You’ve probably seen the ads for the DBS Multiplier account. You know, the one with bunnies multiplying? That’s supposed to suggest how fast your money can grow in this high interest savings account.
But beyond the hype, how good is it, really? Who is it suitable for? And more importantly, how is this DBS savings account any better than the the slew of similar savings accounts on the market?
All your DBS Multiplier questions answered and more below.
Note: The DBS Multiplier account was recently revised. This article reflects the new terms and conditions (effective 1 May 2020).
How are DBS Multiplier interest rates calculated?
The DBS Multiplier account starts with a very low base interest rate of 0.05% p.a., but allows you to earn bonus interest by doing any combination of the following:
- Income credit via GIRO [compulsory]
- Spending on DBS/POSB credit cards
- Getting a home loan from DBS/POSB
- Investing with DBS/POSB (1 year only)
- Buying insurance from DBS/POSB (1 year only)
The first one — crediting your income (i.e. salary and/or dividends) to your DBS Multiplier account — is compulsory. After that, DBS looks at 2 factors to decide how much bonus interest to give you:
- How many actions you take
e.g. income credit + credit card = 2 actions, while income credit + credit card + home loan = 3 actions
- Total transaction amount
e.g. $3,000 income credit + $1,000 credit card spend + $1,000 home loan = $5,000 in total
Based on the above, here’s what kind of interest you can get on the DBS Multiplier account:
|Total eligible transactions per month||Bonus interest with the DBS Multiplier account|
|First $50,000||Next $50,000|
|Income credit + 1 category (balance capped at $25,000)||Income credit + 2 categories (balance capped at $50,000)||Income credit + 3 categories|
|Below $2,000||0.05% p.a.||0.05% p.a.||0.05% p.a.|
|$2,000 to $2,499||1.40% p.a.||1.8% p.a.||2% p.a.|
|$2,500 to $4,999||1.60% p.a.||2% p.a.||2.2% p.a.|
|$5,000 to $14,999||1.8% p.a.||2.2% p.a.||2.4% p.a.|
|$15,000 to $29,999||1.9% p.a.||2.3% p.a.||2.5% p.a.|
|$30,000 and up||2% p.a.||3.5% p.a||3.8% p.a.|
Note: The most recent changes to the DBS Multiplier account lowered the interest rates for the most basic tier (income + 1 action). The others remain unchanged.
Although there’s no minimum amount for each action, but the total transactions need to be at least $2,000 to qualify for bonus interest.
If your take-home pay is $1,800 and you spend $100 on a credit card, your total is $1,900, so you only get 0.05% p.a.
But if you spend $200, that brings the total up to $2,000. Your interest rate jumps up to 1.40% p.a. instead.
Tip: Use the DBS Multiplier interest rate calculator
Still boggled? The easiest way to work out how much interest you qualify for is to fiddle around with the DBS Multiplier interest rate calculator here.
What is the balance cap for the bonus interest rates?
As you may have noticed, there is a “balance cap” for each tier you unlock. That means that as your savings grow, it gets increasingly difficult to earn bonus interest.
|DBS Multiplier account balance cap for bonus interest rates|
|Income + 1 other category||Bonus interest only for the first $25,000|
|Income + 2 other categories||Bonus interest only for the first $50,000|
|Income + 3 other categories||Bonus interest only for the first $100,000|
Once your account balance goes up to $50,001 to $100,000, you can only earn bonus interest on your full balance if you meet the following condition…
You have to do income crediting + 3 additional transaction categories = 4 actions in total.
So that’s someone who (1) credits their salary or dividends to the DBS Multiplier account, (2) spends on DBS/POSB credit cards, (3) invests/insures with DBS, and (4) gets a home loan from DBS. In other words, you’ll benefit from this if you are one hardcore DBS otaku.
Note that the interest for the $50,001 to $100,000 balance is an “all or nothing” kind of thing. If you’re transacting in only 3 categories (e.g. salary credit + credit cards + investment), there’s no point in you putting more than $50,000 in here because you won’t get anything on the excess.
In other words, it’s really, really hard to get that maximum advertised interest rate with DBS Multiplier.
Also, the insuring/investing action only counts in the first 12 months.
For existing customers: DBS Multiplier T&C changes in 2020
We’re not even halfway through the year and already DBS has announced two major changes to the Multiplier account.
DBS Multiplier changes (effective 1 May 2020)
The most recent one was made in Apr 2020, and was a reduction of interest rates for the “income credit + 1 action” tier. This will take effect from 1 May 2020 onwards, so if you want to jump ship, you have about a month to do so.
DBS Multiplier changes (effective 1 Feb 2020)
The previous round of changes were made in Feb 2020, featuring quite a few more adjustments. The changes are as follows:
- Salary credit is no longer in its own category. Instead, it falls under the new “income” category.
- Dividend credit is now be under “income” as well (previously “investment”).
- The balance cap for bonus interest earned for “salary credit + 1 other category” is lowered to $25,000.
If you’re an existing customer, here’s how the above changes may affect you:
1. Lowered interest rates for the basic tier — wef 1 May 2020
Most of us don’t bank exclusively with DBS, which means that even if you’re using the DBS Multiplier account to save up, you probably don’t check all of the boxes to unlock the highest “as advertised” interest rates.
If you only unlock the most basic tier — say you credit your salary and use a DBS credit card — then starting 1 May 2020, your interest rates will be lowered.
Previously, you only needed $2,500 of eligible transactions to get 1.85% p.a. If you transact at least $5,000, the interest rate goes up to 1.9% p.a.
Now, $2,500 will only get you 1.6% p.a. and $5,000 only earns you a measly 1.8% p.a., which is lower than the previous rate for the $2,500-tier.
To score 1.9% p.a., you’d now need a whopping $15,000 worth of eligible transactions. That’s 3X the previous $5,000.
2. New “income” category — wef 1 Feb 2020
The new income category now includes both salary and dividend credits to your DBS multiplier account. If you only satisfied the salary credit criteria, then this would not have affected you.
However, if you used to depend on crediting your dividends to qualify for the investment category, then that’s one action lost, resulting in a reduction of bonus interest.
You will now need to find another way to fulfil the investment criteria, whether it is via purchasing unit trusts or trading equities.
On the flip side, if you couldn’t qualify for the compulsory “salary credit” criteria before, but have dividends, you can now jump through the first hoop.
3. Lowered balance cap for bonus interest rates — wef 1 Feb 2020
You used to be able to earn the bonus interest for “salary credit + 1 other category” for savings of up to $50,000. This was lowered to $25,000 in Feb 2020. If you have under $25,000, then you’re not affected.
But if you had more, you would not have earned bonus interest for any excess of $25,000 from 1 Feb 2020 onwards.
Although technically a result of the new “income” category, your interest and balance cap may also be affected in the following cases:
Income + dividend credit + 1 other category
- Before 1 Feb 2020 — considered as 3 actions, balance capped at $50,000
- 1 Feb 2020 onwards — considered 2 actions only, balance capped at $25,000
Income + dividend credit + 2 other categories
- Before 1 Feb 2020 — considered as 4 actions, balance capped at $100,000
- 1 Feb 2020 onwards — considered 3 actions only, balance capped at $50,000
Who is the DBS Multiplier account suitable for?
Because income credit is compulsory, the DBS Multiplier account is definitely for people with a regular paycheck and/or dividends.
The previous “salary” category (which excluded dividends) used to rule out anyone who’s self-employed, freelance, retired, earning passive income and so on. However, now that dividends are considered income, these people now qualify.
I’d recommend the DBS Multiplier account to young Singaporeans who’ve just started working for the following reasons:
- No minimum for salary credit (so you still get interest if you earn peanuts)
- No minimum for credit card spending (so you’re not forced to spend beyond your means)
- No minimum for investment
- Fall-below fee of $5 is waived up to age 29 (so you don’t have to maintain the minimum balance of $3,000)
Even if you don’t have that much spending power yet, the DBS Multiplier allows you to get pretty good interest rates, especially if you “unlock” the second tier (e.g. 1.8% p.a. for income + credit card + invest/insure).
You should consider this account if you’re taking a DBS/POSB home loan too, because this can boost your interest by quite a bit. But obviously, make sure you’re getting a good rate on your home loan first.
But the worst thing about the DBS Multiplier account is…
… The 12-month limit on insurance / investments through DBS.
Yup, the insure/invest category will only be recognised for bonus interest for the first year. After 12 months of getting bonus interest, DBS will no longer count it as a “multiplier action”.
According to the DBS FAQ page, you can continue having your investments recognised after that if you take up a different fund again. I’m not sure if this is the case for insurance too — i.e. if you buy a new plan after a year — so hit us up if you have any clue.
Whatever the case, I find it very strange that DBS actually disincentivises customers from being loyal to them.
That said, if you don’t mind this limit, the first 12 months of bonus interest is relatively easy to earn. Here’s what counts under the invest action:
- Buy stocks via DBS Vickers online
- Subscribe to the POSB Invest-Saver regular savings plan
- Buy unit trust via DBS/POSB
And here’s what counts as insuring with DBS:
- Buy regular premium insurance plan from DBS (refer to the website for full list of policies)
Whatever you choose, just make sure you have a contingency strategy in place after the first 12 months.
Which DBS/POSB credit card should you pair with the DBS Multiplier?
Although it not compulsory for earning bonus interest, it’s a very good idea to use a DBS/POSB credit card to bump up your bonus interest tier.
Let’s say you’re crediting your salary of $2,500 every month. All it takes to turn your 0.05% p.a. interest into 1.6% p.a. is to spend $1 on a DBS/POSB credit card. Shiok right?
Or let’s say you have a salary of $3,500 and are servicing a DBS home loan at $1,000 a month. You’d qualify for 1.6% p.a. interest, which is decent, but if you spend $500 on a credit card, you can get 2.2% p.a. instead.
Here are some credit cards you can consider using:
POSB Everyday Card: An extremely low commitment card with no minimum spend (yay), that still gives you 5% rebate at Sheng Siong, so you can still save on those groceries/snack runs.
DBS Altitude Card: Another DBS credit card with no minimum spend, this lets you collect air miles on your everyday spending and whenever you book flights/hotels online. Plus you can get free airport lounge access.
DBS Live Fresh Card: With a minimum spend of $600 a month, this is a higher commitment credit card. However, it offers a pretty good 5% cashback on online spending and offline Visa PayWave transactions — i.e., almost everything.
See this article for full reviews of POSB & DBS credit cards.
DBS Multiplier vs UOB One account — which is better?
The DBS Multiplier account’s major rival is the UOB One account, which is a very beginner-friendly savings account that is easy to use.
With the UOB One account, there’s only 3 ways to earn bonus interest:
- Spend $500 on UOB credit cards (0.5% p.a.)
- Spend on credit cards + salary credit of at least $2,000 (1.25% p.a. and up)
- Spend on credit cards + at least 3 GIRO bill payments (1.25% p.a. and up)
The main difference between the two accounts is that UOB One does not require income crediting, making it a very good banking option for those who are freelancing, retired, etc and don’t have any dividends to credit either.
However, spending $500 on UOB credit cards is a must, otherwise you’re disqualified from the bonus interest. If you’re not totally sure if you’ll be spending that much on credit cards every month, the DBS Multiplier is a better option.
What if both (a) salary credit of $2,000 and (b) credit card spend of $500 are doable for you, though? Which should you go for? Easy, DBS Multiplier. It offers 1.6% p.a., whereas UOB One only offers 1.25% p.a.
Winner: DBS Multiplier.
DBS Multiplier vs OCBC 360 account — which is better?
The OCBC 360 account has a similar concept to the DBS Multiplier’s. You get a veritable buffet of multiplier-type actions to choose from:
- Salary credit of at least $2,000 (1.2% p.a. and up)
- Spend min. $500 on OCBC credit cards (0.2% p.a. and up)
- Increase monthly balance (0.2% p.a. and up, plus 1% p.a. on any increment)
- Buy insurance or invest with OCBC (0.6% p.a. and up)
You can mix and match in order to boost your base 0.05% p.a. interest. For example, salary crediting makes your total interest 0.05% + 1.2% = 1.25% p.a. Add insurance and you get 1.75% p.a.
Generally, the DBS multiplier gives you better interest rates.
For example, crediting your $2,000 salary and spending $500 on a credit card gets you 1.45% p.a. with the OCBC 360 account, whereas with the DBS Multiplier you’d be getting 1.6% p.a.
However, the OCBC 360 account’s strength is in not requiring salary crediting as a compulsory component.
Winner: DBS Multiplier account
DBS savings account minimum balance & other things to know
To conclude, the DBS Multiplier account is a great high interest savings account to use, as long as you have income (salary or dividends) to credit on a monthly basis.
Not only is it very flexible with no minimum amounts imposed, it also makes it (realistically) possible for regular Joes like you and me to earn decent interest on our savings.
Just be aware that if one of your multiplier actions is insurance or investments, you can only enjoy bonus interest for the first year. Booo.
If you’re sold on this DBS savings account, here are a few essential bits of information to bear in mind:
Minimum age: 18 years old
Nationality: Singaporeans, PRs, foreigners
Initial deposit: None
Minimum balance (daily): $3,000
Fall-below fee: $5 (waived for account holders up to age 29)
Bonus interest cap: $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000, depending of which tier of interest you qualify for
Multi-currency account: Supports AUD, CAD, CNH, EUR, HKD, JPY, NZD, NOK, GBP, SEK, THB, USD
You can read more about and open a DBS Multiplier account here.
Do you have the DBS Multiplier account? What do you think of it? Tell us in the comments!