Singapore touts ‘greener’ digital monetary gifts this Lunar New Year
The gift-giving tradition on the Lunar New Year sees an annual production of new bank notes. The energy required estimates to release 330 tonnes of carbon emissions as a result. This number is equivalent to charging 5.7 million smartphones for five days in Singapore. Singapore is suggesting citizens use digital payment platforms in response to this environmental strain. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said the use of e-hongbaos also would allow remote gifting to support distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital payments grew significantly last year due to the convenience, and Bernard Wee, the assistant managing director of finance, risk and currency, hopes the momentum will build.
The use of electronic gift giving will reduce lines ath banks in addition to the carbon emissions. The need to print and waste new notes would be reduced significantly, as the notes printed are often returned to the banks after each New Year. MAS called on fintech companies to create applications for e-gifting services, in addition to the Association of Banks in Singapore promoting e-gifting as well. Direct access to the payment platforms of PayNow and FAST will be effective in February 2021 after a new application programming interface payment gateway was developed under guidance from the Singapore Clearing House Association and Association Banks in Singapore.