MAS calls on Singaporeans to adopt e-hongbao this Chinese New Year
With Chinese New Year around the corner, many Singaporeans will be thinking about hongbao (red packets), which are traditionally exchanged during this period.
In a statement yesterday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) encouraged Singaporeans to opt for e-hongbao this year.
"They will help to reduce queues for physical notes and are more environmentally friendly," MAS said.
One way to send e-hongbao is via PayNow. Those who bank with Citibank, DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB will soon be able to add Chinese New Year greetings and graphics when they do so. The messages can be sent via WhatsApp or SMS.
In a separate statement yesterday, The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) said: "Customers may contact their bank for more information on how to send hongbao digitally with PayNow."
Some Singaporeans prefer gifting new physical notes, but these are often returned to the banks by the public after Chinese New Year anyway.
MAS estimates that some 330 tonnes of carbon emissions are generated by the production of new notes each Chinese New Year.
It added that going digital will complement safe management measures currently in place due to Covid-19.
The e-hongbao drive is part of a larger shift towards e-gifting by MAS and ABS.
Those who still want to give physical notes for Chinese New Year will have to make an appointment via their bank's online reservation system before visiting the branches to collect the new notes.
Those aged 60 and above or who have disabilities are allowed to go to their bank from Jan 25 to order the notes.
However, ABS encourages them to pre-order to reduce crowding and facilitate safe distancing at bank branches.
From Jan 25, 61 ATMs by DBS and POSB will start dispensing new notes, which can be withdrawn without a booking.
Those who want to pre-order new notes can do so earlier with Maybank and Standard Chartered Bank. Pre-orders for new and good-as-new notes will be open from next Monday.
Mr Bernard Wee, MAS' assistant managing director of finance, risk and currency, 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."