With the recent OCBC phishing scam that caused millions of dollars to be stolen from at least 469 OCBC bank accounts in Singapore, one of the first things I did was to transfer some money from my bank accounts to my SingLife account to protect against online theft of my hard-earned savings.
The smart reader will ask the following questions about the SingLife account;
Question) Why is money in SingLife account 100% safe from online thieves?
Answer) Money in SingLife account can only be withdrawn to a bank account bearing the same name as your SingLife account.
This way, even if a thief manages to gain access to your SingLife account, he cannot steal your money because he cannot withdraw your money. The OCBC phishing scam cannot work on SingLife account even if the scammers managed to break into the account.
Question) Is my money in SingLife as financially safe as money in banks?
Answer) Money in SingLife account is equally safe as money in banks because it is also protected by government deposit insurance.
The amount of money protected is up to specified limits by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The keywords here are "up to specified limits", as clarified by SingLife who earlier said that funds in the SingLife account are protected up to $100,000 by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Question) Is the interest rate in SingLife higher or lower than savings bank accounts?
Answer) The interest rate in SingLife is higher than savings bank account for first S$10,000.
As of 6Feb2022, the interest rate is 1.0% per year on the first S$10,000.
Amounts above first S$10,000 up to S$100,000 will earn 0.5% per annum return.
Amounts above S$100,000 will not earn any return.
I am not aware of any Singapore bank who pays more than 1% annual interest rate for first S$10,000. If you know, please drop me a comment.
Question) Is money in SingLife as liquid as money in banks?
Answer) You can withdraw money from SingLife anytime you want.
A maximum of SGD20,000 can be withdrawn per day from SingLife account to your bank account. If you use FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers) banking transfer, the transaction is almost instant. This level of liquidity is sufficient for most Singaporeans. Perhaps 99.99% of Singaporeans.
Question) Can money in SingLife be conveniently spent on shopping trips?
Answer) Yes, Singlife provides a Visa Debit card.
There will be zero FX fees imposed on overseas purchases. This is a great advantage over many credit cards which impose a foreign transaction fee on overseas purchases. FX fees typically add up to 2-4% of your converted SGD amount.
On top of the 2-4% savings on overseas purchase, there are no annual fees unlike credit cards.
I am aware that most credit cards will waive off the annual fees if you ask but that is provided you remember to call them up. This is an extra hassle and if you forget, you will be charged the annual fee. If you own several credit cards and seldom use some of them, it is likely that you will forget about it and get charged the annual fee.
One warning about debit cards is that it introduces the risk that money can be stolen from your account when you lose your card or when you fall victim to phishing/hacking scams.
Disclosure: I did not activate my debit card when I signed up for SingLife account.
On top of these benefits, Singlife provide insurance coverage for the following events;
- Death or terminal illness
Amount covered is up to 105% of Singlife account value.
In other words, if your SingLife account has $10,000, the claimable amount is $10,000 (account value) + $500 (5% of account value) upon death or terminal illness. The total claim will be $10,500 or 105% of the account value.
- Retrenchment benefit
If account holder is retrenched, SingLife will pay him retrenchment benefit. The amount paid will be based on the average amount spent on your SingLife debit card for the past 6 months before the date of retrenchment.
A note to the reader regarding this retrenchment benefit. If you sense that retrenchment is coming, please do not deliberately spend more to raise the potential retrenchment benefits. Firstly, there is no certainty that the retrenchment will happen. Secondly, if times are going to be bad and you are going to lose your job, you should be saving and not spending more money. What you can do if you think retrenchment is coming is to start using SingLife Debit card on your daily unavoidable expenses like groceries. If retrenchment does happen, then the retrenchment claim should be able to cover a few months of grocery expense.
You can get the details on the insurance coverage here.
The terms and conditions are available here.
Applying for SingLife account
If you like what I wrote about SingLife and are interested in getting a SingLife account, you can apply by clicking on this link on a smartphone. If you sign up with this link which contains my invite code 184Igxn8, SingLife will reward you with $5 after you top up $10 into your SingLife account and activate your SingLife Visa Debit Card.
Disclosure: I will also be rewarded with $5 if SingLife rewards you with $5. Win-win situation. Although I stand to gain some monetary reward if you activate your Debit card, I feel obligated to repeat my earlier disclosure that I did not activate my debit card because of the security risk mentioned earlier.
Singlife is my favourite low-risk, low-interest savings/insurance account today. For higher risk-seeking individuals who would like to earn higher annual interest rate of 12% in USD-equivalent deposits, please read my experience with Hodlnaut account.