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Assessment of Cash Lock – OCBC vs. DBS vs. UOB


When you have cash in any of the native 3 financial institution accounts, congratulations, now you can activate a “cash lock” characteristic to lock up a portion of your funds in order that it can’t be transferred or withdrawn. The brand new safety transfer was formalized in December 2023 as a part of enhanced banking safety measures in Singapore, however the dangerous information is, if you happen to’re on DBS / UOB, you’ll have to consider whether or not you’re prepared to surrender your (greater) curiosity in alternate for this extra safety.

Background: enhanced safety wanted to thwart scammers

The rise in banking scams right here lately have led to many Singaporeans shedding their lifelong financial savings, or retirement funds. Final 12 months, greater than S$330 million was siphoned out of victims’ financial institution accounts right here, with Singapore victims shedding essentially the most to scammers globally. What’s extra, the profile of victims have modified as it’s not the aged who fall prey, and in keeping with the Singapore Police Drive, younger adults at the moment are the more than likely to be cheated in scams.

This has been closely mentioned in Parliament, with a helpful consequence being that our 3 native banks have now moved to launch a “cash lock” characteristic on deposits. This permits prospects to “lock up” their funds in order that they can’t be transferred out, thus safeguarding depositors’ hard-earned monies whilst scammers proceed to evolve their rip-off techniques to cheat extra unwitting victims.

I’ve shared my ideas about how this transfer is nice for Singaporeans in a latest Mediacorp Channel 8 interview right here:

In latest weeks, all 3 native banks have launched their “cash lock” characteristic, though every comes with totally different executions. Essentially the most vital distinction maybe boils right down to how a lot curiosity your “locked” funds will earn – and the charges aren’t fairly for a few of the banks.

It’s fairly telling that in Singapore, out of the 47,000 accounts and $3.8 billion that has reportedly been locked, OCBC owns the bulk share at 33,000 accounts and $3.2 billion locked (~85%).

On this article, I dive into the variations between every financial institution’s cash lock characteristic, and query why, by selecting to lock up our monies and defend them from scams, we shoppers must forfeit (greater) rates of interest that we might in any other case earn in our default Excessive-Yield Financial savings Account.

Right here’s how every of the three native banks fare:

Not like OCBC, the place your locked funds proceed to qualify and earn bonus curiosity, each DBS and UOB have opted for a totally totally different strategy, ensuing of their prospects having to decide on between larger safety (by locking up their funds) or greater curiosity (with out locked funds).

So earlier than you determine to lock up your funds or which financial institution to lock it up with, please learn to grasp how every of them work, and the trade-offs concerned in every methodology:

DBS digiVault

Prospects of DBS/POSB who want to lock up their funds might want to open a digiVault. Merely put, digiVault is a My Account with added safety the place deposited funds can’t be digitally transferred out.

To entry funds in your digiVault, you’ll need to personally go to a DBS/POSB department to boost a request and confirm your identification earlier than you’ll be able to “unlock” and switch funds again to your private account to liquidate them.

lock? – Open up a digiVault and deposit your funds into the account.
– Funds in digiVault can’t be digitally transferred out.
unlock? You have to to go to a DBS/POSB department in-person and confirm your identification earlier than you’ll be allowed to “unlock” your funds and switch them again to your different DBS/POSB accounts the place they can be utilized.
How a lot curiosity do I earn? 1.8% p.a. (capped at $50,000 per buyer) for 3 months so long as you open earlier than 29 February 2024.

After that, your funds will solely earn 0.05% p.a.

You’ll be able to open up a number of digiVault accounts (e.g. in your financial savings vs. your mounted deposits). Nonetheless, solely the primary digiVault account shall be eligible for the bonus further curiosity.

Lock up your funds for larger safety however accept a decrease curiosity payout, or ignore the cash lock characteristic completely and stick with your current DBS excessive yield financial savings account(s)? You’ll must determine.

OCBC Cash Lock

In distinction, OCBC prospects have it a lot simpler as a result of you do not want to open a brand new checking account to make use of OCBC Cash Lock, for the reason that characteristic is on the market to all new and current OCBC present and financial savings accounts. I merely tapped on the “Cash Lock” on my OCBC app and my funds had been locked up in below a minute.

Funds locked within the chosen account are aggregated with the funds that aren’t locked to calculate the curiosity to be earned. Because of this, this implies you’ll not miss out on the bonus curiosity earned in your account balances for performing on a regular basis banking transactions, particularly for these of us on the OCBC 360 Account!

OCBC’s Cash Lock characteristic sits inside my respective OCBC checking account(s), making it cleaner and simpler for me to handle with out barely any trade-offs on the interest-earning facet.
How to lock? Faucet on “Cash Lock” and select which account funds you want to lock.
unlock? At any bodily OCBC ATMs (together with your card) or financial institution department.
How a lot curiosity do I earn? The curiosity that you’d in any other case earn in your OCBC account e.g. 2.80% on Bonus+ or as much as 4.65% – 7.65% for OCBC 360.

And if you happen to urgently want your funds, unlocking can be a breeze as it may be accomplished at any OCBC ATM just by utilizing your bodily ATM debit or bank card, and your PIN. And if you happen to’re abroad, you’ll be able to submit a request by way of the Secured Mailbox within the OCBC Digital app or Web Banking for a customer support consultant to contact you as an alternative.

UOB LockAway

Just like DBS, you’ll need to open a brand new account – UOB LockAway – and switch in your funds that you just want to lock up. Account opening can simply be accomplished on-line or by way of the UOB TMRW app, whereas unlocking the funds requires you to go right down to a UOB financial institution department in-person together with your NRIC or passport. UOB is not going to be issuing any debit card or ATM playing cards for UOB LockAway accounts.

lock? – Open a UOB LockAway account on-line or at their department.
– Switch in your funds to be locked.
unlock? You have to to go to a UOB department in-person and confirm your identification earlier than you’ll be allowed to “unlock” your funds and switch them again to your different financial institution accounts the place they can be utilized.
How a lot curiosity do I earn? 0.05% – 5% p.a. (tiered), relying on how a lot funds you lock.

UOB advertises their charges as “as much as 5% p.a.”, however that’s largely boosted by the continuing promotional rate of interest, which ends on 31 March. Thereafter, your first $20,000 locked earns you solely a mere 0.05% p.a. And even if you happen to had been to lock up a sizeable sum (greater than $125k), the utmost Efficient Curiosity Fee (EIR) on the LockAway Account continues to be solely 2.45% p.a. for deposits of S$125,000 (from 1 April 2024 onwards):

The Price range Babe take:
Why ought to prospects be made to decide on between locked safety vs. greater curiosity?

Whereas I can perceive that from a business standpoint, this may seem to be an opportune second for the banks to have an excuse to pay us decrease rates of interest in alternate for larger “locked” safety…however that doesn’t imply I prefer it. It could be higher for the banks, however much less so for us shoppers.

Since OCBC can pull it off, I actually don’t see why DBS and UOB couldn’t do the identical and permit prospects to lock their funds whereas persevering with to take pleasure in their bonus rates of interest.

Why can’t DBS/POSB prospects lock their funds and proceed to earn the (greater) rate of interest from their DBS Multiplier or POSB SAYE accounts? Why can’t UOB prospects proceed to earn their UOB One’s bonus curiosity of three.85% – 7.8% p.a., whereas locking up their funds locked from scammers on the similar time?

Should we actually select one over the opposite?

Personally, I refuse to accept decrease rates of interest as a client – so it’s in all probability a very good factor I’ve the entire above-listed Excessive Yield Financial savings Accounts, making it simple for me to lock my funds up with OCBC for the next causes:

  1. It’s tremendous fuss-free (I actually don’t need to must handle and cope with yet one more checking account)
  2. I can nonetheless take pleasure in my excessive curiosity on my OCBC 360 account.
  3. I can simply “unlock” my funds at any ATM with out having to waste time queuing up in-person at a financial institution department, if I wanted to.

With the Financial Authority of Singapore (MAS) now working with different main retail banks to introduce the cash lock characteristic as nicely, I can solely hope that the opposite banks will take a leaf out of OCBC’s books and roll it out in such a manner in order that their prospects would not have to decide on between sustaining their greater curiosity vs. locking up for larger safety.

But when they don’t…nicely, a minimum of there’s nonetheless OCBC we will use.

With love,
Price range Babe




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