DBS vs UOB vs OCBC “money lock” accounts. Which is best for you?

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By Beansprout • 05 Mar 2024 • 0 min read

DBS, UOB and OCBC have launched a new "money lock" feature where you can only access your deposits in person. We compare the DBS digiVault, UOB LockAway and OCBC money lock to find out which is best for you.

 dbs uob ocbc money lock digivault lockaway account
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What happened?

Online banking has made managing our money more convenient. We can find the best fixed deposit rate or even apply for T-bills online now.  

However, it may also cause some of us to worry over potentially losing our hard-earning savings to scammers. After all, more than $330 million was lost to scammers in the first half of 2023.

To tackle this issue, DBS, UOB and OCBC have come up with a new feature called "money-lock."

DBS' version of the money-lock account is called digiVault, UOB's version of the money-lock account is called LockAway, and OCBC's money lock feature can be used on existing accounts. 

This feature lets you lock your cash using your bank's app or website. However, you can only access your deposits in person.

As locked funds cannot be transferred out online, this keeps your money safe from anyone trying to get hold of it without your permission.

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, more than S$5.4 billion has been set aside in 61,000 'money lock' bank accounts.

Let us find out more about the money-lock feature available on DBS, UOB and OCBC and compare which money-lock account may be best for you.

How does the “money lock” feature work?

Think of the 'money-lock' feature as your virtual safe. Once your funds are in this account, they're under lock and key. 

Without verifying your identity at a bank branch, no one can touch or move your money. 

This extra level of security is like having a guardian for your savings. 

It shields them from sneaky digital tricks scammers might try to pull off, offering you peace of mind knowing your money is safeguarded against fraudulent online transfers.

Overview of DBS money lock account - DBS digiVault 

DBS allows you to lock your money and protect your savings in a few ways. 

  • Lock savings in your existing account, which will prevent unauthorised transfers and allow you to continue to earn your current interest rate
  • Lock your fixed deposit, which will prevent unauthorised withdrawals and changes to your maturity instructions
  • Set up a separate DigiVault account, where all your savings are automatically locked, preventing any digital transfers out of this account.

You can unlock your money by verifying your identity at any POSB/DBS branch.

However, you should note that unlocking may take up to 2 working days. 

What is the interest rate on the DBS digiVault?

You will earn the prevailing interest rate if you lock savings in your existing account.

If you set up a separate DigiVault account, you will earn the prevailing interest rate in My Account, which is currently at 0.05% p.a.

This is below the maximum interest rate of 4.2% p.a. on the DBS Multiplier account.

How to apply for DBS digiVault?

To lock savings in your existing account, you can now use digibot to do so.

To apply for a separate digiVault account, you can use DBS' digibank app. The approval process typically takes under a minute. 

In the digibank app

  • Step 1: Log in to your digibank app. 
  • Step 2: Tap on ‘More’, followed by ‘Apply’ and tap on ‘digiVault’.​

Once your digiVault account is all set, you will receive a push notification on your mobile. And you can begin to deposit funds into it. 

Overview of UOB money lock account - UOB LockAway

The UOB LockAway account also restricts digital payments and outbound transfers.

For UOB clients, checking balances and depositing funds into the account can be done digitally. 

However, withdrawing funds from this locked-up account requires a visit to a UOB branch for identity verification. 

UOB is also evaluating if ATM withdrawals are feasible, and may introduce it in the future.

To further bolster security measures, UOB does not issue cheque books for the LockAway Account, and existing cards cannot be linked to it.

What is the UOB LockAway interest rate?

Your savings in the UOB LockAway account can earn a promotional interest rate of up to 5.00% p.a. for deposits of up to S$125,000 from 30 November to 31 March.

uob lockaway money lock interet rate
Source: UOB

As the interest rate in the table shown above is tiered, we can calculate the effective interest rate for different account balances in the UOB LockAway.

The effective interest rate on the UOB LockAway account is 1.00% p.a. for account balance of up to $20,000, and can go up to 2.92% p.a. for account balance of $125,000 during the promotion period from 30 Nov to 31 March. 

The effective interest rate on the UOB LockAway account is 0.05% p.a. for account balance of up to $20,000, and can go up to 2.45% p.a. for account balance of $125,000 from 1 April 2024 onwards.

This is below the maximum effective interest rate of 5.0% on the UOB One account, and maximum effective interest rate of 3.0% on the UOB Stash account. However, you do not have to jump through any hoops to earn this interest rate. 

Account Balance (S$)Maximum Effective Interest Rate (EIR) from 30 Nov to 31 March 2024Maximum Effective Interest Rate (EIR) from 1 April 2024 onwards
Up to $20,0001.00%0.05%
$20,001 to $60,0002.00%1.02%
$60,001 to $100,0002.40%1.81%
$100,001 to $125,0002.92%2.45%
Above $125,0002.92%2.45%

There is no minimum deposit for the UOB LockAway account.

How to apply for the UOB LockAway account?

LockAway accounts can be opened through internet banking, UOB TMRW app or physically in UOB branches. 

UOB LockAway accounts may be approved on the same day upon bank’s approval. 

Overview of OCBC money lock account

OCBC offers its customers the convenience of locking up funds within their existing accounts directly through the app or internet banking.

Customers can unlock their funds at ATMs or OCBC bank branches. To make withdrawals via ATMs, customers will require their credit or debit card along with their PIN.

From 31 January 2024, OCBC Singapore customers can also use OCBC Money Lock to disable digital access to their fixed deposit accounts.

If you have a OCBC fixed deposit account, you can lock your account such that you cannot withdraw funds before each placement matures, and change maturity instructions via the OCBC Digital app. 

What is the interest rate on OCBC Money-Lock?

Since there are no separate bank accounts required, the interest rate for your locked funds will align with the rate applicable to your existing OCBC account. 

So if you currently hold the OCBC 360 account, you can still the the maximum interest rate of 7.65% p.a. on your savings. 

Customers have the flexibility to lock up funds in increments of $10, with a minimum deposit set at $10 and no maximum limit specified.

How to apply for OCBC Money-Lock?

Locking funds with OCBC is an effortless process that can be completed through either the OCBC Digital app or Internet Banking. 

Customers select a deposit account and then indicate the desired amount they wish to lock, in multiples of S$10. 

ocbc money lock account
Source: OCBC

OCBC Digital app

  • Step 1: Log in to the OCBC Digital app and select on "You have (SGD)" to access your account(s)
  • Step 2: Look for the "Money Lock" banner, then select "Get started"
  • Step 3: Choose your preferred amount in multiples of $10, and proceed by tapping on "Next"
  • Step 4: Review the locked amount and tap on "Lock funds"
  • Step 5: Tap on "Confirm" to complete the process.

OCBC Internet Banking

  • Step 1: Log in to OCBC Internet Banking and tap on "Money Lock" banner from "What you have (Assets)"
  • Step 2: Click on "Get started".
  • Step 3: Set your preferred amount in multiples of $10, and tap on "Next" to proceed
  • Step 4: Review your locked amount and tap on "Lock funds"
  • Step 5: Finally click on "Confirm" to complete the process.

After locking your funds, you can conveniently monitor the locked amount using either the OCBC Digital app or through OCBC Internet Banking.

DBS vs UOB vs OCBC Money Lock account - Which is best for you?

The table below summarizes the main key differences between the Money Lock accounts of DBS,  UOB and OCBC. 

Amongst the three local banks, DBS and OCBC allow you to use the Money Lock feature with your existing account.

Hence, there is no need to create a separate bank account for the Money Lock feature.

For example, your deposits with OCBC using the Money Lock feature can also earn the full interest offered by the current account.

If you have the OCBC 360 account, you will be able to earn an interest rate of up to 7.65% on your deposits. However, this may require you to fulfill certain requirements to earn the higher interest rate.

If you would prefer not to jump through any hoops, UOB is offering an effective interest rate of up to 2.92% p.a. for the promotional period from 30 Nov 2023 to 31 March 2024.

OCBC also stands out in enabling ATM withdrawals for your deposits put aside with the Money Lock feature. 

You will have to visit the bank branch to withdraw your deposits for DBS digiVault and UOB LockAway. 

 DBS DigiVaultUOB LockAwayOCBC
Account TypeSeparate account or existing DBS accountSeparate accountExisting OCBC account
Interest Rate0.05% p.a. for separate DigiVault account, or prevailing interest rates for existing DBS accountEffective interest rate of up to 2.92% from 30 Nov 2023 to 31 March 2024According to existing OCBC account
Withdrawal methodBank branchesBank branchesBank branches and ATMs
Min. BalanceNo min balanceNo min balanceMinimum $10, and deposits to be in multiples of $10
No. of accountsUp to 5 per userNot specifiedAs per the number of accounts with OCBC
Fixed DepositYesNoYes

Are money lock accounts protected under SDIC?

Absolutely! Money lock accounts are protected under the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). 

SDIC currently provides coverage of up to $75,000 depositor per bank. This applies collectively to all accounts held within a single bank. This will be increased to S$100,000 per depositor in April 2024.

If your total balance exceeds $75,000 in one bank, diversifying your funds across multiple banks might be a wise strategy to safeguard your assets.

Can I use my locked funds for payments?

No. Once funds are locked, they cannot be utilized until you withdraw them. 

It's important to maintain a sufficient balance for any planned expenses to prevent incurring late fees or charges. 

What happens if I want to release my funds if I’m overseas?

If you are overseas, you will have to contact the bank’s customer service for assistance.

For DBS: Contact the bank's customer service by calling their call center. They will assist you by verifying your identity before proceeding with the release of your funds.

For OCBC: Submit a request through the OCBC secured Mailbox using the app or internet banking while you're abroad. Within 4 working days, an OCBC representative will reach out to you to verify your identity before releasing your funds.

What would Beansprout do? 

If you would like to take pre-emptive measures to prevent losing your hard earned savings to scams, it might be worth setting aside deposits you may not require immediately with the money lock feature of DBS, UOB or OCBC.  

However, we would not put all our deposits into Money Lock accounts, as we will need to visit the bank branch to withdraw the cash. This will mean that we may not be able to access the deposits for if we need them for emergency use over the weekend or when we are overseas. 

Amongst the three local banks, OCBC appears to be offering the best interest rate on the Money Lock account for now, as it is a feature that can be used with your existing OCBC account. This will mean that you can potentially earn an interest rate of up to 7.65% p.a. on your savings if you are using the OCBC 360 savings account. 

If you would prefer not to jump through any hoops, UOB is offering an effective interest rate of up to 2.92% p.a. for the promotional period from 30 Nov 2023 to 31 March 2024.

If you are looking to earn the highest interest rate on your savings without the need for the MoneyLock feature, check out our guide to the best savings account in Singapore. 

If you prefer to keep your savings in fixed deposit, check out our guide to the best fixed deposit rate in Singapore

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