SINGAPORE - All Singaporean households can now collect $100 worth of vouchers that they can spend at about 10,000 participating hawkers and heartland merchants.
The community development council (CDC) vouchers, worth $130 million in total and given out to 1.3 million households, are available for collection digitally from Monday (Dec 13) and can be used till Dec 31, 2022.
One Singaporean per household can claim the vouchers through an online link that requires the use of Singpass. He will then receive a link at his registered mobile number.
This link can then be shared via messaging apps with household members, who can then use the vouchers that come in denominations of $2, $5 and $10.
A unique decal will be used to identify participating merchants, with more expected to come on board.
Those who are unable to claim or use the vouchers digitally, such as if they do not have a smartphone, can approach community clubs or centres for assistance, such as to print hard copy vouchers.
To spend the voucher digitally, the resident has to click on the CDC vouchers link, select the amount to be used and show the QR code to a participating merchant, who will then scan it using the RedeemSG Merchant App.
Those using hard copy vouchers have to show the merchant the QR code on the voucher, which the merchant will then scan.
No change will be given, so residents have to select the suitable denominations of vouchers and top up the extra, or forfeit the remaining value.
The vouchers are not allowed to be resold, and each resident's address is stated on the voucher link to deter reselling.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced this third update to the scheme at Budget 2021 as part of a $900 Household Support Package.
The CDC voucher scheme was launched last June to help up to 400,000 lower-income families, with a second tranche for them announced in January this year.
At the launch of the third tranche of the voucher scheme on Monday at Jurong Spring Community Club, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the vouchers are to express the Government's appreciation for everyone's solidarity amid the pandemic.
They should also help to defray some daily expenses such as food and essential household items and services, as well as support local heartland shops and hawkers that have been hit hard during the pandemic, he said.
He noted that the fight against Covid-19 has been a long and winding journey and the country's response to it has had to adapt accordingly when the virus "surprised us multiple times".
He said: "It's been challenging for everyone, especially for our residents and for our heartland businesses, to keep up with the new policies and changing situations.
"Thank you for bearing with us, and for your continued trust and support as we make our way through these difficult times."
The voucher scheme has gone digital so that they are easier to use, said PM Lee, who is also chairman of the People's Association, which CDCs come under.
Merchants can better track transactions and receive payment faster with less hassle, while residents have the convenience and flexibility of digital vouchers, he added.
The earlier tranches of the voucher scheme required residents to collect physical vouchers from community centres and clubs.
Mr Sheam Kannan, 29, who lives with his parents in Bukit Batok, said that the digital vouchers make it more convenient for his family, compared with physical ones.
For example, if they were to go grocery shopping, any of them could click on the link at any point in time, rather than have physical vouchers that would be held by one person, or could even be misplaced.
Having the link to share with family members is also useful, as “it reduces the need and trouble of having to log into Singpass individually”, added Mr Sheam, a senior executive in the social service sector.
PM Lee said the CDCs have been working with government agencies and community partners over the past few months to design the scheme with a good user experience and reach out to heartland businesses to explain how it works and to get them on board.
He added that help will be available to residents at all community centres and clubs, SG Digital community hubs, as well as selected residents' committee or residents' network centres in areas with a higher proportion of the elderly.
Silver Generation Office ambassadors will also conduct house visits to explain the voucher scheme to seniors.
"We will learn from this experience so that the next time we have such a scheme, it will be even more simple and convenient for everyone," said PM Lee.
The launch was also attended by mayors of the five districts, who chair the community development council in their area.
Correction note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct name of the RedeemSG Merchant App.