MAS urges Singapore consumers to replace physical notes with remote e-gifting over Lunar New year

Source: Monetary Authority of Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) encourages Singaporeans to use e-hong baos during the coming Lunar New Year as they will help to reduce queues for physical notes and are more environmentally friendly.

The Association of Banks in Singapore will actively promote e-gifting for the festive season.

For those who prefer giving new physical notes, five banks will implement an online reservation system for such notes. This initiative will complement safe management measures currently in place due to COVID-19.

E-hong baos will enable remote gifting across a variety of visitation practices, including virtual gatherings, during the upcoming Lunar New Year. Giving e-hong baos instead of physical notes is also environmentally more sustainable as it reduces the printing and subsequent wastage of new notes that are returned by the public to banks after each Lunar New Year.

E-hong baos are part of a larger shift towards e-gifting that MAS and ABS are promoting. MAS also encourages FinTech firms to develop e-gifting solutions for different purposes, including gifting during festive periods. The most innovative FinTech e-gifting solution will receive special recognition at the Singapore FinTech Festival in November 2021.

Physical Notes
Members of the public (except those aged 60 and above and persons with disabilities) who prefer physical notes for Lunar New Year will need to make an appointment through their respective local bank’s (DBS/OCBC/UOB) online reservation system before visiting the branches to collect the new notes. New notes can also be withdrawn without a prior booking at pop-up ATMs offered by DBS.

Maybank and Standard Chartered are also offering pre-orders of notes. Customers of these two banks are encouraged to place an online reservation for the notes before visiting the branches. They should refer to the respective bank’s website for details on how to pre-book and collect their orders. Please refer to Annex A for more information.

The pre-order period for new and good-as-new notes will start from 18 January 2021. The collection for online orders, walk-in option for elderly aged 60 and above and persons with disabilities, and withdrawal at DBS’ pop-up ATMs will start from 25 January 2021.

MAS’ Assistant Managing Director, Finance, Risk & Currency, Mr Bernard Wee said, “The adoption of e-payments grew significantly this past year as it is more convenient than cash. The coming Lunar New Year offers an opportunity for us to build on this momentum, to spread the benefits of e-gifting, and to forge new traditions with our families and friends. E-gifting helps to reduce the queues at banks, and also helps to reduce the carbon emissions generated by the production of new notes for each Lunar New Year, estimated to be about 330 tonnes currently. This is equivalent to emissions from charging 5.7 million smart phones or one smart phone for every Singaporean resident for five days.”

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