A bank account is considered a necessity for our normal financial transactions. I’ve also talked about using separate bank accounts for your savings strategy a while ago. Sure, you can keep your hard earned money under your mattress or inside a biscuit tin. But if an unfortunate event were to happen, for example, a fire or a flood, that secret stash could be gone in an instant.
Having a bank account allows us to access many modern amenities such as shopping online, online banking and most importantly, receiving our paychecks more seamlessly. Businesses also transact through their accounts and with business becoming borderless with the internet, it just becomes more convenient.
Banks in Brunei
In Brunei, we have a handful of banks to choose from and while they all serve the same purpose, some may be more advantageous. The banks we have which provide services for retail customers are:
- BIBD (Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam)
- Baiduri Bank
- Standard Chartered Bank
- TAIB (Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei)
- RHB Bank
- Bank of China (Hong Kong)
You may have your favourites from the list, but when looking to open a bank account with them, there are only 2 types typically available.
Types of Bank Accounts
1. Savings account
A savings account is simply a bank account which allows you to earn interest on the money you deposit. Certain savings accounts give you higher interest rates with the condition that you do not withdraw the money x number of times or at all.
2. Current account
A current account is the equivalent of a checking account in the US. This account generally allows you to withdraw as many times as you wish and usually has an overdraft facility. Overdraft means to be able to withdraw more than the money that’s in your account.
The money is not free, of course. Like a credit card, the overdraft money is loaned to you and could accrue interest or worse. If you don’t pay back, the bank could send in the repo-man to repossess your belongings to cover the loaned amount.
So which is better?
In all honesty, I haven’t heard of anyone in my circle using current accounts. Because the savings account with typically flat rates allows unlimited withdrawals anyway, most people simply use a savings account for their day-to-day transactions.
Comparison of Bank Accounts
Here’s a list of banks and their respective bank accounts for you to compare. There are some things I would like to highlight though:
Most accounts can be opened with BND100 but before you open 10 accounts, bear in mind that inactive accounts accumulate charges too. On top of that, you would have to pay to reactivate it too!
2. Minimum balance
You will notice some bank accounts require you to maintain a minimum balance. An example is Baiduri’s savings account which requires you to have at least BND50. You would be charged BND2 for every month the balance is below BND50.
Do take note that there are different conditions between banks or even within a bank but between accounts. The data I’ve displayed for you is for reference and to ease looking through different banks.
Conditions are especially specific for bank accounts with higher than market rate of interest (0.15%).
You should consult a bank representative to clarify before committing to any products.
These data is up to date as of 27th September 2017. I have consolidated it from data found on AMBD, the banks’ websites and bank staff.
Bank account comparison
|Bank||Account Type||Sub-type||Minimum Opening Deposit||Minimum Balance to be Maintained||Dormant / Inactive Account Charges||Reactivation of Dormant / Inactive Account||Closing Account within 6 months of opening||Minimum Balance Charge||Interest on Balance (per annum)|
|BIBD||Savings||Easy Saver||BND1,000||BND1,000||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND25||NIL||0.40%|
|Haj Saver (Muslims only)||BND100||BND100||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND25||NIL||1.00%|
|General Saver||BND50||BND50||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND25||NIL||0.15%|
|Tiered Saver||BND50||BND50||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND25||NIL||0.15% - 0.35%|
|Purpose Saver||BND50||BND50||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND25||NIL||0.30%|
|Current||General||BND1,000||BND1,000||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND50||BND12 monthly||0.01% for balances over BND3,000|
|Tiered||BND1,000||BND1,000||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND50||BND12 monthly||Profit Sharing for balances over BND3,000|
|BIBD At-Tamwil||Savings||My Regular||BND50||BND50||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND25||NIL||0.45% - 1.00% (Depending on amount in account)|
|My Real (For Loan customers only)||BND50 (Technically BND0 to open)||BND50||BND10 half yearly||BND15||BND25||NIL||0.55% - 2% (Depending on amount in account)|
|Baiduri Bank||Savings||Normal||BND100||BND50||BND10 monthly||BND10||BND50||BND2 monthly||0.15%|
|Student||BND50||BND50||BND10 monthly||BND10||BND50||BND2 monthly||0.15%|
|Current||-||BND1,000||BND1,000||BND10 monthly||BND10||BND100||BND10 monthly||N/A|
|Baiduri Finance||Savings||Multi-Tier||BND100||BND100||BND10 monthly||BND10||BND50||BND2 monthly||0.15% - 0.55% (Depending on amount in account)|
|Multi-Rate (Only employees of Brunei Gov, Semi-gov, BSP, BSM, BLNG, BST & BGC)*||BND500||BND500||BND10 monthly||BND10||BND50||BND2 monthly||0.15% - 1.75% (Depending on amount in account)|
|Standard Chartered Bank||Savings||JustOne||BND500||BND500||BND10 monthly||BND10||BND50||BND5 monthly||0.15%|
|Current||-||BND1,000||BND1,000||BND15 monthly||BND10||BND50||BND15 monthly||N/A|
|TAIB||Savings||Al Wadiah Biasa (Normal Account)||BND50||BND50||NIL||NIL||BND25||NIL||0.65%|
|SiManja (Below 18 years old)||BND50||BND50||NIL||NIL||BND25||NIL||1.35%|
|Tekad Haji (Muslims only)||BND10||BND10||NIL||NIL||BND25||NIL||1.75%|
|Berjasa (50 years old and above)||BND500||BND500||NIL||NIL||BND25||NIL||0.60% per month|
|Bank of China HK||Savings||-||BND100||NIL||NIL||NIL||BND35 (within 3 months of opening)||NIL||0.15%|
|Current||-||BND100||NIL||NIL||NIL||BND35 (within 3 months of opening)||NIL||N/A|
|RHB Bank||Savings||-||BND100||BND50||BND25 half yearly||NIL||BND25||NIL||0.15%|
|Current||Individual||BND1,100||BND1,000||BND25 half yearly||NIL||BND50||BND10 monthly||N/A|
|Maybank||Savings||-||BND100||BND100||BND10 monthly||NIL||BND20||BND5 monthly||0.15%|
|Current||Personal||BND1,000||BND1,000||BND10 monthly||NIL||BND60||BND10 monthly||N/A|
* Brunei Government, Semi-Government, Brunei Shell Petroleum, Brunei Shell Marketing, Brunei Liquefied Natural Gas, Brunei Shell Tankers & Brunei Gas Carriers
Bank accounts are necessary in our society to facilitate our transactions. The difference between accounts are mostly administrative, maintenance and the interest you can potentially earn. Also, high interest rates may also require certain criteria to be met; for example, you cannot withdraw the money to earn it. At the end of the day, the account’s purpose it to hold your money in a safe place. Any account would do if not for the fact that other services such as debit cards and internet banking come into the equation to make the final decision.
“Everyday is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each.”
― Christopher Rice