When choosing a savings plan, knowing what’s best for you can be difficult with so many savings accounts in Malaysia to choose from.
Are you a fresh grad looking to save small amounts at a time? Perhaps you’re an executive looking to put your money somewhere it can grow. Or maybe you’re a business owner who just needs seamless automatic transfers and online banking for bills.
Whatever your goals are, it’s important to consider the following questions when deciding which savings account can best serve your needs.
1. Is there a minimum deposit?
Minimum initial deposit: Many accounts require a minimum deposit upon registration. Ranging from RM0-RM5000, higher minimum deposits usually come with higher interest rates and perks.
Minimum deposit: You may also be required to maintain a minimum balance in your account to keep it active, meaning there will be certain fixed amounts you can’t ever withdraw unless you close your account.
Tip: Go for accounts with the lowest minimum deposits if you have less disposable income.
If high-interest rates are what you’re looking for, be prepared to fork out a bigger deposit upon registration. As with most ‘premium’ savings accounts, you may need to hold a relatively high amount to receive your high-interest rate.
2. Is it affordable?
One downside to various low minimum deposit/low interest-rate accounts is that they tend to have higher miscellaneous fees. Many of these fees may not be displayed outright, so it’s important you consider the following:
- ATM fees
- Card issuance fees
- Early closure fees
- Service charges
- Over-the-counter transaction fees
Tip: Choose a savings account that has the most reasonable fees given their available services. For example, some accounts charge a flat annual fee for unlimited ATM withdrawals, while others refrain from charging you a monthly fee when you don’t maintain a minimum balance.
3. Is it accessible and convenient?
Convenience is king. You don’t want to have an account with the best competitive interest rates and fees but struggle with finding your bank’s ATMs, especially when you desperately need cash for an emergency.
Tip: Choose one that has a branch near you, with a large network of ATMs in your region. Ideally, your account should have 24/7 customer service as well as affordable and accessible overseas withdrawal.
4. Does it offer online banking and mobile access?
If you’re as busy as most Malaysians, taking time off work to go to the bank, waiting in long queues and dealing with lengthy paperwork is time-consuming and a hassle.
Tip: These days, it’s almost expected for banks to have mobile banking. With your account, you should be able to add, transfer, pay bills, and view statements on the go.
5. Can it grow my savings?
In truth, conventional savings accounts are not the best place to grow your money – they should be used as a safe place for you have quick access to your disposable money when you need.
That being said, interest rates do offer a small but safe measure of growth. Go for accounts with high-interest rates if you have large amounts of money to save. Keep in mind, however, that many high-interest rate accounts require large minimum deposits and/or monthly average balances.
Tip: For many people with less disposable income, the ideal savings account is one with a nice balance between a fair interest rate of 1.5%-3.5% and a lower minimum deposit of RM20-RM500.
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