Chinese New Year is around the corner; where has all the time gone?! One thing that most of us look forward to is the giving and receiving of red packets – colloquially known as angbaos – which symbolises good fortune, a prosperous life, and bountiful happiness.
What’s different this year?
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, the usual celebrations might have to undergo a few changes. On top of having a limited number of guests per gathering, Singaporeans are also encouraged to give e-hongbaos to their relatives and friends.
This is especially so as hongbaos are usually passed from hand to hand; going digital hence reduces the risk of virus transmission.
Doing so benefits the environment as well!
In addition, such a practice will help reduce the length of queues at banks to obtain physical notes. The practice of gifting new notes is commonplace during Chinese New Year; however, did you know that many of these notes are actually returned to the banks after the end of the holiday?
In fact, the Monetary Authority of Singapore has put out a rough estimation that around 330,000 kilograms of carbon emissions are generated simply due to the production of new notes each Chinese New Year. Imagine that! According to Bernard Wee, the Assistant Managing Director of Finance at MAS, this is on par with emissions produced by charging one smartphone for every Singaporean resident (or a total of 5.7 million smartphones) for a total of five days.
How can you send these e-hongbaos?
There are a few ways to do so. First, you can choose to do so via PayNow. Those who have accounts with UOB, DBS, OCBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, and Maybank can even add some flair to their e-hongbaos with a variety of Chinese New Year greetings – which will be sent via SMS or WhatsApp.
However, if you or your elderly relatives wish to continue gifting physical notes, they’ll have to first make an appointment via their bank’s online reservation system before making their way down to their respective bank.
From 25 January onwards, individuals with disabilities or aged 60 and above will be able to head directly to their banks to place their order for notes. Do note that pre-ordering is highly encouraged to reduce crowding! DBS and POSB will also offer 61 ATMS that are able to dispense new notes without any pre-booking.
If you’re looking to get a headstart, Maybank and Standard Chartered Bank customers are able to place their pre-orders online from 18 January, before collecting them from the branches from 25 January onwards. For Maybank, do note that only SGD2 and SGD10 Fortune Bundles are available.
For seniors that are intending to gift e-hongbaos, they can do so via SG Digital – the website of which can be viewed in either language of English, Malay, Mandarin or Tamil.
What else can you look forward to?
DBS Bank has come up with a DBS QR Gift, which was previously introduced in 2019. These QR gifts have been upgraded with a new customisable expiry feature, which allows an expiry date of up to eight weeks from the date of loading the funds. This increases the shelf life of these QR gifts to up to three years!
Using these QR Gift Cards is simple: all you have to do is to scan the QR code via DBS PayLah!, load your desired value, then gift it to anyone for redemption. These help to bridge the gap between physical and e-hongbaos, making them the best of both worlds! The gift cards are also specially designed for CNY festivities, and can be collected for free at all DBS/POSB full-service branches and DBS Treasures Centres from 11 January, and from POSB new notes pop-up ATMs from 25 January onwards.
A fully digital option in the form of DBS eGift is also available – perfect for sending some love to family and friends, especially those that we aren’t able to meet this Chinese New Year. DBS has also rolled out a series of interactive digital games to make the experience a whole lot more fun!
So, will you be going digital this Chinese New Year, or will you be sticking to tradition and continue giving physical angbaos? Here’s wishing all an Ox-picious New Year!