Singapore

$1,000 notes will no longer be issued from January: MAS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will stop issuing the $1,000 note from January next year, to minimise the money-laundering and terrorism-financing risks associated with such a large denomination.

From now till the end of next month, MAS will also limit the quantity of $1,000 notes issued, although banks can continue recirculating the existing $1,000 notes that have been deposited with them, it said in a statement yesterday.

It added that it will "make available sufficient quantities of other denominations" to meet demand, in particular the $100 note, which is the next highest denomination.

Existing $1,000 notes in circulation can continue to be used for payment and remain legal tender, said the central bank.

It also encouraged the public to use electronic payments instead of large denomination notes, which it said allows individuals to anonymously carry large sums of money, and can thus facilitate illicit activities like money laundering.

National University of Singapore's Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, who is director of the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations, said electronic payment systems are still more secure than cash, despite the cyber risks associated with e-payments.

"You are able to secure two things with e-payments: Firstly, in terms of technical security, you can trace where your money is going, and second, you have physical security because you don't have to carry large amounts of cash," he said, adding that the move was timely, if not overdue.

He noted that most people already do not use the $1,000 note, as there is "no reason" for transactions to be carried out in cash instead of via cheques or bank transfers. MAS noted in its statement that most major jurisdictions have also stopped issuing large denomination notes because of money-laundering and terrorism-financing concerns. - THE STRAITS TIMES

BUSINESS & FINANCE