, we’ve done a comparison to help you find which one is best for you!


TL;DR: Best Money Locking Account/Feature (2023) — DBS vs OCBC vs UOB

 DBS digiVault AccountUOB LockAway AccontOCBC Money Lock Feature
Type of Account / FeatureStandalone bank accountStandalone bank accountCan use existing OCBC accounts
How to Unlock/Draw MoneyDBS/POSB branchesUOB branchesOCBC branches (30 Nov)
OCBC ATMs (End Dec)
No. of Branches876333
No. of ATMs1,000+1,000+ (Shared)
Interest Rate (p.a.)1.8% p.a.
(27 Nov 23 - 29 Feb 24)
T.B.C.Up to 7.65%
(OCBC 360)
Min. Balance RequirementN.A.N.A.$10
Rollout / Launch Date27 Nov - 7 Dec 2330 Nov 2330 Nov 23

Click to Teleport:


DBS digiVault Analysis

First up, we have DBS’s money lock account, DBS digiVault.

Source: DBS

The standalone bank account is essentially a standalone My Account bank account with the added security of a physical vault, as it does not allow any online transactions like digital payments and outbound transfers. To access the funds in digiVault, clients must personally visit any of the 87 DBS/POSB branches in Singapore to make a request and verify their identity before initiating any fund transfers from the account.

FYI: The funds in the account are covered for up to $75,000 by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) per bank per person, which means that all your DBS bank accounts share this cap. The account also has no minimum deposit requirement, maximum deposit, or fall-below fees.

Existing DBS/POSB account holders can apply for a digiVault account through their digibank app in the “Apply” section under the “more” tab. Upon approval, customers will receive a push notification in digibank, signalling that their digiVault is ready for use. After approval is granted, you can deposit funds into the account digitally or otherwise.

Accessing digiVault funds requires visiting a DBS/POSB branch for in-person identity verification. Once identity verification is successful, branch staff will assist in transferring funds from digiVault to the customer’s existing DBS/POSB account. The closure of a digiVault account also necessitates a visit to a DBS/POSB branch.

In addition to digiVault, all customers have the option to lock their fixed deposits, preventing any early online withdrawals or changes to the tenor instructions for added security. This feature, now available to all customers, ensures that fixed deposits remain securely locked. Similar to digiVault, customers will have to personally visit a DBS or POSB branch and verify their identity in order to unlock their fixed deposits.

DBS digiVault Promotion

From 27 November 2023 to 29 February 2024, the bank is launching a special promotion to encourage customers to try digiVault. Clients opening and depositing money into a digiVault account can earn an additional 1.80% per annum (p.a.) interest on the first $50,000 of their average daily balance in digiVault during the promotional period. This additional interest will be provided as a lump sum cash gift at the conclusion of the promotion. For clients with multiple digiVault accounts, only the first account is eligible for the extra interest. After the promotion period, the interest rate reverts to the basic account interest rates.

DBS digiVault Launch Date

DBS is planning a staged rollout of digiVault.

Select DBS/POSB clients can create a digiVault account starting Tuesday (27 November 2023), with all clients able to open a digiVault account starting next Thursday (7 December 2023), 8am.

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UOB LockAway Account Analysis

Next up, we have the UOB LockAway Account, a standalone savings account that safeguards your funds against unauthorised online access and hasty financial decisions.

The UOB LockAway Account restricts the availability of deposited funds for online transactions, such as digital payments and outbound transfers. Customers can only access their locked-up funds by visiting any of the bank’s 63 branches in Singapore and undergoing identity verification by presenting their ID cards or passports.

However, you can still view your account or top it up anytime via the UOB TMRW app or on the UOB Personal Internet Banking website.

FYI: The funds in the account are covered for up to $75,000 by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) per bank per person, which means that all your UOB bank accounts share this cap. The account also has no minimum deposit requirement, maximum deposit, or fall-below fees.

Furthermore, it does not come with a chequebook, and existing cards cannot be linked to it. Access to funds is limited to in-person transactions at the bank’s branches.

UOB LockAway Account Promotion

There are currently no promotions available for the UOB LockAway account. However, UOB has stated that they will announce their interest in these UOB LockAway accounts shortly.

UOB LockAway Account Launch Date

UOB will launch the UOB LockAway accounts starting this Thursday (30 November 2023). You will be able to open them in person at UOB bank branches or online via the UOB TMRW app or the UOB Personal Internet Banking website.

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OCBC Money Lock Feature

 

Last but not least, we have the OCBC Money Lock feature.

Source: OCBC

OCBC customers can use OCBC Money Lock to secure their funds in their current OCBC bank accounts, providing robust protection against unauthorised transfers, malware, and phishing scams.

FYI: OCBC bank account funds are covered up to $75,000 by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC) per bank per person, meaning all your OCBC bank accounts share this cap.

Funds that are locked cannot be digitally transferred or utilised for the following purposes:

  1. Local and international transfers, including transfers between a customer’s own accounts.
  2. Initiating or modifying payment arrangements such as GIRO, standing instructions, or future-dated transfers.
  3. Settling bills or credit card payments.
  4. Placing fixed deposits or making investments.
  5. Purchasing or paying for insurance.
  6. Repaying loans or taxes.
  7. Withdrawing cash from ATMs or making transfers.

Customers can continue to conduct transactions as usual with the remaining balances in their accounts that have not been locked. In cases where these remaining balances are insufficient, customers must unlock their funds before proceeding with transactions.

Customers are not required to open a new bank account to utilise OCBC Money Lock; this feature is accessible to both new and existing OCBC current and savings accounts.

The funds locked in the selected account are combined with the unlocked funds to calculate the interest to be accrued. This ensures that customers do not miss out on bonus interest earned through regular banking activities, as seen with popular accounts like the OCBC 360 Account.

The process of locking funds is quick and convenient, accessible through the OCBC Digital app or Internet Banking. Customers choose a deposit account, specify the amount they want to lock (in multiples of S$10, with S$10 being the minimum and the available balance as the maximum), and complete the process.

Unlocking funds is a secure process designed to thwart scammers. It cannot be performed using the OCBC Digital app or Internet Banking. In Singapore, customers can only unlock funds at OCBC ATMs or branches. Authentication at an OCBC ATM involves using a physical ATM, debit or credit card, and the associated PIN. This offline process introduces necessary security measures to prevent scammers from unlocking funds after gaining unauthorized access to customers’ login credentials or mobile devices.

Starting this Thursday (30 November 30, 2023), customers can unlock funds at OCBC ATMs in branches, accessible 24/7, or at any of OCBC’s 33 branches. By the end of December 2023, customers can use all OCBC ATMs across the island to unlock their funds.

Customers residing overseas seeking to unlock funds can submit a request through the Secured Mailbox in the OCBC Digital app or Internet Banking. A customer service executive will contact the customer within four working days, ensuring a rigorous authentication process is followed before unlocking the funds.

OCBC Money Lock Promotion

There are currently no promotions available for the OCBC Money Lock feature. However, you can still enjoy the full interest rate on the balance in your OCBC accounts.

OCBC Money Lock Launch Date

OCBC will launch Money Lock this Thursday (30 November 2023).

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Which Money Lock Account/Feature is the Best?

The main difference in the approaches of DBS, OCBC, and UOB is that DBS digiVault and UOB LockAway Account are standalone bank accounts where customers need to deposit funds for security. In contrast, OCBC Money Lock can be applied to any existing customer bank account without the need to create a new one.

Thus, in our humble opinion, OCBC’s implementation of this feature is currently the best as you do not need to open a new bank account and will still enjoy the full interest from the bank’s high-interest rate savings accounts (E.g. OCBC 360):

Not to mention that OCBC will be the first to roll out ATM withdrawals from this feature by the end of December.

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About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. I hope to help people make better financial decisions and not let money control them.
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