Editor’s Note: Updated on 3 Aug 2022 to reflect the revised interest rates from the DBS Multiplier.
- Easy requirements to earn bonus interest
- Zero account fees
- Vast ATM network worldwide
- Free, instant global transfers across Citi accounts
- Bonus interest only applies to first $70,000
- Low base interest rate of 0.01% p.a.
- Bonus interest rate can reset if balance is not maintained
- High initial $15,000 deposit required
2021 was pretty challenging on our wallets.
Savings accounts — like the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account or DBS Multiplier account — have traditionally been popular with working adults because of the much higher interest yields. But over the past couple years, banks globally have slashed their interest rates due to the ongoing pandemic.
At this point, is the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account still a viable option for storing and growing your idle cash?
Let’s dig in and find out.
How the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account Works
As long as you’re at least 18 years old and a Singaporean/PR/foreigner with a valid visa, you can apply for the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account.
With the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account, you get a fixed base interest of 0.01% p.a. on your average daily balance at the end of the month. There’s no minimum balance requirement to earn the base interest.
Here’s where things get interesting. On top of the base interest, you get up to 0.3% p.a. bonus interest on the first $70,000 of your balance when you fulfil certain conditions.
Just what are those conditions?
Simple: you must maintain or grow your savings. Specifically, the lowest balance in your MaxiGain account for the current month must be equal to or greater than the lowest balance of the month before.
It can take up to a year to get to 0.31% total interest, though!
How Do You Calculate the Bonus Interest?
Here’s a quick example:
Say you fund your MaxiGain account with the minimum deposit of $15,000 on the day you open it. Your lowest balance for that month will be $15,000.
In the second month, let’s say your bank balance fluctuates between $20,000 and $25,000. This means the lowest balance for the second month is $20,000. In the third month, let’s say your lowest balance is $30,000.
Your interest rate would grow by 0.025% per month, so:
|Month 1||Month 2||Month 3|
|Number of days in the month||28||31||30|
|Bonus Interest||0% p.a.||+0.025% p.a.||+0.05% p.a.|
Assuming you keep accumulating funds in your account, you’ll have 0.31% total interest p.a. by month 12.
But note: if your lowest balance for the current month is less than the lowest balance for the previous month, the counter will reset. If you accumulated five or fewer counters, your counter will reset to zero, as follows:
|Counter in the Previous Month||Counter in the Current Month|
|0 – 5||0|
|6 – 12||6|
Basically, you’ll have to play the ‘savings’ game for at least 6 months to get a halfway decent interest rate.
How to Maximise Your Interest Rate
Even if you don’t manage to save more the following month, your bonus counter can still grow as long as your account balance remains the same. Think of the Citi MaxiGain as purely an ‘emergency fund’ — don’t spend or withdraw the funds in the account and you’re good to go.
And like most savings accounts, the bonus rates only apply to a capped amount — $70,000 in this case. Since you won’t get more interest for saving more, it’s best to channel the extra funds elsewhere.
Key Features, Rates, and Fees
|Key Features||Interest Rates and Fees|
|Fuss-free interest growth: Simply maintain or grow your savings to get higher interest rates. No need to spend a certain amount or take out a loan to be eligible for higher interest.||Base interest rate. Any balance that is not eligible for the bonus interest will still accrue interest at 0.01% p.a.|
|Vast network of ATMs: You will also have access to over 13,000 Citibank ATMs located worldwide||Initial deposit. You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $15,000 when you open the account|
|Zero fees: The Citi MaxiGain Savings Account doesn’t come with any opening or monthly fees, though you’ll need to maintain $15,000 across all your Citi accounts to avoid the fall-below fee||Account service fee. There is a $15 account service fee (or fall-below fee) if your Total Relationship Balance (TRB) goes below $15,000. (Citibank’s TRB is the average daily balance across all your Citi checking, savings and deposit accounts.)|
|Free Citibank Global Transfers: You stand to benefit from free instant fund transfers between your overseas Citibank accounts with Citibank Global Transfer (CGT)||Early account closure fee. There’s a $50 penalty if you terminate the account within six months|
Pros and Cons of the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account
You can expect the following perks with the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account:
- Free global transfers between your local and overseas Citibank accounts. You can instantly send money to your Citi account across the world for free. This is useful for those who transfer funds or remit money often.
- Passively grow your interest rates. Simply maintain or grow your savings to enjoy higher interest rates each month. Unlike other savings accounts, you don’t have to jump through hoops like crediting your salary, taking out a home loan, or spending with PayLah in order to enjoy higher interest rates.
But there are also downsides to keep in mind:
- You don’t get bonus interest for any balance over $70,000. Other accounts, like the DBS Multiplier, offer bonus interest up to $100,000.
- Low base interest rate. Citibank offers a low base interest rate of 0.01% p.a. compared to other banks.
- Possible counter reset if you withdraw or spend from your Citibank balance. The counter resets to 0 (if your previous counter was 5 or below) or 6 (if your highest counter was at least 6).
- High TRB of $15,0000. Below this amount and you’ll be paying more in monthly fall-below fees than you earn in interest. This could put you in a tough spot if you ever need to withdraw your spare cash.
How Does the Citi MaxiGain Compare to Others?
Compared to other high-interest savings accounts in Singapore that require you to jump through many hoops, this account only requires you to grow your month-to-month balance to unlock bonus interest.
But before applying for the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account, make sure that you compare alternatives in the market. Let’s check out an example to see how the different savings accounts fare:
Consider Jane, our fictitious saver persona. Let’s assume Jane has savings of about $15,000, together with a take-home pay of $4,000 and credit card expenses of $500 per month.
This is a simplified example, since in most cases we’d save regularly and have other financial products (like investments or insurance). These would boost our overall interest earned. In this case, Jane will maintain her savings at $15,000.
Here are the interest rates she can expect from the various banks, along with their requirements:
|Savings Account||Interest Rate||Interest Earned Per Year||Min. Balance|
|Citi MaxiGain Savings||0.31%|
*after Counter 12
*after Counter 12
|DBS Multiplier Account||0.9%||$135||No min. balance until age 29 (subsequently S$3,000)|
|Standard Chartered Bonus$aver||0.38%||$57||$3,000|
|OCBC 360 Account||0.35%||$52.50||$3,000|
Of the four high-interest accounts in the comparison, the Citi MaxiGain offers the lowest maximum potential interest (0.31%).
The one upside is that it’s a relatively easy (and passive) way to grow your idle cash. There’s no need to fulfil any additional criteria, like crediting your salary, buying insurance products, or spending a certain amount each month.
That said, many of the requirements from other banks are easy enough to automate — like setting up an insurance product or saving an extra $500 a month. Doing so would earn you far more interest than the paltry 0.31% Citibank offers.
Combined with Citibank’s high TRB of $15,000 to avoid the $15 fall-below fee, the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account is an unappealing option for savers.
Overall, the Citi MaxiGain Savings Account is only suited to those who plan to or already have $15,000 across their Citi Accounts — and are looking for a place to park their money and forget it for the time being.