At the point of writing, fixed deposits in Malaysia offer customer an interest rate ranging between 1.85% and 2.90% per annum. The rates are not particularly attractive given Malaysia’s inflation rate at 3.38% in 2022. Your wealth will shrink against the backdrop of inflation if you leave all your money in fixed deposit accounts. Further, if you withdraw some of your fixed deposits before the maturity dates, you may not be entitled to the full interest rates. But the good thing is that fixed deposits are literally risk-free. Savings of up to RM250,000 are protected by Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM).
If you are a Malaysian with some extra ringgit lying around and are unsure where to keep them to grow your wealth, here are four places to park your extra money in the short term (less than a year) and earn a higher interest.
GO+ is a money market fund offered to Touch ’n Go e-wallet users via its app. The e-wallet is managed by TNG Digital Sdn Bhd and is one of the most popular ones in Malaysia. The e-wallet is regulated by Securities Commission Malaysia.
By putting your money in GO+, you are essentially investing in Principal e-Cash Fund (managed by Principal Asset Management Berhad, a joint venture between Principal Financial Group and CIMB Group Holdings Berhad) that invests in a combination of cash (at bank) as well as ringgit-denominated Islamic deposit placement, Islamic money market instruments, and/or sukuk.
With an initial investment of RM10 and up to a maximum of RM9,500, you can earn up to 3.60% of net daily return rate per annum with GO+ after deductions of management and trustee fess of up to 0.45% and 0.03% per annum respectively. The money that you put into GO+ is reflected instantly.
As a user of the e-wallet, I store some cash in GO+ instead of the e-wallet to earn daily returns. Further, the GO+ balance can be used to make payments just like the Touch ’n Go e-wallet, which is very convenient. Your withdrawal will be reflected in your bank account in three business days without any penalty. The capital is neither guaranteed nor protected by PIDM so you can purchase an in-app six-month WalletSafe plan to protect your e-wallet and GO+ balance starting at only RM1 (given that you have verified your account and enabled the TapSecure function).
2. KDI Save
Kenanga Digital Investing (KDI) is an investment platform managed by Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad and is licensed by the Securities Commission Malaysia. KDI Save is one of the investment products available on the platform. Essentially, the money you invest in KDI Save is placed in high-quality ringgit-based money market and/or fixed income financial instruments of varying maturity periods.
KDI Save adopts a tiered interest rate and provide daily returns. It gives savers their first RM50,000 4.00% interest rate, their next RM150,000 3.50% interest rate, and the remaining balance 3.00% interest. Therefore, to obtain the maximum effective annual rate at 4.00%, it is more sensible to keep less than RM50,000 with KDI Save. Further, KDI Save has no lock-in period, no fees, and no penalty for early withdrawals.
|Maximum Effective Interest Rate
The funds in KDI Save are neither guaranteed nor protected by PIDM. It will take up to two business days for your funds to be reflected in KDI Save and to withdraw your money.
3. Versa Cash
Versa is a wealth-solutions platform regulated by the Securities Commission Malaysia. It offers different products through its app depending on individuals’ investment objectives. If you wish to earn higher interest rates with your hard-earned money and idle funds, Versa Cash is the go-to low-risk money market fund.
With an initial investment as low as RM10, you can earn a base net return of up to 3.93% per year as of November 2023. The interest after deduction of 0.30% management fee and 0.05% trustee fee is cashed in to your Versa Cash balance monthly. The capital in Versa Cash is pooled from multiple investors in a money market fund called Affin Hwang’s Enhanced Deposit Fund to invest in only short-term deposits of Malaysian banks. As the fund grows, it has more bargain power to negotiate with banks for better rates for you.
There is no lock-in period for Versa Cash. In case you need to dip into your money for some emergency uses, you can cash out your funds in two business days without any penalty.
It is noteworthy that the capital is neither protected nor guaranteed by PIDM. Further, the money deposited will only be reflected in Versa Cash after two business days. Versa Cash-i is the shariah-compliant option with a net annual return of about 3.36%. As a user of Versa Cash, I find the app quite user-friendly overall.
4. UOB One Account
UOB One Account is handy for Malaysians who have close to RM100,000 and wish to save their money in a high-yield savings account. This account provides savers with tiered interest rates, i.e. 2.00% interest rate for the first RM50,000 and 6.00% interest rate for the next RM50,000 (terms and conditions apply). The interest rate for the remaining balance above RM100,000 reverts to 2.00%. As shown in the table below, it is best to keep your monthly average balance close to RM100,000 in the account to get the maximum effective interest rate per annum of 4.00%.
|Savings with UOB One Account
|Maximum Effective Interest Rate Per Annum
To unlock the higher interest rates, you must perform two simple tasks each month including making three bill payments of at least RM50 each and a combined minimum spending of RM500 with your UOB cards. The interest rates will be less than 2.00% a year if the monthly tasks are not completed. The tasks are achievable given that savers have close to RM100,000 in the first place. The interest is credited to your account monthly. Unlike the rest of the products mentioned above in this article which are money market funds, UOB One Account is a savings account. Therefore, its deposits of up to a maximum of RM250,000 are protected and guaranteed by PIDM.
The fifth perspective
The cost of a plate of char kuey teow (and many other things) has risen so much lately due to post-pandemic inflation. The money market funds and the UOB One savings account I shared are places where we can park our idle funds to preserve or protect our wealth from being eroded by inflation.
|UOB One Account
|<RM50,000 to receive the optimum interest rate
|RM100,000 to receive the optimum interest rate
|Net return rate per annum
|Withdrawal period (business days)
|0.48% (management and trustee fees)
|0.35% (management and trustee fees)
|RM8 (debit card annual fee)
|Principal e-Cash Fund (Shariah-compliant)
|Affin Hwang’s Enhanced Deposit Fund
It is also important not to place all your eggs in one nest in case one of the platforms goes south. Do note that the performance of money market funds or fixed deposits will also be affected by fluctuations in the central bank’s overnight policy rate. The net annual projected return rates may change.
Happy new year and happy investing!