Singapore’s banks are coming up with ways to meet the Chinese New Year demand for fresh, crisp notes while keeping things a little more distant during these COVID-19 times.
Banks including POSB, DBS, and UOB are introducing more ATMs, appointment times, and digital hongbao gifts in a bid to reduce queues and overcrowding ahead of next month’s festive occasion. While gifting freshly printed money to the elderly, children, and singles during the celebration is a long tradition, going digital is very much encouraged by the authorities.
“The Monetary Authority of Singapore 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 government agency said in a statement today.
Here’s how to get your hands on either fresh bank notes or the “e-hongbaos” in time for the Feb. 12 start to the Year of the Ox:
Come Jan. 25, those with bank accounts under POSB or its parent company DBS (Singapore’s largest bank) can exchange their crusty old notes for new ones by booking an appointment online. Walk-ins are only allowed for the elderly or customers with disabilities. Alternatively, they can head over one of 61 ATMs – up from 40 last year – that will pop up islandwide to disburse fresh cash in denominations of S$2, S$10, and S$50, limited to S$600 per person.
Those gifting money through the DBS app can use special “gift” features that will send a festive message and animations to recipients.
UOB account holders can also get their hands on new money starting Jan. 25 after booking an appointment with the bank through its app. No new ATMs will be available, but people are urged to give money electronically via the app.
Appointments can be made starting Jan. 18 for the above banks.
OCBC and foreign banks Standard Chartered and Maybank are also opening up appointment slots for new cash but have yet to reveal when that can happen.
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