There are many banks in the Philippines that offer savings accounts to customers. But do you know which ones are considered the best among the rest? After all, choosing a bank account to open and keep is crucial as you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to earn passive income.
In this article, I am going to discuss about how a high-yield savings account can be an investment that is worth considering.
What is a savings account?
A savings account is a basic account offered by banks, coops, and other financial institutions. It’s where you can deposit money to be kept safely and that you can withdraw anytime. Plus, it is insured by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC) up to half a million pesos and earns modest interest over time.
Purpose of a savings account
A savings account in the Philippines is good for spare cash that you don’t need to spend for everyday expenses. It can also be used in building your emergency fund. Because it earns interest, it’s the easiest form of passive income and investment.
It’s also a better alternative to piggy banks where your money doesn’t earn interest and may be subject to wear and tear. Also, very old bills can’t be used for exchange anymore. Besides, the bank gives an ATM card which you can bring with you just in case you need to withdraw funds instead of always carrying bills.
However, the downside is that you may be tempted to spend your savings because it’s easily accessible. Also, the interest is small that whatever you gained isn’t enough to counter inflation. Over time, your money’s worth is eroded.
It isn’t really a great way to save your money for long term or to preserve the value of your money over time. This is because there are other income-generating opportunities that you can explore such as index funds, UITF or mutual fund.
Lastly, there are savings accounts for kids exclusively. They offer comparable rates and may even come with perks, insurance, or educational benefits.
Benefits of a savings account
The savings accounts provide many advantages to depositors.
- Small initial balance. You don’t have to put up millions just to open an account. Banks can let you start with at least ₱500. Be sure to check the requirements ahead of time.
- Low maintaining balance. Depending on where you deposited, it’s usually the rule that you are allowed to have small balance to keep without getting charged for any fees.
- Low maintaining balance to earn interest. Interest is earned when you reach or keep to maintain a certain level of deposit. What’s so good about this is that the interest can be credited every three months. So, your money doesn’t just lie idle. Its value actually grows.
- Easy. Opening an account is relatively easy. Banks would usually give you a set of instructions and a list of papers to prepare, which are actually easy to secure.
- Safekeeping. Another benefit of having a savings account is that the bank keeps your money secure. It does so by honoring the deposit you’ve made and ensuring you get it back plus any earnings whenever you need it.
- Exchange. When you set aside money in a piggy bank for a very long time, chances are bills become retired and are no longer accepted in exchange for goods and services. The bank eliminates that problem by ensuring that you are only given current bills issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
- Liquid. Bank accounts are liquid in the sense that you can withdraw and get your money almost immediately.
- Convenient. Transactions such as opening account, making a deposit, and doing a withdrawal are made convenient through availability of support in physical branch, email, phone or online access.
- Interest. Your money earns interest. It may be modest for some, but it gains an actual interest, which is not possible if you stack cash in a physical place.
- Insured money. Because of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Company, half a million worth deposit is secured. If and when the bank goes under, you can still claim your money.
- Financial goals. It can be a financial vehicle for your financial goals. It’s a good way to accumulate your savings especially when you’re about to make a big-time purchase.
- Bank services. By having an account, you may be given access to other useful services and perks. For instance, your ATM card may be used to purchase items, book trips online, or pay cashless for your groceries.
Features of a savings account
A typical savings account has the following features:
- Interest. It earns interest which is paid usually every three months.
- Initial deposit. This is the minimum money to open an account. There are accounts that don’t require any initial deposit.
- Maintaining balance. It’s the balance that must remain in the account. When the balance falls lower than that, there may be fees.
- Required balance to earn interest. Some savings account will only give you interest if you meet the required level of deposit.
- Withholding tax. The interest you earned is subject to 20% tax, although some accounts waive it when certain conditions are met.
In addition, fees may be charged on the following situations:
- withdrawing funds, from other branches, other banks, over the counter (for ATM accounts), or within specific period of time (like the first 30 days)
- making deposits in another branch
- lost passbook or ATM card
- balance falling below the required maintaining balance
- dormant account
In the Philippines, savings accounts are insured. That’s why they are considered safe and risk-free. Up to half a million pesos worth of deposits and accounts are protected from any crisis that might hit the bank that you have business with.
So how does PDIC protect your money? When a bank gets bankrupt, PDIC steps in to make sure that depositors get their money back. For as long as your total deposits and accounts are equal or less than half a million pesos, you know that your cash is in good hands.
What accounts are insured?
According to PDIC, the following are insured: savings, special savings, demand/checking, negotiable order of withdrawal, negotiable/non-negotiable certificate of time deposits. Insured amount is extended to single account, joint account and account in trust for (ITF) another person. The accounts can either be in peso or dollar denomination.
For all the calculations that you see here, these are estimates. The difference lies in how often interest is credited to the account and then compounded.
Best high-interest savings accounts in the Philippines
Here are the top 13 high-yield savings accounts in the Philippines for 2020 with the latest interest rates per annum ranked from highest to lowest.
|ING Savings Account*||4.00%|
|GSave by CIMB Phlippines||3.10%|
|Citibank Peso Bonus Saver Account||1.66%|
|Security Bank eSecure Savings Account||1.20%|
|Sterling Bank of Asia Bayani OFW Savings Account||1.00%|
|Citibank Peso High Rate Saver||0.85%|
|BDO Optimum Savings Account||0.75%|
|Citibank e-Savings Account||0.75%|
|RCBC Dragon Peso Savings||0.5625%|
|BPI Advance Savings account with Passbook||0.50%|
|BPI Family Savings Bank Advance Savings Account with Passbook||0.50%|
|PNB Top Saver Account||0.50%|
|Security Bank Premium Build Up Savings Account||0.50%|
*ING Bank interest is given on the first four months. See link for more details. Promo is good between September 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
**Some accounts that you see on the table follow tiered interest, with higher interest given to the account with higher balance. See below for additional discussion.
Below is a summary of all the products reviewed in this article. You can click on each to be directed to the discussion point, and please do consider checking the link for more updated bank info and rates.
CIMB Bank GSave
The GSave account from CIMB Bank currently earns 3.1% per year on a maximum deposit of ₱100,000. The interest is credited to the account at the end of the month. You must at least be 18 years old, a holder of at least government-issued valid identification card, and a verified GCash user.
Another advantage is that any amount earns an interest. There is no required initial deposit or maintaining balance.
The account however has a validity of only one year. If you wish to continue beyond the validity and deposit over the maximum amount, you need to download the CIMB Bank app and link your GSave account.
In addition, there is a free life insurance equal to 1x of the average daily balance of the past three months or 1x the last recorded balance before death date. The insurance amount is up to ₱1 million.
Initial deposit: Any amount
Balance to earn interest: Any amount
Below is the table that shows a one-time capital of ₱100,000.
CITIBANK Peso Bonus Saver Account
The CITIBANK Peso Bonus Saver Account is an interest-bearing deposit account that allows you to earn bonus interest if you save up more each month. Now, that’s a better way to encourage everyone to save.
Additionally, you’re able to withdraw your money free of charge and for unlimited times.
Initial deposit: ₱50,000
Balance to earn interest: ₱50,000
Interest: 0.70% to 1.66%
The base interest is 0.70% for required balance of P50,000, and you get to enjoy incremental increase on your interest if you add P20k each month for 12 months.
Here’s the fun part. Let’s say you want to start a Citibank Peso Bonus Saver Account, but you want to know how much you need to save to have P1 million after 10 years.
Here below is an example of how the account works.
Security Bank eSecure Savings Account
Security Bank Corporation’s eSecure Savings Account gives a tiered interest rate depending on your balance. The higher your savings, the higher interest you enjoy.
Interest: 0.50% to 1.20%
Initial deposit: P500
Balance to earn interest: P5,000
Also, the account only requires P500 as initial deposit, with P5,000 already earning starting interest of 0.50%. The only drawback is that you’re only allowed one withdrawal per month or else interest becomes 0.10%. Here is how the tiered interest works.
Sterling Bank of Asia Bayani OFW Savings
Sterling Bank of Asia Bayani OFW Savings is a type of account intended for Filipinos working abroad. According to the bank, its goal is as a placeholder for remittances. There is no minimum average daily balance required for as long as remittance is made ever year. However, the account must have ₱2,000 in order to earn interest.
It has relatively high interest rate and no required initial deposit, and it comes with an ATM card.
Initial deposit: Not required
Balance to earn interest: P2,000
The account is ideal for people who are going to remit money from other countries as fund transfer can be credited to the account. Remittance can be done via iRemit Global offices, wire or telegraphic transfer from foreign banks.
Here’s how the money looks like when there is monthly savings of ₱2,000.
Citibank Peso High Rate Saver Account
The Peso High Rate Saver Account from Citibank offers market-leading interest rates from 0.70% to 0.85%. The higher the balance that remains in the account, the higher the interest you’re going to earn. There are no fixed terms to worry about, balance inquiry is available in over 13,000 ATMs worldwide, and you can manage your account on their online platform.
Initial deposit: (not mentioned)
Balance to earn interest: P100,000
With your account, you’re allowed up to two free withdrawals each month. A P20 fee is charged for non-over the counter withdrawal and P30 when withdrawal is done over the counter.
See below the details of the tiered interest in this savings account.
BDO Optimum Savings Account
The Optimum Savings Account is an offering from BDO Unibank Inc. that gives savers higher interest rates as they deposit more money. The account allows withdrawal up to three times a month free of charge.
Initial deposit: P30,000
Balance to earn interest: P30,000
The following fees are assessed:
- P300 for closing the account within the first 30 days
- P300 for falling below the maintaining minimum average daily balance
- P30 for accounts that became dormant for five years.
- P110 for withdrawing money more than three times in a month.
|30,000 – 99,999||0.250%|
|100,000 – 499,999||0.375%|
|500,000 – 999,999||0.500%|
|1M – 4.999M||0.625%|
Citibank e-Saving Account
The Citibank e-Saving Account allows you to enjoy high interest rate with the convenience of managing your account via the online portal. You’re also given free and unlimited fund transfer to other users’ other Citibank CASA.
Initial deposit: (not mentioned)
Balance to earn interest: P100,000
Enjoy free two withdrawals per month. More than three withdrawal will incur a fee of P20 for non-over the counter and P30 for over the counter withdrawal.
See below the growth of money in 10 years when you save in this account.
RCBC Dragon Peso Savings Account
Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation offers the Dragon Peso Savings Account for individuals looking for above-average interest rates and no limit on the number times of withdrawal. It comes with a MyDebit Card that is a Mastercard enabled for online and in-store shopping.
For convenient, an online account is also activated for seamless transactions and account management. Some of the things worth noting: there is a ₱500 for closing the account within the first 30 days and another ₱500 for falling below the monthly average daily balance. You may check the link to their website for more details on fees and charges.
Interest: 0.150% to 0.56%
Initial deposit: 25,000
Balance to earn interest: P25,000
|₱25,000 to < ₱50,000||0.15%|
|₱50,000 to < ₱500,000||0.25%|
|₱500,000 to < ₱1,000,000||0.28%|
|₱1,000,000 to < ₱2,500,000||0.38%|
|₱2,500,000 to < ₱5,000,000||0.43%|
|₱5,000,000 to < ₱7,500,000||0.48%|
|₱7,500,000 to < ₱10,000,000||0.53%|
|₱10,000,000 and above||0.56%|
BPI Advance Savings Account with Passbook
The BPI Advance Savings Account with Passbook features quick return on your deposit and a higher interest rate compared to a regular savings account. You can also earn in advance for every deposit and enjoy seamless account management through their online banking system.
Initial deposit: P100,000
Balance to earn interest: P100,000
BPI Family Savings Bank Advance Savings Account with Passbook
The Advance Savings Account with Passbook from Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Family Savings Bank allows you to have faster returns on deposit. You can deposit your money and use the interest ahead of time. It has a higher interest rate than a regular savings account, and the interest goes up to 1.50% when balance reaches a million pesos or higher.
Initial deposit: P100,000
Balance to earn interest: P100,000
The maintaining balance is P100,000. If the balance falls below that, the account does not earn any interest. It is also convenient to monitor the account through their online banking portal.
This is how your money would grow in ten years.
PNB Top Saver Account
The Philippine National Bank Top Saver Account is another tiered interest. The higher you save, the higher interest that the bank gives you. Depositors are given two options on what they can get from the account: a PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles debit card or a passbooks. The debit card can be used for shopping online or in-store.
Opening an account is also convenient. You may download their mobile app, and you can start their online account with a debit card. On the other hand, you need to visit any branch if you wish to get a passbook.
Interest: 0.25% to 0.50%
Initial deposit: P30,000
Balance to earn interest: (not mentioned)
Security Bank Premium Build Up Savings Account
The Premium Build Up Savings Account from Security Bank Corporation is for people who don’t want to be locked in but would still want to enjoy better interest rates than traditional savings accounts. The initial deposit starts at P50,000 with interest rate of 0.50%.
Initial deposit: P50,000
Balance to earn interest: P50,000
However, you’re allowed three withdrawals per quarter. This account is ideal for people who would want to grow their money quicker and willing to save long-term.
How to open a savings account
How do you open a savings account? Well, there are a few steps that you can follow.
Research. So now you may want to get started and open a bank account for yourself. The first thing you’re going to do is read up about it. You’ve already done that by reading this article, and you definitely can do more reading in other sources such as PDIC and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Decide on a bank. Make a decision which bank you’d like to make your deposits. Ideally, it should be an institution with long history of stability.
Decide on a product. Once you made up your mind on a bank, check the deposit that best suit your needs. Do you need an ATM card? Would you be using cashless payment or a card that is accepted in online shops? Is passbook more convenient for you?
Prepare the documents. You can research about the papers needed to get ready. Check the bank’s website or you may pay them a visit. They would give you a list of things you need to have such as required initial deposit, identification cards, proof of billing, and other files.
Open the account. Drop by the bank of your choice and open the account. It generally takes just one visit to complete the application. See if you can also open an online account if you need one.
Wait for issuance of ATM card or passbook. Some banks would issue an ATM card or passbook immediately. Others would ask you to drop by again after a specified period of time.
Enjoy. Use the services. You can now use the ATM card at machines near you or the passbook at the branch convenient for you.
What to look for in a bank
What characteristics of a bank should you look for? In opening an account, it is important to choose the institution that you can trust. Here are some of the qualities that an ideal bank must possess.
- History. Of course we want to give chance to banks that are just starting up. However, those with a long history have an advantage for established their credibility.
- Financial products. Check the financial products that they offer. Not all products like ATM, passbook or checking accounts are made the same, so getting to know about what they have is crucial.
- Location. Choose a bank that has a branch near you. You never know when you’re going to need their services or make transactions, so a bank that is conveniently located is ideal.
- Services. You may want to find out if they have online access, the number and locations of of ATMs, and other services that you may need.
- Customer care. It’s great to choose an establishment where they care about their clients and look after their welfare.
- Perks and benefits. Do you want to transact online? Would you want to use an ATM card that rack up points every time you make a purchase? How much interest are they giving to their depositors? Check the perks that come with the account that you chose.