Where you can get new bank notes for CNY 2022 - and other environmentally friendly alternatives

PHOTO: Pexels

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The Lunar New Year is just around the corner and among the most important things to prepare are new or good-as-new banknotes. But where can you get your hands on them without braving long queues?

Come Jan 4, five banks — DBS Bank, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered and Maybank — will be opening online reservations for the coveted bank notes.

According to the Association of Banks in Singapore, an online reservation is a must if you want to collect the notes at bank branches, in line with Covid-19 safe management measures.

Exceptions will be made for those who are above the age of 60 or have a disability. However, these individuals are still "highly encouraged" to make a booking to avoid long queues.

If you'd rather not go down to a bank, you can also opt to get your notes from selected POSB or DBS ATMS from Jan 11 onwards. This method does not require any prior booking.

In a media release, DBS shared that there will be 64 of such ATMs across 45 locations islandwide. The service will be available from 10am to 10pm daily between Jan 11 to Jan 30, and 10am to 1pm on Jan 31.

Click here to find an ATM near you, as well as find out the expected waiting time.

Do note that for the DBS and POSB ATMs, each customer is limited to a maximum of three withdrawals during this period.

What happens to new banknotes after the festive season?

According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), around 100 million new notes are issued annually for Chinese New Year as well as other festive periods.

Some may assume that these notes continue to stay in the system, but a "large proportion" of such notes — particularly $2 bills — are returned after the festivities are over. These are subsequently destroyed as the number of notes "far exceeds normal circulation demand".

This in turn can have negative impacts on the environment as the process produces plenty of unwanted carbon emissions.

Alternatives to new notes

MAS has urged the public to switch to digital red packets as these are a "safe, simple, and speedy way to convey blessings to family and friends".

If you are a customer at any of these banks, you can send digital angbaos via PayNow:

  • Bank of China
  • CIMB
  • Citibank
  • DBS Bank/POSB
  • HSBC
  • ICBC
  • Maybank
  • OCBC
  • Standard Chartered
  • UOB

Alternatively, consider sending a DBS QR gift card, a semi-digital alternative where a single-use QR code is printed on a card that resembles a red packet. To get the money, all the receiver needs to do is scan the code.

And if you order your DBS QR gift cards online by Jan 16, they will be delivered to your doorstep for free.

PHOTO: DBS Bank

For those of you who prefer to stick to tradition and dole out physical notes, MAS encourages you to reuse old notes as "most of the notes in circulation in Singapore are clean and of good quality, and suitable for use in festive gifting".

melissateo@asiaone.com