You probably realised by now that Chinese New Year festivities this year will be quite different. Family gatherings will be a little cosier (maximum of eight visitors at any one time, remember?), and there may even be a few virtual get-togethers in the pipeline.
But among the changes this year is how you’re going to get your hands on crisp new (or good-as-new) notes to pack those red packets. Nope, it’s not as simple as sauntering into the bank anymore.
Getting new notes for Lunar New Year 2021: Huat's different?
Only people aged 60 and above and those with disabilities will be allowed to do walk-ins at banks to withdraw or exchange for new notes.
Everyone else will need to pre-book an appointment at DBS, OCBC or UOB's online reservation systems before they go to the bank. Maybank and Standard Chartered are also offering pre-orders of notes.
The pre-order period starts Jan 18, while collection of new notes begins Jan 25.
Banks will also be dispensing new notes with Covid-19 safety measures in mind. DBS/POSB will be doubling the number of online reservation slots this year.
DBS/POSB's online reservation slots are split into two windows: 1) Reserve from Jan 18-23 to collect from Jan 25-29; or 2) Reserve from Jan 24 to Feb 5 to collect from Jan 26 to Feb 10. All reservations must be made at least two days before collection date. Each customer is limited to one reservation slot.
How to get new notes without pre-booking
From Jan 25 to Feb 11 (CNY eve), 61 DBS/POSB ATMs will disburse new and good-as-new notes at 41 locations (up from last year’s 40 ATMs across 20 locations). Among these are 40 POSB new notes pop-up ATMs. You do not need to pre-book an appointment to withdraw notes from these ATMs.
Each customer is limited to three withdrawals during this period, and can withdraw new notes in sums of $100 ($2 x 50), $300 ($10 x 30), $500 ($50 x 10) and $600 ($10 x 20 + $50 x 8). For more info or to reserve a slot at DBS/POSB, go to https://go.dbs.com/sg-cny2021.
How to skip the hassle of exchanging or withdrawing new notes
Go cashless with e-angpows instead. Like everything else during this pandemic, going online and contactless payments are encouraged, Chinese New Year traditions included. In a statement released today (Jan 11), the Monetary Authority of Singapore is encouraging Singaporeans to use e-angpows instead, an environmentally friendly option which will also reduce queues for physical notes.
How to send e-angpows? Use PayNow, of course. If you’re banking with Citibank, DBS, UOB, OCBC, or Standard Chartered, you’ll also be able to add Chinese New Year greetings and graphics in your WhatsApp or SMS as well.