Bookings for fit-for-gifting notes this CNY starts on Jan 5
From January 5, the public can make appointments to exchange their cash for fit-for-gifting notes for the upcoming Chinese New Year, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Tuesday.
Those who wish to do so will need to pre-book through DBS, OCBC and UOB online reservation systems to minimise the likelihood of overcrowding at bank branches.
DBS and UOB will also provide $2 and $10 in larger quantities, as well as $50 notes, for withdrawal from selected pop-up and branch ATMs.
Walk-in exchanges at DBS, OCBC and UOB bank branches are available for those aged 60 and above and persons with disabilities.
Fit-for-gifting notes are notes that are generally clean and of suitable quality for recirculation, including for festive gifting. The condition of these notes has been verified by banknote processing machines. The notes are similar in quality to those dispensed by ATMs.
This is part of MAS’ push to encourage people to adopt more environmentally friendly options, as issuing new notes to meet the demand for festive gifting generates unnecessary carbon emissions and is a waste of resources.
MAS noted that the public demand for notes for festive gifting is typically in bundles of $2 or $10 denominations, which cannot be easily obtained in the desired quantities from ATMs.
New notes can be withdrawn without any prior booking at pop-up ATMs offered by DBS and selected UOB ATMs.
Apart from fit-for-gifting notes, people are also encouraged to use digital red packets - or e-hongbaos.
On Tuesday, DBS said it will have 72 ATMs disbursing fit-for-gifting and new notes across 47 locations, up from the 64 ATMs in 2022.
From now till Jan 12, customers can also place an order for the DBS QR gift - or e-hongbaos - via a chatbot on the DBS website (https://go.dbs.com/sg-qrgift) and the cards will be mailed for free.
Good-as-new notes are issued only during Chinese New Year and deposited back to MAS shortly thereafter by the banks. These notes, which come in only $2 denomination, are processed twice by MAS to ensure that only good quality good-as-new notes are harvested and reissued for the next Chinese New Year.
About 100 million pieces of new notes for Chinese New Year and other festive periods are issued annually.
A large majority of these notes are used only once for gifting and then returned to MAS shortly after each Chinese New Year.
The carbon emissions related to these excess new notes are the same as powering 430 four-room Housing Board flats annually, and about 10,000 new trees would need to be planted to offset these emissions.
MAS has said that the practice of printing new notes for festive gifting – and subsequently destroying most of them – is not in line with environmental sustainability and Singapore’s aspiration to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
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