DBS Bank is bringing back its QR-code red packets this Chinese New Year with a host of new and improved features, including opening up the service to non-DBS customers and younger teenagers.
DBS QR Gift, first introduced in a pilot last year under a different name, enables users of the DBS PayLah! app to scan a QR code to load a cash value of up to $999.
They can then give this QR code to friends and family as a substitute for traditional red packets, with recipients scanning the code to receive the loaded amount.
Recipients previously had to be DBS PayLah! users and at least 16 years old, but the criteria have now been widened to include all PayNow users, as well as PayLah! users above 13 years old. Teenagers will still need parental consent in order to use the service and redeem their digital red packets.
PayNow is a funds transfer service provided by nine banks here. It has about 2.8 million users, compared with 1.6 million for DBS PayLah!.
Other new features of the QR Gift include the option to load up to 10 QR Gift cards at once, instead of having to do so one at a time.
Launching the enhanced QR Gift yesterday, DBS said more than $1.5 million was loaded into QR Gift cards last year, with the majority of users aged from 30 to 49.
"We're pleased the public responded warmly to the DBS QR Gift last year and have been taking in feedback since then," said DBS head of consumer banking group in Singapore, Mr Jeremy Soo, in a press statement.
"We hope (the new features) will make CNY celebrations more seamless and hassle-free for consumers."
He added that QR Gift is part of the bank's overall push for environmental sustainability, with DBS working with corporate partners such as SMRT and Manulife to use QR Gift for employee gifting this Chinese New Year.
Figures from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) last year indicated that up to 40 million of the slightly more than 100 million paper notes printed for Chinese New Year each year end up being incinerated, as users dump all the excess notes back into their bank accounts.
Banks also do not keep excess notes and return them to MAS.
DBS said the QR Gift cards are made of environmentally friendly paper and designed to be given out without the use of red packets.
They come in packs of eight and are available for free at all manned DBS/POSB branches, DBS Treasures Centres and POSB pop-up ATMs islandwide. The cards are valid for use until Feb 21. Funds that are not redeemed by Feb 21 will be refunded to the giver.
DBS is also bringing back its red packet recycling bins, which were introduced last year. The bins will be available at all manned DBS/POSB branches from Jan 28.