SINGAPORE - Forget snaking queues and long waiting times at the banks.
Twenty-nine ATMs have popped up at selected community clubs around Singapore to allow DBS Bank and POSB customers to get their hands on crisp notes in time for Chinese New Year.
The bank has installed the temporary cash withdrawal machines at 10 community clubs (CCs): Bukit Batok, Chong Pang, Henderson, Kreta Ayer, Kampong Chai Chee, Mountbatten, Teck Ghee, Toa Payoh West, Yew Tee and Yuhua.
These ATMs started operating yesterday to dispense new $10 and $50 notes as well as good-as-new $2 notes to customers for their hongbao. New notes in red packets signify new beginnings for their recipients.
When The Straits Times visited Teck Ghee CC yesterday morning, a few people were already using the three ATMs beside the CC's reading corner. Two bank employees were on hand to offer assistance.
One user was retiree Lee Juak Ngoh, 63, who used to take a 10-minute bus ride to the DBS branch at Ang Mo Kio Hub to exchange old notes for new ones. "Every year, there will be long queues at the banks to get new notes. Sometimes, we can wait for up to two hours," said Madam Lee. The temporary ATMs at the CC are only a minute's walk from her home, she said.
The pop-up ATMs, which are placed in well-lit areas and have surveillance cameras installed, can be used only for withdrawals.
Mr Jeremy Soo, managing director and head of consumer banking (Singapore) at DBS, said: "The ATMs have been customised to dispense new notes, as there is always increased demand for new notes during the Lunar New Year."
The ATMs at Chong Pang, Kampong Chai Chee, Teck Ghee and Toa Payoh West operate from 9am to 10pm, while the rest are available for use round the clock. The pop-up ATMs will be redeployed elsewhere after the festive season, but will return next year if they are well-received.
Retiree Vincent Lim, 64, who was using an ATM at Toa Payoh West CC, said: "It is good that there's an alternative, especially for working professionals who might not be able to make trips to the banks during office hours."
This article was first published on Feb 3, 2015.
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