Dear OCBC 360,
It pains me to write this break-up letter.
I have actually developed real feelings for you during the past 3 years. Over this period, even though you have decided to gradually give fewer in this relationship (from 3.05% on April 2014 ⇒ 2.25% on May 2015 ⇒ 1.85% on April 2017), I have continued to stick with you. Even when so many others (here, here and here) have told me to move on, I have waited till this point. You were definitely not a fling to me.
But it appears now that our relationship is truly broken. From this month onwards, because there is no salary being credited to you, you have decided to provide just 0.65% even though I am spending so much $$$ and time with you. That amount is totally unacceptable and it’s really best for both of us to move on.
Yeah, it’s time to look for a new love.
No hard feelings, OCBC 360. I have given you some pretty glorious reviews over the past few years. But what makes your account tick right now is really the extra 1.2% of bonus interest given to a salary credit (>$2,000). Without that, the effective interest rate becomes pathetic.
In all honesty, I am quite tired of “jumping through hoops” to qualify for a higher interest. This probably explained why we stuck with OCBC 360 for so long, even after the latest revision in interest rates earlier this year.
But hey, even without a salary, we still have to spend money, pay bills and perform some banking transactions and my rational left-brain insists not to leave money at the table. No-frills accounts simply cannot yield a higher interest and there’s some bananas given out when we “jump through hoops”. Yes, I want those bananas.
And so, a quick research on the internet provided me with this conclusion:
For self-employed/entrepreneurs/retirees/those with incomes below $2,000, the UOB One Account could be your best bet.
For the UOB One Account, the critical condition is to spend $500 on your UOB card. This should not be too difficult for a household. Our household averages $1,000 on this front.
- If one charges telco and broadband fees to the card, that’s easily $100-$200.
- Add in groceries at supermarkets ($100-$200) and restaurant meals ($200-$300) and there you have it.
- For others, it could be Grab or Uber rides or even departmental store purchases.
And if one doesn’t have a $2,000 salary credited to the account, the alternative of 3 monthly giro transactions would work to qualify for additional bonus interest. I personally recommend to have at least 4 as a buffer. The possibilities include:
- Income Tax
- Medisave Contribution for Self-Employed
- Other Credit Cards
- Monthly Insurance Payments
The 15HWW household has AMEX bills to pay (dining privileges), two POSB Everyday Cards (EZ-Link usage) and upcoming mandatory Medisave Contributions for self-employed. So really, I foresee no issue on this front.
If we do the above and park ≥ $50,000 in the account, over a year, we would receive at least $1,216 in interest. The effective interest rate will likely be above 2.4%!
In my opinion, pairing this account with the UOB One Card for the spending portion is the best option to max out the benefits. If one charges slightly above $500 for three consecutive months, a quarterly cash rebate of $50 is provided which should amount to a 3% cashback.
A potential hassle for most people is the tracking part, but hey, who are we talking about here?
A more likely concern for the 15HWW household and other self-employed or retirees is whether we can qualify for the UOB One card to get that additional $200 of credit card cashback.
But well, even if we had to use a debit card and forgo the cashback, it’s still not a dealbreaker. If I deduct the $200 from the account interest, the effective interest rate would still be above 2%.
But I would prefer to have the additional chocolate sauce on my ice-cream. So if any UOB credit card sales personnel/banker is reading this post, feel free to contact me and drop me an email.
I am a low-lying fruit. Otherwise, I would be making my way down to the nearest UOB branch to set up my UOB Account this Friday morning.
Dear UOB One,
I hope you would behave much better than OCBC 360. I want to make you the main ONE and establish a true banking relationship with you. No 360 or 180 degree changes down the road would be great and please do not grow complacent and start giving less to this relationship a few years (or even months!) down the road.
Let’s start dating!