Note – the crediting rates has been revised to 1.5% as of 29 Jan 2021 and will likely be subjected to more changes
I started using Singapore Life (Singlife) account for its 2.5% returns on the first $10,000. In my Singlife review, I write about its various features, the good and the bad, and whether it turned out to be a great option for me. Before I go into the details, a quick update on what’s happening in my life.
2020 has been nothing short of an impactful year. Depending on your personal situation, your experience could have been very negative or positive. If it is the former, I empathize with what you’re going through – I have immediate family members who are going through the same thing.
For the luckier ones, we have been hunkering down and living our lives, hoping for normal to resume in the near future. My luck with building alternative income streams have blossomed this year, despite the onset of the pandemic since the start of the year.
And with that, I find myself having extra cash on hand.
Planning for an event that could happen, and actually living through it are two entirely different things! While we counted our blessings (We Dodged A Bullet By Leaving The Events & Hospitality Industry), it also made me more appreciative of the fact that we had an emergency fund available if we ever needed it.
Plummeting interest rates
With the global situation spiraling out of control, emergency funds that were earning good interest suddenly found themselves in search of better yield.
Of course, one simple option is to put them into USD-denominated stable coins and earn maybe 8% interest? In return, I would have to take on some risk and sacrifice a little liquidity. Nah, maybe not – especially when it comes to emergency funds.
It is no secret that I’m not a big fan of jumping through hoops for better interest rate. Is there really a no-frills option when it comes to better returns on our idle cash?
Before my Singlife review : Note – it is not a savings account
I have been tweeting about Singlife since March 2020 and as with all things, I don’t really write about them unless I’m using it and satisfied that it is a legitimate product that serves my needs well.
I first started small with a $500 deposit. Better be safe than sorry, right? As I got used to the platform, saw how the 2% returns was calculated (in the app, it will state how much interest was earned for the month) and credited, and understood whether it met my expectations, I increased the deposit to $10,000 by June 2020.
In case you haven’t realised it, Twitter is for all things that doesn’t belong on a blog. Or perhaps, you can call it my testing ground for a myriad of products and services relating to personal finance or alternative income. Content that isn’t ready for my blog yet would most definitely be found on my Twitter account.
Back to my Singlife review – first of all, let’s correct a common misconception.
- Is Singlife Account a bank savings account? No, it is not.
- Is Singlife Account fixed deposit plan? No, it is not.
Of course, I’m currently using it as a savings account but to be more precise, Singlife account is an insurance savings plan.
Whaaaaa – ?
Like many others, I would very much prefer to maintain separation of interests and most times, I’d steer clear of insurance savings plan. What drew me to the Singlife Account during my search for higher yield came down to a few factors –
- High(er) returns rate
- Convenience – no hoops to jump through
- Bonus – protection
1. High(er) 2.5% rate for first $10,000
You have to remember what I mentioned earlier – Singlife account is not a savings account. Repeat after me – it is an insurance savings plan. What this also means is that returns are not guaranteed!
This is why the terminology used on the website is very specific and does not mentioned interest rate. Also, take note that there is a tier structure –
- The account yields 2.5% per annum. returns on your first S$10,000
- Amounts above your first S$10,000 up to S$100,000 will earn 1% per annum. returns
- Amounts above S$100,000 will not earn any returns
I’m pretty happy with this, to be honest. I’m not a fan of fulfilling endless conditions and in the past, I was happy to settle for CIMB FastSaver account that yielded just 1% interest rate.
Returns can be seen in the app – calculated daily and credited monthly.
2. Convenience – no hoops
I can be fairly lazy when it comes to certain matters, and I’m certainly no fan of jumping through (too many) hoops in order to fulfil criteria and qualify for higher returns. For a start, there is a minimum of $500 to get started.
So, when I mentioned convenience, it meant mentally as well – and that I was able to reduce the mental clutter of having cater to one less thing
Secondly, the account is managed entirely on its dedicated mobile application, which can be a great (or bad) thing depending on the situation.
I love the physical convenience and that the process of opening an account, applying for a physical debit card and funding it was entirely done online.
On the flip side of things, what happens when the Singlife mobile app isn’t available? Poof goes the accessibility. Googling online, it seems like this is a known issue that the mobile app does experience downtimes and unexplained errors sometimes.
It happened to me, too. I find that using the app during off-peak hours yielded better results but this is purely my personal experience. This is the kind of issues I really wanted to share when I’m writing my Singlife review. This was one area that I think people should be aware of.
It’s fine if everything goes digital and works as intended. It isn’t quite the same when the system isn’t 100% reliable and you needed the money urgently. I could imagine such a situation causing quite some anxiety if it happened.
3. Liquidity – withdrawing money (no lock-in)
As a place to park emergency funds, one of the more important criteria is that of liquidity. To be able to access the funds in the account in a timely manner and being able to withdraw it is of utmost importance.
Funds in the Singlife Account can be accessed in two different ways –
- FAST transfer to my bank account
- Clocking expenses to my Singlife Visa Debit card
In addition, there is no “lock-in” period which means that my money can be withdrawn at any time without penalty.
When I tested out the withdrawal experience, withdrawing funds was almost instantaneous. However, take note that funds withdrawing is subjected to a minimum of $100
per withdrawal left in your account (i.e. minimum balance). so you’re not going to be able to withdraw tiny sums of money repeatedly.
Included in the Singlife account is a free Visa Debit card which you can apply for as an alternative means of using the funds. I couldn’t quite figure out why the need though, because no matter how you look at it, the intention of this account is firmly in the savings arena. Still a “good-to-have” option, I guess?
The website does tout it as having no FX fees and no annual fees but I didn’t test it out.
4. How safe and reliable is Singlife account?
In terms of whether Singlife can be “trusted”, the recent news of the merger between Singlife and Aviva would have garnered quite a significant of credibility for Singlife. If you were unaware, Singlife is certainly no lightweight.
Prior to this news, Singlife had acquired the business portfolio of Zurich Life Singapore and S$6 billion worth of coverage in 2018 for life, critical illness and disability benefits. Singlife became a fully licensed direct life insurer in 2017 and markets itself as a digital insurance company, using cutting-edge technology to streamline applications and claims and keep premiums low.
On the regulatory side of things, Singlife is a direct life insurer licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). I’d copy and paste the information on Singlife official website and re-iterate that all Singlife policies, including the Singlife Account are covered under the Policy Owners’ Protection (PPF) Scheme administered by Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC).
The PPF Scheme protects policy owners in the event a life insurer which is a PPF Scheme member fails. Reference link here.
In short, the Singlife account is capital guaranteed with no hidden fees or charges, up to the specified amount by SDIC.
5. Bonus protection
As mentioned, due to its nature as an insurance savings plan, my Singlife Account policy provides life insurance coverage of up to 105% of your Singlife Account value and retrenchment benefits.
For free! The benefits can be on Singlife official website so check it out for details. Needless to say, retrenchment benefits is an amazing advantage in the current economic climate.
Singlife referral code
As always, I’m constantly amazed by you guys. Especially those who follow my blog posts closely. (Thank You!) Even before I have posted this review of my Singlife “high” returns account, I have already received two referrals bonus which netted both of us $10 each. No doubt, they must have chanced upon my referral code page and used my invite link during sign-up.
To conclude my Singlife review, I continue to be a happy customer of Singlife but I am no doubt keenly aware of the returns which is not guaranteed. Especially in the face of the global pandemic situation, things could change very quickly indeed. The mobile app availability can also be improved for a better experience. There are other competing options such as the Singtel Dash EasyEarn @ 2.5% returns per year.
Update effective as of 1st November 2020
Shortly after posting on my blog, I was notified that crediting rates will be revised from 2.5% p.a. to 2.0% p.a. for the first S$10,000 from 1 Nov 2020. There will be no change in the crediting rate of 1% p.a. for your next S$90,000. However, you can keep earning 2.5% p.a. returns under the Save, Spend, Earn Campaign.
I don’t have time for a new blog post but I have this little tip (I received via email) for you : All purchases that can be made using your Singlife Visa Debit Card count toward qualifying for bonus return. There are no Merchant Category Code (MCC) exclusions hence any category of spend is included.
This includes bill payments, insurance premium payments, mobile wallet top-ups. However, it is within the discretion of the merchant themselves if they accept the Singlife Visa Debit Card as a form of payment. Use your own imagination as to how to allocate this $500 then!
Additional update effective as of 1st November 2020
Wachsman (who works with Singlife’s communications team) reached out to inform that the Paid Referral Programme will come to a close on 1 November 2020.
Singlife’s Paid Referral Programme has enjoyed a successful run and will come to a close as of 1 November 2020. Thank you for all your support! Upon the Effective Date of Termination (1 Nov 2020), all referees who have successfully in-forced their Singlife Account(s), by the Effective Date of Termination, will have up to fifteen business days (i.e. by 20 Nov 2020) to order and activate their Singlife Visa Debit Card to qualify for the S$10 bonus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Source : https://images.singlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/28152839/Paid-Referral-Programme_28-Oct.pdf
If I refer a friend on the day the Programme is terminated i.e. 1 Nov 2020, will my friend and I still enjoy S$10?
- Only if the referee’s Singlife Account is in-forced by 1 Nov 2020 23:59.
- All referees who have successfully in-forced their Singlife Account(s) by 1 Nov 2020, will have up to fifteen (15) business days to order and activate their Singlife Visa Debit Card in order for both referrers and referees to be eligible for the S$10.
- If referees do not order and activate their card by 15 business days after Effective Date of Termination (i.e. by 20 Nov 2020), both referrers and referees will not qualify for the S$10. You can read more about the programme here.
If I (the referrer) have referred a friend but they (the referee) have yet to activate their Singlife Visa Debit Card, how will this termination affect me (the referrer)?
- First, you (the referrer) can only qualify for the bonus if your friend’s (the referee’s) Singlife Account is in-forced by the effective date of termination of the programme, i.e. 1 Nov 2020 23:59.
- If the above condition is met, your (the referrer) bonus S$10 reward will only be credited to your Singlife Account when your friend (the referee) receives and activates their Singlife Visa Debit Card.
- To ensure the successful completion of your referral, be sure to tell your referee to order and activate their Singlife Visa Debit Card by 20 Nov 2020.
Can both of us (referrer and referee) still enjoy the S$10 bonus even if my friend’s (the referee’s) Singlife card hasn’t arrived?
- You both can only enjoy the S$10 invitation bonus if your friend (the referee) orders, receives and activates the Singlife Visa Debit Card by 20 Nov 2020.
How do I activate my Singlife card?
- Hit the menu bar at the top left-hand corner of your Singlife App home screen and tap “Activate Card”. Refer to your Singlife Card and key in the 9-digit code found at the back. In just a few steps, your Singlife Card will be activated and if you signed up to the Singlife Account through an invitation link, you and your friend will have a S$10 bonus credited to your Singlife Account.
I’ve (the referee) already ordered my Singlife card, but it has yet to arrive! What do I do?
- Note that the card takes 9-12 business days to be delivered. Due to COVID-19 and our Safe Reopening period, there will be expected minor delays as we take extra precautions in delivery.
- We seek your understanding as we work to ensure your card is successfully delivered in the safest way possible.
- There is a chance you may have forgotten to confirm your delivery address and thus not ordered the card. You can find out how to order the card here: https://faq.singlife.com/articles/Knowledge/how-do-I-order-my-card
Recommended pillar posts
As my portfolio grows, I’m increasingly relying on robo-advisors and start-ups in the personal finance scene to help manage my wealth. If you are thinking the same way, I have written a series of pillar posts – articles that range from 1,000 to 3,000 words that discusses my personal experience in detail. Perhaps they would be helpful!
- Endowus CPF $20,000 Portfolio Review (And 3 Questions I Asked About It)
- Syfe REIT+ $100,000 Portfolio Review (And 3 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About It)
- Singlife $10,000 Account Review: Is It The Best High Returns Savings Account?
- AutoWealth 5-Figure Portfolio Review : 3rd Year, Pure Market Returns
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Hello! I’m Kevin, Turtle Investor
At the age of 30, I am the Personal Finance Blogger who laid claim to a negative net worth of minus $25,755 – and decided to turn things around.
- Seven years later in 2019, I hit CPF Full Retirement Sum (FRS) of $176,000 without making a single cent of CPF top-up
- In nine years, I have added more than $1 million to my net worth
- I earned over six-figure in alternative income in 2021 in addition to my full-time job
I am married to a lovely wife and that means dual income with no kids. In my free time, I chase miles so that we can fly in business class. My hobby is making pocket change off this blog and sharing everything I know with you!