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What is an eAngBao and how to send one?

A vector illustration showing a digital Chinese angbao traditional gift in a smartphone.
Almost every major bank in Singapore offer eAngBaos. (PHOTO: Getty)

by Dee Lim

SINGAPORE – The eAngBao started gaining popularity in the last two years when COVID physical distancing regulations made Chinese New Year visiting difficult or in some cases, impossible.

Almost every major bank in Singapore offer eAngBaos. Just like their physical counterparts, the digital versions can be sent with different designs, or even, customisable greetings.

The eAngBao is also part of a sustainable push by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), in a bid to cut down the need for printing new notes. In a statement in December 2022, the MAS noted that more than 100 million new notes are printed annually for festive periods, such as Chinese New Year. Most are returned to be recirculated, but the volume of new notes is greater than what’s needed to replace unfit notes in circulation.

In the end, excess notes are then destroyed. The carbon emissions from printing the excess new notes is comparable to powering 430 four-room HDB flats, and would require 10,000 new trees to be planted just to offset the emissions.

“New notes issued just to meet the demand for festive gifting generate unnecessary carbon emissions and is a waste of resources,” the MAS said the statement.

On top of that, eAngBaos are also more convenient to use, allowing people to skip queues at the banks for collecting new notes.

You’ll also be able to pick the exact amount that you would want to gift in an eAngBao. For instance, this is ideal for those who want to send through an amount that ends in 88 cents.

Here’s what you need to know about how to send an eAngBao:

  1. Make sure you have access to your Internet banking. You will need that to do your gifting via a QR code or PayNow that’s linked to your bank account.

  2. Send your blessings!

    1. DBS customers have two options – sending through the DBS eGift function, and for those who want something that mixes traditional with the convenience of an eAngbao, the DBS QR Gift Card. The QR Gift Card is printed out (on environmentally friendly paper), with a unique QR code on it, and can be gifted in person without needing to use newly printed notes.

    2. Citibank, OCBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered and UOB customers can use a special background or image through PayNow to send eAngBaos.

For those receiving an eAngBao:

  1. Make sure your mobile is registered to your Internet banking – the eAngBao will be directly credited into your account. You’ll either get an in-app or SMS notification when the eAngBao has been sent to you.

  2. For DBS customers who receive a QR gift code, you’ll just need to scan to receive your gift.

  3. For other bank customers (Citibank, OCBC, Maybank, Standard Chartered and UOB), you’ll receive the eAngBao through PayNow.

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