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Investment 101: What You Need to Know About Singapore Savings Bonds

Investment 101 What You Need to Know About Singapore Savings Bonds

A car accident, a sudden expensive repair to your flat, a medical emergency — with how the world is today, there’s no telling when we’ll need extra money to finance our needs. Instead of letting your savings stay stagnant, why not invest it somewhere to earn passive income? While not all interest rates are the same, it’s better than not to grow your money at all. If this is your first time and are having doubts about it, then the safest route for you is to start with Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB).

What Is Singapore Savings Bonds?

The Singapore Savings Bonds is issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as a way for individual investors to earn interest without taking additional risk and enjoy returns that increase (or what they call step-up interest) over time. It’s fully backed by the Singapore government, which has a triple A (AAA) bond rating, so you’re sure that you’ll get your investment amount back with no capital loss whether you let your bonds mature.

SSB is, however, non-transferable. You cannot sell your bond in the local market, pledge it as collateral, or trade it on Singapore Exchange (SGX). You also cannot transfer it to anyone, even to another bondholder, unless in specific situations such as death.

Who Can Apply and What Do You Need?

Any individual who’s at least 18 years old can apply. Yes, anyone. While this type of investment is called Singapore Savings Bonds, it’s also open to permanent residents and foreigners. All you need is to have a minimum investment amount of S$500, a bank account with DBS/POSB, OCBC, or UOB, and an individual Central Depository (CDP) securities account with direct crediting service. If you want to invest a higher amount, it should be in multiples of S$500 and must not exceed S$200,000.

For the greying population, you can invest in SSB using your Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS). Central Provident Fund (CPF) funds are not eligible.

How Do You Apply for SSB?

The MAS issues new tranches every month on their website. The interest differs depending on the inflation environment and the resulting interest rate hikes, so it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll apply now or wait it out and apply next month.

If you want to do it now and meet the requirements above, you can either apply via ATM or internet banking. There’s no need to go to your bank personally.

For ATM application:

For Internet Banking application:

How Will You Know if Your Application Is Successful?

The allotment results for the SSB are announced every third last business day of the month. For cash investments, the CDP will inform you by mail if your application is successful. For SRS, you’ll have to wait for your operator to notify you.

If your application is unsuccessful, you’ll receive a refund for any excess amount by the second last business day of the month.

How Long Do You Need to Invest?

Each bond has a term of 10 years. Once it matures, you will automatically receive the principal and last interest payment in the bank account linked to your CDP or SRS account. No need to file anything or submit a request. You also won’t have to pay the S$2 transaction fee for redeeming early.

To give you a better idea, here’s a table of how much interest you’ll earn annually. (Note: This is based on the December 2022 trench with an issue date of Jan. 3, 2023.)

Singapore Savings Bonds
Photo by Website/Monetary Authority of Singapore

You can also use the Savings Bonds Interest Calculator on MAS’ website to compute the interest you’ll earn based on your desired investment amount.

Can You Exit Any Time If You Need the Money for an Emergency?

Yes, and the good news is there are no penalties for exiting prematurely unlike other bonds! All you need is to submit a request through your respective channels: ATM or internet banking for cash investments or internet banking through your SRS operator. Each request comes with a transaction fee of S$2.

Redemption period opens on the first business day of the month at 6 PM and closes on the fourth last business day of the month at 9 PM. Upon submitting a request, you won’t be able to change or cancel it so be careful. You’ll receive the requested amount in full, plus the interest, by the second business day of the following month.

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