It is a truth universally acknowledged that setting up — and dealing with — your own bank account as a fully-fledged adult is, at best, boring, and at worst, the most stressful ordeal you’ll ever encounter. But when we heard about GXS, a recently launched Singaporean bank that aims to make banking as convenient and (dare we say) fun as possible, we were intrigued.
One of GXS’s most unique aspects is that it’s a wholly digital bank, backed by familiar brands Grab and Singtel. Unlike your traditional brick-and-mortar banks — and the endless queues that accompany them — you have full control over your GXS account through their app. And while GXS is a proudly unconventional bank, rest assured that they know what they’re doing and are in the same league as the older, more traditional banks.
Saving better with GXS
Currently, GXS has two main products for customers. The first is their GXS Savings Account that comes with the Saving Pockets feature, which lets you earn daily interest of 2.68 percent p.a. on your saving goals. There’s no lock-in, no minimum balance and no fees too.
You also get accelerated rewards of 1.2X GrabRewards points when you pay with your linked GXS Savings Account on the Grab app on eligible transactions. Plus, you get to earn an instant reward when you spend a minimum of S$10 on eligible transactions with the GXS Debit Card.
Currently, slots for the GXS Savings Account are full, but you can sign up for their waitlist to get priority access when new slots open up.
A loan that finally works for you
The second product is the GXS FlexiLoan, which is different from existing loan plans thanks to its customizable nature. The plan’s Flexi Borrow allows customers to borrow from as little as S$200 (a first for the market), and to draw down multiple loans from their credit line as needed. Not ready to draw down? Your GXS FlexiLoan will remain on standby, with no interest charged.
With flexi repayments, customers can choose a loan tenure that works for them from two to 60 months, including the exact repayment date, so that you’re working with a realistic timeline. Realize you can actually repay your loan earlier? There’s no early repayment fee, and customers who are able to do so actually stand to save on interest.
The GXS FlexiLoan comes with one of the lowest rates in the market (from 2.99 percent p.a. or an effective interest rate of 5.65 percent p.a.), and with absolutely zero fees – no processing, annual or early repayment fees.
As part of their launch campaign, GXS teamed up with prominent Singaporean artists Angela Chong, Kenn Lam, and Kristal Melson to create a series of artworks that reflect GXS’s ethos to challenge long-standing conventions.
Their (literally) biggest collaborations to date, though, are with well-known Singaporean street artists Zero and ANTZ, who each painted massive 18x6m wall murals in the heart of Singapore’s own Bali Lane. For those who are unfamiliar with Singapore’s street art scene, Zero and ANTZ have been artists for nearly two decades, and both are members of RSCLS, one of Singapore’s leading street art collectives (which is cheekily pronounced “rascals”). In their own words, the members of RSCLS “propagate acts of artistic nonsense through open uninhibited random collaboration.” Back when they started, physical space on which to draw their art was hard to find, and any art they did manage to put up was promptly taken down. Today, though, the city is covered in murals.
“I am always an advocate of breaking new boundaries, challenging one’s notion of what is and what was, even for an artist who has been doing this for 20 years. Innovation only comes from disruption.” – Zero
Given Singapore’s international reputation as a “clean” city with many rules and regulations, ANTZ says that he approaches street art with a “instead of going against the system, work with the system” mindset. He also notes, “It’s a pretty young scene with a lot of room for improvement. It’s nice to see different styles of murals and graffiti growing within the community.”
Personally, ANTZ thinks of every new wall (and mural) as a new challenge. “Different walls have different characteristics, and they will react differently to you.” he explains. “Some walls are friendly, and the painting is smooth. Some are not, and tend to reject the paints or add challenges, like peeling paint.”
While creating a mural of this scale from scratch for GXS might be overwhelming for some, Zero viewed this opportunity as a way to push himself artistically. “Painting a mural is always a daunting task, but I personally feel as an artist if everything seems easy to do, then you won’t learn anything or you are just too comfortable, you are not pushing the scene or doing anything new,” he explains. “[You’re] just following formulas that others have figured out before you. Is it really about art making or content creating?”
Although a lot of people might question the connection between street art and a banking brand such as GXS, it was precisely this shared desire to push themselves to break from the norm that convinced Zero to accept the assignment. “GXS came with a pretty open brief that was really open to the artist’s own interpretation and it is something I really appreciate… I liked the direction that was presented, [that is,] breaking boundaries and conventions,” Zero says. “I am always an advocate of breaking new boundaries, challenging one’s notion of what is and what was, even for an artist who has been doing this for 20 years. Innovation only comes from disruption.”
Similarly, ANTZ said yes because he viewed it as yet another exciting challenge in that it was very dissimilar to any other client he’d collaborated with before; after all, as he puts it, every new project that he accepts is a way for him to “outdo” himself.
It took each artist approximately a week to ideate and sketch a digital rendering of their respective murals. Although the two pieces share similarities such as the general neon hues and intricate details, they also reflect ANTZ and Zero’s distinctive individualities.
Zero’s piece ultimately drew inspiration from a range of references, including comics he grew up with, and various graffiti elements such as a brick wall as an homage to his street art upbringing. When asked about the two astronauts featured in the center, Zero explains that it is a nod to his long-standing love of “anything fantasy and sci-fi.” In fact, he confesses, “I have always wanted to own an actual astronaut suit.” The charming maneki-neko statue that one astronaut is holding represents the idea that “fortune favors the bold… Fortune for me is not represented only by material wealth, but it can also come as experience, knowledge and growth, both personal and as a collective of beings.”
[I’m] toying with a lot of ideas in presentation and backstories [in terms of] breaking free from the norm.” – ANTZ
ANTZ took a slightly more methodical approach to designing his piece by sorting out keywords from the brief, and then first drafting the overall “flow” of the mural before adding colors and incorporating more research to strengthen the concept.
Like Zero’s, his mural also features his own take on a fortune cat. When asked about the decision, he (accurately) pointed out, “Well, who would say ‘no’ to a fortune cat?” Enclosed in a space suit bubble, the cat’s face was the first thing that he painted, and its “good vibes” immediately made it his favorite part of the whole piece.
“Placing a traditional mascot in a futuristic setting is something interesting,” ANTZ explains. “[I’m] toying with a lot of ideas in presentation and backstories [in terms of] breaking free from the norm.”
Like the artists’ past work, both murals are pieces of art that you can stare at for a long time and consistently discover new details. Zero confirms that every piece of art he makes “has always been peppered with hidden easter eggs.” In this one, the audio wave in the background is the chorus of Queen’s I Want To Break Free. Look closer, and you’ll find a binary code that actually says the GXS slogan “Banking made better.” Hot tip: there’s a QR code in the bottom left that you might want to scan.
“There’s always a meaning behind every element I put in the work. I do not really want to explain it to the viewers as I’d much rather they discover it for themselves and have their own eureka moment which is not driven by me, the artist,” says Zero as he remains tight-lipped on the other easter eggs which he says are hiding in plain sight. “I want viewers to make up their own interpretation of the artwork based on what they see and how it makes them feel.”
For more information about the collaboration and GXS Bank, check out their website. Visit here for full terms and conditions that apply for the GXS Savings Account, GXS Debit Card and GXS FlexiLoan. The GXS banking app is available for download on both the Apple App and Google Play stores.
GXS is a separate entity and is not associated with the businesses of Singtel, Grab Holdings and their entities. GXS holds a banking license and is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.