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Fit-for-gifting notes for Chinese New Year available from Jan 5: MAS

DBS, OCBC and UOB will offer online reservations for fit-for-gifting notes from Jan 5, in addition to new notes.

Fit-for-gifting notes for Chinese New Year available from Jan 5: MAS

A person prepares red packets for Chinese New Year. (Photo: iStock)

SINGAPORE: Fit-for-gifting bank notes for Chinese New Year will be available from Jan 5, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday (Dec 27).

As part of efforts to promote environmental sustainability, MAS and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) are encouraging the public to give "fit notes" or digital red packets instead of new banknotes.

"Fit notes are used currency notes that are generally clean and of suitable quality for recirculation, including for festive gifting," MAS said. 

"The condition of these notes has been verified by banknote processing machines and are similar in quality to notes from automated teller machines."

Fit notes are a more sustainable option, as new notes issued purely to meet the demand for festive purposes generate unnecessary carbon emissions and are a waste of resources, MAS said.

The authority also added that public demand for festive gifting notes is typically in bundles of S$2 or S$10 denominations, which cannot be easily obtained in the desired quantities from ATMs.

"To bring greater convenience to the public, DBS, OCBC and UOB will offer online reservation for fit notes, in addition to new notes," said MAS. 

Customers will need to pre-book through the respective bank’s online reservation system if they wish to exchange for either fit-for-gifting or new notes at bank branches. This will minimise the likelihood of overcrowding, MAS added.

Walk-ins are only permitted for people with disabilities and those aged 60 and above. 

DBS and UOB will additionally provide for the withdrawal of fit notes from selected pop-up and branch ATMs. These include S$2 and S$10 notes in larger quantities as well as the S$50 denomination. 

New notes can also be withdrawn without any prior booking at DBS pop-up ATMs and selected UOB ATMs.

Customers of other banks may refer to their bank’s website for details on new and fit notes exchange. The dates for pre-booking and exchange of fit and new notes are as follows:

Distribution Details Dates
Pre-booking of notes online From Jan 5, 2023
Walk-in exchange for select customers From Jan 5, 2023
Withdrawal at selected DBS and UOB ATMs From Jan 5, 2023
Collection of pre-booked notes at bank branches From Jan 10, 2023

Apart from fit notes, MAS also encouraged the public to use digital red packets.

“E-hong baos are a simple and speedy way to convey blessings to family and friends via electronic fund transfers,” said MAS, adding that banks have enhanced their digital red packet offerings by allowing personalisation. 

MAS said earlier this month that it would stop issuing good-as-new S$2 notes this coming Chinese New Year in a bid to encourage the use of fit notes.

About 100 million new notes are issued annually for Chinese New Year and other festive periods, MAS noted, adding that a large majority of these notes are only used once for gifting before being returned to the authority. 

It added that the carbon emissions from the issuance of excess new notes every year are comparable to powering 430 four-room HDB flats, and that it would require 10,000 new trees to be planted to offset the emissions.

The practice of printing new notes "is not in line with environmental sustainability" or Singapore's target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, MAS said.

Source: CNA/cm(zl)


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