Thursday, July 26, 2012

FRANK by OCBC vs DBS Remix : Which one to choose!

Hi All,

   I thought of producing this post to help out those people out there who are really confused about which bank to go for to open a savings account. They feature attractive benefits like No initial deposit and no fall back fee (i.e. no minimum balance is needed to be maintained!). Being someone who has an account in both the schemes, I feel that I can give out some information based on my interaction with the Banks to help you out in making an informed decision.

  First of all, if you ask anybody in Singapore about their preferred bank, they will suggest DBS in unison. It is definitely the most preferred bank in Singapore with maximum number of ATMs island-wide.

    However, OCBC is also pretty good and you can see an OCBC ATMs in almost all public places like malls, MRTs and in University campus. Considering the fact that DBS has maximum number of takers, you will often find large queues in front of DBS ATMs in public places while OCBC ATMs would be relatively less crowded. However, DBS gives you the freedom of using ATMs of both DBS as well as POSB. (DBS and POSB are one and the same)

   Next, if you see the interest rates offered by these two, OCBC clearly have an edge over DBS. DBS is offering 0.05% till the first S$ 2,50,000 and then it gets slightly better as the deposit goes up. Whereas OCBC FRANK accounts are offering 0.3% for the first S$ 10,000 and the rates get even better with increase in savings. But for a student who is supposedly not going to have much savings in the bank, the variations in interest rates is not a great concern.

   Now, the next most important factor that all of us take into account is the accessibility. OCBC has a FRANK branch within the NTU University campus whereas DBS has a REMIX branch in NUS campus. Being an NTU student, I definitely would go for OCBC. DBS doesn't have a cash deposit machine on the NTU campus whereas OCBS do. However, you can find a DBS branch in the Jurong Point mall in Boon Lay, which is pretty close as well.

   Another important point to note is that DBS will charge you a fee of S$ 2 if you perform any withdrawal over the bank branch within your daily ATM withdrawal limit (example: If you try to withdraw S$ 1000 from your account over the branch while your daily withdrawal limit is S$ 2000. You should use DBS ATM for such transactions to avoid being charged. OCBC has no such restrictions.

  Again, DBS has no fee whatsoever, annually or monthly. However, OCBC will charge you S$ 20 from the second year onwards as ATM fee. But this fee is waived if you spend atleast S$ 1800 using your ATM Debit card over the previous year. I think that should not be a problem as you would anyway spend more than S$ 2000 in a year anyway!

    One more important thing is the longevity of these benefits. These benefits (No initial deposit and no fall back fee) are applicable to all people below 26 years if you are in OCBC, while this limit is extended to 29 years in DBS. Also, the interest rates are subject to change as it is a promotional rate and the banks reserve rights to alter them later.

   Now, another fancy stuff that OCBC is providing to attract the youth, is a Designer card! You can pay a nominal fee and get an attractive design for your ATM Debit card to make different from others and add your own taste to it. They also give a trendy laptop sleeve upon a fresh account opening. But these are all sugar coating and should not bother you much.

    There is one thing on which I am not very sure and that is about the rates for remittances to a foreign nation. I understand that DBS has a collaboration with ICICI bank in India and thus is able to provide cheaper transaction rates to and from India. DBS also has a few branches in India (Chennai, Madurai, Trichy etc.) as well. But I am yet to ascertain on these details. I would request the readers to add to it if they have relevant information.

   Some of my friends who are doing Master's are also worried about the tuition fee loan. I must say that both OCBC and DBS are similar in this regard. Both are ready to issue upto 90% of tuition fee as loan at an interest rate of 4.75% which is payable only after your course completion.

   After going through all this, I believe now you are well informed enough to make the right choice. In fact, I was totally confused and I opened an account in both the banks. Since opening an account and maintaining it does not incur you any costs, you can go for this option as well!

You might be also interested in: Free Card Design Promotion with OCBC FRANK account

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