Secure Your Valuables Using Safe Deposit Boxes in Singapore

It is of utmost importance to keep your prized assets safe to avoid theft or burglary. You might ask yourself, ‘Where do I keep my important documents and jewellery safely?’ The answer is a safe deposit box. These boxes are strong containers with advanced locking system. Such boxes can be opened with a PIN, key, or any other security pass.

You can rent a safe deposit box in a bank or a non-banking institution. Safe deposit boxes come in 4-5 different sizes to meet your requirements. The boxes can be rented on a yearly basis and paid for using cash, cards, or cheques.

Now that you know about the usefulness of a safe deposit box, let’s dig deeper and find out more about these boxes.

What Are the Advantages of a Safe Deposit Box?

  • It protects your valuables and keeps thieves at bay.
  • Enjoy maximum confidentiality and comfort.
  • Different sizes to choose from - small, medium, large, and extra large boxes.
  • The box can be opened only by you, unless you have a co-renter.
  • Dual key system - you keep one key and the bank keeps the other.
  • The boxes are safeguarded by a strong security system.

Banks That Offer Safe Deposit Boxes

Several banks in Singapore offer safe deposit boxes to their customers, protected by world class security.

BOC Safe Deposit Box: You can enjoy 5 different box sizes, starting from extra small to extra large. The prices of these boxes range between S$112.35 and S$722.25. You can access and check the contents in private rooms available only at selected branches.

HSBC Safe Deposit Box: You can open a safe deposit box at 3 branches - Jurong, Tanglin, and Serangoon Garden. There are 4 sizes to choose from. You can also enjoy unrestricted access to the box, but only during banking hours.

DBS Safe Deposit Box: At DBS, you do not require any key deposit/fixed deposit as collateral. You can open a safe deposit box at 10 selected branches. You must take your passport or identity card at the branch to open a box.

RHB Safe Deposit Box: You can choose from 7 types of box sizes between 300 and 3,000 cubic inches at 4 selected branches. A minimum fixed deposit is required as collateral to open a box at RHB. Call the customer care helpline to know more about the safe deposit box.

Non-Banking Institutions That Offer Safe Deposit Boxes

The non-banking institutions that offer safe deposit boxes are as follows:

Secom dbox Safe Deposit: You can select from 3 box types and the annual fee starts from S$160.50. Once you subscribe to Secom, you can get a discount of 20% on the box rate for the first 3 years. A deposit of S$150 is required, which will be refunded once the box keys and cards are returned.

SIF Safe Deposit Box: The safe deposit boxes are available only at the Ang Mo Kio branch. You can enjoy complete privacy and the boxes are secured by strict access control. The annual fee of the smallest box is S$128.40.

Certis CISCO Safe Deposit Box: Certis CISCO offers 5 different box sizes to suit your needs. You can access and view your contents at any time of the year and even after banking hours (with notification). All the facilities are protected by Certis CISCO’s Auxiliary Police officers.

[email protected] Safe Deposit Box: [email protected] is a private safe deposit vault in the country with completely automated lockers system. You can access these boxes from an ATM in a private room. You can choose from 3 box sizes and the price starts from S$888 per year. You can access your box at any time of the day.

What is the Cost of Owning a Safe Deposit Box in Singapore?

The table below shows the price range of safe deposit boxes in banks and non-banks:

Name of the institution Box size Annual price range
BOC Extra small to extra large S$112.35 to S$722.25
HSBC Small to extra large SS300 to S$800 (GST excluded)
DBS Extra small to large S$187.25 to S$492.20
RHB 300 to 3,000 cubic inches S$140 to S$680
SIF Small to extra large S$128.40 to S$246.10
Certis CISCO Extra small to extra large S$129 to S$749 (via GIRO payment) S$229 to S$849 (via other modes of payment)
[email protected] Small box to golden number S$888 to S$3,888

Why Should You Use a Safe Deposit Box?

The reasons for using a safe deposit box are as follows:

  • Added security: Hiding your valuables at home is no longer safe. Your personal belongings cannot be stolen if they are not there. You can surely get that peace of mind with a safe deposit box. This kind of box will ensure your valuables like jewellery, heirlooms, and documents stay in one place in a safe way.
  • Protection from natural disasters: In case of a sudden natural disaster, your prized assets will stay safe in a safe deposit box. If you do not store them in a locker, you may not be able to trace them after the disaster. It is wise to keep important documents and other items in zip lock bags since they are susceptible to water damage.
  • You hold the key and the knowledge: You are the only one who’ll know what is inside the box and access the contents – not your family, the bank, or your relatives that you do not tell yourself. Since banks issue 2 keys - one for you and another for the bank itself, only you can open the box and be the sole owner. However, you can jointly own a single safe deposit box.
  • Safeguards from theft and burglary: Safe deposit boxes have hi-tech locking systems, which includes passwords and fingerprints. Hence, it is extremely difficult to break open a box. The containers undergo several quality tests so that your assets remain safe from theft.
  • Convenience and comfort: Earlier, banks would cease the box and its contents in case the first holder died. At present, if you designate a power of attorney to someone else and share the ownership of the box, he/she will be able to access the valuables in your absence.

What Can You Store in a Safe Deposit Box?

The following items can be stored in a safe deposit box:

  • Any personal papers.
  • Insurance policy documents.
  • Jewellery or rare collectibles.
  • Family heirlooms and antiques.
  • Coin or stamp collections.
  • Important business papers and contracts.
  • Stock and bond certificates.
  • Mortgage documents, property deeds, or titles.
  • Adoption and birth certificates.
  • Divorce papers.
  • Military documents.
  • Pen drives with media files.
  • Citizenship papers.

What You Shouldn’t Store in a Safe Deposit Box

It is not a good idea to store the following items in a locker:

  • Only copy of your will.
  • Passports.
  • Medical directives.
  • Powers of attorney.
  • Healthcare proxies.
  • Cash or cheques.
  • Perishable items.
  • Illegal items like drugs or weapons.

How to Select a Safe Deposit Box?

There are a wide range of safe deposit boxes available in the market today. Each box is designed differently to fulfil your diverse requirements. Hence, is it absolutely necessary to select a box wisely.

  • Safe size: Make sure you are completely sure of the items you want to lock away. Based on this, you can select the appropriate size of the box. If the number of items are less, it is advisable to go for a small box.
  • Plan your budget: Once you decide the size of the box, find out the price. Banks and non-bank institutions will have different price ranges. If you do not have a budget issue, then you can go for a larger box. However, if the valuables are lesser in number, then it makes sense to go for a smaller box instead of unnecessarily paying extra for a large box.
  • Look for offers: Do thorough research and find out if any bank or non-bank is offering discounts on the prices of safe deposit boxes. For instance, you will save 20% on a standard safe deposit box for the first 3 years with Secom. Also, if you are a UOB Privilege Banking or Reserve customer and rent a large box for 3 years at [email protected], you can get an extra 6 months free.
  • Visit the branch to know about the security systems: Before trusting a bank to keep your valuables safe, it is necessary for you to check out the security system. Talk to the executive and ask him/her to brief you on the security. See if the vault has armed officers and find out the procedure to gain access to the box.
  • Read the fine print: Several banks have terms and conditions pertaining to the access of the box in case of death. Read the fine print carefully. Find out what the bank will do in the event of your demise. Find out how you can authorise someone in your family to gain access to the content in the box. If you are sharing ownership of the deposit box, you must know the process of giving permission to the second holder to open the box in your absence.
  • Fees and other charges: Once you make a decision, read the brochure to know about the fees and charges. Several banks require a deposit fee, which they refund when you hand over the box key. You also need to pay a certain amount if you lose your key.

FAQs

Q. What are the eligibility criteria to open a safe deposit box in a bank?

A. To open a deposit box in a bank, you must be at least 21 years old and have either a savings account or current account with the same bank.

Q. Do I need to present any documents to open a safe deposit box?

A. Yes, you must bring your passport or identity card to open a safe deposit box. All foreigners must bring their passport, an employment pass, and a proof of address.

Q. How do I pay the annual rental fee?

A. If you open a safe deposit box in a bank, then you can authorise the bank to deduct the amount from your current/savings account. In case of non-banking institutions, you can also pay via GIRO or use credit/debit cards, cash, or cheques.

Q. What will happen if I terminate the box before the renewal date?

A. In case of early termination, you will not get back the deposit fee of up to S$200 or any amount for the unutilised period.

Q. I lost my key. What should I do?

A. If you lose your key, report to the bank or the non-banking institution immediately. They will obtain a new lock and key. However, you have to bear the cost of the new lock and key.

Q. Can the co-renter access my safe deposit box if I die?

A. Yes, a co-renter can immediately access the box in case of your demise. But, if you are the sole owner of the box, then the representative has to present his/her Letters of Administration or Grant of Probate to gain access to the box.

Q. If my bank relocates, will I get a notice?

A. Yes, you will get a written notice usually 2 weeks prior to the relocation if the bank is renovating the premises or altering the rules and regulation of the deposit box.


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